The Blessed Life

The Blessed Life

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thirty Days of Gratitude Part 2

If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.

The last 15.

16.  The health of my children.  Yes, we have ear infections and roseola and viruses galore right now, but you know what, my kids aren't fighting cancer, or heart disease, or any other terrible type of illness.  They are (mostly) healthy.  And on that note, when they don't feel good, I at least have access to medicine that will make them feel better.

17.  Health Insurance.  I am happy that my husband works for a company that provides health insurance to it's employees, grateful that we can afford coverage and still pay the required copays and deductibles, and thankful for good doctors in our area.

18.  My friends.  There used to be a time when I could count the number of my friends on one hand.  I just wasn't a very good friend, therefore didn't have many good friends.  I have worked hard to try and be a better friend, and to invest more into my friendships and I think it is paying off.  I have so many awesome women I am blessed to call my friends.  Some live far away, some in the same neighborhood.  Some are friends from when I was in college, some I met only within the last six months.  I have friends of all ages, all walks of life, in different stages of life, and I can't tell you how lucky/blessed/thankful I feel to know them all.

19.  My washing machine and dryer.  Seriously, how would I ever make it without them?  I can't imagine having to go to the laundromat with all my kids and all the laundry ever week.  For that matter I am also thankful for my dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator and all other appliances big and large!

20.  A great marriage.  I know I put Jason on yesterday's list.  And I am thankful for Jason, but I am also thankful for the marriage that we have worked so hard for.  Things haven't always been easy or fun, but we have always stayed committed to each other and our family.  I am blessed to have a marriage like I do that keeps getting better and better each year!
21.  Food.  Sometimes I come home from the grocery store and get upset that my cabinets are so crowded full of food.  Then I remember that there are people all over the world without any food at all.  Here I am upset I can't cram anything else in and there are people starving.  I have been taking many things for granted lately and hope that I am more thankful everyday for the things I have that so many people do not.

22.  Mary Kay.  This year I did not work as much as I have in previous years.  In fact, I worked very little.  But, you know what?  I still made money from my Mary Kay business.  The fact that I spent time in years past with customers means that even when I am not working with new clients, I am still making some money.  And even though it isn't millions, every little bit helps.

23.  I am thankful for the abundance of people Jason and I have that help with the kids.  Whether it is my mom coming over so I can run to the grocery store or take one of the kids to the Dr, or Jason's mom coming for a day so I can run errands and take a nap, or my sister coming over so we can have a date night, Jason and I are blessed with an abundance of people to help watch the kids.  Not too mention that we have a great babysitter, Grace, who is awesome with the kids. 

24.  My IPhone.  I. Love. My. IPhone.  I love being able to use GPS in my car, love my apps, love being able to talk my text messages while driving, I love it all.  My wonderful husband gave me my phone for my birthday earlier this year and I love it.

25.  Cooler Temperatures.  That's right, I am thankful it isn't a million degrees out any more.  I hate hot.  Pretty sure I have mentioned that before.  I love cooler temperatures.  My favorite weather would be cool, cloudy and maybe even rain.  Gray days are my favorite days. 

26.  Our Military.  I am so thankful for the men and women in our armed forces.  They don't get the appreciation they deserve.  I tend to think more about them at the holidays also because I can't imagine being away from my loved ones during Christmas, but they are and they don't complain.  I am so grateful for their sacrifice. 

27.  The right to vote.  It doesn't always go my way, but at least I have the right to vote.

28.  I am thankful that my mom is a CPA.  And thankful she does our taxes.   It is so nice not to have to worry about doing our tax returns!  I have a great mom! 

29.  Coffee.  And more Coffee.  Oh, and creamer.

And, saving the best for last.....

30.  Jesus.  I am thankful that He died on the cross for my sins.  Thankful for the gift of eternal life.  Thankful that He has blessed my family and me beyond my wildest expectations.  Really, there are innumerable reasons I am thankful for Jesus and my relationship with Him.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thirty Days of Gratitude-Part 1

Many people I know did the thirty days of gratitude thing on facebook and usually I write a thankfulness post on the actual day of Thanksgiving, but this year was different.  This year I have been in the midst of taking care of a sick baby (now going on five weeks) and blogging hasn't been at the top of my priority list.

So, I decided to combine the two, a thirty days of gratitude blog series with 15 reasons today and 15 before the end of the month.  Honestly, I have way more than 30 things to be thankful for.  Don't we all?  So here, in no particular order, are my first 15 reasons. 

1.  My husband.  Talk about one major blessing.  The reasons that he is so amazing are lit-ra-lee endless.  Besides being a wonderful best friend and an outstanding father, he is also beyond talented at his job, an incredibly hard worker both at work and at home and he is funny and handsome on top of all that!  I am one lucky lady.

2.  My kiddos.  I am so blessed to be their mommy.  Being a mom has made me a better person, has brought me closer to the Lord and has taught me more than I ever thought it would.  They are each so special and unique and I am so thankful for each of them.

3.  My health.  No, I am not the skinniest or the fittest, but I am healthy.  I can't imagine being a sick mommy.  I am so thankful that I don't have to worry about not being able to be there for my kids 100% each and every day.

4.  My family (like my extended fam).  I am so lucky to have a wonderful family.  Yes, we have our issues, but I think everyone does.  Mostly we love each other and enjoy spending time together which I think says a lot.

5.  Jason's job.  It is true that I wish that the postman would just bring money to our mailbox each and every week without J having to work for it so that he could stay home and spend his time with us, but since we know that isn't going to happen, I am thankful that he has his job to go to everyday.  I am thankful that his boss is a kind and honest man who treats his employees fairly.  I am thankful that Jason enjoys his work and the people he works with and that he comes home in a good mood instead of a terrible one from hating his job!  And I am thankful that because of his job I can stay home with my kiddos.

6.  My house.  I complain sometimes about not having a bigger or nicer house, but the fact remains I have home in a nice area with electricity and indoor plumbing.  I am better off than most in the world. 

7.  My country.  I am thankful that I live in the USA.  I was watching the news the other day while Israel was being bombed and they showed a little girl run to her bomb shelter that was in her house and I was so thankful to live in a country where my kids know nothing about bombs or bomb shelters or any of that. 

8.  My church.  I love Church on the Move!  I love the kid's ministry, the preaching/teaching, the worship, all of it!  I am also pretty thankful that they are opening a satellite campus right by our house.

9.  MOPS.  I am so thankful that I decided to join and am beyond thankful for the friendships I have made!  I can't say enough good things about MOPS!

10.  Social media (facebook, pinterest, instagram and my blog).  I know, social media seems like a dumb thing to be thankful for, but because of f/b I am able to stay in touch with friends who live far away, because of pinterest I have found lots of fun recipes and crafts and through ig and my blog I have made new friendships!  Not everyone is a fan of social media, but I am and I am thankful to have a place to connect to people during this season of my life.

11.  The legacy of my grandparents.  For some reason I have been missing my grandparents a lot lately.  Perhaps just the time of year.  My grandma loved Christmas.  Whatever the reason, I am so thankful for the role they played in my life and for the example they set for their kids and grand kids.  I am so sad that my kids will never get to know them and sad they will never get to have the great memories of them like I do, but I am so thankful that I will have a million stories to share about what they did right that made such a lasting impact on me.

12.  My sister.  Yes, I know I already said family, but I am super thankful for her.  She is my bff and my life would not be as fun or as full without her.  She is a great encourager when I am feeling down and because she is such a great mom herself, I can always count on her to give me straight advice about parenting.  I only wish we had more time for sister stuff because we have such a great time together!

13.  My minivan.  I never, never, NEVER thought I would drive a minivan.  Then I had three kids.  I was so worried when I was pregnant with Lawson that we would never find a van that was nice, in our price range and wasn't going to have a lot of work that needed to be done.  God answered our prayers with that van and while it isn't the nicest, doesn't have the lowest miles or a DVD player, it is clean, safe and reliable.  I love my van and I am thankful to have it!

14. Pioneer Woman.  I know, I know.  This seems really crazy.  What kind of weirdo is thankful for Pioneer Woman?  Me.  I am that weirdo.  Sometimes when I am in the kitchen, cooking something new, I realize that it wasn't that long ago that I could only make tacos and spaghetti.  Now, I have the confidence to try things I have never tried before and have actually learned how to make many, many, many dinners that my family will eat.  The reason I have this confidence....Pioneer Woman.  Her cookbook and blog changed my life.  I told her that when I met her, that she had changed my life, and I meant it.

15.  The freedom to homeschool.  I haven't decided 100% that this is the route we will take with the kids.  But, it is nice to have the option.  I can't imagine not having this freedom. 

There you go, my first 15 in my list of 30 things to be thankful for.  What are you thankful for this month?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The sleeping through the night myth

Let me start by saying that I hope I get tons of comments from moms disagreeing with me and telling me how wrong I am.  I hope many of you tell me this post is just plain nonsense and that the problem is me and my parenting strategies.  Because, well, if I am wrong, that means there is hope.  (The pictures of sleeping babies are to remind me that they do sleep some of the time.)
Daddy let Lawson wear himself out in the floor.  This NEVER happened with the girls.

When I had Isabelle I had already read Babywise cover to cover two times.  I was SOLD.  After all, who wouldn't want an eight week old baby who sleeps through the night for ten hours solid??  Seems like a no-brainer.  And since their formula said that is what I would have, I followed it to the letter.  And when my eight week old wasn't sleeping through the night I figured I just wasn't being tough enough, wasn't letting her cry enough.  And cry she did.  Just ask any one of my family members who may have visited at a nap time or a bed time.  That girl cried. it. out.  And for the record, she is fine today.  And eventually, many months and many long nights later, she slept through the night.  Well, kind of. 

Isabelle started getting in the swing and falling asleep when we brought Moll home from the hospital.
Molly was a totally different story.  That girl came home from the hospital sleeping through the night.  It was a chore to get her to wake up for feedings at night.  I had to beg the doctor to let me let her sleep through the night and stop waking her up for feedings.  Eventually she gained enough weight and we were good to go.  Babywise didn't enter the equation because she just slept.  She was a sleeping queen.  Well, kind of.
Moll in the early sleeping days.
Now comes Lawson and I am a much different parent and well, babywise seems so labor intensive.  So scheduled.  And well, I have two other kids and sometimes I don't quite remember to keep Lawson on schedule.  And I like nursing him to sleep and rocking him to sleep and I realize that before I know it he will be four and I will be wishing to rock and nurse him to sleep again.  And whether or not it is because he is a different baby or because I don't keep him on a strict schedule like I did with Isabelle or because I don't let him cry it out, or who knows what other reason, he isn't yet sleeping through the night.  My pediatrician says nursing babies often continue to wake up once a night to eat until they are weaned and that is what I keep telling myself, "he will sleep
when he is weaned."  Right?
Isabelle sleeping with her LaLa Loopsy doll.

You see, as parents we are sleep deprived.  And moms, well we are super sleep deprived.  And the idea of a baby sleeping through the night brings us a light at the end of a very sleepy tunnel.  But, it is a myth.  Kids, babies, toddlers don't sleep through the night consistently.  Really, it's true.  Just ask any parent. 

With Isabelle she finally started sleeping through the night and then we moved her to a big girl bed.  It was a transition and she started waking up at night.  Fixed that problem and then along came enlarged adenoids and sleep apnea and LOTS of night wakings.  Isabelle was waking up more as a three year old than she ever did as a newborn.  Fixed that problem and had a few months of peace and then we moved her and Molly into the same room.  Now, Molly wakes her up.  Back to her waking up at night.  Not always, but still, she does not sleep through the night without waking up consistently.  I would say at least once per week she comes into our room and we have to go put her back in bed.  She is four and she still doesn't always sleep through the night.
Kids love the car.

Molly, she did great until about 8 months, and then started waking once per night.  Fixed that problem with the Ferber method sometime around a year and then she did good again.  Until we moved her to a big girl bed and into the room with Belle.  Now, Molly also wakes up at night and comes in our room.  Both girls have figured out that crawling into Dad's side of the bed is their best bet because Dad doesn't always wake up.  Luckily mom usually does, so back to bed they go.  Molly is two and a half and still doesn't always sleep through the night.
Sleeping on the boat.  Just about the only place she slept at the Lake.
I already explained my Lawson dilemma.  I want to also point out that each time he gets close to a long stretch at night he gets sick, or day light savings occurs or there is a change in routine and there goes our progress.  So, at 10 months, Lawson does not sleep through the night.

Sleeping at the zoo.
See, it is a myth.  You can make progress and you can get closer but I am here to tell you that babies and toddlers do not consistently sleep through the night.  They don't.  So please, please, new parents, don't set yourself up for a big disappointment.  Sleep deprivation is part of the job and it doesn't go away at the eight week mark!  I am not saying you won't ever get a full 8 hours ever again, but I am saying that you will not enjoy a full nights sleep every night once your baby hits the two month milestone. 
 Now, if your kid is different please leave me a comment telling me what I am doing wrong!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ten Months Old

This past month has been the slowest and fastest ever.  I guess that is what happens when your child is sick for pretty much an entire month.  Poor Lawson couldn't catch a break this month.  First was a cold, then an ear infection, now Roseola.  He has dealt with snot, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, ear pain, and now a rash all over his body.

He is miserable, I am tired and the girls are pretty sick of not having access to their mom like usual.

Here is some info about Lawson at 10 months old.

Height and Weight:  He weighed in at 18lbs today.  This is good since he had diarrhea for four of the last seven days.  He was fully clothed which may have contributed to a weight gain, but we'll take it! 

Eating:  Lawson has had a marked decrease in his appetite this month.  Again, probably because he has felt like crap most of the month.  I don't feel like I can say how his eating habits have been because nothing has been consistent.  He isn't eating much, isn't nursing much and won't really touch his snacks.  My doctor said the nasty word "self-weaning" today at our appointment suggesting that is why he isn't nursing but I will not accept that.  I think I will cry if that is what is happening.

Sleeping:  Ugh.  Again, being sick sure gets everything out of whack.  This month has been terrible for sleep.  Hard to get to sleep, doesn't stay asleep and naps are all over the place.  Looking forward to a healthy baby so we can get back on track.  Though, I have decided (and may do a blog post on) that sleeping through the night is a big, fat myth.  Seriously, not even my four year old consistently sleeps through the night. 

Likes:  Being held, being rocked, watching Gabba, and playing with toys that play music.

Dislikes:  Taking medicine

Milestones:  I don't know if I mentioned it or not, but he has been waving for a month, and while he hasn't started signing, I am starting to sign to him.  He isn't crawling, but still doing his army crawl, however he is starting to try and pull up on the furniture.

I say it every month, but it seems fitting to say how thankful I am for Lawson during November!  This month hasn't been the easiest month, but I realize how fast this time goes by.  I am more than thankful that I have the ability to stay home and take care of my kiddos when they are sick without worrying about losing my job or not having an income.

Looking forward to a much more healthy report next month!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Isabelle is Four

I feel like every birthday one of my kids has catches me a little off guard.  Like, how in the world can my baby be four??  I mean, I know four isn't that old, but still, I feel like she is fixing to head off to college.  And what in the world will I do when she actually is heading off to college?  Pretty sure I will be a wreck. 

Since I want to be sure to capture lots of fun things about Isabelle I thought I would interview her again like I did here.  Here are her answers and of course some pictures.

Favorite food?
Pizza (she loves going to Top That Pizza, she calls it The Restaurant since it is the only one we really ever take the kids to)
Least favorite food?
Soup (pretty sure this is fresh in her mind since we had broccoli cheese soup last night)
Favorite colors? 
Red and pink
Favorite TV show?
Barney (I thought for sure she would say Calliou)
Favorite movie? 
Toy Story
Best friend? 
Hannah (an eight year old girl that lives down the street)
Favorite toy? 
Bouncy balls
Favorite book? 
Favorite snack? 
Fruit snacks

What do you want to be when you grow up? 
What does mom do all day? 
Work, or more specifically, homework
What does dad do all day?
Fix coffee
If you could change your name, what would you change it to? 
Who is the coolest person you know?
Favorite song? 
Twinkle Twinkle

We go to the doctor tomorrow for her well check, so I will update with her height and weight. 
Here are a few things about Isabelle from my perspective!
Loves:  crunchy chicken for dinner, playing outside, riding her bike and her scooter, spending time with her family, being a big sister, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood on TV, doing "school", headbands, eating snacks, reading books, helping mom around the house, wearing shoes and socks, going to MOPS and church and Bible study
Doesn't love:  sauces (like spag sauce, stroganoff, alfredo sauce, etc), taking naps or going to bed, when Molly pesters her, dad going to work, having to stay inside on cold or rainy days, sharing her food (don't you dare ask her for a bite of something...haha), toilets that have a loud flush, pony tails that aren't tight (like so tight I worry we will pull her hair out of her head), rule breakers (she especially hates people on motorcycles without helmets, people speeding and kids breaking the rules)
Isabelle is such a sweet and special girl.  We are so blessed to have been trusted to be her parents.  She is so smart, funny and beautiful. 
Happy Birthday, Isabelle Grace.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Friday Five

The girls have been coming up with some pretty funny stuff the last couple of days.  I need to be more intentional about recording all of the crazy things they say, hence today's five things. 

1.  Yesterday, while playing in their room, I overheard Belle yelling at Molly, "Are you insane?"  The sad/funny thing about that is that I know exactly where she learned that fun phrase.  As my mom pointed out, at least Belle didn't call Molly a jack a**.  (I may or may not have used that word before while driving.)

2.  My kiddos have been a little sick and Molly still has some residual snot issues.  I caught her picking her nose yesterday and asked her if she needed a kleenex.  Her response, "No, I'm just getting the crumbs."

3.  Today after Lawson was done eating breakfast he was getting a little fussy.  I say, "You must be getting tired, bud."  Belle says, "I think he wants to eat from your boobs."

4.  We have been watching the movie Despicable Me a lot this week.  Like a LOT.  At the end of the movie when Vector is dancing on the moon Isabelle says, "That guy is crazy.  You can't dance in space."

5.  Tomorrow is Belle's birthday party.  She has requested a princess cake and princess cupcakes.  Today she was drawing a picture of an elephant that she wants me to put on the cake.  I told her, "You asked for a princess cake, I am making a princess cake."  To which she replied, "but I really want the princess to have a pet."

You may not find these things as funny as I do, but my guess is there are things your kids say that make you laugh out loud.  Get out your pen, or your phone or whatever and write these things down.  I have a feeling you won't regret it!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Operation Christmas Child and Samaritan's Purse

I mentioned at the beginning of October that on the first of every month I would be promoting a non-profit that I found amazing and that was doing work I think everyone should support.  Last month it was the Camellia Network, and this month it is Operation Christmas Child or Samaritan's Purse.

Here is a video about Operation Christmas Child I suggest watching.  It gives some great info about the program!

If you don't watch a video here are some things to know:

The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

This year the goal of OCC is to surpass 100 million shoe box gifts packed and distributed since 1993!

I was lucky enough to help pack two shoe boxes already through my Mothers of Preschoolers group, but I will be doing at least one more with money from my monthly Mary Kay paycheck and maybe more depending on sales!  Each month I send out an email to my customers and this month they will know that a portion of my sales will go to support this great organization.

Something important to know is that the collection dates are November 12-19th, so if this is something you and your family would like to participate in, you have only a couple of weeks to get it done!  Totally do-able.  I know people who don't shop for their own family's Christmas gifts until Christmas Eve, so two weeks is plenty of time to pack a shoe box!

If you don't make the deadline, but would still like to give to Samaritan's Purse, they have a wonderful gift catalog, where you can select what type of gift you would like to donate.  Through the catalog you can give things like milk for a baby for $4, or clean drinking water for a family for $15.  You could give the gift of a blanket for $6, a fishing boat for $50,  a small livestock animal for $20 or something even bigger like flying a child to receive heart surgery for $2200, or building a school for $20,000.  The point is, there is something for everyone at every giving level.  Everyone who is reading this blog can spare $4!  You can also use that link to donate $7 for a shoe box gift if you'd like to do that rather than making one of your own.

I love this organization and I love what they do to help people around the globe.  I encourage you to check them out and to put together a shoebox with your family today. 

If you are in the Tulsa area and are looking for a drop off location, I know several!  Just leave me a comment and I will be sure to send you the info.  Otherwise, their link has a place to look up drop off locations in your area.