Thursday, April 10, 2014

up & down wednesday

yesterday, stu and I spent a good bit of the morning catching up on some cleaning that I'd fallen sorely behind on this week. we even cleaned off the porches and wiped down the outsides of the doors. that always makes me feel better about life when I have clean entries! :0)

then when we were done cleaning, we made (boxed mix) red velvet cake. I took this photo for instagram just to be funny, but I think I really like this picture! if I had more kitchen wall space, I might've framed and hung it.

I knew I wanted to do a glaze since I was making the cake in a tube pan and I didn't have enough shortening onhand for homemade frosting. I stumbled upon "Puttin' on the GRITS" recipe for cherry vanilla pound cake (which I fully intend to make sometime), and I ended up using her cherry glaze recipe for the red velvet cake.

it's so pink and pretty and tasty! if you love cherry flavor, you need to try this! it's so easy, too.  

when we played outside, stu had his big dump trucks out in the sand. I pulled weeds and he helped me some. we filled up his dump trucks with them.

we dug up a grub worm in the process of pulling weeds, which is normal for us. this one was fascinating, though--it was in the process of metamorphosing into a june bug! its head had turned brown and shell-y, and it had developed legs. I know it's gross, but I had to try to get a macro shot of it. he was pretty wiggly and I missed all the good shots.

I apologize if you're squeamish!


it's a terrible segue, but here's our finished cake. the glaze didn't turn out very pretty since I used a tube pan and not a Bundt, but it was so good. stu said it looked like a giant donut. he always picks the pink frosted ones. :0)  

stu had such a hard time waiting for mama landa's arrival, but she came after having lunch with the girls. I was happy we had some time to play outside. the weather was so beautiful! she took him to dairy queen for lunch at his request, and I took a quick shower and headed to a doctor appointment.

it was time for my annual appointment, and this time I had bloodwork so the doctor could check my thyroid levels. I won't get the results back for a couple of days. I was just thrilled that the nurse was able to get all of my blood sample very quickly, and I didn't feel it at all. beginning with my three C-sections I've had the worst time getting blood samples or donating blood because my flow was so low. so I was so very happy to hear that I have "beautiful veins"  that didn't even require a tourniquet for her! if all of my results come back clear, I'm so excited to go try to donate blood again. it's so easy and simple, and one donation can save so many lives.

after mama landa left, the girls ate their pieces of cake. they wanted candles lit. any excuse for a party! :0)

the girls wanted to do homework outside, and I couldn't refuse. it was gorgeous out! and warm, finally! M and I went back and forth about a report she was working on for next week, so once again I felt run through the wringer even before dinner time. y'all, parenting is hard stuff.

J got home a bit earlier than normal, and I was grateful. I got to enjoy my tree blowing in the high wind. it's all greened out now, and I love it! I'm so thankful that my favorite rustling leaves sound is back whenever a breeze blows through.

we had another hodge podge dinner, and seeing J and M work on her report so well together made me feel both better and frustrated that I couldn't for some reason work so peacefully with her. but the way things calmed down after J got home was a blessing to me. and M wanting to work more on a report due next week impressed me! her work ethic isn't usually like that.

I love the redemptive quality of evening time. we all gathered in the living room at bedtime, and the sunset twilight was so pretty through our windows. there were so many interactions between J and the kids that I had framed up in my head as pretty photographs, but I didn't have my camera to capture them.

It's a good lesson for me that not every moment is picture-perfect, and even the picture-perfect ones sometimes belong solely to the heart rather than the camera.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

tuesday tales

sunshine finally on Tuesday! stu and I took a lovely morning walk. it's been chilly at night and cool during the day. it's supposed to get warmer this week, too. I'm so excited.

I had to laugh at myself at lunchtime. he's a total baby of the family...the only one who gets away with having toys at mealtime. shh! don't tell his sisters he gets to do that when they're gone. haha! 

during naptime, I looked at videos to learn how to cut my own hair.  and I did it. I don't know that it's the best cut in the world. I'm a little scared now to go to a salon for fear of what they'll say about my handiwork, but for a girl who always keeps her hair up out of her face, I think it'll be ok. :) 

our dinner was a little disjointed because M and stu had a huge blow-out right beforehand and she needed time alone in her room.

he and rosie were so funny eating dinner together. they were making up songs about mama landa coming to take them to lunch tomorrow. it made me miss having the two of them home like last year before rosie went to school.

can we talk about my dinners this week? lackluster. I'm in complete survival mode during mealtimes. I am completely unmotivated to cook, so we've been eating a lot of frozen foods, cereal and hodgepodge throw-togethers. I kind of hate myself for it, but it's been getting the job done. haha! 
we're excited about mama landa coming tomorrow! I'm excited too because J has a lunch meeting as well, so that means I don't have to pack any lunches. that's my least favorite thing about school. it's like a mini-vacation when I get out of it.

happily, M finally joined us at the table, though she didn't eat much. but we all managed a few laughs and smiles, which I was thankful for.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

puddle jumpers

ahh, Monday. the day we re-group and get re-set for a new week. I have a love-hate with it. I love the promise of a fresh new week, but I don't love my family going back to the grind after a fun two days together. and I don't love the aftermath of those two days together. haha!

exhibit A: the ridiculously messy sink.

so what did I do? I kept my promise to my boy that I made last night. when I tucked him into bed, I gave him my word that we could spend our day splashing in puddles.

and so we did.

all the rains we've had gave us great opportunities to ride through puddles and get muddy in dirt washed onto the road!

the dishes were still there when we got back. 

bike tire tracks through the water are a new favorite sight for me. :0) 

his new thing is to find a spot to get his tires muddy, then ride through a water puddle as a "car wash". then he likes to stop and admire his new, clean tires. what boy doesn't like that?!

then we pulled some weeds in the yard.

stu has taken to using the back of his trike to store weeds to take to the trash. he was so cute acting like the contractor in charge of our weeding job. he used his big-man voice to tell me what the plan was and how we were going to execute it. 

a nice, relaxing walk and some therapeutic weed-pulling were just the ticket I needed to get myself in the right frame of mind for dealing with our Monday afternoon grouchies. it seems like after school, as soon as the girls get in the car with us when we pick them up until nearly bedtime, it's constant bad attitudes, sass talk and fighting. certainly we have those episodes here and there on a daily basis, but Mondays seem to have developed a pattern of this for some reason. I'm praying that God would guide me in how to best mother in those situations. they're certainly not my favorite moments!

I realize we're only scratching the surface, too. our children are only 8, 6, and 4 and we have decades more phases to hurdle. I try to keep that in perspective when I feel like I'm at my wit's end. :0)

Monday, April 7, 2014

searching for Sabbath

it was a stormy night Saturday night and into sunday morning! there were huge booms of thunder...we were shocked the kids didn't get out of bed scared!

it was an odd sensation to be going to church in the middle of a rain storm. and the darkness of the sky made it seem like night in the worship center. I love our window! :0)

the thunder boomed, lightning flashed and the rain pounded down while we were in church. that doesn't happen very often. and it was a perfect illustration--this is the last sunday in a series that goes along with a giving campaign to expand our church facilities and connect the childrens' building to the main building. parents having to rush out in the rain to drop off their children is a perfect application as incentive for our members to give and get the improvements made!  haha!

our lesson was on generosity from philippians 4, but my mind kept thinking of how safe I felt enclosed in our church building even though a storm raged on around us. I recalled so many verses about how the Lord protects us, shelters us and holds us in the palm of His hand. and even if we don't find ourselves in a place of physical safety like today in church, we can still have that same feeling of peace and security in our hearts from the Holy Spirit that dwells there for believers. God is so good! He sees, no matter what. and He is in control.

that afternoon, we ate lunch and I played games with the kids. J napped, spent some time at the office and went to the grocery store for our weekly basics. I felt tired, and I'm beginning to see a pattern of how busy sundays really are for us. not only is getting us ready and out the door to church on time a chore, but there is laundry to catch up on, three meals to make & clean up after, and meals and just daily life to plan for for the next week for the four people under my care.

I know God's Word calls us to rest on the Sabbath, so it's caused me to really examine our family life and see what that might look like for us. and I don't mean shifting toward a strict jewish way of Sabbath. just a true day off for us all.

I understand that it's not meant to be a burden. God desires that we Sabbath so that we can rest and be renewed in Him. but what that looks like for the five of us in the stage we're in, I'm not sure. I think it's worthy of some study and seeing what I can do differently the six other days of the week to make it work for us.

I had to go out to the garage fridge to get some things, and some of my people followed. in their PJs. we'd gotten out of our wet clothes and into warm dry cozies as soon as we got home. and hot cocoa, too. of course! :0) 

if there's a puddle, this boy will find it.

ok, so I was in jammies, too. haha!

beginning easter sunday, our church will study the book of revelation. our pastor said it will take us through the rest of the year. I am SO excited! I love studying revelation! it's a wonderful, complex book that can be traced back to many old testament stories and prophecies. God's Word is just too wonderful; I love digging into it! and revelation reads like an action movie/super hero book. it's just awesome. the last days are going to be amazing, y'all. :)

we're looking forward to a relatively easy week this week! 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

story time saturday

J went into the office yesterday morning, but when he came home late-morning we all piled in together and headed out for some family fun! M has a report to do this coming school week (her chosen topic is gila monsters), so we went to the library and wrapped in a story time session as well. we love story time! even this mama, who's pushing 40! :0)

rosie cracked me up with her wardrobe selection. middle sister doesn't joke around when it comes to fashion. even for Saturday story time! (never fear...the Louis is fake. I'd never carry a purse that crazy-expensive, so neither would my children. haha!)

and after story time, it was my childrens' lucky day...the library was showing FROZEN on the big screen in the auditorium! so of course, we stayed for the free viewing. it was such a nice program. the library had little quilts for everyone to sit on, and there was a huge turnout. J bought some snacks from the vending machine, so it was a treat for our three. their attention was held for the whole movie. I was surprised! especially since stu had watched it the day before at church.

my favorite things about it were seeing the dark silhouette of all three of my babies huddled together on their quilt against the light of the screen. and rosie's little spontaneous mini-performances during songs she likes. she was hamming it up in her own little private performance world--hands in the air dancing, facial expressions and all. I wouldn't be surprised if that one has a stage in her future someday. :0)

here's stu and the big stuffed animal pal he chose during story time. he was looking pretty dapper, too, in his athletic shorts, cowboy boots and blazer.  haha! 

of course, the consequence of our fun was getting to hear rosie sing "let it go" all. day. long.



J went back up to the office for the afternoon, so I caught up on some housework and laundry while the kids made jewelry. rosie had gotten some orders she needed to fill from school.


I made a coffee cake for church on sunday, and then I made pancakes for dinner.  it seems like I live in the kitchen on the weekends when I'm feeding five people three hot meals a day. it's exhausting!  good thing I love to cook.

now if we could only hire a cleaner-upper.  haha! 

J came home and immediately began mowing the yard. as soon as he was done in the shower it was time to sit down to hot pancakes for dinner! then baths, bedtime and the usual.

I was so happy for a semi-free day so we could do whatever our fancies led to. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

fun friday

stu and I had the chance to go help our children's minister at church yesterday. we went there to hang posters in the classrooms, and she brought her daughter who is in stu's class with him. so they got the run of the children's building, which they loved. she set up the movie "frozen" to play in the big theater with the big screen to watch it on, and they laid on blankets and pillows and watched the movie together. stu talks about her daughter all the time. (all the time.) so I know he was excited. :0)

he made a beaded bracelet for her that morning, and on the way there he found six leftover skittles that he told me he was saving to bring her. good man, even at merely four years old. always, always bring something for a lady!  haha!

they both brought a few toys, books, crafts, etc. stu had both a suitcase and a tote bag. they were prepared! it made me giggle seeing all of their belongings spread out. 

we had a great time working. I got the chance to chat lots with our children's minister. she's close to my age, but a few years older and wiser, and we're a lot alike. so we had lots to talk about. I love to serve and help out, so for me it was the best of both worlds. I love being able to be a part of something apart from my work at home for my family. especially when it involves advancing God's Kingdom!

we went to lunch at chick-fil-a when we were done, and it was so good to eat out when we don't get that treat very much anymore. and I was thrilled to get a chance to talk with her even more.

I haven't really taken a lot of initiative in finding lots of new friends since we've moved here. it's interesting to see God at work and how He's putting women in my path anyway! :) I am so grateful. I don't by any means feel lonely--I stay so busy just keeping up with the four other people under our roof and I feel fulfilled--but I know God has created us for community and that friendships are vital.

we had some time left before we had to go get the girls from school, so stu wanted to play outside for a bit. we went for a walk and sat together on the porch. stu offered to share the rest of his waffle fries with me. now that will make a mom feel special and loved! :)

after school, M and stu played a new game on the computer that she'd learned about at school. rosie began setting up a little beaded jewelry business. here, she was making and copying order forms to take to school. I loved her initiative! 

I folded a couple loads of laundry and cleaned the shower. then it was time to play outside some more! rosie was so cute in her "sporty spice" look. haha!

I played tennis with M and went on tennis ball hunts with rosie. I tried to sneak in some weed pulling as I ran around chasing balls. (I can never focus on one single thing. Lord, help me!) 

when J came home, I worked in some flower beds doing some weeding.  the sunlight was so pretty!

the big excitement of the evening was rosie finding a garden snake under one of the gutters on the ground. J picked it up for them, and M held it as well. it also pooped on his hand. the kids got a big kick out of that, of course! 

we stayed out late until the sun began to set, ate a later dinner than normal, and went to bed late as well. we love Fridays!  

Friday, April 4, 2014

little laminator

yesterday is our day to serve at J's school. it was a busy day! lots of projects from both teachers and daddy and his assistant principal. I taught stu how to use the laminator. he did a great job!

I always have fun working on administrative tasks and visiting with the faculty. he is surrounded by wonderful people up there!
it was a grouchy afternoon after school for some reason, but I was thankful that things turned around after M's dance class. I think the exercise did her good. one more week of dance under the books! I can't believe we're near the end of this dance year.

tomorrow, stu and I get the chance to serve at our church. we love to be helpful when and where we can!