Devin Shenanigans

The other day I caught Devin playing with Alexa’s Barbie accessorizer(For those of you who don’t know what that is. It’s like a vending machine for Barbie accessories.) He pulls out a teeny tiny purse and says, “Is this purse too small for me?”

I don’t think you’ll ever hear a boy with no sisters say that.

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My parents just got back from Israel. I know. Lucky!! They brought each of the kids a gift. Devin’s was a wooden camel. He hung on to that thing all night. When I asked him what he got he said it was his “canimal”. Close.

Devin started preschool last month. He’s the cutest 3 year old there. I’m not sure that it’s a good thing when the teacher says, “He’s very different than your girls isn’t he? He’s all boy.” Yep. Enough said.

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Look how cute Devin and his friend were while they waited for their sisters’ game to start.

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He was so proud of the “N” he found in his chips the other day.

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He is just so darn cute and funny and sweet and smart. I love him!!

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Precious Moments

It has been awhile since I have posted about my Dad and what is happening now. From his last PET scan we found out that the cancer had spread to his liver. It was crushing news and definitely now what we had hoped for. To say that was a rough day is an understatement. I am thankful I was able to be there with my parents when they received that news. Since then there have been several hard days, but we are still hopeful and know that God is bigger than this. He has already conquered this world and the ugliness and pain in it. I could go on and on about the little things that have happened and ways in which I have felt The Lord speaking to me. There have been so many blessings come my way through this incredibly hard situation. Thanks to Sami’s encouragement, I am journaling about everything because I don’t want to forget all of the ways God has reached out, calmed my spirit, and reminded me of his great love. I don’t want to forget all of the precious moments!

My Dad has now started his chemo treatments and will continue those for a couple of months and then get another PET scan to see how the cancer is responding. Further treatment will be decided based on that. So far he has handled the treatment fairly well. He is nauseated and tired, but it could be so much worse. I am thankful it isn’t and praying it won’t ever be. Since he probably will only be up for doing things every other weekend, I am trying to spend time with him on the weekends that he is feeling good. This past weekend was one of those. My parents came up for the girls’ soccer game and stayed the whole day with us. We didn’t do anything spectacular or extravagant, but it was so nice. Those are my favorite times. The times where you just enjoy each other’s company in the everyday. The times with the people you love that mean the most to you. Those are precious moments. I truly still believe that my Dad is going to get through all of this, but it has definitely opened my eyes to what is really important. I hate that we all get so busy with “stuff” that it takes big things to really slow us down and re-evaluate life. When we are on the other side of all this I will choose to continue to live with more open eyes to the precious moments and make sure to find time to make them happen. It is so easy to loose track of that, but not anymore. I am incredibly blessed with an amazing family and friends and I want to be sure to take full advantage of that by spending my time wisely with all of them because it is the people and relationships that matter most.

preciousmomentsSeeing my Dad just reading to Edyn-precious moment. My mom walking with the girls to the park-precious moment. My Dad and Ensley hand in hand-precious moment. A one on one walk and talk with my Dad-one of my life’s most precious moments! These are the things I don’t want to miss. May we all open our eyes to all the beauty and love in this world and see God’s work in it! Happy Monday friends and thank you for the continued prayers for my Dad and my family! You will never know just how much that means and how powerful that is! Here’s to a life full of precious moments!

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Following God through a Half Marathon

I was thinking as I was jogging the other day.  I was feeling totally overwhelmed with the thought of running 13.1 miles in a couple of weeks, especially since I was epically failing at my 6 mile run that day.  It was so much easier to keep going if I just focused on the two or three steps that were right in front of me.  Each time I thought about the 5 miles or 3 miles that I had left, or even the hill that was looming in front of me, I got discouraged.  However, the three steps in front of me were completely manageable.  It’s like in life.  When you’re facing a hard thing.  It is so easy to get overwhelmed or feel like you are already defeated when you look ahead at all that is to come.  God wants you to focus on the present.  Matthew 6:34 says therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Sometimes the past can be just as discouraging.  Like when I’m in the middle of a 10 mile run and all I can think about is the 7 miles I just ran.  I mean.  I just ran 7 miles.  Isn’t that enough?  Why should I have to do more than that?  Other people don’t run that much.  Sound familiar?  I mean, I never sound like that.  You can ask my husband.  (Just kidding.  Don’t ask him.  He’ll have too many examples to count.)  Three more miles seems like an eternity when you’ve already run seven and you’re tired and all you can think about is w-a-t-e-r.  Sometimes our past can make our present more difficult, but we shouldn’t focus on it.  God doesn’t want our pasts to hold us back.  Isaiah 43:18-19 says “forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” You see.  He is doing a new thing!  He is making a way.  He’s helping me get through that last 3 miles.  That’s where He’s focusing and so should I.  He’s helping you get through whatever you’re facing also.  Janae and I have this thing we say when we’re struggling through a long run (well, most of the time she says it to me because I’m the one struggling, but I dream of one day being the one to say it.)  “Three miles left.  Just three miles.  We do three miles all the time.  That’s nothing.”  It takes the focus off all that we’ve already been through and puts the focus on what little there really is left.

During this particular 6 mile run, I also realized that sometimes it’s incredibly hard to be brave enough to take that first step.  Sometimes God asks us to do scary things.  The last time I ran a half, it went horribly.  Those feelings are so fresh to me.  I worry that it’s going to go the same way next time.  That I’ll struggle the whole way through.  That it will be painful and hard.  That I’ll fail.  And I go through all those emotions before every run.  It would be so easy to let those feelings get the best of me and just not try, but that’s not God’s plan.  He wants us to step out on faith.  As  Philippians 3:5-6  says, we are to “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.”

The reason I was failing so badly on this run was because I kept getting a side ache.  It would not let up unless I stopped for a while.  I mean, I could have kept going.  I could have pushed through and hobbled through the rest of the run, but it would have been painful.  And I tell you what, it was SO hard to just stand still.  There is nothing worse to a runner.  But sometimes that’s what God asks us to do in life.  Maybe you’ve been praying for something and you feel like He’s just not answering you.  Could He just be asking you to wait?  Ugh.  No one wants to hear those words.  It’s just as hard to wait on something in life as it is for a runner to stand still.  You could keep pushing, but just like my run would have been, it will be needlessly painful.  It’s so much easier to just take His path.  To follow Him.

So in my effort to follow Him, on October 13 at 7:30 am I will be standing on the starting line of the Prairie Fire Half Marathon, with Janae by my side, incredibly nervous and anxious, but brave enough to take that first step.

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God’s Little Explorers

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We are fortunate enough to have a preschool at our church for 3-5 year olds. Our oldest went there last year as a 4 year old. We could have started our middle daughter in the 3 year old class this year, but chose not to for many reasons (we will definitely send her next year though). It had nothing to do with the program, mostly just that we didn’t send our 1st daughter until she was 4 so we decided to do the same this time. Also, I wasn’t sure my mama heart could handle sending Edyn to preschool the same year I was sending Ellasyn off to Kindergarten. May sound silly, but that’s the truth. I knew choosing not to send her this year would mean more work for me at home because it would be my responsibility to work on educational things with her. With our first child I was so much more diligent at teaching her the letters, sounds, etc, but the second time around life was just busier. I refuse to let that be an excuse any longer. Edyn and Ensley deserve the same effort and attention put into their early education as Ellasyn did. So I am trying to step up my game this year. Life is still busy, if not even busier, but we are finding ways to set aside undivided time in our week to work on school related things. I realize a lot of you may be thinking that it would have been easier to just enroll her in preschool and let them do that, and you are right. However, I want to be the one doing it right now and actually really enjoy it. I love the special one on one time it gives us together, especially with her being the middle child. We often work on it while Ensley is napping so we are not distracted.

With Ellasyn I just weaved school and learning into our everyday activities and never really set aside specific time or followed any curriculum. I still try to do that with Edyn too, but wanted to have more of a game plan this time so as not to let it slip by without really doing anything. This way I have something to follow and hold myself accountable to. The curriculum we are using is called God’s Little Explorers. We are only on week 3, but I am already loving so many things about it. I love that it was developed by a mom. I love that it was inexpensive and downloadable. I love that it has a pretest and posttest for the beginning, middle, and end of the year to be able to see your child’s progress and learning. I love that it weaves Bible teaching in with the lessons each week. I especially love all of the hands on activities. The best part is that Edyn is loving it too. She stays engaged and is proud of her work. So if you are looking for something fun and educational to implement with your children at home, I highly recommend it. Each week has enough stuff for 5 days, but we don’t do it all 5 days. We usually only do 2-3 days so I just read through all 5 days and pick out the things I like best that I think will teach the most and leaving a lasting impression. It is nice that you can pick and choose to do as much or as little as you see fit.

We just finished up the letter “g” last week. The focus was on ” g for garden”. The Bible lesson for the week was all about the story of creation. The highlight of the week was getting to make a creation book highlighting the 7 days of creation. Edyn was really excited about this special project and had a lot of fun making it. I realize this maybe isn’t a good representation of teaching the letter “g”, but don’t worry, there were plenty of activities for that too. Each week also has an alphabet page that we use to practice beginning handwriting so she learns to write the letter too.

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What do you do for preschool for your little ones? Do you follow an at home curriculum or do they go to a school program?

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10 Signs that you might be a Soccer Mom

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My girls are getting older.  They can get their own breakfast, do their own homework, dress themselves, do their own hair, pretty much take care of themselves.  And it is BLISSFUL!  I am not kidding.  Those of you mothers that have tiny children, babies and toddlers, it does get easier.  Well, it gets easier for a while before it gets harder again anyways.  I’m guessing because we are still in the easier years, but if most kids are anything like me growing up, then the teenager years will be hard again.  (Full disclosure: I only have my children to use as an example.  We worked really hard at discipline when the girls were young and I feel like we are reaping the benefits of that hard work now.)

One of the fun experiences that comes with our kids getting older is getting to watch them play sports.  I have no problem admitting that I am a full fledged soccer mom and everything that comes with that.  Are you?  Here are a few signs that you might be a soccer(Or insert your child’s favorite sport.  During the summer, I’m a softball mom.) mom.

1.  Your car seats at least 7 people…legally.  While I am still fighting the minivan movement, I have a Traverse that seats seven.  It’s as close as I hope to ever come to a minivan.  Sorry all my friends out there that think minivans are somehow cool.  Jason, I promise they are not now and never will be cool.

2.  Your kids ask you why you have your jammies on when you just got dressed for the day.  Hey, these clothes may look the same, but they’re different than the ones I wore to bed.

3.  Chairs in a bag are a permanent accessory to your car.  They never get taken out because you’ll just need them again in a few days.

4.  You own a thousand elastic headbands.  None of which can be found when it’s time to leave for practice.

5.  The cracks in your seats are filled with sunflower seeds.  Seriously?!  In my car?!

6.  You have no voice the day after a game.  I try to just yell helpful encouraging things, but I can not keep my mouth shut.  I think I might have some kind of condition, like tourettes but it only happens during games.

7.  Some days you spend more time in your car than you do in your house.  Well, it feels that way anyways.  Take one child to practice.  Go home.  Get another child.  Take that child to practice.  Pick up first child from practice.  Take home.  Pick up second child from practice.  Go home.  Start all over again tomorrow.

8.  Your child’s closet smells like a high school boys locker room.  The smell of those cleats can not be tamed!

9.  Coaches are heroes to you.  I know I could never lead a team through losses and wins and practices in 100 degree heat and games in 40 degree temps.  It takes special people to do this job and I have so much respect for them!

10.  You know that at the end of the day, it’s all worth it.  Sports teach our kids so much.  Respect, resilience, hard work, determination, humility, and so much more.

I take the name of soccer mom as a badge of honor.  It means I sacrifice my time and my hobbies and my selfishness to support my kids and their interests.  So fellow soccer moms.  Let’s step out of our giant vehicles and stand together in our yoga pants to support our kids.  Soccer moms unite!!

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