Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

This is a little late, as the internet was down last night on my actual birthday, but I decided to post it anyway!  =0)

Many years, on my birthday, I have received "presents" from God.  For example, one year I was really upset because it was evening and my birthday had passed with no real celebration.  I had prayed before my birthday that the night would be clear, because I had fallen in love with the starry skies of Texas and I missed them.  I thought it would be neat to look up at a starry sky for my birthday, even though it would be a much smaller bit of sky.  Instead, it had been a cold, rainy and uneventful day.  I was getting ready to go to bed for the night, and was quite upset.  My mother came to my door and asked if I wanted to go out for ice cream.  I thought it might be a way of cheering up, so I agreed to go.  When we got outside, the skies were totally clear and full of stars.  Isn’t that just like God?  He answered my prayer when I least expected it.

I have often prayed that God would give me something special for my birthday, something just between me and Him.  This year, I asked a little late, but realized that I had a really cool present from him this year.

Did you know that today is the first Sunday of Advent?  Yep, it is early this year because Christmas is on a Saturday.  Up until last year, I don’t think I would have known anything about that, but Advent has come to be really special to me.  I heard a podcast series last year from Homemaker’s by Choice that was helping Moms create traditions with their families that helped to keep Christ at the center of Christmas.  I got some books on Advent and got a few things to help us begin building traditions together.  The one thing I liked that I didn’t get was an advent wreath.  It was decorated in each section to announce what that week of Advent was to celebrate.   I was so excited to learn that the first Sunday of Advent was on my birthday that I hadn’t thought until yesterday to look and see which area it was supposed to focus on.  I decided to look for the advent wreath and see if I could find out.  Well I did find it, and the focus for week one is on the Prophecies and promise of Christ coming, the Hope of his birth.  That made this “present” from God even more special.  I have struggled at times with believing Him with hope and expectation.  How cool is it that I learned so much about advent last year?  It is almost like it was preparing me to be able to enjoy this gift from God.  The fact that it involves hope and expectation is so encouraging to me.  I really want to believe Him with hopeful expectation at all times, and it is so nice to have this day of my birth celebrated with this reminder of hope that comes from the day of His birth.  What a gift!

Some other fun stuff from my birthday:
Pookie – “I yike (s)prinkles!”

Princess - I'm the love! – Little Man was talking with Ryan about being the “We” on the cake, not the “Mom.”  Princess decided she was the heart.

Little Man – “Gazumpa!” trying to say “gesundheit”

Ryan said he was proud of the cake he made.  Princess said, “It was the best you ever made because of my help.”

Monday, November 22, 2010

Marriage - What I am Reading

Well, my computer has been having wonderful husband has been trying to help me, and I think everything is good, but we will just have to wait and see.  So, since I have not been able to get in here, I have not been able to schedule my posts for this week, as I did last week.  (I were wondering how I was so good about writing last week, huh?  I love this scheduling thing!)

So, for today, I thought I would share a few posts I have read recently because I love what they had to say about marriage.  I have been thinking of writing some posts on marriage, but I have read two really good ones this week.  These women have had very different experiences than I have, but I thought it would be good to share their thoughts as I get some of mine worked out.  I learned a thing or two from each of them.  I hope you read them!

From Courtney over at Storing Up Treasures:
Talking about the M Word - Part 2

From mckmama at My Charming
Faking It

Friday, November 19, 2010

Creativity and Inspiration

Thanks to Jessica over at Confessions of a Homeschooler, I found a "blog hop" the other day where the Jessica Sprague Art of Digital Design Alumni were sharing the backgrounds and clipart-type images that they made as a showcase of what they have learned.  They each had a few elements you could download for free, but they all kept to the same color palette so it would be interchangeable.  Here are two images they used to show some of the elements:

The people from Jessica's classes came up with amazing images.  These backgrounds and images are used for "Digi-Scrapping" which is like scrapbooking, but you use digital images to put your layout together instead of physical papers, brads, etc.  I did this last few years for our Christmas Cards.  Here is last year's card:

When I visited the Jessica Sprague site, I was delighted!  They have so many classes that you can take on everything from digital photography and Digi-scrapping to Digital design.  They also sell their work, which you can then use to create with.  Even if you scrapbook with paper, you can print out some of the images or background papers and use them.  On the blog, they also have days where they share layouts and such for inspiration, which you can use for anything from Scrapbooking to Cardmaking to Blog design.

I am over-the-moon excited!  I can't wait to use some of the free stuff I got from the blog hop the other day to make our Christmas Cards for this year, and I am already adding classes to my "wishlist" that I am hoping to do after the Christmas season is over.  I have always liked the blog layout over at Confessions of a Homeschooler, and have been looking for some way of updating my layout in the future.  I even have a theme I have been thinking about.  I had already made the background and header that I currently use, but I used images that were available to me.  I have never made my own image before and I was not sure how I would get the logo to look like what I see in my head.  I was thinking I would have to hire someone at some point.  Maybe if I take some classes, I will have enough design experience to make my own little logo.  I can dream, right?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What's in the Suitcase? - Part 1

One of the things I hear all the time is, "They are going to (hear, see, experience) it at some point.  You can't protect them forever."  It can be anything from bad language or behavior to outright evil acts.  I know myself and if I had no other influences then I would shield my children from any negativity in life.  However, I have also seen the results of some of this kind of "protection" - children who are thrust into adulthood never having learned to cope with the realities of the disappointments, pain and sin that are realities in our world.  I am, therefore, thankful for a husband who thinks differently than I do.  I am also thankful that there are many people who question my "overprotective" tendencies because it makes me think through WHY I am protecting my kids, and WHAT I want to protect them from.  I don't have that all figured out, yet.  But here are some thoughts I have had about it.

"What is sex sin?" - Thankfully, this is not a question I have been asked, yet.  I am thankful to have read the response of a very wise father whose answer really frames my philosophy on protecting my kids and is an example of how I want to relate with them.  The question was asked by a young (somewhere around 5 or 7 years old) Corrie Ten Boom.  Here is how she describes the situation in her book, "The Hiding Place."

"And so seated next to my father in the train compartment, I suddenly asked, "Father, what is sex sin?"
He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case off the floor and set it on the floor.
“Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?" he said.
I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.
“It's too heavy," I said.
“Yes," he said, "and it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It's the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger, you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you."
His last statement frames my beliefs on children and knowledge.  There are things that they just are not able to handle, yet.  As they get older, they will be able to handle more and it is part of my job to decide when they are able to handle different subjects and how much detail should really be shared in my answers to them.

There are other things I like about the wisdom her father showed, but that will have to wait for another post!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Kitchen Sink

Well, my mother in law had asked how the cleaning was going when I saw her in October, and I have said here that I am trying to keep my priorities straight, so I thought I would share this with you.

Isn't this a beautiful thing?

(Well, ignoring the orange countertop and all...there are no dirty dishes and the stove is clean, too!)

Want to see something even more beautiful???

Isn't that great? My wonderful husband has been helping me out with getting things cleaned up, which is why I have been able to get a few posts done.  There are a few more I am working on, so I hope to post more soon.

Thanks for the help, honey!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Treehouse News - Wedding Week Memories

I can't believe it has been a month since Princess walked down the aisle as the flower girl for her Uncle's wedding. I don't think I was prepared for how much it made me think of her actually walking down an aisle for her own wedding! Maybe it was the white dress, maybe the pretty flowers or the beautiful hair (thanks Kim!) but, something just made me sad watching her walk away from me down the aisle. I was standing with the wedding party at the back of the church so that I could tell her when she was supposed to walk, and to be there in case she decided she just couldn't go by herself. She was a trooper, though. It was a l-o-n-g aisle, but she picked up her head and determined to go by herself...without me. I was so proud of her! It was bittersweet, though. Just another reminder of how big my little lady is getting.

I want to remember so many things from that day, and I know I am probably already starting to forget, but here are some of the things I wrote down that I wanted to remember:

Enjoying some TV before "showtime"
"Mom, someday, you might disobey the GPS." - We had made it to the salon fine using the GPS, but we had followed some advice to follow a different route at the start of the trip.  I was fumbling with the GPS maps trying to figure out how we were supposed to get back to the road we started on when Princess made this comment.

Princess is definitely not used to getting attention and it usually takes her a little while to warm up in a crowd.  When we got to the salon, she was a little overwhelmed by all the women in there.  She sat in the chair without cracking a smile until they started curling the front parts of her hair that she could see.  From then on, she giggled every time she watched the curl coming off the curling iron.

Princess was also given her flower girl gift by the bride at the salon.  She did not really give a reaction when she opened it, so we were not sure what she was thinking.  Rest assured, Julie, she loves it.  Here are two things she said in the next few hours that express her gratitude:  "I'll keep this forever!" and "I love it, it's my favorite thing!"

Little Man:
A happy boy who earned his slide time
The wedding day was hard for my Little Man.  He had to wait, sit and be quiet most of the day, with a lot of controlling done by his mama.  At one point, he was very upset that I was "mad" at him.  We had to have a little talk at that point to encourage him.  He did have some fun, too, though.

When we got to the photo location, we parked right next to a playground...that we had to tell the kids they could not go on.  Little Man had just woken up to the exciting view of a playground, and then was told he could not go on anything.  He was the time we were supposed to take pictures.  This is when Ryan decided that bribery was the best option..."If you smile for the pictures, I will let you go on the slide."  As you can see, he enjoyed it!

"I promise, I will give you a hug." - When we were all seated at the reception, Little Man leaned over and said this to me.  He then leaned over and gave me a big hug.  Apparently, they have been talking about promises in his Bible Club group, and he wanted to make me a promise. It was really sweet.

"That was a good one!" - After Ryan's prayer at the reception, half the reception hall heard Little Man's praise for his father's accomplishment.  Poor Ryan was left wondering why people were laughing at him when he was done praying. =0)

Enjoying some spinning on the dance floor
"My potty...(we) forgot it." - We told Pookie at the beginning of her trip that she could not use the potty because we forgot it at home.  Toward the end of our trip, we heard her talking to herself in the back seat about the missing potty.

Spinning in her dress. - From the moment we first tried her dress on her, Pookie started spinning around in it.  She absolutely loves to dance, and was not going to miss the opportunity to twirl that skirt!

Passing time with Mommy - At the reception, it was difficult to keep an overtired toddler entertained at the table.  I tried walking with her, hoping that she would be able to fall asleep.  That didn't happen, so we went into the next room and she spun around and ran around until I thought she would hurt herself.  Then, we started going around the room counting everything from plates in a curio cabinet to the shades on the windows.  She did so well, considering how tired she was.

All three of the kids enjoyed dancing to the music just before we left for the night.  It was great because they really had the dance floor to themselves.  They had such a fun time!

They also loved walking back to the car, and I was thankful we could get to the parking garage through indoor tunnels.

The final fun quote, though, comes from about a week after we got home.  Princess was getting ready for dance class, and Little Man saw her putting on tights and a skirt...he sighed and said, "Are we going to another wedding??? (ugh!)"  He was pretty happy to learn our trip was going to be much shorter.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Festive Stars

Can any of you guess what these festive stars are decorating the railing for?