Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Win a $100 Visa Gift Card

It's Tuesday again, and if you've been following my blog for awhile you know that I am participating in a review program sponsored by BlogHer and Kellogg's.  They are giving me the chance to give away a $100 Visa Gift Card to one of YOU - all you have to do is visit my review blog and follow the instructions at the bottom of the post.  Happy day!! :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Things He Says

Today I told Colin that my back is sore, so he told me to lay down on my side and he would rub it for me (a.k.a. run his hands up and down my back). The conversation that followed cracked me up:

Colin: Does that feel good?
Me: Yes, thanks buddy
Colin: Is it super soft?
Me: Is what super soft?
 

Colin: My hands!
Me: Yes they are!
Colin: That's because you make me put Dove on them all the time!



Oh the things he says never cease to amaze me!! :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Don't Give a Tweet!

I used to be in love with Twitter.  No joke.  I loved that I could instantly pick up my phone and use the browser to see what everybody I love was doing.  I loved that I could put my computer next to me on my dresser while I was folding clothes on my bed and have long conversations with friends via tweets, only feeling frustrated that I had a character limit that I could use per tweet!  I used to love to update my Twitter status and let the entire world know what I was doing.

Used to.  I definitely used to.

Now, however, I have deleted my Twitter account and am likely to never sign up again.  You see, I never went so far as to have everybody's Twitter updates sent to my phone via SMS text messages, as the texting plan I have for my phone is very minimal and I would have exceeded my allowed number of monthly messages in just one day had I linked my Twitter account to my phone!  Due to that, I was resorting to continually checking the computer to see what my friends were up to, and continually going online on my Blackberry to make sure that the entire world knew what I was up to.

More often than not, my status message should have been, "I'm wasting time and ignoring my son and my house to be on here and leave this message so you all know exactly what is going on with me RIGHT NOW."

I have found that, if I devote even an hour to having a phone conversation with my sister or my mom or a friend, I'm still spending less time occupying myself with finding out what's going on in the world around me than what I used to when I was constantly jumping on the computer to check my Twitter account "just for a second".

I have found out that I am a lot happier and a lot better mom to Colin when my attention is focused on him and on having fun with him.  If I am so desperate to find out what's going on with the people in my Twitter world, maybe I should just make a play date with one of them so that Colin has fun too?! :)

I have found out that I am much happier being in a place where having the world available at my fingertips is not completely necessary.  This is part of the reason why I haven't been blogging as frequently.  I'm taking a break from my computer, and spending time blogging when I feel like God truly has given me something to write about, or when something fun has happened in our family, or when I have a certain topic (like today's Twitter topic) burning in my brain and I can't seem to let it go ... and occasionally when it's just been too long since my last post.

I have found that, not being attached to my computer, I have much more time to do the things that I'm responsible for during the day.  Things like cleaning the house, doing laundry, getting groceries, playing with Colin.  Oh, and eating ... I definitely do a lot of eating, too! :)

So, ladies and gentlemen, while I have had some people request that I come back to Tweeting, my answer right now is "no"!  I'm happy and content with the balance my life has found and wouldn't want to go back to being a computer addict for anything!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

When It Rains ...

I know you're all familiar with the phrase, "When it rains, it pours".  I've been thinking of this phrase recently, as someone very dear to my heart has had one heck of a storm pouring in her life as of late.  The irony of this is the fact that she was the one who most often comforted me during the seemingly-never-ending journey of trying to have a baby.  She was the one who told me not to accept what the doctors told me, to truly rely on my faith and trust in God that He will provide that blessing in His perfect timing.  Now, as I sit here at 31 weeks pregnant (okay, well 30 weeks and 6 days pregnant), I can't help but think back to how right she was.  How important it was for me to truly stop looking at the natural, stop focusing on the storm that was raging around me, but instead to turn my face toward Heaven and focus on my Creator who does have my life in His hands.

The hard thing about that was the fact that it seemed like too much.  "You don't know what it's like" ... "This is just too hard" ... "Maybe God has a different plan for me and I'm not supposed to be begging Him for a baby" ... "I just want to be able to cry and sit in self-pity for awhile; can't I be allowed to do that?!"  These were some of the many negative thoughts that crossed through my mind during this time.  If there is anything I have realized, it's the fact that the devil was trying to use those very thoughts to stir up doubt inside of me.  How much of a party would the devil had been throwing if I had accepted defeat and decided that God really didn't have a baby in the picture for me?  Every single day I'm praising God that He called out to me through this wonderful woman and He reminded me that my life is in His hands, that my blessings come in His timing and my trust needed to remain in Him alone.

I'm reminded of this battle I struggled through every time this beautiful baby boy kicks me from inside my stomach, and I can't help but rejoice at how great our God truly is!

Going back to this wonderful woman in my life ... it seems like she is in a place where the storms are completely raging around her, threatening to overtake her and her family, and maybe .. just maybe .. she's in that place where I was, feeling like it's almost too hard to place all of her trust in God.  Maybe you're going through a storm that is similar, maybe you're feeling like God has potentially forgotten about you.  I watched a sermon by Pastor Joel Osteen this past Sunday that I really feel was a fabulous message.  He was speaking about how, when things in our life seem to be so bad and the struggles are so intense that we think we're going to be taken over by the storm, that's when we need to remember that God uses these situations to bring us to new levels with Him, and by fighting through the storm, we're headed to victory.  He spoke of how the devil will easily leave us alone if we are making the decision to accept defeat and go with the flow of wherever this storm takes us.  I think my favorite thing that he said was that the devil especially tries to interfere with your life when you become a threat to him.  When God is lifting you up to new levels, the devil is going to try to plant that doubt in your mind that says you can't do it.  My prayer is that you will have someone in your life to encourage you the way my friend encouraged me, and that in the end, you will come out victorious because you truly did put your trust in God and you laid your burdens at the foot of the cross.

It was because of my decision to do that very thing that I can look down today and no longer see my feet, because this baby is growing steadily inside of me - and that is one of the biggest blessings that God has ever given me!

If you have time, please take a moment and say a prayer for my friend and her family, that they will see God's direction through this journey and they will come out victorious in the end.  I know that is my prayer for them, and I know they would appreciate those prayers from you as well!

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Don't forget that you have a new chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card, sponsored by BlogHer and Kellogg's.  Just visit my review blog to enter!

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's Impossible ...

Just a quick update on life, pregnancy, kids and all fun things related.

- I am almost 31 weeks pregnant and am growing quite a bit.  My brother, Tory, confirmed this by telling me I'm starting to look huge (thanks Tor .. you're the best!).  I didn't mind, I know he meant it lovingly!  :)

- All of the kids are finally getting into their back-to-school routine and seem to be enjoying it.  Claire is in 7th grade, Iain is in 5th grade, Ellis is in 4th grade and Colin is in his second year of preschool (we enrolled him when he was three).  I am absolutely LOVING the structure that our new schedule holds!

- Iain and Ellis are both in fall soccer and are enjoying it!  This hot-flashing pregnant woman is enjoying it as well, as it hasn't been too cold to enjoy their games!

- I have successfully reached a point where it's impossible for me to go through the day without getting something or another on my shirt.  Either I'm a lot more clumsy in my eating, or my belly is just hitting everything that is in front of me (which is oftentimes in the kitchen) and getting stained.  I've given up on trying to change my shirt ... who needs to dirty more than one shirt in a day?!  :)

- Our family is going to the Twins game tomorrow night at Target Field.  This will be the first time any of us (except for Monte) has been to a game in the new stadium.  We're quite excited .. though Iain did mention something about not enjoying the Twins or the Indians (who they're playing), and that he just may wear his Phillies jersey in protest.  We agreed that would be fine.  :)

- I'm loving everything about this fall weather and can't seem to get enough of it!  I've got the itch to get out my fall decorations and "fall it up" around here!  I'm about half-way there ... the decorations have made their way from my basement up into my living room .. now just to set them out!

- I'm out of updatey things to write about!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Or So I Thought

"I am by no means a morning person."

This is a quote that I have been known to say quite frequently.  I don't enjoy waking up early.  I'm typically still rather tired and don't want to chat with people or have to do anything but crawl back into bed.  I've always assumed that I was not, in any way, a morning person ... until recently.  You see, on Tuesday of this past week I got up around 6:30am, got ready and started my day by 7:30.  We were having someone stop by the house early in the morning, thus the reasoning for me getting up early.  The catch is that Tuesday was quite a productive day for me, which is surprising!

Fast forward to this morning.  My eyes opened at 5:20am.  Once again, I decided it made more sense to get up and get ready for the day since I was already awake then to try and make myself fall back asleep and risk having a groggy day.  So, after allowing myself some time to truly wake up, I got out of bed and was ready for the day by about 6:45am!  It is now 11:07am and I have done three loads of laundry, vacuumed the floors, given Colin breakfast and helped him get ready and am now about to enjoy a mid-morning snack.  I think getting up early helps me to be extremely productive, and allows me to veg out in the afternoon when the tiredness hits.

Maybe I was wrong ... maybe I really AM a morning person; but shhhhhhh ... don't tell anyone! ;)

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Don't forget to visit my review blog to enter the contest (sponsored by BlogHer and Kellogg's) and have a chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Win a $100 Visa Gift Card

Want a chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card?  Visit my review blog for a chance to win, sponsored by Kellogg's and BlogHer!!

I know I've been absent from blogging, but I do promise to return to the bloggy world again soon!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What Defines You?

By definition, I am:

- A child of God, saved by grace and growing in faith each and every day.
- A wife to the most amazing man I have ever known.
- A step-mother to four absolutely fantastic kids.
- A mother-to-be to one little boy who loves to kick!
- A daughter.
- A sister.
- A step-sister.
- A friend (thanks for the reminder Shawn!) :)
- A homemaker.

These are things that I know are facts about myself - these are the things that help to define my identity.  While there are many other things that I know about myself, they are not necessarily as defining of who I am as they are potential character traits.  Those things include:

- Quick to love unconditionally.
- Quick to forgive.
- Overly anal about (oftentimes very stupid) things.
- A perfectionist, though nowhere near perfect.
- Occasionally too hard on my kids, forgetting that they, too, are not perfect and sometimes forgetting to allow them to just enjoy being kids.
- A lover of laughter.

It is these traits that cause me to continually be growing and learning more about my role in this life.  I want to be remembered for being a woman who is strong in her faith and cherishes her relationship with God.  I want to be remembered as a woman who loved her family unconditionally and lavished that love upon them.  A woman who had patience to give out abundantly and grace to forgive unendingly.  There are things about my character that I do not like (i.e. being too hard on my children) and those things are areas of my life that I continue to strive to grow in.  I pray about them and ask for God to direct me and to show me the additional areas where I need to grow.  The funny thing about asking this question is the fact that, no matter how many times I seem to ask it, there is ALWAYS an answer and always an area of my life that I need to grow.

I won't settle for complacency in my life.  I am striving to make more defining facts about myself that are in line with the Word of God and with His will for my life.  I am not perfect and am striving to not expect perfection from myself.  I am growing and I am learning, and for now, I'm okay with that!

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Don't forget to visit my review blog for another chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card, sponsored by Kellogg's and BlogHer!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Parenting With Compassion

There are times in my short-lived parenting life that I realize I am learning the importance of parenting with compassion, especially when it comes to disciplining.  Last night was a prime example of the need for more compassion and understanding.  You see, Monte and I were out on a date night (can you say "Costco here we come!"?) and Claire was watching her younger brothers.  All was going well until my cell phone rang.  Due to the fact that we were in an extremely loud restaurant at the time, I had to step outside to take the call.  It was Claire calling me because she had a situation on her hands that she didn't know how to deal with.  See, Iain and Ellis had some friends over (strike number one: no friends are allowed at our house if there isn't an adult at home), and she said that they were all downstairs in the boys' room (strike number two: definitely no friends allowed in the house when there are no adults at home) making prank phone calls.  So, I asked her if I could talk to Iain, and the conversation with him wasn't extremely pleasant.  He admitted that he and a couple of friends were in his room, but that they were making prank phone calls and he was just laughing about it.  I explained to him that they are not to use the phone for anything but calling their parents (if necessary) and that he was to put the phone back and to tell his friends it was time to go.  Then I asked to talk to Claire.  It was in the passing of the phone that I heard Iain loudly say, "guys you have to go home because Claire is being her usual self again."

So, I asked to talk to Iain again and made him correct what he said and tell his friends that they had to go home because what they were doing was not okay by any standards and that it had nothing to do with Claire (that she was doing exactly what she should in informing dad and I of what was going on).  I then returned to the restaurant, Monte and I paid our bill and we proceeded on our way home.

It was during the ride home that I really believe we were the most productive in our parenting than we have ever been.  You see, both Monte and I have a tendency to yell at the kids when they've done something wrong, or when we're feeling frustrated with them.  I know for myself, this is a trait inherited from my father, as he was one who yelled at us quite frequently, and it's not one that I am proud of nor is it one that I want to pass down to my children.  So, Monte and I discussed how we were going to handle the situation and what the boys' punishment would be.  Upon arriving at home, we called the boys upstairs and made them wait at the table for us as we unloaded the car from our Costco trip.  We then sat down with them and asked them to explain what had happened and how things transpired.  During this discussion, we let them know the areas that they should have made a different decision, and let them know how, while they were not the ones making the calls, the calls were being made from their house and by their friends - both of which would NEVER be allowed if Monte or I were home.  The boys both said they knew they wouldn't be able to do something like that if we were home, and we expressed the need for them to know that they need to make decisions as if we were at home all the time.

The talk continued for about 10 minutes, after which we issued their punishment (no screen time [i.e. TV, computer or video games] for one week) and sent them to bed.  Monte went downstairs to tuck them in and I proceeded to Colin's room to get him some medicine and tuck him into bed, and then to see Claire off to bed as well.

This morning when the boys woke up they were still a little bit emotional from everything that had transpired the night before.  I spent some time hugging and loving on both of them, expressing how much dad and I love them and that it is because we love them that we punish them when they do something they aren't supposed to.  I also let them know that they owed an apology to their sister for disrespecting her while she was in charge (which they agreed and gave truly heartfelt apologies to her!).  I then told them that we don't need to dwell on what happened, we need to just abide by our punishment and make sure that we go forward with our best intent on making better decisions.

Since then, there has been such an amazing peace inside of me over the fact that we didn't yell at them or freak out at them, we rationally talked to them and I really think the message was more effective.  From now on, when things happen and kids have to be disciplined, if I'm feeling frustrated/mad/overwhelmed/stressed by the situation, I'm giving myself a time-out first to sort through my emotions until I'm level-headed enough to calmly talk to my kids, because the end result is so much more positive!

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