Monday, July 28, 2008
Yes, we physically went to church. But that's not what I mean. I mean we went to church.
You know, when the worship is awesome and the teaching is awesome and you can just feel God in that place. That's going to church. Amen? Amen.
What makes the difference? I mean, why does it sometimes feel like you've been to church and other times you've just physically been at church? I'm sure the difference has to do with whether or not you've encountered God. But don't you think sometimes you just encounter Him on a deeper level?
For example, one thing that always moves me at church is when I see someone in need up at the alter in prayer and someone else goes up and prays with them. That's just the body of Christ doing what it's called to do - loving each other.
Yesterday, though, lots of people went up to pray. And lots of other people went up to pray with them and for them. Moved me to tears. I just love it when God moves and when His church does what it is meant to do. I felt Him in that place and in my heart and it was awesome.
Yesterday was just a small glimpse of heaven, and I loved it!
Friday, July 25, 2008
Because I just paid off THE LAST of hubby's student loans!!!
The great education he received at a not-very-cheap private university is finally paid for IN FULL!!!
The best part of the news, though? We are now DEBT-FREE with the exception of our house!!!!! (And our goal is to try to have that paid off by the time we're 40.)
Sorry I keep shouting at you, but I'm awfully excited!!!
How do we do it? First, we trust God with everything. He is always faithful to provide for all our needs and even some of our wants! All we have is His and we're just called to be good stewards. We love giving and have always been faithful with our tithes and offerings and we believe He has blessed us for that.
Plus, we've been through tight financial times (hubby's unemployment when Josh was a baby) and we understand the value of a dollar.
We plan out how we want to spend every dollar, we don't spend frivolously, and we live below our means so that we can pay down our debt. It's not always easy or fun (although I do admit to an abnormal fondness for my budget), but so worth it! (Dave Ramsey has LOTS of great advice for getting out of debt if you'd like more ideas!)
We can't wait until our debt is gone completely!! Can you imagine the freedom? We'll be able to give however we'd like, afford special extras, pay for college and weddings without nearly as much stress, and maybe even retire early!!!
And the great news is that as of today, we are one step closer! Praise God!!!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I've looked high and low for years for a clear deodorant that both stays clear AND keeps you from getting all stinky. I've never had any luck.
If it was clear, I felt sticky and self-conscious about getting all smelly. If it kept me smelling good, everyone could see it.
Ugh...the troubles of a woman.
So, girls, my search has ended. Thank you, Secret (my favorite deodorant when you don't have to worry about it being clear), for saving the day!
Their new product, Secret Flawless, does it all. I've tried it a couple times and I am so happy with it. No stinkies. No white marks on your shirt. No feeling self-conscious.
My search is over. I'm a happy camper.
Obviously, it doesn't take much.
It costs a little more than normal deodorant, but is worth it to finally have what I need. Now if I can just find a way to get it free at CVS, then life will be grand.
So this works for me. And it's Wednesday. Thus, Works for Me Wednesday.
But man, did I ever have fun at the American Idol concert last night...and just for a little while, it was like I was 16 again. You know, screaming at crazy high pitches, squealing with excitement, and waving my arms trying to get the guy with the t-shirt blaster to point my way.
I went with my mom, my aunt, and my soon-to-be sister-in-law. None of whom are 16. But boy, we had a blast! The top 10 each gave their own mini concert. They were all great, but when David Cook came out I was so super-duper excited! (Insert crazy 30-something lady screaming and jumping here.)
Hubby gives me a hard time sometimes because I love reality tv shows. American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance are two of my faves. I believe that they happen as they show them to me. That's just the way my happy little mind likes to think of them. He watches them and tells me what probably actually happened and how they tweaked it to make it look a certain way so that people like me will get suckered in.
That's when I tell him, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."
Really, how could they mess with reality competition shows like American Idol? I know, I know...they can and probably do. But like I said, I like to think that they don't. I like to think that all my votes for David Cook helped him win. I don't want to be all conspiracy-theory-esque (is that a word?) and think that it was all fixed.
It was super exciting when he won on the show (thanks to my votes!)...then to see him in person?!?! It's so funny because you almost feel like you know them. Not in crazy stalker way, but just in an I've watched him every week for months now and love his music kind of way.
I didn't go so crazy as to wear a shirt with glitter letters that say I heart David Cook, but I did yell for him.
Just a little.
You know, the guy in front of me did leave early. I hope it's not because his ears hurt.
Oh well, I had fun. Whooo hoooo!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
baby Megan taking a break with Sher
We get together and celebrate with the traditional pitch-in and fireworks, but the heart of the gathering is the bocce tournament. We draw numbers to make teams of two and compete in single elimination form. And let me tell you, the competition gets fierce!
My cousins, Tim and Mark, losing quite graciously (Is that possible in this family?)
Giving it my all
Hubby made a respectable run, but lost in the semifinals (also to the overall winners).
Competitive bocce takes serious concentration!
Someone (who shall remain nameless) didn't get the real prizes picked up in time, so Dad and Colin will have to receive their custom hats at a later date.
After bocce came the real competition. Junior bocce! All the little ones (and some that aren't so little anymore) get to play their own bocce game. My kids thoroughly enjoyed it!
I love this tradition that my family has. I forget exactly how long it's been going on, but I think it's been over 25 years! That's amazing! We even have a lovely trophy that the winners can proudly display during their reigning year as bocce champs.
Don't you wish you could have something this classy for your home?
And my favorite picture of the day goes to my cousin, Homie Dave...(yo!)
A fun time was had by all! (Well, except for mom, I guess...)
Did you think I was gone forever?
Nah. We just have been quite busy the last few days with our family's annual 4th of July bocce tournament (this year held on the 12th) and then a family getaway to Chicago. We've had lots of fun and I have so much to share!
Friday, July 11, 2008
As you can see, she thought it was pretty fun!
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
I like to-do lists and calendars and budgets and spreadsheets and all those wonderful, wonderful things.
So when July came so incredibly fast, I started to panic. School starts in August and we had so much up in the air for school! I knew we wanted to homeschool, but our co-op had a lot of work yet to do to figure out what Kindergarten would look like and I didn't have my curriculum that I knew I wanted in hand yet. (I'm trying to find the best deal on it that I can!)
Well, my bright spot today is that I feel so peaceful about it all. Our co-op met last night and those plans are coming together well and I have a friend who brought me all the books that I need to do our own school time. I just have to go through them and let her know which ones I want to buy from her.
All the pieces are beginning to fall in place.
I don't know why I lose faith sometimes. I just need to remember that when God calls us, He equips us. I'm just grateful to Him today that He is showing me the way and helping these pieces to fall in place.
And you better believe I'll have fun crossing things off my to-do list!
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
You see, I have the I-Could-Wear-My-Jammies-Until-Noon gene. She has the I-Can't-Stand-To-Not-Be-Dressed gene.
This girl gets up in the morning and 2.4 seconds later she's begging for her big girl undies and her "clothes shirt." (You know, as opposed to her "jammie shirt.")
Today was especially torturous for her. We had plans to go to our neighborhood pool again today, so instead of putting clothes on, we put on bathing suits. However, it just wasn't that nice of a morning with clouds all around and not very warm temps. Our friends still came over to play, but we just stayed inside - all of us in our bathing suits.
Well, once Sarah realized the pool just wasn't happening, she asked if she could get dressed. I was fine with that. So she went upstairs and brought down her favorite "dark pink dress" that she told me she found in the closet. I helped her put it on and you could tell right away that she just felt whole.She spun and twirled. She jumped and ran. She looked really darn cute.
"Uh oh," I said. "What happened to your dress?"
"I don't know," she replied, not really caring too much.
"Well, where did you get the dress?"
"From the closet."
"Your closet?" I asked, remembering she can't usually reach the things in her closet.
"Nope. Yours....on the floor."
Ah hah...it all made sense now. The dirty laundry goes in our closet. It's sorted in piles on the floor. She went and found her favorite dress in the laundry. Ewww...
Then I did something I normally wouldn't do. I let her keep the dress on. If it didn't bother her, it didn't bother me. I figure you're only 2 once.
At least that's how I felt today...maybe tomorrow I'll be back to my normal self.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Man, the pressure!
We did lose a passy around here somewhere. Is that interesting?
Well, lucky for you I decided to check in on some other blogs first. The first one I read just struck me. You'll have to check it out here. I just couldn't move on from there without writing about it.
Let's be honest. There are days when all you do is clean up messes on and around your kids, break up arguments, make silly faces to try to evoke grins, wash umpteen loads of laundry, and read a story for the fifty-seventh time. Oh, and search for lost passies.
Doesn't exactly leave you feeling like you're changing the world.
I was so touched by what I read, though. There really is no greater way to change the world than by investing in the precious little ones God has entrusted to your care.
So today, I'm going to go about my seemingly unimportant tasks, grinning while I do, knowing that I'm changing this world.
Wow. Me - changing the world. For the better.
Whether I ever find that passy or not.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
On Friday night we watched "the big fireworks" from afar. We found a spot where we could see them perfectly but that wasn't in the middle of all the crowds. Great for families with little ones - not too noisy and the kids could watch them in their jammies!
I'll be back tomorrow with (hopefully!) something interesting to say! : )
Friday, July 4, 2008
For those of you who don't know, I absolutely love shopping at CVS and using their Extra Care Bucks (ECB) program. My friend, Sarah, got me started on it this February and just since then I've gotten over $1,500 in free stuff. Shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, diapers, medicine, cleaning supplies, makeup, batteries, razors, and more! You should see my closet! Seriously, who can argue with that!?!
(For anyone who's not familiar with it and would like to know more about how you too can save lots of money by shopping at CVS, check out the CVS 101 post at moneysavingmom. My other key to my success is the discussion forum at slickdeals where you can see what's part of the ECB deals each week and how to match up coupons to score great deals!)
Well, in celebration of the 4th of July, the really nice folks at CVS emailed me a $4 off a $20 purchase coupon, so who could resist?
Here's what I got today...
1 RightGuard deodorant @ 6.99 (used $1 off coupon from newspaper)
2 Lifesaver Gummies @ 2.19/each (On sale B1G1)
2 CVS Pantyliners @ .99/each
2 CVS Tampons @ 1.49/each
1 Cascade @ 3.99
1 CVS Paper towel
-$4 coupon (mentioned above)
-$1 Rightguard coupon from newspaper
- B1G1 Lifesaver coupon from newspaper
-$1 CVS Paper towel coupon I got when I scanned my card today
-4.50 in previous ECBs
-$8.17 on a gift card I got for transferring a prescription
Spent $0, got $9.96 back in ECB to spend next time!
Thursday, July 3, 2008
My mom loves Florida. A lot. Actually, a whole, whole lot. I love Florida, too. Seems I got that from her. And now my kids seem to have inherited the I-Love-Florida gene. If there's any Geneticists reading my blog (I know you all tend to flock here!), could you help locate that one?
We've been stuck inside all day today because of the rain. So what do my kids want to do? Play Florida.
It's not unusual at all to play Florida around our house. But that's about ALL they've wanted to do today. Visit the beach. Hang out at the pool. Go to Disney World. Check out the manatee park. Eat in Florida. Nap in Florida. Bathe in Florida. Sensing a pattern?
Here's my son swimming in the Florida pool.
And here they are watching the Disney World parade. Pink baby scored a prime spot in her stroller!
I guess everything is more fun when you're in Florida, right? Sounds good to me...let's go!
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Summer just has a way of taking you back to being a kid. Somehow ice cream cones and lightning bugs and sprinklers beckon and it's okay to play again. It helps when there's kids egging you on, of course, but I think there's just something in all of us.
My sweet hubby taking a break from yard work to join in the sprinkler fun.
And convincing the neighbor to do the same.
(He was warned this would make the blog!)
The county fair is in a couple of weeks and I think all the grown ups eating elephant ears will prove my point exactly.
But then again, that's what summer's all about.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
We don't have cable.
I'm a super-duper cheapskate and in my opinion it's just too much money to spend for television. Not when the rabbit ears get it for me for free.
But guess what I just discovered? I know, I know...it's probably been there forever, but I just discovered it and I'm super excited. Full episodes from HGTV are available online. For free.
Do you know what this means? No more having to fight for the remote when we're on vacation or at Grandma and Grandpa's house. The battle between Nick Jr., Disney, and ESPN may still be on, but I can watch my beloved HGTV from the comfort of my own home whenever I want.
Did I mention it's free?
Giggles, songs, and cooing - good.
Whining, fighting, and crying - not-so-good.
But no matter what noise the day has brought my way, I get to end it with one of my favorite times of day. Nuggle time.
What's nuggle time, you ask? Well, for a little girl who doesn't say her "s" if it's part of a consonant blend at the beginning of a word, it's snuggle time.
(She once ran up to daddy when he got home at the end of a day to show him her arm and excitedly announced, "I have a tamp on!" Daddy looked at me and we about lost it, but he gently held his daughter and told her he thought her stamp was cool. We shared our giggles later.)
Anyways, I digress...
Nuggle time comes after bath time, after potty and jammies and tooth-brushing, goobie-getting, hair-drying time. After story time, after prayer time, and after Barney's I Love You song time and The Wondrous Cross (sometimes sung at the top of our lungs) song time.
Then comes nuggle time.
I often miss out on nuggle time these days because I have a baby who nurses at this same time, but last night I headed in for nuggle time after I got Megan to bed. I knocked quietly on Sarah's door and asked if I could snuggle her. Those big brown eyes lit up and all the craziness of the day vanished. We snuggled and talked about the favorite part of her day. We played with each other's hair and snuggled for just "one more minute."
Total warm fuzzies.
And don't get me wrong - Josh can snuggle with the best of 'em, too. I enjoyed some quiet moments with him last night, too. I find that's the time that you can really get to the heart of your kids. He'll share with me what's on his heart or ask any unanswered questions. We've had some quite deep theological discussions during his snuggle time. And somehow right after a deep conversation, he'll still ask for "the tucker." So tuck, tuck, tuck...tuck, tuck, tuck...all the way down his legs to his little toes I go. He giggles and I kiss him one more time.
Doesn't get much better than that.
Except for when I get Megan out of bed to nurse her one more time before I head to bed for the night. She loves to be swaddled, just like the other two have, except that she pulls her right arm out of her blanket. So in her sleepy daze, she settles in to nurse and then grabs my finger with her free hand and holds on tight to me.
Bright spots, my friends...bright spots.
I'll take all the not-so-good noise. I'll even praise God for it because it means my kids are filled with life. But I cherish the chances for tender, peaceful quiet with the ones I love most.
Besides, I can rest assured that God-willing, there will be more noise tomorrow.