Thursday, April 28

Easter Week

 This year we had an amazing week leading up to Easter Sunday. With so many great memories and new traditions, I just had to share:

1. We began our celebration of the resurrection by attending a Passover Seder with our Jewish neighbors. The girls each got their own kippa (yamaka) and a coloring book explaining the dinner. The food was amazing, and it was such a moving experience to see Old Testament traditions actually performed by some of God's people. The feast celebrates how God led His people out of slavery in Egypt to their own nation, and there are many parallels to the cross as well.

2. On a slightly less spiritual note, the girls loved coloring Easter eggs with a dear friend from church. We did this while my 1-year old napped one day, and it was great just to be able to focus on the older ones for awhile.

3. I let the girls dress up for their Easter egg hunt this year, so a ladybug, a lion, and a cute little rabbit scampered across our yard looking for candy.

4. On good Friday we acted out the Easter story, complete with palm leaves and an empty tomb. I rolled a big microwave cart over our outdoor fireplace, it was perfect! At least the girls were impressed :)
Singing "Our God is An Awesome God"

5. We let the girls have their Easter baskets on Saturday because our Sunday was going to be very hectic. Before they got up, I wrote out a treasure hunt for each basket with clues like "Roses are red, violets are blue, you'll find a surprise where you put your shoes!" They had to wear their bunny masks on the hunt, it was too cute. I bought some small toys and jewelry at Target this year (love that $1 aisle!) so they didn't have as much candy. Will definitely do this treasure hunt again! Linsey was super excited to be able to read the clues all by herself.

6. As a family that evening, we read the story of Christ's resurrection in John and prayed together. Then Sunday morning we got up bright and early to sing in our church musical at 8:30 and 10:30am. The adult and children's choirs both did a fantastic job, and several received Christ as Savior that day. Praise the Lord!

7. After church we had a great brunch with my husband's family and stayed there for awhile, then we went to their (huge) church for a great drama/musical presentation. My older girls loved it. The play inspired questions like, "Why did Jesus have to die, Mama?" "That man is really still alive in real life, right?" "Where is the donkey? I thought Jesus rode a donkey." It was fantastic!

Thanks for letting me share our memories with you, I hope you had a wonderful time celebrating Christ's resurrection as well!

Monday, April 25

There's No Place Like Home

Hugs and kisses at the door,
Laundry sprinkled on the floor,
Pillow fights with giggles galore,
My favorite place to be is home.

Little feet run down the hall,
"Mama, I love you the most of all!"
"Treasure the time your children are small..."
My favorite place to be is home.

A place where booboos are always kissed,
And chances to laugh are rarely missed.
The place that's at the top of my list
Is our amazing, crazy home.

Where the weary find some rest,
Where I don't need to pass the test.
I think that Dorothy said it best,
There's just no place like home.

Friday, April 22

A Mother's Advice

In whoopie cushions, as in life...

Not every great idea needs to be acted upon. =)

Wednesday, April 20

Terribly Two

I can't believe our youngest will be two next month! She is bubbly, energetic (keeps me on my toes!), and incredibly photogenic.  Here are a few of our favorite recent pics:

I <3 Dora!!
I <3 Grandma's house!


I <3 doing things myself!!

I <3 music!

Monday, April 18

Love One Another

"Be ye kind, one to another; be ye kind one to another; be ye kind, one to another - Ephesians 4:32." We sang our hearts out during Bible time, then we each told something we could do that day to be kind to each other. Linsey was especially thoughtful, "I can do something with Hannah that she wants to do, even if I don't want to."

I was excited to see how this played out during our day, and several times as I reminded the girls to "be kind," it actually seemed to be working!  That afternoon, though, Hannah really wanted to play something Linsey thought was 'babyish.' When I heard them arguing, I pulled Linsey aside and reminded her of the lesson we'd had earlier. "You said you would be kind to Hannah by doing something she wanted to do, and now's your chance."

"But Mama," she cried, "I didn't really mean it!"

To her credit, she soon relented and played with her sister, but her honesty got me thinking. I'm often  convicted when I read the Bible or hear a sermon, and I vow to do better. But when it's time to act on that conviction, maybe by getting up earlier to read the Bible or biting my tongue when criticized, I groan inside, "But I didn't really mean it, God!"

Even worse, I excuse myself by reasoning that if God wanted this, He would magically make me a morning person, or take away my bad temper. But it doesn't work like like that. Philippians 4:13 says God gives us strength to do His will, but we still have to put forth the "get up and do it." This week, let's determine not only to desire change, but also to implement it in our daily lives.

Tuesday, April 12

Important Reminder

If you're trying to send something back, always use the original packaging.

Monday, April 11

Caught in the Act

 I love magazines. I'm convinced that Good Housekeeping will one day publish an article that will solve all my organizational problems in 3 easy steps, and I fear that if I canceled my subscription to Family Fun, my family wouldn't have any fun. So when the magazine in question promised five "tried and true romance tactics," I eagerly read on.

This article assured me that simply replacing the regular lightbulb near our bed with a red bulb would both create a sensuous ambience and cleverly conceal any personal flaws I might be self-conscious about. Just what I needed!! So on our next trip to Wal-Mart, I went all out and bought the party pack of red bulbs, feeling adventurous already. (I'm blushing, knowing that my mom is reading this right now!)

The bulbs did their job, I suppose, but the real adventure came a few months later. I was watching a friend's three kiddos along with my three, and they were all quiet. You know, tooooo quiet. I realized something was up, so I tiptoed to the back of the house.  Sure enough, I had been careless and forgotten to put the regular bulb back in, and the six children were all huddled in my room, gazing in awe at the love goddess lamp. "WHAT are you doing in my room?" I practically shouted.

"Well, Mama," Linsey's voice trembled, "I just wanted to show them your cool lamp and how it turns your room a different color!"


The kids' parents are good friends of ours, and I was mortified that I'd hear about this little incident again, but so far, so good. And I haven't bought any more red bulbs, but I comfort myself with the fact that it will only be 16 years until my youngest goes off to college, and we'll have the house to ourselves. I'll probably need the party pack of colored lights even more then :)

Sunday, April 10

Brush It Off

Hannah and Linsey went to the dentist last week, it was Hannah's first time. They looked so little in those big chairs!

Linsey showing her sister the ropes first
Hannah dutifully obeying Linsey's, "Open wide!"

The dentist told them they did a good job brushing (no cavities!!) and to make sure they brushed twice a day, every day. So to celebrate, I sprang for battery-powered toothbrushes rather than candy. These came with sheets of stickers so you can customize them, how adorable is that??

When we got home, the girls begged to use their new toothbrushes. Hannah finished, turned it off, and told me she needed to brush again. I told her once was fine for now, and her big eyes filled with tears. "But Mama," she said, "the dentist said I had to do it twice!!"

Good, clean fun!!

Friday, April 8

Stove Top Bonnets

I made a super easy craft super hard. Go figure. We were studying Abe Lincoln in history - "Was he the President before Obama, Mom?" - and there was a super cute idea for making stovetop hats. After seeing a few pictures of Lincoln with one on, Linsey was all in - she is obsessed with the Presidents, probably because her long-term goal is to rule the world. My only glitch was that I had 12" paper instead of 18." I am the queen of improvising, and they have small heads. No problem!

They customized their hats and I cut out the brims, mildly concerned that the holes for their heads were about 3" wide. When the girls tried the hats on, immediate giggles ensued. It was a balancing act just keeping them on their heads, they looked like really bad tightrope walkers. After 12 shots I finally got one of each girl w/the hat actually on, then after the pics we punched holes in the brims and looped yarn around their chins bonnet-style. Even Lincoln would have been proud!!

Thursday, April 7

Top 10 Things to Do in the Bathroom

I know, I know, you'd think this was obvious. But recently, while at several different stores/restaurant (aka PUBLIC PLACES), my kiddos have taught me several new tricks:

10) Sing "Tinkle, Tinkle, Little Star" at the top of your lungs, followed by "It's Raining, It's Pouring."

9) Flush 5 times consecutively, while other people are seated on the potty.

8) Repeatedly wave your hand in front of the paper towel dispenser so that a l-o-n-g sheet comes out. Then leave it.

7) If there is a hand dryer rather than paper towels, stick your head under and yell as loudly as you can.

6) Offer to get other people in the stall toilet paper, but only give them one square.

5) Rummage through your mom's purse while she is unable to stop you.

4) Take out the toilet seat covers one by one and sit on them on the floor, to test them out before actually using them.

3) Strategically unlock the stall door and exit when your mom is extremely exposed.

2) Look under the stalls to see who is where, then scoot under if they look friendly.

1) While mom thinks you're playing quietly, flush all your toys down the employee commode!

So busted!!

Let me know if I've missed one!! =)

Blog hops:
Smart and Trendy Moms

A Mommy's Sweet Blog Design Friday Blog Hop

Monday, April 4

Wanna Getaway

That's the name for Southwest's lowfare tickets. And it's appealing - who doesn't need a break from the busyness of life? There are non-negotiables, like work and school. And the great things, like family activities and church. But too much of anything, even something good, is still too much. And many times, our marriages get put on the back burner because those seemingly urgent matters crowd it out.

The good news - you don't have to have loads of time (or money!) to make your marriage a priority, just a little creativity. Here are a few habits we've developed over the years that may be a good place to start:
1. Stolen Moments
Tom and I rarely pass each other without touching. A friend came over the other day and was amazed that in a short conversation, he had called me 5 different pet names! We flirt while we do the dishes, and we kiss whenever we leave. We set the kids' bedtime and stick to it, ensuring we have a couple hours of (almost) alone time to play a game or watch TV while we sit close. (Isn't that what dating was like?) We don't drink, but we always have a bottle of sparkling cider ready, just for us. If your kids are older and stay up late, go in your room and shut the door. Trust me, they won't follow you! Oh, and go to bed together. It's so worth it! 

2. Date Night
We shoot for one of these every few weeks, just a time we can get away for without the kids and reconnect, to remember why we liked each other in the first place. It can be an hour, or an afternoon, but make sure you do this frequently. Our oldest wanted to go with us last week, and complained, "But you've had LOTS of dates with Daddy!" I simply replied, "Yes, and that is for YOUR own good!"  A great marriage = happy, secure kiddos.

3. The Great Escape
After waiting several years for my husband to whisk me away from the mounds of laundry and dishes, I realized it wasn't going to happen. I could either pout and nag (big incentive for him!), or I could take matters into my own hands. So once or twice a year, I plan an overnight getaway, just the two of us.  I've gotten deals on or just booked a decent hotel w/breakfast, you'll find the location doesn't matter nearly as much as the company :)

So if you're overcommitted and under-communicating, pick one of these ideas and get to work! You -and your husband, and your kids- will be glad you did.

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