"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved." Ephesians 1:3-6

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My Mommy Minute: October 29

If This Video Doesn't Make You Put Down Your Phone Nothing Probably Will at Viral Fury
Such good things to think about here!

How To Enjoy Every Moment When Not Every Moment is Enjoyable by Sara Wallace at The Gospel Centered Mom

Why I Unfriended Every Single One of My Facebook Friends by Davonne at Davonne Parks
I have often thought of this-or just deactivating FB all together.  "But what about the friends that live states away? What about the bloggers I follow? What about the encouraging links I would miss out on?" Eh.  In all honesty I just wish facebook didn't really exist.  But since it is there, there is a struggle.  Some things here to think through and evaluate our own hearts.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Lessons from a CD

Children are a blessing from the Lord.  I had always thought that meant children were a joy and just always made you happy and laugh and smile all the time. (this was obviously before I had children)  That is why I thought they were a blessing.  Really.  That is what I thought.

Enter four children later....and I know the true blessing they are is the sanctifying work the Holy Spirit does in my life through them.  The way they expose my weakness and sinfulness--the stuff I didn't even know was there.  Ridding my life of sin and being made more into the image of Jesus my Savior--now that is a blessing.  

But they sure do make me smile and laugh and are such a joy, too;)

Another way my children bless me is by the little lessons and reminders of who God is as I explain things to my children. Preaching things to myself even though I am speaking to them.

We love music in this family.  We have a lot of CDs to choose from in the van and I like to change them up frequently.  One day while I was changing the CD my kids started calling out to me in pure excitement, "A rainbow! A rainbow!" I was very confused because it hadn't rained. I quickly learned it was a rainbow on the ceiling of the van because the CD was catching the right angle of the sun rays.

So now every time I change a CD, the kids want a rainbow.  And usually I do try to wave the CD up in the sunlight so it will work for them.  It's just a fun little thing we do.

Last week we went to the store and as I'm changing CDs, my three year old asks for the rainbow.  

It was an overcast day (very rare, but they do happen!) and I explained that it wouldn't work because the sunshine wasn't out.  Then our conversation went like this:

"Why isn't the sun out?"
"Because God is allowing the sun to stay behind the clouds today."
"Then I will pray to God for sunshine."
(prays, "Dear Jesus, Heavenly Father, please make it sunny so I can have a rainbow. Amen")

Short and sweet and to the point, right?  But I loved witnessing the pure faith that she displayed in that.  She believes that God is the maker of the sun and in control of it.  She believes that He can make it sunny.  
I parked the car and while walking in the sun was peeking ever so slightly through the clouds.  

"Mommy! God is making it sunny.  I prayed and God is making it sunny!"

She sure is an opptomistic one, because it wasn't near "sunny" and I knew that it wouldn't be enough to make a rainbow with the CD when we got back into the car. I didn't want to ruin her excitement, but it gave me an opportunity to talk about how God definitely did hear the prayer and how we can take anything to God in prayer, but that just because she prayed for it to be sunny, that didn't mean God was going to push away the clouds and make the sun shine.  I remember saying something like "maybe God thinks the clouds are the best thing for us right now" and it was right then that I realized how much I learn and am reminded of while talking to my children.  It allowed me to explain that God is always good and he did hear the prayer, but His answer isn't always exactly what we want.  And even when He gives us clouds when we prefer sunshine, He is good and will give His children what is best. And I could point out to her that the sun may or may not shine, but God is still there, still good, and still worthy to be praised.

It was just talk of the weather, but it was so much more than that.  I'm so thankful for the opprotunities God gives me to speak truth into my children's lives and to speak it to myself at the same time.

And wouldn't you know, but when we came out of the store the sun was shining.  Honestly, I think I had forgot about it by then.  But she didn't.  She was so excited and it again pointed us back to God, who is in control of all things and who did indeed answer her prayer.  We rejoiced and praised God right there in the Walmart parking lot.  Then, we loaded up and made a rainbow:)

My Mommy Minute: October 25

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:4-7

When You Feel Like a Failure by Carolyn Mahaney at GirlTalk
I have mentioned what she talks about here several times in the past.  It's hard to face reality and our sinful nature and the fact that we will mess up.  It's what we do when we are down that counts.
Contentment Does Not Come Naturally by Matt Smethurst at The Gospel Coalition
A short video discussion of contentment with Nancy Guthrie, Jen Wilkin, and Melissa Kruger

When I Feel Afraid by Leeann Stiles at The Gospel Coalition
Fear, anxiety, and worry is all too familiar for us.  Three things to remember in helping overcome it.

Giving Grace in the Moment as a Mom by Joy at The Better Mom
8 ways to give grace in the moments of frustration

Using God's Word to Correct in Your Family  by Kara Chupp at The Better MomGod's Word always trumps our words.  Let's use that instead.  Five ways we can.

Chipping Polish by Heather Tencza at Coffee + Crumbs
A sweet story from a new mom's perspective

Monday, October 20, 2014

Project 52: September 28-October 4

 Sunday Snapshot:
I think this may be one of my favorite ones yet:)
Everyone going for a ride! Colt didn't last too long
Brent ordered this shirt through an adoption fundraiser several weeks ago.  It finally arrived so of course the other kids wanted to put their Superman shirts on, too! :) 

The highchair takes up a lot of room because it can't be pushed under the table.  So, we made the big switch this week--Raelynn now just sits on a chair with no booster (how is she getting so old?!) and Colt switched to a booster that has a tray on it.  The tray can come off between meals so the chair can be pushed in.

We planted a tree in the backyard this week.  With all the rain, it was nice and easy to dig a hole.  The hole was there for a couple days before Brent picked up the tree. The kids enjoyed playing in the hole!
the tree! (will get about 12-15 feet tall and has yellow flowers)
I love this picture! I had put a little french braid at her hairline and was using the camera to show her.  She had this silly little face and we were cracking up! She is such a goofy girl:)

All the rain made for some big puddles in the backyard.  Brent hauled in some fresh dirt to dry it up a bit and level off the ground before planting winter grass.  The kids LOVED playing in the dirt--and it was nice because it fell off much better than sand.
Loving the weather!
p"take our picture!"
We did yellow duck in tot school this week, so we ended the week with a picnic at Freestone Park where we fed the ducks! It was so fun and we plan to do it again soon!

We had some Coldstone gift cards, so we thought that would be fun for after the park.  The kids loved it, of course!!

Saturday Daddy left very early to go to the ASU game in California with Uncle Kyle, so Jackson and Harper came came over to play and we ended up having a picnic lunch outside! Even Colt enjoyed it:)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Crock Pot Potato Soup

Potatoes seem to be on sale every week now.  I have only made potato soup one other time and I remember it was very time consuming.  That was also several years ago, before pinterest:) 

 So this time around I searched for an easy crock pot recipe for potato soup.

I found THIS recipe from Meal Planning Mommies and it was so yummy!  It was so easy.

I liked that I didn't have to use my beaters; I just used my potato masher. Fried a little bacon for a topping and served with a salad. 

It was delicious and that evening, a couple hours after dinner, my oldest says to me "Thank you for the soup and bacon tonight mommy. Can we eat that again?"  With a comment like that, you bet we will!! :)

Tot School: Yellow Duck

Week three of our unit in Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? was Yellow Duck!
We have done Brown Bear and Red Bird.  Yellow Duck was a full week and was probably our favorite so far.

The six categories to guide our learning:

1. Bible story/verse: Genesis 1:20-21

I had trouble finding one, so we used the same as the previous week.  The kids cannot hear the story of creation too much!

"And God said, "Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth and across the expanse of the heavens.  So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kids, and every winged bird according to its kind." Genesis 1:20-21

2. Color: Yellow

The kids colored their duck picture with crayons, markers, and colored pencils.  I introduce the color by looking through our bucket of yellow items and we watched some videos with ducks. 

Hands On Craft:

Duck Stamping and Paper Plate Duck:

We have several little yellow rubber ducks.  I put yellow paint on a paper plate and the kids used the ducks as a stamp.  I was going to have them just stamp on paper, but I quickly drew up a duck for them to stamp on.  I think sometimes they do better where there is a purpose (coloring the duck)

Once the duck was stamped, I encouraged them to spread the paint all over the plate.  The next day when it dried, we turned the plate into a duck.

Duck Hunt and Duck Pond Craft:

I printed ducks out on a paper and cut them out to hide around the house.  The kids went on a duck hunt---they LOVE hunting for things!

Once they found the ducks, we went to the table and they ripped blue paper and glued in a circle I drew on the yellow paper.  This was our "pond" and then glued the ducks into the "pond"

4. Memorable Experience:  Feeding Ducks and "Six Little Ducks"

We went to a local park and fed the ducks! The kids loved this.

We learned the song "Six Little Ducks that I once knew..." and the kids learned some motions and the words.  It was SO fun! We're still singing it weeks later. Another fun song we sang was "Five Little Ducks went swimming one day..."

5. Sensory Activity: Water tub and Play Dough

Rubber ducks, soap, and water!

This week to use this paper, the kids filled in the dots with play dough.

Food Experience:

Duck Cookie Cutter Sandwich and Boiled Egg Duck

They knew both of them were ducks, so that's good:)  

Other extras:
Lots of yellow! Each week I gather items of the color and make trays for the kids to play to explore the color and practice counting, lacing, sorting, etc.
duck dot-to-dot and the letter D maze getting the duck to the pond

I printed a variety of yellow ducks for Raelynn to cut out and glue. (I make a table in a word doc with thick borders and insert clip art into the table. It helps so she can cut on the black line)  Of course little brother wanted to cut too....so I found some round tipped scissors we had and gave him some ducks as well.  For his first time ever he did a good job! He did the little slit cutting, which is a good pre cutting activity.  

Project 52: October 12-18

Sunday Snapshots:

 We've had bad mosquitoes here because there was a lot of rain laying from the past couple months.  It's been so bad we haven't been able to go outside much.  We were able to go to the park for a short time on Sunday evening.
Colt loves the tunnels:)
He wasn't too sure about going down the slide with big sis though
Declan can climb up these so fast now! We call this the "dog bone park" because Raelynn identified it as that when she was younger.  We never understood why until we got there and she pointed out these look like dog bones. Which indeed, they do!
Colt is ten months now and is always pulling up.  He is starting to take a few steps while pushing this dog. And when I saw those little baby tip toes, I had to get down and take a picture.  There is just something about kids and tip toes that I love:)

He is starting to lose that baby look, isn't he?
Oh, this girl.  Such a joy! Elliana continues to grow emotionally and physically.  I can't believe she will be two in one month! Communication has been so good with her because she is starting to talk SO much and it helps both of us.  She is a doll.  Loves trying to take care of her little brother now, too.  She doesn't get much time on the motorcycle because the two bigs usually have it. She was up while they were napping so she had time on it and loved it.  She wanted Colt to go on the back:)  Not long ago she couldn't even get on it without help. She felt so big and independent! She would run into the couch and get the silliest little grin.  Such a blessing she is!

We went to the zoo this week! We went into the monkey village and a friend offered to take a photo.  I'm so glad she did because I don't have a lot with me and the kids and it turned out so great-and the first try too! I guess they look and smile when someone else is taking the picture. 

Raelynn stays up after the twins go down for nap.  She always helps me make my lunch.  She cut my egg in much too big of pieces and put too much mayonnaise in the mix.  I turned around and when I turned back the top was put on and it was good and smooshed.  It was the best sandwich I've had in a long time:)
Love these moments of one on one time and conversation in the kitchen.  Sometimes I get glimpses of how big she really is and who God is turning her into.  So many training opportunities and so much magic in these moments.

The winter grass has been planted and the kids can finally go outside to play again! We moved the play set to the other side of the yard so it will be in the sunshine during the winter months.  We also dug a square out under the playset and filled it with dirt so the kids can play.  They love it! It's so much better than sand!
And how we spent some of our day on Saturday--box twists! I have been growing Elliana's hair out so we can start to style it.  I actually looked up some instructions online and tried these twists which are supposed to be a good starter style.  She sat so well and really is such a trooper. I'm pleased with the way they turned out for our first time!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Trip to the Beach

We went to the beach in California for a few days over the fourth of July....so I'm only 3 months late posting these...that's really not all that bad! :)

We weren't sure how 4 kids in a hotel would go, but it worked perfect because the beach wore them out and they fell asleep on the way to the hotel each night.  We would just transfer into their beds and they slept great!
Our hotel

Auntie Rissa braiding Rae's hair for the beach
The kids played in the sand and loved every minute of it.  They had fun running out into the water's edge and running away as the waves came.  They loved playing in the big holes that were dug for them.  Cousins Jackson and Harper were there to play with, too!

Snacks were a bit sandy....but a little sand never hurt anyone, right? :)

Daddy took Raelynn far out into the waves (far enough to make mama quite nervous!)

fine dining

Colt did awesome! He was able to sit up, but not crawl, so that was helpful:)  He loved sitting watching all the action and grabbing sand if he could get away with it.  He took naps on the blankets, so that was really great!

The three bigs did great too! They didn't have naps during the day so they were quite tired by evening.  Each day we would come in from the beach and shower at Grandma and Tank's condo they had rented.  We would change into clothes and have dinner.
sleeping while sitting up:)

Café Coyote

our "spot"

sandy toes and salty kisses.  life is good.


who needs a pillow?

Happy 4th of July! AND Happy Gotcha Day to Elliana!

A view from the condo balcony

hot dogs and corn on the cob--a good American dinner for July 4th!

celebrating Elliana's one year since she came home


watching fireworks

Raelynn-3, Elliana-19 months, Jackson-3, Colt-6.5 months, Harper-23 months, Declan-23 months

the whole family!