Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Grey's Construction-Themed Birthday Party!

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Hi there! I hope everyone had a blessed Easter weekend! You might have seen that earlier this month, our boy turned three. I just wanted to stop in today and share a few shots from Grey's Construction-Themed Birthday Party! It was all very DIY and super easy and cost-efficient (read: CHEAP) (Thanks, Pinterest!) We invited just a few close family members and cousins and the kids had a fantastic time! In fact, we were having so much fun, that I literally got zero pictures during the party. Luckily, we do have a few 'before' shots!

Thanks so much to everyone who came out and wished our boy a happy third birthday!
(Resource list below)

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 photo DSC_5063_zpscfl59jtg.jpg  photo DSC_5064_zpsnixrkkbp.jpg  photo DSC_5060_zpsvn2jecjz.jpg  photo DSC_5058_zps7sywotex.jpg  photo DSC_5048_zps3mno7yie.jpg

Caution Tape: Home Depot (paint section!)
Black/ Chevron wrapping paper: Target
Cake: Walmart
Cones: Target
Buckets: Dollar Tree
Pennant banner: Target
Snacks: Dollar Tree/ Walmart
Plates/ Napkins/ Silverware: Dollar Tree
Construction hats and balloons: Hobby Lobby

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Christ is Risen

"Early hasten to the tomb;
Where they laid his breathless clay;
All is solitude and gloom;
Who has taken him away?
Christ is risen;
He meets our eyes;
Savior, teach us so to rise!"
Go to Dark Gethsemane, James Montgomery

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

Calvary's mournful mountain climb;
there adoring at his feet;
mark that miracle of time;
God's own sacrifice complete;
"IT IS FINISHED!" hear him cry;
Learn of Jesus Christ to die
-Go To Dark Gethsemane, James Montgomery

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

To The Child That Will Marry Mine

Hi, Little One. I don't know your story. I've never met you, but I pray for you all the time. When I'm having a particularly hard day with my children, I think about you... I wonder if you're having a hard day too with your momma or your siblings. Maybe potty training is really difficult, or your sandwich was cut into squares instead of triangles. I know the struggle... it's real.

Right now, I hope your biggest concerns are toys and tv shows and games. But you see, someday, you will marry my child, and the truth is that it's so incredibly daunting, this business of raising tiny humans. This task of teaching my boy not just to tell the truth about making a mess, but to be a man of integrity in all things; and of reminding my daughter not just to wear shorts under her dress because she's going to the playground, but to guard her body as a temple... it all feels so... BIG sometimes. And when I'm struggling- and don't take this the wrong way- but I often pray that your momma is too. Because if I'm honest, I want my children to marry people that had a momma who worried about their hearts and their souls. I want them to have had a family that invested in their spirits and helped them soar. But maybe she's not struggling at all. Maybe she's way better at this bringing-up-babies-thing than I am... I kind of hope that's true too, because Lord help you if you're going to marry my child...

I am far from a perfect mother, but I take very seriously the fact that I'm not just raising children, I'm raising adults- adults that will one day make decisions along side you for your own families. So I pray for you often. I pray that your little tummy always had food in it, your hand is always held when you cross the street, and your head always has a warm place to lay at night. I pray that someone is protecting you from danger and that you overcome your challenges with grace. I pray that one day I will get to see my child fall wildly in love with you, and I pray that their father and I can watch that love grow into a marriage deeply rooted in Christ- fruits born of labor and grace upon grace.

I cannot promise that I will make all the right decisions when it comes to parenting my child, but I can promise that I am doing my very best to ready them to serve and love you as their equal. I'm fighting every day to show them how to love like Jesus loves... And I pray that you're learning the same.

For today I hope that your tantrums are short and your laughter is loud. I hope you run as fast as you can into the arms of those who love you and get as much play time as your heart can take. But one night, many years from now, I will look at you from the pews of a beautiful wedding. With tears in my eyes, I will watch you as you gaze lovingly at my child. You will make big promises to each other, and put your faith in the Lord. You will think that moment is the very beginning, but I'll know... I'll know that it all started with today- with planting seeds and daily watering them with love and patience. I'll know that a love like this isn't just created spontaneously. It's taught. It's sought after and fought for... and it all started with two little sticky-faced children, and a lot of prayer.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Key To A Successful Homeschool Day

I have learned a lot during this first year of homeschooling- I should probably write an entire post just on that, but today, I wanted to share the ONE little change that has completely transformed our homeschool days for the better!

Like many of you, I live with two little people that hate sleep. Our days often start before the sun- and not for my lack of trying to train them to sleep in, either (Mommas of late sleepers: teach me your ways!) This can often leave me dragging and in need of a second cup by the time our school time rolls around. There is breakfast to be made, a kitchen to be cleaned, preschooler disputes to settle, and lessons to prepare. It began to wear on me that time to myself was in very short supply.
As you might imagine, waking up before the kids was out of the question for various reasons. One of them being those creaky 100+ year-old floors that never fail to stir a (finally) sleeping child. Naptime is for work, and by the time bedtime rolled around in the evenings, I was exhausted. So what was I going to do? When was I supposed to have time to myself? Time with the Lord? I couldn't just put it smack in the middle of our mornings... Or could I?

If there's anything we love about our choice to homeschool, it's the option to be flexible. So one morning, after breakfast was made and consumed and cleaned up, I made myself a cup of coffee, turned on the TV for my kids, and popped in my headphones. I sat down with my She Reads Truth App and my journaling Bible and took some time to just slow my heart and mind and talk to God. When the kids came over to interrupt, I gently told them, "I'm reading my Bible right now. Wait until I'm done." And much to my surprise, it worked. I got an entire half hour alone with the Lord that first morning and walked away feeling refreshed and ready to take on the school day.

Now hear me when I say this: this routine may not always work for us. I have never been a morning quiet time-er (I've never been a morning anything-er, Lord help me...) It may not work for you, but my point here is this: Guys, we have to make time to be with the Lord, and I think it's equally important to do this in front of our kids. They need to see us making this time. They need to hear us say, "I need time to do this because this is important." They need to see us on our knees in prayer or worshipping with hands raised high. If we don't show them postures of worship, how can we ever expect them to assume those positions? If we don't teach them to make that time and tend that vineyard, who will?

My kids have already started mimicking this activity. They pull out our Jesus Storybook Bible and ask me to read it. They pretend to journal on their little pieces of construction paper. I caught Grey with his face down toward his chest, mumbling something. When I asked him what he was doing, he said he was talking to his heart because that's where God lives. Guys... They see and they do just as we do. Yes, there is incredible grace to be had when it comes to our children's spiritual lives, I'm not going to assume habits will be picked up without demonstration. I'm going to lay that foundation as best I can.

We need to be good stewards of our time, our hearts, and the hearts of our children. Make time to be with the Lord today.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Happy Birthday, Grey!

This photo seems pretty appropriate considering the subject :D
Mr. Buddy Bear... has it really been THREE years since you came into the world screaming with balled fists and clinging wildly to your momma? You still cling to me, you know... You're my little koala bear... you're the opposite of your sister in every way: louder, faster, rougher, but also more affectionate and quite the thinker. Where as she is always a step ahead, running in front of me, you are always turned toward me, racing back into my arms. And that... is just the best feeling in the world.
I love the way your little chubby hand feels in mine and how you demand, "Pway cars wis me!" to anyone within earshot. You're all bruised shins and scraped knees and snotty nose and dirty fingernails. You're all boy. You're alllll mine.

Your daddy said it best when he said, "This punk wrecked our lives in all the best ways!" We can't imagine our lives without your sweet and rowdy disposition. I'm so glad God chose me to be your momma.

Happy third birthday, little bear! We love you heaps and heaps!


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Five Truths to Teach Our Kids About Mistakes

You might have seen my post on Instagram today about mistakes. See, I make plenty of them. And wouldn't you know it? My little apples didn't fall far from this tree. But there are some things that I want them to know when it comes to mistakes and how they should react to them. So here are 5 Truths to Teach Our Kids About Mistakes:1. You will make them. For as much preparation as your dad and I can offer, and no matter how much caution you take, you will misstep. You will miss. You will lose. You will fall and fail. And it will happen again and again. Expecting perfection of yourself is unrealistic, and believing yourself infallible is foolish For all your beauty, you are also a human riddled with flaws. Just like every other human.

2. You can always come to us for help. When the time comes that you fall, and royally screw up, and it seems that nothing can be made right again, you can always come to us for help. Always. Our love is not dependent upon how many times you do things correctly. In the same way that there is nothing so awful you can do to lose the love of your Heavenly Father, your dad and I could never cease to absolutely treasure you.

3. We make mistakes too. We do. More than you can imagine, your daddy and I have made- and continue to make mistake after mistake. Our hearts aren’t always in the right place, and we often choose the wrong path. You must never believe that we will not understand a situation because we’ve not made mistakes, child, because believe me when I say, we’ve made our fair share and then some. We are terribly flawed and imperfect and underqualified to parent you, but we try our best every single day. And when we make a mistake that wrongs you, sweet babies, we will always- ALWAYS- admit our wrongdoing, and ask your forgiveness. Because we want you to know what it looks like to mess up, and be humbled enough to ask forgiveness, and move forward with grace and hope.

4. There are consequences to your mistakes. I would be doing you a disservice if I led you to believe that everything can be undone and rectified when you make a mistake. Big or small, there are always consequences to your actions. Every choice you make affects others, and mistakes can often lead to a chain reaction of negativity. Maybe you’ll lose a friend. Maybe you’ll lose a limb. Maybe you’ll just come in past curfew and get grounded. Either way, you cannot expect to run through this life destroying things around you without some sort of consequence occurring. Use these consequences as a learning opportunity and accept them with humility and grace. But here’s the good news…

5. Your mistakes do not define you. You are so smart and beautiful and wonderful. You have talents and gifts and thoughts and opinions that are uniquely yours. And when you make a mistake, it might feel like your world has begun to crumble around you. You might feel stripped bare and exposed and completely worthless. People might judge you and say things about you- true or not- that are hurtful… and you may struggle to remember who you are. Take heart, babies, in knowing that you are NOT your mistakes. They do not define you. The world does not get a say in who you are. It has already been decided by the one who knows your heart.

I know this is hard to understand right now, when the worst damage you can really do is making messes and not sharing. It can be lonely in your own head, where your negative self-talk often screams louder than the quiet voice that whispers, “you can overcome this… I am using this for your good and My glory…” Find that voice and cling to it. Own your mistakes and learn from them. Hold your head high, and continue to walk forward into your destiny. I love you.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Prudent Advice for My Daughter: On Being A Woman

In honor of International Women's Day, I thought I'd do a special installment of Prudent Advice for My Daughter. Enjoy, and share with a girl you love <3

Dear Daughter,
As a female, you are simultaneously made from the strongest and the most delicate things in life.
You heart is made to beat in time with those around you.
Your arms were meant to hold happy children, and helpless friends.
Your shoulder was meant for rocking babies to sleep and holding up saddened souls.
Your back bends in worship, in love, in play, in work, and in sorrow, and straightens again and again so that you can face the light.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Everyday Light Life: March

Just a regular day in our lives- school and kids throwing fits and messes made and life lived...
Last week was our Egypt Unit. Vesper has been really interested in Ancient Egypt for about a year now and so we did an entire week of lessons about Pyramids (math) mummies (science) and the people and various customs (art). This particular day we learned about mummies! We read about them and dressed up like them and ate them for lunch! Don't be fooled, not every week looks like this, but when it's a subject I know they really enjoy, I try to make it fun and do a little extra. I even broke out the self timer and hopped into a few photos.

One particularly sweet moment happened while we were reading about the Egyptian Afterlife, Vesper and I had a good talk about heaven. She got really emotional at the thought of leaving behind her friends and family and princess toys- bless her heart!

As much as I love our beautiful old house, I'm glad the weather is heating up so that I can begin to photograph them in different settings again! We're looking forward to hikes and zoo trips and splash pad adventures... hurry up, Spring!

We start our school days with CosmicKids Yoga

 This is one of Vesper's favorite books. It's an Usborne flap book about Ancient Egypt

She got a little sad talking about heaven. It's so hard to talk to little ones about it in a way that's understandable... In moments like this, I'm thankful that there is grace, and there is a God that loves her even more than I do that will guide her steps...

She cheered right up after I told her we were going to dress up like mummies.

Grey wasn't interested in walking around looking like a roll of toilet paper, but he did think he big sister looked pretty funny.

At least one of these a day...

 Pretty Valentine's flowers still blooming, and little succulents loving the sunlight

This sums up my life:

Of course, there were mummies for lunch:

What my house really looks like on a daily basis:

And some outside play as the sun goes down

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Going On Thirty

This weekend marks my 30th year of life. Three whole decades of the same heart beating and brain learning and hands doing. A third of a century of learning to be... just me. And it's hard to learn how to be oneself, because in truth, no one else has ever been you before.

Thirty scares a lot of women. There is something dreaded about no longer being lumped into the "twenty-something" category that makes them feel old and irrelevent. But can I tell you something? I'm really excited about my thirties. I'm looking forward to the confidence that comes with three decades of mistakes and misconceptions about myself and life in general. I'm counting on that wisdom to carry me through the next chapter of marriage and parenting and continuing to learn and grow.

You see, I wasted many years trying to be who I thought the world wanted me to be- the internet, my friends and family, the church, even my husband- and after thirty years, I feel as though I've finally begun to settle into my own skin. I'm finally comfortable within the walls of my own mind, and I'm confident with the version of myself that I put out there for the world. I like myself. I always have been and always will be a little bit curvy, and praise the Lord. I'm messy and a bit neurotic and easily bored and hopelessly romantic. Words and affirmation are my love language, but only if followed up by deeds. I am chronically early, and always middle of the road when it comes to political decisions. I don't like talking theology, I like talking Jesus. I don't want hot coffee, I want it iced with cream. I will not, will not, WILL NOT forward chain letters. I love good acoustic music, and I can't for the life of me keep my car clean. I watch cheesy movies and trashy tv shows, and I don't always enjoy mothering in the moment, but I give myself heaps and heaps of grace... but I don't always remember to give it to others.

I continue to work on my weaknesses everyday.

And I'm pretty damn cool, if I do say so.

So bring it on, thirty.