Monday, January 31, 2011

Stepping Stones Together

One thing I really miss about my kids being in daycare is the preschool aspect.  I work with them at home, but there's just something different when it's in a preschool setting.  Perhaps it's that mommy runs out of ideas...or that my methods are sort of the same a lot of the time.  No matter what it is, I do sometimes wish that my kids, especially Bugsy right now, were getting more of the educational foundations that preschool offers.  I've been scouring the internet.  I've ordered some different curricula and use some of them very regularly.  I try to make sure we learn something every day.  Sometimes, though, I wonder if my ideas and methods are even working!

Last week I was offered the opportunity to try a relatively new "teach your child to read" program.  Stepping Stones Together is a program created by a mom whose child was not learning to read with "traditional" reading education.  Dr. Burton is not only a mom, but an educator as well.  She wanted to create a program that would ensure children had the opportunity to learn to read!

Bugs and I started using this program last week.  It's really neat!  He gets to choose a book to read for 2 days.  There are a whole bunch of books!  We can read them online or we can print them.  We've chosen to print them so far.

We answer questions and draw pictures!

After we finish a lesson, Bugsy gets to fill in a square on a chart.  He really likes this part!


Bugsy's doing great!  He's just 3 1/2...he doesn't "read" yet, but the way the stories are set up, he can repeat the stories after I've read them.  Even the next DAY he can repeat them!  He needs some work on comprehension, but that will come, too.

His fine motor skills are definitely lacking, but we already knew they were a bit "behind."  He'll catch up there eventually, and I really think this program will help!  He draws and writes his name each day with this program.

So far, I can't say enough good things about this program!  Bugsy loves it and I can tell already that it's going to help him a ton!  I can't wait to see where he is a year from now!

SHMILY story and giveaway!

The Winner is:


Have you heard the SHMILY story?  If you haven't, you should read it.  Even if you have heard it, it's a nice reminder!  It's a sweet little story about a couple who spent their entire married lives reminding one another that they loved each other!  Isn't that a great idea?

I was contacted recently by Scott Ertl, creator of SHMILY coins.  He and his wife, Jennifer, liked this story and its premise so much that they wanted to help other married couples by giving them the "tools" to tell each other they love each other.  Scott and Jennifer have developed SHMILY coins as a token to be passed between two people as an unspoken reminder of love.  Neat, right?

Of course, at our house we have 3 kids, Little Lou, Bugsy, and Stinky.  Stinky's too little to care, but Little Lou and Bugs were immediately enamored with these "monies."  In fact, it's become a game between me and them rather than between my husband and I.

I explained to the kids that the coins say, "SHMILY," which means "See How Much I Love You."  We discussed that we could hide the coins for someone to find and be reminded that we love them, OR we can do a nice deed for someone and add a coin to remind them of our love.  They want to DO things for each other!  Isn't that great?  They're 3 and 5 and they'd rather do nice things than just hide the coins.  (I'll probably do some of both.)
This weekend the kids were gone to Ohio for the whole weekend.  When Little Lou came home, she was excited to see that her bed had been made and there was a SHMILY coin on her panda pillow's back!

The kids love them, and I really enjoy having an extra special way to remind them how important they are to me!
If you want to try SHMILY coins, you can buy them here for $.99 each, OR you can win a set of 10 right here on My This N That Life!


If you'd like to win your very own set of coins, all you have to do is go here and like the SHMILY coin facebook page!  Leave me a comment telling me you did.  I'll be checking!  ;-)  Leave me your email address so I can contact you!


1)  Follow My This N That Life with Google Friend Connect.  Leave me a comment telling me you did, along with your email address.

2) Follow My This N That Life via NetworkedBlogs.  Leave a comment telling me you did, along with your NetworkedBlogs username and your email address.

3) "Like" My This N That Life on Facebook!  Leave me a comment telling me you did, along with your Facebook username and email address.

Contest ends and comments close February 8, 2011 at 11:59am EST.

I was given SHMILY coins to review for free.  All opinions are my own.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Social? Networking Part 2

I HATE "social networking."

There.  I said it.  Even though sometimes I say I am going to shut down the computer and walk away, I rarely go a day without checking in.  I wasted lots of hours in college on myspace.  I have a twitter account that I almost never use.  Facebook is my favorite, though...until they come up with something that changes a little less frequently!  Yep...I'm a social network junkie!


Sound familiar?  It is.  Almost word for word from my "Why I love social networking" post.  Because, readers...I have a love/hate relationship with my computer...with my "social" networks.  
I honestly don't believe that social networks breed interaction.  Can you believe I just said that?  After all the happy words I had to say yesterday?  It's true.  You see, while there ARE a lot of reasons to love "social" networks, there are equally as many reasons we really should turn them off, shut them down, avoid them at all costs.

Here's why I hate social networking (or, as I said, ANTI-social networking):

It is easy to say harsh, hateful words to people when you aren't looking them in the eye.  It's easy to tell them "what you mean," or what you mean in the moment, when you don't have to see the pain on their faces.  Not only that, but it's so easy to misunderstand someone else's motives when you can't read their expressions.  It's just as easy to hurt someone else as it is to be hurt.  We don't have to care, anymore, what we're saying or doing to the person on the other end, because we don't ever have to see them!

We don't ever have to see people.  We can catch up with our family and friends and friends from childhood without ever actually communicating.  It's easy to say, "Oh, Jim said..." and share a story Jim told...having never even spoken with Jim!  It's entirely possible to hold entire conversations and have entire relationships with people and never meet face to face.  We're lacking in "true" friendships, the kind where we actually make phone calls and pies and house-calls, because everyone we know is just a mouse click away anyway.  We can just send a note to find out how things are going.

I have the chance to win great prizes!  It's true.   I've found that lots of fellow "mommy bloggers" post reviews and giveaways on facebook.  Items I NEED but usually wouldn't buy for myself.  Sometimes the giveaways are right there on facebook!  I don't even have to go to the trouble of searching the internet!  But wow.  How much time do I waste doing just that?  Now, granted, some of those giveaways are for prizes I really WOULD use.  I could really use more cloth diapers in my stash.  I'm seriously lacking in that department, as evidenced by a child in a sposie as I type.  But how many other ways could I be spending my time, rather than sitting at the computer entering 50 giveaways to win a single diaper...if I'm lucky and random likes me?

I can keep connected with my family, some far away, some near.  The trouble is, my nearest family, those sitting on the couch right next to me, can potentially become strangers as I focus on what's happening with my cousins in Alaska.  I can sit in the room with my husband and children for hours on end and never utter a word, because I am too busy trying to find out who has a new karate belt or looking at pictures my cousin took in New Mexico.  My own family, our own families, suffer because of our "social" behavior!

I could go on all day, but I won't.  For these reasons and a million more, I'd like to give social networking the boot.  But I won't.  Because how would I know anything about anything?  Facebook is my news media, too!  And not only that, but unless all of you stop using it as a tool to communicate as well, cutting it out will cut off a huge part of my "view" to the world!


I think there's been a serious breakdown in communication since we all became so much more "social."  

I can't tell you the last time I got a phone call from a friend who wanted to chat.  I am right there on facebook...or if I'm not now, my friends can leave me a message and I'll get it in a couple hours.  Even my mom knows what times of day I'll likely be on facebook (between 8 and 9 am, between 12 and 2 pm, and sometime after dinner) and rather than call to ask questions, she sends me notes!  

We don't write letters anymore because we don't have to.  I have have whole collection of cards in my bedroom that are--well, quite frankly, collecting dust.  I don't have TIME to write cards.  I'm too busy.  And even if I did have time, it costs money to mail them.  I can just pop that person an email--or catch them on facebook--for "free!"  But wouldn't it be nice to get an occasional hand-written card in the mail?

We don't talk to our "friends," our families, or even the people in the grocery store, because we're too busy "checking in" to let everyone know what we're doing at that exact moment to realize that we've stopped talking to actual people!

It frightens me.  It really does.  And it saddens me.  Because I wonder how long it will take before human interaction totally gives way to technology.  I wonder whether it will be in my lifetime that we stop communicating, stop socializing entirely.

Thank you, "social" networking, for creating in us an ANTI-social society.  You've done your job.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Don't let go.

I need to apologize to you, my loyal readers.  I promised to give you a great post about anti-social networking today, but it will have to wait until tomorrow at least. 

I have spent today silently mourning the passing of a dear, sweet friend.  Silently, because I didn't want this to be the way any of my fellow staffers heard the news.  One of "my" kids turned 5 yesterday...and in an unexplained, unexpected, terribly tragic turn of events, she spent the afternoon of her 5th birthday being welcomed into Jesus' loving arms.

Please pray for the family of my little friend.  I know their hearts are torn in two today.  Please pray for the families that are effected by her sudden passing.  Pray for me, as I learn to understand that even the children I know and love are not immune to tragedy.

Love on your little ones.  Don't let go.  You just never know.

Back to college shopping with csn - GIVEAWAY!

 Angel Jacklyn, 
You are #41!!  
Random loves you!
Enjoy your prize!

My husband started back to college last week.  The week prior, I asked him if he needed any supplies, to which he replied, "I don't know," with a shrug.  You see, it's been a long time since we were in college!  We've lived life since then.  A LOT of life.  And we really weren't sure what all he would need!

So far, we've been lucky and haven't needed much.  One thing I'm sure we'll need soon, though, is a new laptop messenger bag or some other similar type of book bag.  We've got one that was pretty nice back when we were in college the first time around, but it's seen better days.  I've been cruising the internet a bit and came across's selection.  They've got something for everyone!

My husband's a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to this sort of thing, so I can imagine he'd want something like this:

Of course, I'm a bit more adventurous than he is in situations like this, so I'd probably pick something like this:

My five year old is in kindergarten.  I know she's LOVE one of these purple bags if she didn't have a new backpack already!

I'm searching (always!) for the perfect cloth diapering diaper bag, too.  I am sure csn's got something I'll want to try!

There are over 200 different csn stores, so no matter what you're looking for, there's something for everyone!  AND not only that, but there's something in every price range!  I really like that feature!
csn stores has offered to give one of my luck readers a $35 gift certificate that can be used at any one of their 200+ stores!  I wish I could win!  All you have to do is follow this link and tell me, if you could choose a school bag for my husband (and price weren't an object), which would you choose?  Leave it in a comment along with your email address so I know how to get ahold of you when you win!

Do you like extra entries?

For one extra entry, simply follow me with Google Friend Connect, and leave a message telling me you did!  Be sure you leave your email address.

Want just one more chance?

Follow me on NetworkedBlogs and leave me a message telling me you did!  Be sure to leave your email address.  

Comments will close and a winner will be chosen via on February 8, 2011, at 11:59am EST.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Social? Networking Part 1

I LOVE "social networking."

There.  I said it.  Even though sometimes I complain about the "joys" of facebook, I rarely go a day without checking in.  I wasted lots of hours in college on myspace.  I have a twitter account that I almost never use.  Facebook is my favorite, though...until they come up with something that changes a little less frequently!  Yep...I'm a social network junkie!


Here's why I love social networking:

I can "talk" to people I haven't talked to in years!  I have "friends" from elementary school on facebook!  It's true.   I may not have talked to them in elementary school...or since elementary school...but somehow, often through a friend or a friend of a friend, we've found each other and are "friends" now.  We chat like we've been friends all our lives.  We may not have liked each other then, but we're best buds now!  Or at least when we're both online we are.

I have new friends!  It's absolutely true.  Okay, technically I didn't "meet" her on facebook, but one of my best friends in the whole world is a facebook friend.  One I've never met in real life!  We could chat for hours on end.  Sometimes we DO chat for hours on end.  We've got kids the same ages, with similar "issues."  We have similar values.  We wish so desperately that we lived close enough to sit on the back porch with a cup of hot chocolate while our kids ran around the back yard together, but we don't.  Instead, we chat online while our kids run around our respective back yards.  We can support each other through medical issues, surgeries, financial struggles...all from across the country.  Thanks, Leigh!

I have the chance to win great prizes!  It's true.   I've found that lots of fellow "mommy bloggers" post reviews and giveaways on facebook.  Items I NEED but usually wouldn't buy for myself.  Sometimes the giveaways are right there on facebook!  I don't even have to go to the trouble of searching the internet!

I can chat with my sister all day long, off and on.  It saves having to pull my cell phone out of my pocket 40,000 times a day.  She calls me less now that we've figured out we can chat online!  (Don't get me wrong, we still talk on the phone daily...usually multiple times.)  We're both stay at home moms, and it's nice to hear a friendly (read: grown-up) voice from time to time!

I can "contract" help!  When I have a question about taxes, I send a note to a friend on facebook that knows about tax laws.  When I need a babysitter, I first post about it on facebook to see if anyone's interested.  When I need information about a particular product, I can post a general question and 13 people will respond.  It's amazing!

I can send mass emails (to 20 people at a time) inviting them or telling them or asking them or...  Or I can send private emails to one or two people at a time.  I can even send a mass email and then branch a private conversation from that.  We almost don't even NEED separate email accounts anymore!

If I had a business, I could have my very own "fan page" where everyone I know could "like" me and keep up with what's going on!

I can keep connected with my family, some far away, some near.  I can see pictures of their children/pets/gardens and they can see mine.  They can share their day dreams, their accomplishments, their struggles, their prayers, their lunch menus, and I can share mine.  For some of us that don't get to see each other in person often, this is great!

I could go on all day about what I love, but I'll stop there.  Social networking has come a long, LONG way in the past few years.  There are a hundred million  reasons to enjoy social networking.  After all, it helps keep us "social," right?


Come back tomorrow and read what I have to say about "ANTI-social" networking...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A great use for disposable diapers!

Know what these are?

Nope.  You're wrong.

They're actually the base material for the messiest experiment we've attempted in quite some time!  I'm an avid reader of a select few blogs.  One I love is The Ramblings of a Crazy Woman.  The writer, whom I have never met, seems to enjoy a lot of similar crafts and experiments and child-raising practices as me.  I even subscribe to her blog by email!  Anyway, her current showcased post is about favorite winter crafts.  I needed something to do this week, so I thought we'd give her "Making snow from diapers" a go!

We cut open the sides of disposible diapers and pulled out all the filling.  Thank goodness I am mostly using cloth, now, or this might have felt like a waste!

In case you're wondering, The Luvs brand diapers had almost NO filling.  Huggies had probably an adequate amount.  Target brand (Up & Up) were LOADED with the stuff!  No wonder they absorb so well!

The kids were really concerned because it didn't look like snow.  It looked like...well, crumbly paper or grainy cotton.

We added a bunch of water and mixed it together.

Have you ever wondered what the filler from the diapers looks like wet?  Wonder no more!  Here it is, all stuck to my hand and mushy.  It felt like a gel.  I didn't like it a bit!  (If you need more evidence that cloth is a good way to go, play with the disposable diaper filler for a while!)

When it was all mixed up it looked vaguely like snow.  It didn't feel like snow, though.  The kids put their fingers in and then were done.  They didn't like it a bit!

The instructions said to put it in the refrigerator or freezer until it was cold.  We tried the freezer first, but rather than start to feel like snow, it was freezing into a big diaper-gel ice-ball.  After 30 minutes or so it moved to the fridge and chilled nicely for a couple more hours.

I brought the sand and water table in.  The kids were so excited!  "Yay!  We're going to SORT THINGS!"  They were a little sad, much to my surprise, when I poured the snow into the table.  Just to make it more "science-y" we put fake snow in half and real snow in half.  Can you tell which is which?

We enjoyed comparing the feel of the two different "snows."  They certainly preferred real snow!  God knew what he was doing when he made snow from water instead of diaper fluff!

The real snow was much easier to mold into a "fort!"

Everyone agreed that when it was all mixed together you could hardly tell the snows apart!  (Little Lou was not happy about the mixing.  Things are supposed to be in their own respective places, you know!)

What a fun experiment!  Thank you, Crazy Woman, for this great idea!  

Wordless Wednesday

Little Broncos Basketball WEARS ME OUT!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My own blog is annoying!

I have a confession to make.  You might now believe me, but I don't write this blog so you can read it.  I really don't.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I enjoy knowing that some of you read my words faithfully every day, sometimes more than once a day.  I love it that what I say is worthwhile enough that it is read over 1800 times each month.  I love getting little comments here and there telling me you enjoy reading my words.  But seriously.  This is NOT for you.  It's for me.  And if no one every read my words again, I think I'd keep writing them.  (But let's not try that, okay?)

I've been thinking about writing this morning, and more specifically about blogging.  I've been pondering what I like to see in a blog, how I like it to be formatted, what annoys me...and I have come to realize that my own blog is annoying!  There's no rhyme or reason to it.  Nothing is scheduled or planned.  I sit down in my "office" (read: recliner) during naptime, throw something together, and put it out there for the world to see.  Maybe this week it's Tuesday and we did a cool project in the morning that I want to tell you about.  Or it's Tuesday and my kid said something funny I want to tell you about.  Or it's Tuesday and I did my taxes and want to complain about it.  Who knows?  You never know what you might find when you pop into my blog!

Maybe you like that, maybe you don't.  But like I said, it annoys me.  I'm the kind of girl that likes to know that every Thursday when I look at your blog, there's going to be a new picture of something Crazy Aunt Edna did this week.  I like to know that every Monday when I look at your blog there'll be a story about what your silly monkeys ate for breakfast.  I'm the kind that likes to know that on Saturdays you'll tell me how many socks you left unmatched that week.  I like routines!  So I will be working on a "schedule" of sorts.  It'll be a loose one, I think.  It'll be written in sand, because sometimes I will go off topic and don't want to feel like I've let my readers down!

So, here's where I need you!  I want to know what you love about your favorite blogs!  I've got some things up my sleeve, mind you, but I want to know what you like!  Is there a special weekly feature you'd like to see?

AND I want to hear what you don't like.  Maybe you don't even like predictable blogs.  I won't be offended if you tell me that information, either.

What do you want to see?



"Mommy, look!  That McDonald's sign has 'a posser-v-s!'"

Isn't my Bug cute?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Life Skills

In case you've begun to think my children's education is all "academic," I want to ensure you that we DO teach them about important life skills as well.  Take, for instance, the lesson at dinner last night...

As you can see, we take their education VERY seriously.  ;)

One Hundred

The number of days Little Lou has been in kindergarten.
The number of items she needed to put in a display for school.
The number of craft feathers stuck to posterboard.
The number of craft feathers that graced my kitchen floor.
The number of new gray hairs I have after cleaning feathers from the table and floor and...
The number of hugs Little Lou deserves for an awesome project!

It's become a tradition at elementary schools across the country for kindergarteners to have "100 days of school" celebrations.  In many of those classrooms, students are given the task of choosing a way to display 100 of something.  In Little Lou's classroom, there were no other parameters.  

A paper was sent home with examples from last year, to give parents an idea.  I showed them to Little Lou, who promptly choose which of THOSE projects she wanted to do.  I told her we needed to think of our own, and she immediately popped out a doozy!

What would YOU do with an economy-sized bag of colored feathers, 

The most gigantic googly eyes Hobby Lobby has to offer,

And a ridiculously expensive bottle of rubber cement?

 If you were Little Lou, these would be the ingredients for a PERFECT 100-feather chicken!

(If you were me, you'd be trying your hand at drawing chickens on posterboard.)

 It takes a LOT of rubber cement to glue 100 feathers to a chicken!

 Sorry, Poppy...I didn't teach Little Lou to make boogers.  I told her we can take the rubber cement to your house and you can teach her!

Check out Little Lou's artwork!

 She was so excited...and super proud!  It was worth staying up a little past bedtime to make the most amazing posterboard chicken she could imagine! 

(I'm just hoping all the feathers stayed on that silly chicken while she walked it into class today!)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Our Little Bronco

Today was the last day of Little Broncos basketball for the year.

 Little Lou is 2nd from the left in the 2nd row.

 Little Lou had a blast!  Little Broncos Basketball is the Elementary basketball camp, grades K-6.  For 8 weeks each winter the girls have practice and games.  The high school varsity girls are required to attend a certain number of days to "help" and the high school varsity and JV coaches are on hand most weeks watching and helping as needed.  

The girls are divided into two age groups, K-2 and 3-6.  They are then further divided into teams.  Little Lou's team had 6 kids and 2 coaches.  The girls got tons of playing time!  Most games they all played the whole game, as they rarely all showed up.

 There she is again...front row, far right.

The coaches spend tons of time with the kids.  They're great!  They make sure that the girls have a lot of fun, and if they learn a little something about basketball while they're there, it's an added bonus!

 Here she is with her cheesy "they're taking my picture" grin.  
Since today was the last day, we had pictures, awards, and pizza!  Each girl got a medal.  Little Lou's already said she wants to play again next year...because she wants another medal!

Little Lou's BFF played this year, too.  They weren't on the same team, but they were still inseparable most of the time!
Little Lou and K, modeling their medals

Thanks for a great season, Little Broncos!  We can't wait to play again next year!

Friday, January 21, 2011

"Those" days

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person that's ever had a really rough day.  Or at least I'm probably not.  You know the kind.  The days that you get to the end of...or the middle of...and can hardly convince your body to stay awake because it's been so hard.  The days when everywhere you turn, plans are falling apart and things are going the "wrong" way.  Days when everything that can go wrong does.  Those days.  As in, "I'm having one of those days.

Today was one of those days.  It's not even over yet, because as much as I want to be asleep, here I sit at 10:30pm waiting for the last of the children to fall asleep.  My husband just got home from a 14 hour work day...a day that was supposed to be 8 hours and culminate in a night with friends.  I know he didn't love the schedule change, either.

But as I sit here thinking about the things that went wrong, I can't help thinking of some of the things that went right

Today my children all woke up happy, on their own.  It was a 2-hour delay day and I would have loved to sleep in, but the kids had other plans.  It was nice to have a morning snuggle with the kids.  It was nice to have a relaxed morning rather than the usual before-school rush.

Stinky hasn't spit up in several days!  And he's sleeping 6-7 hours straight most nights.  It's taking 3-a-day doses of medicine to accomplish both of these tasks, but he's eating and sleeping with relatively no trouble!

Little Lou passed her 2nd semester skills test at school today!  She has officially completed all the kindergarten "standards" with 4 months to go left in the school year.  We don't know yet what that means, exactly, other than that we've got a lot of work to do at home to keep her challenged.  Along those same lines, both of the last 2 days she's read 2nd grade reading level books to me with no help.  She's a bright little star in my book!

My sister came into town and we went out to dinner with my parents.  I have garlic breath and I probably undid all the good that I have done with exercise and healthier eating this week, but we had a nice dinner together and enjoyed a private room at one of our favorite restaurants.

As I look back at this long, "difficult" day, most of what I see is positive.  It reminds me that, in the moment, things seem hard.  In the moment, I don't know how I will make it to the end of the day.  In the moment, I can't see the next moment to even lunge forward. 

But ultimately God has a plan.  He's in control even when my days feel out of control (and believe me, on days like today I feel totally out of control).  All I have to do is lean on him, reach for him, hold tight to him, and I will make it to the end of the day.

Not just the day, either.  Can you imagine the joy when I get to the end of my life and look back?  When I can look at the days, weeks, months, years even, of hardship and struggle, and see the good that came of them?  My peace on days like today is knowing that I'm not alone.  It's knowing that whether or not I win the battle, I've already won the war.  (Yep...Jesus did that for me when he died for ME on the cross all those years ago.)

Thank you, Jesus, for holding me up on the days I don't know where to place my feet.  Thank you for being steadfast and true, even, especially on...days like today.  Jesus loves me, this I know...

Zookies Winner!

The winner of the Zookies Diaper Cover is...

#40, Amylynn, who said,
"I follow this blog with GFC!"

Congratulations, Amylynn!  You have 48 hours to respond or I'll pick another winner!

And to the rest of you, don't worry!  There are 3 more great giveaways coming VERY soon!

It's almost time!

Only an hour and a half left to enter to win the Zookies Diaper Cover!  Hurry and get your entries in by 11:59am EST!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Call

I just got "The Call."

If you've ever had a child who was slated for a major surgery you'll understand.  You know.

The Call
       that says in 5 months and 9 days your Bug's life will change if even just a little.

The Call
       That your 3 year old will be making his 6th trip to the operating theater.

The Call
       that says it's real and your Bug will be there, in that hospital, again.

The Call
       that reminds you of weeks and months of wound care and recovery.

The Call
       that the surgeons have coordinated schedules and are already prepping for your little Bug.

The Call.

Bittersweet.  Emotional.  Both heart-breaking and encouraging.  Terrifying.  Heart stopping.  Miraculous.

The Call.

Surgery is set for June 29th, 9:00 am.  Please begin praying now, if you haven't already, for Bugsy and for
his surgeons, Dr Jodi Smith and Dr Robert Havlik, and for all the nurses and staff at Riley Hospital for Children who will be caring for our little boy again.

Craniosynostosis stinks.


See that guy up there in that picture?  Yeah, the one that is dancing with a girl that looks remarkably like me, only much skinnier.  I want to tell you a little about that guy.

He's getting ready to start his senior year of college.  He's (obviously) just married his high school sweetheart after 4 1/2 years of dating.  He's full of life.  He's happy.  He's following what he believes to be God's will for his life.  Aside from making sure he gets to the airport on time tomorrow morning so he can take his new bride to Mexico, he hasn't a care in the world!  Life is easy peasy!
Now I want to tell you a little bit about THIS guy.  It's a little hard to see in because this picture's a little further away, but he looks remarkably like that other guy...but with more facial hair.  

He's getting ready to start his senior year of college.  (Okay, he started last week.)  He's still married to his high school sweetheart, after 7 1/2 years.  If you're counting, that's 11 years together.  He's full of life.  He's happy.  He's following what he believes to be God's will for his life.

I know, I know.  I just told you the same story twice.  But I noticed this morning that I have spent hours and hours talking about my children and barely a minute talking about my husband!  

Life's hit us pretty hard these last few years.  That's right: even for Christians, life isn't always easy.  Life isn't always "fair."  When we got married 7 1/2 years ago, we had it all worked out.  We had a perfect plan.  We'd be a cute "little" family with 12 kids (or so he thought), he'd take a church as a youth pastor, and we'd live someplace for years and years, even retire there.

LIFE happened.  He graduated from college and we moved to a tiny town where he took over as youth pastor at a nice little church.  We'd just been married a year when we lost our first baby, Bailey.  We found out we were pregnant with Little Lou and he lost his job.  We moved to another state where we lived with my parents for 15 months.  We moved into our own home and sent another angel baby to Heaven.  More lost jobs.  Bugsy was born with severe physical deformities and delays.  Surgeries.  More surgeries.  And then Stinky came along.  

My husband has been struggling with where he fits.  He's been praying...we've been praying...that God would reveal His will and his path.  Somewhere along the line, my husband realized that, while God's not calling him AWAY from ministry, he's being called to pursue additional pathways as well.  We've prayed that things will work out so that my husband can provide for our family and I can stay home and raise them, and He has!

My husband realized last fall that he needed to go back to school.  He's had a desire since high school (if not earlier) to pursue a career in the field of biology.  God called him into ministry, so my husband left his degree in biology, moved across the country, and followed that call.  He's still called to youth ministry.  He still wants nothing more than to be a youth pastor.  But he is also realizing that the drive to be a biologist has never left him, so he's back in school pursuing that dream!  You can't imagine how proud I am of him!

College, even a week of it, has brought my husband a little bit closer to the care-free boy he was 7 years ago.  I've been mesmerized as I've watched the last week unfold before us.  College looks good on you, Buddy!


When I think about my husband and the things he's been through, the things he's going through, and how far he's come in the last WEEK, it makes me realize more and more that God's plan for our lives is ever-changing.  Just when we think we think we have it all figured out, the tables often turn and we're thrown for a loop.  Is God faithful?  Absolutely.  Does he provide?  100%.  Does he give us the desires of our hearts?  If we're faithful!  But what we set out to do from the beginning isn't always-isn't OFTEN-where we end up.  We're leaning on God and trusting that His ultimate plan is being worked in and through us.  It's ever morphing and changing, and we're glad to be along for the ride!


(Oh, and don't tell my husband, but I am head-over-heals in love with that college boy up there in the picture!)

Zookies Cloth Diaper Cover Giveaway ENDS TOMORROW!!!

Don't forget!  My Zookies diaper cover giveaway ends at 11:59am TOMORROW!

Zookies Giveaway

As I write, there are 98 entries...which means you've got a fighting chance!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why am I here?

Tonight I was asked the question, "With what has God gifted you that you can use to help others?"  (Actually, I was asked last week, but it was reiterated today.)  I've been thinking about this all week.  I've been thinking about it this evening.  And I think you are my answer.  That's right!

I've been a writer all my life.  Since birth, I think, or at least very shortly thereafter.  I've always ALWAYS said that if I could do one job in the whole wide world, I'd write.  Now I'm a grown-up.  Still, if I could do one job in the whole wide world, I'd write.  In fact, I love it so much, I do it without pay, every day!

You might be wondering how that has anything to do with helping others.  I've been thinking about that, too.  Here's the thing, though.  I have regular readers...REGULAR FIFTEEN countries!  Can you believe it?  I sure can't.  And if you've read my blog very many times, you know that in nearly all of my posts, there's a little bit of me.

Who am I?  I'm a Christian.  A God-loving, Christ-following Christian.  With everything I am, I am trying to follow in His steps.

So, if you're reading this, you're one of the few...or many, depending on how you see it...people who I have the opportunity to impact.  Am I helping you change a tire or bake a cake or rake your leaves?  Not today.  But in some tiny way, I am helping you (I hope!) to see just a little bit of Jesus.

There you have it, then.  God made me to write.  The more I write, the more I want to write.  The more I'm here, the more I want to be here.  Thank you, God, for giving me the ability and drive to write!  And thank you for giving me even this tiny audience in this tiny place in time.  I will use it for You!

God's divine plan

Do your kids have big career goals? 

Mine do.  Until this morning, Little Lou and Bugsy wanted to be a Firefighter-Mom and an ice cream man, respectively.  As you can see, I've raised them to know what's important!  I mean, seriously.  We DO need firefighters AND moms.  Both are super heroes in their own rights.  Both help people.  There are a million similarities.  But an ice cream man?  I would suggest that he, too, is a super hero...the super hero of summer, saving kids (and grown-ups!) everywhere from summer's heat!

As you can imagine, those were career choices I was more than proud of!  ;)

But today...well, today the tables turned.  You see, it's a snow day today.  Or rather, it's an ICE day.  What better is there to do on a snow day than cuddle up and watch our favorite movies?  Little Lou picked first.  Willy Wonka!

We LOVE Willy Wonka!  The kids have a new-found love for their little orange friends, the Oompa Loompas.

And this morning, ALL morning, my livingroom became a training camp, of sorts, for Oompa Loompas.  Bugsy's been doing forward rolls (or trying to, anyway!),

 they've been flipping each other off their backs,

 and Little Lou's been showing off her cartwheel skills!

You see, that's what my children now aspire to be.  Oompa Loompas.  And as their mommy, I suppose I will be proud of them even if they decide to dye their hair green and paint their skin orange and do acrobatics in a chocolate factory.  (Even moreso, of course, if they bring me a bit of chocolate now and then!)  And who am I to judge?  I don't know what God made them to be!

Shoot, I have trouble figuring out what God made ME to be!  (Although I'm pretty sure I'm not made to be an Oompa Loompa...but then, I've been wrong before!)

I'm not convinced they're made to be Oompa Loompas, though.  I'm going to continue to pray that God's divine plan would be clearly obvious in their lives.  Even if it IS to be Oompa Loompas!