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Friday, September 30, 2011

More of My Memories

I explained in my previous post that I had created the new blog header using this software. But I still wanted to play around with it more to try some other things to show you all. Well, to show the 3 individuals that are actually interested. Only three? Really? So this was my creation tonight. Basically, it was a cute little page already designed for me. All I had to do was drop in the photos along with a little cropping and repositioning. Easy peasy. Just what I need! Go here to read, comment and enter the Giveaway. Winner will be chosen at random on Monday!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Memories Giveaway!

I have a very special treat over here! Liz Gardner at My Memories has asked me to host a Giveaway. Pretty exciting stuff! My Memories is giving away their digital scrapbook software to one of you! The software is valued at $40 but might possibly be yours for free! It has been rated #1 by Amazon and Top Ten Reviews.

If you want a chance to win, here are a few ways to enter:

1) Become a follower on the My Memories Blog
2) Link up with My Memories on Facebook here
3) Follow My Memories on Twitter here
4) Blog About this Giveaway
5) Or simply leave me a comment on this post. But before commenting, please go here, browse through the digital scrap packs and let me know which one is your fave.

If you do any or all of these, let me know in the comment section below! Each one counts as an entry, so you have five opportunities to win!

My Memories Suite is pretty cool! I created my new blog header using the software. There are so many options and I may be changing it up again in the near future when I have a little more time to sit and play with all of the tools. Not to mention that we badly need to update our family photos. These were all taken in this spring. But with this digital scrapbooking software, you can do so much more than scrapbooking! You can definitely make scrapbook layouts and photo books, but also calendars, cards, videos and more. It really is a nifty tool to have. Check out these videos for more information and creative ideas.

And as an added bonus to this Giveaway, My Memories is giving ALL of you your very own Share the Memories coupon code that provides a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software and/or a $10 coupon for the store - $20 value total! Just use the coupon code STMMMS77819 to redeem these discounts.

I will announce the winner of the Giveaway on Monday, October 3rd.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

C is for Junk Food!

Since the boys headed back to school on Thursdays, I'm trying to be consistent with doing 1 day of school at home. Whatever letter they work on that Thursday at school, I continue to review with them on the following Monday or Tuesday. And so far, they have been going straight through the alphabet. Last week they learned the letter C, so yesterday and today we have been doing some fun "C" activities. As always, I steal some ideas from other moms, other blogs and also this website is normally helpful. But the activities below are ones that I actually thought up in my own brain. Who knew I had it in me! :) My boys love doing crafts and that intentional time that we get to spend together. Literally, 30 minutes of prep time the night before can make for such an enjoyable morning with my boys.

C is for Cookies! Immediately after breakfast, we began to "study" ;) the letter C with Chocolate Chunk Cookies!!! I just told the boys cookies, since I didn't want to throw them off with the CH sound quite yet. They love helping in the kitchen. So they enjoyed taking turns mixing up the batter to make our cookies. While the cookies were in the oven baking, they worked on lining their "C" pages with cheerios. I did sort of steal this idea from a friend. Thanks Kristy. We talked about all the familiar words that begin with C. Cantelope. Cars. Camera. Color. Cookies. Cupcake. Crackers. Cold. Carrots. Cat. Cow. Cup. One boy worked really hard on the Cheerio project. Another boy enjoyed eating the Cheerios . . .and probably some tiny bits of gluestick. Take a look at the worksheets below and you be the judge.
C is for Cupcakes! Our next little project was cupcakes. The evening before, I had been making the C sound and asking what words started with C. Holden immediately blurted out "cupcake"! So he inspired this little craft. I had already glued down the foil cupcake bottom the night before. The boys glued on the chocolate cupcake top. And then their favorite part was gluing down the sprinkles.
Don't they look like pretty serious crafters?
And the finished projects . . .
C is for Candy Corn! The C ideas just kept coming to me. So today I pulled out the candy corn! Mmmmmm. Now we just need to add some salted mixed nuts to that bowl. :)The boys did a simple homemade candy corn puzzle while partaking in a little bit of the real deal.
If Holden and Pax remember anything about the letter C, it might only be that it is delicious! ;)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The best use of our morning

If I've learned anything in the last 2 years, it's that I can't wait on my children to wake me in the morning. I've got to have some time to think about the day and prepare my heart. And much of that time is spent in prayer for myself and my family. I wish that I could say that I sit on the patio drinking my coffee and reading my Bible while the boys sleep. I don't get up that early. But if I can have the prayer time before the house goes from quiet to chaos, it makes a huge difference in how I respond to my boys throughout the day. Even if that prayer time is going on during a jog outside or in the shower and in front of the mirror while I get ready. Time with God is time with God. Period. And now I'm trying to work in a little worship time at breakfast with my little boys. The few times I've done this, it's been to NorthWood's Feet That Move CD. That's our church and the CD was recorded about a year ago. I have no intentions of removing that CD anytime soon. The music touches my heart unlike any other at this time. Here's just one of my faves and what I would love to cling to as the theme of my life.

And if you need a little more spunk in your worship, here is one of the boys favorites. If you could only see them "move their feet". :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Jeremy wears jeans alot. Not to work, but any other place, he's in jeans. He has alot more jeans than I do. I'm pretty sure that he has more jeans than anyone in this house. I think he might be a collector. ;) Even when it's 107 outside, you will probably still find him in jeans. So Holden has been asking to wear jeans for months. But since all of his jeans from last year are high waters (yes, this fall our 3 year old will be wearing a 5T) and the heat has been so extreme, he hasn't been able to wear the beloved jeans. But he's taken notice that daddy wears them often. So combine that with the fact that they make a cool sound when he walks, then you understand why he has been begging to wear them. Constantly. So today, since the high was ONLY 90, we broke out a new pair of jeans. He was so excited to dress like daddy for church this morning. :) He was even more excited when the whole family ended up in denim.
Just another small way this boy looks up to his daddy. He even wants to dress like him. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What do you fear?

In church this morning, our pastor asked this question today. I think because I am sort of in a good and comfy season of my life, my mind didn't think of the present. It immediately shot back to what I have feared at other times in my life. Those things I've already lived through and have come out on the other side.

At 15, I probably feared losing popularity. There you go. I said it. Lame and superficial. If I'm being completely honest, in many ways that was me at age 15. So, God showed me a life outside of that inner circle. He moved my family. I transferred to a huge high school at the beginning of my Junior year. No one knew me. And that is pretty much how I felt the day I graduated, 2 years later. To this day, I don't keep in touch with a single person from my graduating class. It probably doesn't help that I'm not on FaceBook. My parents have since moved from that place. So honestly, I have no connection to that time. But those 2 years had such a positive impact on my life and who I am today. It was a time of huge spiritual growth and such a sweet and deeper connection with my Jesus. I experienced his love like never before. His relationship became more of a friendship because that is exactly what I needed at that time.

At 22, during Jeremy and I's 6 month engagement, I feared he was going to die before we married. I know that sounds morbid and crazy. But we were making 6 hour drives back and forth to visit one another. I was so fearful when he was on the road to come for a visit or when he was returning back to school. I remember crying about it to my mom while I lived at home. It was this crazy fear that I constantly had to hand back over to God.

I know with certainty, my 27 year old self feared not having biological children and experiencing pregnancy. If you're close to me at all, then you already know the transformation God has done on my heart in that area. And I'm pretty certain, I would be the worst pregnant girl ever. ;)

So all of these thoughts came to mind as I pondered the question this morning. Then I forced myself to think about the present. Today. What is my fear now? It all boils down to my little boys. I think about this more often than I'd like to admit. But one of my greatest fears is that I'm going to have to sit and watch my child(ren) go through a rebellious time. I've watched too many Christian families struggle with rebellious teenagers. So in my heart, I know it's out of my control. I can seek God in my parenting and attempt to do everything right and I still may have to face my fear. And to take that a little further . . . I struggle with wanting my child to truly know grace. I want them to have a deep understanding of the forgiveness of Christ and the sinfulness of ALL men. For most of my life, I walked the straight and narrow because that's what a good, Christian girl should do. I had a few small adventures off the path, but for the most part, I played it safe and tried to make God and my parents proud. I'm grateful for my testimony and how God made it, even as simple as it is. But it's been a harder struggle for me to fully know and understand grace. And even more of a struggle for me to see my ugly, sinful self for what it really is outside of Christ. Ugly and sinful! So it seems peaceful and easy to think that I would prefer my boys to walk that same straight and narrow path. The one I've been very familiar with. I want them to be good, Jesus-loving boys. But I want them to understand the grace and forgiveness of Christ alot better than I did. I want them to grasp the depth of it alot sooner than I did. And I also have to realize that sometimes people travel a different road to bring them to that point. But once they get there, it's completely amazing. Those are some of the thoughts that run through my crazy head quite regularly.

For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Recent Reads

Early this year, I said to myself: Self, you need to make more time for reading. And you don't have to waste your time finishing a book if you aren't feelin' it. I've always forced myself to finish books. I could never just stop in the middle, even if I wasn't enjoying it. I felt like I had to finish what I had started. Well, these days I don't have time for that nonsense. So if 30ish pages in, I'm not into it, I get rid of it and move on to the next. That's the way I roll these days. So from now on, when I post any of my reads, know that they're good ones (in my opinion). If they weren't, I wouldn't have even made it to the halfway point. So some recent books I've read:This one was so great! It was a big one. I had my nose in it for months. Thought provoking, encouraging and convicting. I highly recommend it. It completely transformed some of my thoughts and feelings on prayer. Back when I made the purchase, it was a free download. So it cost me nothing. I only wish now that I had the hard copy. It's one of those that you would want to read, with a highlighter in hand, to refer back to things later. I'm sure I will be re-reading this one in the future. I think it would make for a great book club or group study.
Lauren told me how great this one was and loaned me her copy. I finished it in 2 or 3 days. Easy and interesting read. It reminded me alot of 90 minutes in Heaven, which I read several years ago.
This one I completed with a summer book club. It's probably my least favorite on this list. And to be honest, I still haven't finished the last chapter because I missed our last book club meeting. So I need to finish it up. It had some great ideas and great thoughts for motherhood and parenting. It just seemed a little . . . extreme. Like: Make sure you read classic stories to your kids. Make sure they can play an instrument. Make sure they have hobbies. Make sure they appreciate beautiful artwork. Here's how to organize your house. Okay, it wasn't worded so bluntly, but that's how it came across to me. It seemed to be heavily geared towards raising well-rounded, educated children than pointing them towards Jesus. They weren't bad ideas, just not the most important, in my opinion. But it did give me some good ideas in the area of family and raising my kiddos. And I've heard plenty of other mommas rave about this author and book. I just didn't love it. All that to say, you might have a completely different opinion.
I'm about 3/4 of my way through this one. It's so good! It will probably go on my list of all time faves. I'm determined to finish the book before we see the movie. And since we are typically Redboxers, that should be no problem at all. I should be finished with this one by the end of the weekend.
And some fun new books I recently added to the boys collection:
I got this one thinking Pax might need it before starting "school". I use that term loosely. It's really just 1 day a week of a Mother's Day Out program. I thought this little story would help Pax say goodbye to me every Thursday morning. But Pax didn't shed a single tear when I dropped him off last week. Oh well. Maybe it wasn't needed afterall. It's still a really cute book!
And this one is so sweet! I love that there is such a great selection of children's books that include adoption. I read it to both of the boys tonight before bedtime. They are my definitely my wish come true! :)

I need to finish The Help and then I have 3 more books piling up my nightstand that are just waiting to be read! I'm sure I'll be sharing those with you at a later date.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

OKC trip

Some time last month, we made a little weekend trip to OKC. Things went a little crazy over here and I never got around to posting about that weekend. Even though we were there 2 full days, it flew by so fast and we missed seeing many faces that we would have loved to have seen. We did get to see a few friends and also spend an evening with Pax's birthmom, M and her family.
On Friday morning, we finally got to meet baby Denton and spend some time with his family. Holden had a good time with his very first friend, Lyndon. They got to play outside in the water and on the swingset all morning long. And then they stopped for a bite to eat.
And then all 4 boys posed for a picture. Pax, Denton, Lyndon and Holden.
I had to steal those 2 pictures from Daysha because I had forgotten to bring my camera to their house.
Friday night we headed to M's house for an early birthday party for Pax and just to visit. It had been a while since we had seen them all. I'm sure Pax had changed and grown alot between visits. I've said it before, but we love this family. And time spent with them is always so natural. Never an awkward moment. Never any nervous jitters. We've only known them 2 years and our visits are more sporadic since our move to Texas, but we feel really blessed to have them in our lives. They love Pax. But what is really special, is they love Holden too. Friday evening we went to their home and had an early birthday party for Pax.
You don't know how many times I look at his face and can see her through him.
Holden felt under the weather that night. This family has been around Holden enough to know that something was not right with him. He didn't touch his pizza, turned down a cupcake. And then he sat in my lap for the rest of the evening. He was better by the next morning. Holden even had a present with his name of it.
That weekend, we stayed at our friend's house, Kevin and Andrea. I didn't pull out my camera AT ALL, except while we were at the Children's Museum. It was our first trip to the OKC Children's Museum. Our pass here, enabled us to get in free at OKC. Very cool! And the museum at OKC is much cooler than the one here. Here are a few pictures from our fun morning.
Pax being a little scientist. :)
And driving a tractor.
And then riding on a Segway. Holden took a ride too but his picture didn't turn out.
Pax and Abigail had fun with the bubbles.
And Abigail really had fun bathing in them. :)Holden was just a bit harder to catch with my camera. Though my camera didn't make it out of my suitcase much at all during the weekend, we had a wonderful time seeing some old friends. The next time, we might need to plan a longer visit so we have the time to see everyone.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

2 School Boys!

Today my little studs went to school. Jeremy went in late to work so he could come along and see the new school. For whatever crazy reason, I had a lump in my throat the entire drive there. Something about dropping off both of my little boys at a school for 5 whole hours . . . it just seemed odd! I had to keep reminding myself of the reasons we chose to do this. It confirmed once again why I'm only doing a 1 day program. Honestly, that is ALL I want. That's ALL I can handle. I enjoy my time with these 2 boys and I'm not ready to let them go just yet. :)
It was Pax's first time to ever participate and I was a little worried he might cry at the drop off. I talked it up and he told me he wouldn't cry. You know that drive when I had the lump in my throat and I felt like I was going to cry? Well, I was trying to talk to my 2-year old about being a big boy and I was on the verge of tears. That pep talk I was giving may have been just as much for myself. :) But Pax walked right into his classroom and began playing. I snuck a quick kiss goodbye and left. It was easy. His teachers said he did well all day until naptime. Then he began missing mommy. I did forget a stuffed animal and his paci, which would normally help him sleep. Pax ran to greet me when I arrived at the door. I'm so proud of my big 2-year old!
Holden was also given a good report. But he also failed at naptime today. I know they will both catch on to the schedule within a few weeks. I'm not complaining since they are both sleeping right now, as I waste a little time here. But I have to share a little brag story on Holden. At "Meet the Teacher" last week, there was a little boy that was having a really hard time. So yesterday I began talking to Holden about this boy, N, and explaining that N might be sad. I explained that he might miss his mommy and daddy and cry when they leave. I also explained that it would be nice that if he cries, he could approach him and say, "N, would you like to play cars with me?" So we arrived at Holden's classroom and we see N. His mom is trying to leave and N is having a really, really hard time and won't let go of her. My Holden would have normally waved me goodbye and run for the toys to begin playing. But today, he cautiously approached N and his mommy and stood watching, patiently. I watched Holden, as he stood close by with his hands folded behind his back, watching his new friend cling to his mommy and cry. His face was full of concern for this boy. I walked over to kiss Holden goodbye and gave him one last reminder to play with N. I walked out of the church and the tears started coming. My ball of energy, rough and tumble, 3-year old boy had genuine concern for his new friend. I saw compassion, care and kindness in my little boy. That's the big stuff people! Those are the important things that I want to instill in my children at an early age. His heart is golden. He's wild and crazy. And sometimes mean to his little brother. But he's learning and growing. And that's what matters to me most right now.
To this day, I can't allow myself to drift off to sleep at night without pouring out my thankful heart to God in what he's done for me. I love these boys more than I ever knew was possible. So each night, when the house is quiet, I realize the fullness of my heart because of the perfection of God's plan. So thankful.