Sunday, May 31, 2009

Potty Training - Attempt #3

I've heard people say that sometimes kids just have to do things in their own time. I used to think this was the dumbest thing, that everything could be taught or introduced within the time frame the "books" tell us parents to do.

Evidently, these people are not crazy after all.

Yesterday afternoon, Sarah walked into the bathroom, took off her diaper on her own, sat on the toilet, and actually went! I seriously could not believe it. This happened without prompting whatsoever from me or Josh. It was completely random and something she just decided to do. We made the biggest deal about it, cheering and jumping up and down. We gave her a small piece of candy, and asked her if she wanted to wear "big girl" underwear. She smiled and said yes.

We just took off with this, and so far so good. She has gone several times in the "big potty" as we call it, and one time she walked in there on her own without us taking her. She is willing to go, and not resistant, which is a far cry different than the other two times we tried to show her how to be a big girl.

So for all of you who told me she would do this in her own time...and all of you who I thought were just saying that to be nice or you meant it and I thought you were crazy, I apologize for not believing you! :o)

I hope this begins our lives as a household with only ONE kid in diapers!

Edit: I spoke too soon. This afternoon/evening she's be resistant. But we're sticking with it!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Prayer Chains

"For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." Matthew 18:20

I suppose this scripture is one of the reasons people have come up with prayer chains. In the olden days, people actually made phone calls to each other, and spoke of the prayer need. Now, prayers are passed along in mass emails. We just read the black letters on a white background.

I've received such emails. I see the massive list, and I wonder: did the people ask to be on this list? If they did, are they really praying, or do they just like to be "in the know"? I'm sorry if this sounds cynical. I have a reason for feeling this way...

Recently, I've had a few medical tests/procedures, and I really just wanted to keep the details among close friends and family. It's not that I didn't want people to pray for me, but I only told specific people who were close to me because...I don't know...I just wasn't ready to tell the world. It could still be nothing. If it would turn out to be something, perhaps I'd be more willing to share. Not sure if that all makes sense. However, my request was put on an email prayer chain, so now, people I probably don't even know are aware of my situation.

Should I be thankful for prayers? Yes, of course. But do I think that MANY people are on such lists just for the sake of being on the list and for the sake of seeing what's going on with others? Yes. Again, I'm sorry. For those of you who earnestly pray when you read requests, thank you. I just didn't want my info out in the open yet.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Job Description

I am currently in need of a job description when it comes to being a big sister. If anyone has something of this nature, let me know.

My mom and husband tell me to just love her and be supportive. It's her life after all. It's not my place to tell her what to do, where to go, who to see, etc. It's not my place to tell her who to love, who to stay away from, etc. simply KILLS me to see her cry, even though she may not think so. I have stayed up nights thinking about her. I have cried for her in her times of hurt, even if it's not when she's around for her to see. At times, I just can't keep my thoughts to myself. I can't keep from telling her when someone is treating her bad. I want her to see it, because sometimes we can't see these things when we're in the situation. But it makes her angry at me.

And this often causes major conflict. "Don't be my mom! Just be my sister!" So...evidently I don't know how to be a big sister. It's something I've not known how to do for almost 24 years now.

I love her. But evidently I don't know how to best show it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sarah's First Hair Cut

Sarah is 2 years and 9 months old, and today she finally got her first hair cut! It's taken this long to even have enough to trim! Anyway, here are some pics from her big day!

Here is daddy helping her get ready in the chair!

The "before" shot.

Getting those pretty curls trimmed up!

All done!

I really wasn't sure how she would do. I usually put her in her "dinner seat" to put pig tails in her hair because it straps her in and she can't get away! :o) But she just sat there so still for Carey! I hope I can leave her hair down more often now...but don't be surprised if you still see her in those piggies!

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Morning Dilemma

Specifically, a Sunday morning dilemma.

I have become much better at letting Caleb pick out his own clothes in the morning. On most days, I tell myself that it doesn't matter if he doesn't match, especially since the people we see the most are close friends, and they certainly don't care what my kids are wearing!

The only exception is Sunday mornings.

I like to try lay out his shirt and pants on his bed so there's really no argument. Right out of the bathtub, he heads to his room and sees his dress pants and shirt laying there. Sometimes, if I haven't done the laundry, he only has jeans to wear. Without any trouble, he dresses himself and gets ready for church.

But...the problem is...he really hates dress shoes.

For several reasons I debate with myself if it's worth the battle. On one hand, I want him to obey his mommy, and if I told him to put on his brown shoes, that's what he should do. On the other hand, I once learned that what we should do before church - even while getting ready - is to prepare our hearts for worship. If I'm having an argument with him about shoes, that's not exactly preparing his heart - or my heart - for worship.

So when he came out in his "Crocs" on Sunday...

...which are actually hand-me-downs from Payton (and have become his new favorite shoes), I just smiled. I looked at Josh and said sarcastically, "Is it taboo to wear Crocs and jeans? I don't exactly have any fashion sense you know!"

So, he wore them to church. And would you believe, we weren't ostracized. And my friends are still my friends, and his friends are still his friends. :o)

But Sarah...she still is at the mercy of her not-so-fashionable mom.

I think she looks cute no matter what!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

You have spoken the truth over my life

I must confess that I'm very sad right now. I'm trying so hard to not be over-dramatic about it, but I hope everyone understands that a friend moving away is really difficult.

And I can't get these sweet images out of my head...

Wow, loading those on here was harder (emotionally) than I thought it would be. It's official now that Alli, Caleb's best buddy, will be moving away. Her daddy got a wonderful job offer, and it's a wonderful opportunity for their family. I wasn't even sure how to pray for them when I knew he was interviewing. I knew this would be just perfect for them. At the same time, I just really wanted them to stay here. I will miss Alli and her brother Payton. They are just the sweetest children I have ever met. I will miss their daddy, Chris, because he's so funny, witty, and is a great man of God.

And their mommy, Sarah. Words cannot even express how thankful I am that God put you in my life right when He did. You encouraged me. You prayed for me. You always had just the right book for me! :o) You and Chris helped me get Caleb in and out of preschool. I enjoyed our Panera trips during their PE classes! I've enjoyed our phone calls, our emails, your comments on my blog. And it's hard to believe I've only really known you for about 2 years...and only gotten close over the last year or so.

But...since God is so wonderful, He (again) spoke through Caleb at just the right time. I told Caleb that you all were moving to Bolivar. He looked down at first, but then his eyes lit up and he said, "Oh! You mean...that town we drove through that's close to Aunt Sonnie's house?" Seriously, I can't believe he remembered that detail. "Yes. You're right, Caleb! And we can try and visit some, ok?!"

So we will. We will visit! And maybe you can come to Springfield, too!

Thank you for being a Proverbs 31 woman. We are to strive to be like Jesus, but often I believe He sends us examples here on earth. You have been that example for me. And I can't thank you enough.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Good Parking Spot?

Everybody and their brother is shopping at Wal-Mart during this holiday weekend. No, it doesn't matter what time it is. Just trust me. Just don't go.

I was driving around, trying to find a parking spot this morning, and I noticed a car with handicapped plates in a regular spot - relatively close to the entrance. After noticing that, I looked up ahead and saw several handicapped spots opened. I continued to drive around, and just for grins, I counted/estimated how many handicapped parking places there were total and how many were available. There are around 40 spots, and I'd guess half of them were available. Being the sweet, mild-mannered person that I am, this did not phase me one bit. It did not bother me that the Wal-Mart lot was completely full all the way down to Fashion Bug and Hibbett Sports, and that I, being one without the option to park in a handicapped spot could have used a spot where this car decided to park.

Nope, didn't bother me one bit.

In fact, it was something that did not even cross my mind the rest of the day, except to tell my husband, my sister, my mom, my best friend, my neighbor, a stranger, anyone who would listen...nope, doesn't get under my skin in the least. It's amazing that I could even recall enough of this situation to write about it on my blog.


P.S. I certainly do not mean any disrespect to anyone who does have a handicapped sticker or plate (I have family members who do). And I don't mean to be rude! I was in a sarcastic and ornery mood yesterday when this happened and when I wrote it! ;o)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Psalm 23

This evening, I was sitting outside on this beautiful, summer-like day, and my thoughts were drifting in many different directions. I started thinking about Caleb and all the verses he learned this year in his AWANA group. Then I recalled seeing a little girl about his age on You Tube a while back reciting The 23rd Psalm. It's just so cute. I thought to myself, "I bet I could teach him that set of verses." After all, I taught him the Pledge of Allegiance when he was just 3, and he's been great at memorizing many verses.

Just for fun, I thought I'd start with the first verse. He was swinging on his playset, but I thought we could do this and play at the same time!

"Ok, Caleb. Let's work on a new verse this summer. Repeat after me: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."

He paused and then tried: "The Lord is my matter what!"

I seriously love it when God speaks to me through my children.

I was in awe and could not bring myself to correct him or to continue the scripture lesson. I just smiled at him, and he smiled back at me...not realizing what he had said I'm sure. But what powerful words for me, for anyone really.

He is my Shepherd, no matter what the circumstances may be. He is the Lord, my God, my Salvation, my Rock, my Fortress, my Deliverer, my Friend...the list is endless. He comforts me in my time of sorrow. He rejoices with me in my time of happiness.

I think I will always remember Caleb's version of Psalm 23:1. The Lord is my shepherd, no matter what.

This and That

A few thoughts from the last few days:

Gabriel turned 6-months-old on Tuesday. He's just so cute. When I try to take his picture and tell him to "say cheese" he actually smiles every time! I need to start him on foods soon. He's had nothing but breast milk his entire life.

Watched American Idol finale on Tuesday evening, and it brought back memories of a year ago that day - I was sitting in the ER with my sister who lovingly accompanied me! I was so terribly dehydrated that particular day (3 months prego with Gabriel) that my OB/GYN sent me over. I wasn't feeling good at all, but I was still able to joke with the nurse and say, "We have to watch American Idol. It's the finale. Could you turn it on for us?" :o) She was so nice. So we watched David Cook and David Archuleta that night together in the ER. What memories.

Today is my husband's last day of school. Hooray! Yesterday he was a part of a skit during an assembly. He played Will Ferrell's part in the SNL Cowbell skit. I so wish I could have been there!

I'm struggling with the thought of one of my friends moving away. And I'm not sure how I'll tell Caleb that his best friend has to move to a different town. It's not official yet, but if they do leave, you'll probably be reading a really long post about it in the near future.

And my last thought: Why hasn't anyone called the show "What Not to Wear" on me? I mean, really.

That's all I've got for you Bethany. ;o)

Monday, May 18, 2009

I want to be...

Some days, I have to just keep myself from comparing who I am to others. I'm not sure why I do this from time to time, but it's mostly because I feel inadequate in many ways.

I want to be thin like [ _____ ].
I want to be trendy like [ _____ ].
I want to be organized like [ _____ ].
I want to have a clean house like [ _____ ].
I want to be "green" like [ _____ ].
I want to sing like [ _____ ].
I want to be respected like [ _____ ].
I want to parent like [ _____ ].
I want to be prayerful like [ _____ ].

A specific name comes to mind with each of these, one of them might be you! :o) I realize that God does not want me to think like this, and I often have to push these thoughts away and ask Him to keep me content with who He made me to be.

"I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14

It is perfectly fine to strive to be the best person God made me to be. But many times, instead of striving, I'm just sitting still and comparing. So I pray that I will change what I can (eat less, clean more!) :o) and not compare myself so much to those around me...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thievery? Who Knew?

As we were driving home from church this morning, I looked down between my seat and Josh's seat and noticed the pretty artwork the kids had made during Sunday school. I picked it up, and then noticed a small box of Casey's donuts underneath the papers.

"Oh! Where did you get these?!" I said with joy in my voice. I didn't really care since I love Casey's donuts - some of you may recall my status on facebook during pregnancy that begged someone to bring me some?? :o)

"Well, when I went to get Caleb from children's church, I noticed they were still in the break room from breakfast. Since no one picked them up, I thought I'd bring a few home."

So jokingly I responded, "You mean you stole them?"

"Nope. There was no thievery involved!"

I busted out laughing. "THIEVERY? That's not a word!"

"Yes it is!"

We bantered back and forth like this for a while, my laughter I could hardly contain. Every time he would say it, I would just chuckle.

But of course, with the power of the internet, I quickly learned that thievery is, in fact, a real word. I think it's because it sounded so much like strategery (a made-up word from a Will Ferrell SNL skit) that I honestly thought it was just something Josh made up on the spot! Josh, of course, has been beaming about it all. It's still pretty comical around here...

"So you were a thieverist, then?" I said to him. We both got a good laugh out of that one.

Now, if I could just solve a math problem that Josh couldn't solve...maybe we'd be even.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

God's Perfect Timing. And I Mean Perfect.

One afternoon, when my husband arrived home from work, I decided to head out and take back a Red Box DVD we rented yesterday and tan for my sister's upcoming graduation. While I was out and about, I got a very random whim to get my hair cut - it's really short but very cute! I arrived back home, hopped in the shower, and then helped my husband with the kids as they got ready for AWANA's. He left with Caleb and Sarah, and then I was on my own with Gabriel. I put on some make-up and straightened my hair.

I was to arrive early for choir practice, so instead of being at church around 7:30, I moseyed on over there at about 6:45 - still earlier than Bro. Stephen asked, but I figured I'd visit with some of the people who were there for Bible study.

Then, for some weird reason, I realized I forgot to put on deodorant.

Are you wondering what this has to do with God's timing?

I debated with myself if I should go home. I sort of felt self-conscious but tried to rationalize that I just showered, and it wasn't as if I was going to work out on a treadmill or anything. I could just stay there and not worry about it, but for some reason I felt quite strongly that I should go home. So I strapped Gabriel in his seat, hopped in the van, and went back home.

As I was driving down the street that connects to ours, I looked up ahead. In front of a dark green duplex, I saw a small, 2-year-old boy wearing just a diaper. He was playing in a mud puddle right on the road. I slowed down. I stopped. I looked to see if his parents were out watching him play in the puddle, but I thought to myself, "Who would let their 2-year-old child play in the road?"

There were no parents.

My heart started beating fast - much like it is now as I recall this story. "I need to take this child to his mom!" I thought to myself. I pulled into the driveway, got out of my van, and gently took the small boy up to the door. I guess the mom heard my door shut and noticed a vehicle in her driveway, because she met me at the door.

With compassion, I explained, "He was just playing out here and I was worried."

Her eyes became big as they started to fill with tears. Her mouth dropped as she realized what had happened.

"I was just cooking dinner and I didn't even notice! Thank you so much. Oh, my gosh. I just didn't know."

I didn't even know what to say. It could happen to anyone.

"My two-year-old could sneak out, too, I'm just glad I was here," I tried to reassure her.

I went back to my van, backed out of the drive, and continued home. I was in so much shock that I barely even remembered why I was heading home in the first place.

Oh, yes. Deodorant.

The cliche that "God works in mysterious ways" is an understatement here. The little boy could have wondered off, and to be quite honest, people don't exactly drive slowly down that particular street. I know He put me there at that exact time to take the boy to his front door.

I gave all the detail at the beginning for a few reasons: 1. I have no idea why I decided to get my hair cut that afternoon. If I hadn't gotten it cut, I would not have showered when I got home - because I like to wash it myself when I get it cut; 2. Since I showered, I needed new deodorant! I'm serious when I say I NEVER forget this; it's a part of my routine, and I don't know why I forgot.

But really, I know why I forgot. God used such an odd thing. But He used it. And it was perfect.

Lord, I pray that I will always hear Your voice, even if it's just telling me to go home for deodorant...

One of my favorite milestones

I've been sitting on the floor with Gabriel for several weeks trying to get him to start sitting up. I always put him in front of me, facing out. I let his little body lean from one side to the other while my legs keep him from falling over completely!

Today, however, I was finally able to put him on the floor without any help. It was so cute. Sitting up is one of my favorite milestones!

He will be 6 months next Tuesday. I think these past 6 months have gone by faster than any other time in my life...I feel like I just blinked and my newborn baby started sitting up!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Cardinals in 2009

Do you remember the last time the Cardinals went to the World Series? I do. It was in 2006. Easy to remember for me since Sarah was born in that year.

Do you remember the time before that? I do. It was in 2004. Again, easy to remember because Caleb was born that year!

So the running joke in our family when I was pregnant with Gabriel is that it must mean the Cardinals were going to go to the World Series! After all, my other two children were good luck charms, right? As the summer went along, and the Cardinals were playing...well...not so great, it became evident that Gabriel would not get to say he was born in a year when the Cardinals went to the World Series. In fact, they didn't even make the playoffs! I must admit, I was a little bummed.

And then, the other day, it dawned on me. (I must admit, I've put way too much thought into this!) Caleb and Sarah were born in August - before the World Series and during the season. Gabriel was born in the middle of November - after the World Series and, in some ways, the beginning of another season. Perhaps my kids were the good luck charms BEFORE the World Series and in the same season, not just because it was the same year.

So that means...the Cardinals will go THIS YEAR!

See, I have it all figured out. I have high hopes for them in 2009! :o)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Oh, and one more thing...

I meant to post these yesterday (for Mother's Day), but I neglected to do so. Here are pictures of me with my children the day they arrived in our lives!

Caleb Stephen, born on August 5, 2004. We chose the name Caleb because of it's meaning and Biblical origins. "But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it." Numbers 14:24 His middle name is a namesake after both of his grandpas (that worked out nicely)! Josh's dad's first name is Stephen and my dad's middle name is Stephen.

Caleb was 3 weeks early, but he still weighed in at 8 pounds 3 ounces! :o) Either the due date was off, or I would have potentially had a HUGE baby!

Sarah Kathleen, born on August 25, 2006. I, for some reason, always wanted to name my daughter Sarah. In my mind, it was non-negotiable! :o) Sarah is also biblical, she was Abraham's wife (see Genesis). The name Kathleen is a namesake, named after my Aunt Kathy (Kathleen), my dad's sister.

Sarah also arrived a bit early (a week I think), and she was 8 pounds 14 ounces. We make 'em big around here! :o)

Gabriel Ryan, born November 19, 2008. The previous December (07), our pastor, Bro. Jerry, did a series of sermons leading up to Christmas. Each week he spoke of an individual who had to do with the nativity. The week that he gave a sermon on Gabriel, Josh and I looked at each the same time...and just knew that if the Lord would give us another son, that would be his name! I already blogged about it, but Gabriel means Man of God and he was the angel sent to Daniel (Dan. 8:16; Dan. 9:21): to Zacharias (Luke 1:11-19); and to Mary (Luke 1:26-38). The name Ryan is also a namesake; it is Josh's middle name.

Gabriel was 9 pounds, 4 ounces. I guess if I keep having kids, I'll eventually have a 10-pounder? ;o)

Motherhood is certainly challenging, but I am thankful for this journey and thankful that God placed these children in my life.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Mother's Day

I had the most wonderful Mother's Day...probably the best one ever.

At about 7:00, I thought I could hear Gabriel's little cry. The one that means he's ready to wake up and play. Usually this is followed by the other two waking up. I could feel Josh get out of bed, walk out of the room, and pull the door behind him. "Yes! He's letting me sleep in!" Sleeping in on Sunday's is usually not an option since we have to get ready for church, but I didn't care. I just figured all the getting ready stuff would somehow fall into place.

Eventually all the giggles and talking that accompanies the kids and their morning routine kept me from sleeping any longer. I opened the door to my room and walked into the living room to see everyone. Upon further investigation, I could see Josh making me breakfast! He made THE BEST French toast, and he also put together a very yummy egg, cheese, and sausage casserole. Oh, so good! I was so thrilled that he thought to do this for me.

Then he asked Caleb, "Should mommy have to wait to open her gift or do it now?"

"Now!" Caleb exclaimed in response.

So first, I opened the cards. For the first time, Caleb wrote my name on an envelope. I just loved it. I now understand why moms keep things like this.

It was a sweet card from the that daddy helped pick out, and one that Caleb signed for me. He's just getting better and better at this. He makes me so proud.

Then, Caleb handed me my gift - a large box wrapped in white paper turned around so that the Christmas side of the paper wasn't seen. :o) I had no idea what Josh could have thought of, so I unwrapped it with eagerness to see what he came up with! And there it was...a large wind chime. I'm sure this doesn't sound like much. Maybe a random thought by some who would chose such a thing. But such was not the case with me. It was probably one of the most thoughtful gifts I've received from him. You see, every time I go out to my parents house, a home that sits on 80 acres just a bit outside of Owensville, I love to sit on their deck and listen to their wind chime. It's a deep sounding chime. One of the big ones. I always comment on it!

"I sure wish I could have chimes like that someday!"

Evidently, Josh was listening.

I smiled and got up from the table to give him a hug. "Thank you so much. This is so thoughtful of you!"

We got done with breakfast and started getting ready for church. The next best thing was yet to come. We dedicated Gabriel to the Lord during the morning service. There were three babies this year - Gabriel, Owen, and Bailee. Funny...we all live in the same neighborhood! I loved that Bro. Jerry used a scripture this morning that I often think of when I think of my kids:

"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD." 1 Samuel 1:27, 28

After church, my mom, Josh's mom and dad, Josh's brother Steve and Steve's wife Rebecca came to our house. We enjoyed eating lunch together and watching the Cardinals game!

It was such a nice day. One that every mom should get to have! :o) Thank you, Josh, for your thoughtfulness.

I hope all the moms I know had a blessed day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Some questions to ponder...

If I eat at Sonic, should I tip the person who comes out to give me my food? Is it really tip-worthy? Does it take that much effort to hand me my food at my car as apposed to handing it to me at another fast-food place? Should I feel guilty that I've never tipped a Sonic employee?

I know...deep stuff...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, Or Do Without

Yesterday a writer from The Kaleidoscope came to my house to discuss our lives as a one-income family. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to give our story and share with her how we make it work.

She got the idea of a 4-week series after recalling a concept from many years ago:

Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Or do without.

This saying comes from the 1940's and the efforts to conserve during WWII. She wanted to write about how families are doing during these (so called) tough economic times, specifically families on one-income. My story will be covered under the "Or do without" week, meaning we do without a second income.

I told her my only reservations about doing this interview was the thought that I'd have to tell her we're doing without. "To be honest, we're not doing without! Unless you mean we don't have a yacht out on a lake, we are doing better and are more focused as far as finances than we've ever been."

She smiled.

"That's exactly what I hoped you would tell me."

I shared with her our journey after I became a stay-at-home mom. We didn't have a good plan or a budget, so for the first year after I had Sarah, we used a credit card if we found ourselves out of money at the end of the month and needed diapers, milk, gas, etc. I wondered if we'd ever learn how to live on what Josh was bringing home. Then I told her that we read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, and it completely changed our way of thinking and gave us tools as far as budgeting. After that, we paid off both vehicles. We paid off both credit cards (JC Penney and Discover). I told her how freeing it is to only have our student loan left to pay towards (minus the mortgage) and how amazing it is that I can now share with others how to make it work. We consistently give to our church, and I'm able to give to other ministries, too. As Dave Ramsey's site says:

"Imagine what the People of God could do for the Kingdom of God if they were debt free."

And there is one key component that makes this all work that is truly a gift from the Lord. I used to be very prideful and very resistant to the idea of letting someone help me. Case in point: when I first quit my job, my mom offered to pay for our cell phone bill. We were all on one plan anyway, and the bill still went to her (because I've had the same phone number since I was 18). I wasn't really ok with the idea, but I wasn't sure how this would all work without that help. So I said ok. Eventually I realized that it's a blessing to both of us. She wants to bless me and I needed it! :o)

Another blessing is having friends willing to give me TONS of clothes for my kids. I'm always receiving bags of clothes from Sarah C and Sarah H. What would I do without them? I hardly EVER buy clothes for my kids. When I do laundry, sometimes I look at the dining room table where I fold clothes and look at all of's just piles and piles of tops, pants, shorts, dresses, pj's, etc that have all been given to me.

She asked us about eating out and entertainment. We do have a small amount set aside each month for this, but we are also fortunate that our parents take us out every now and then, and that seems to help with our "let's go to a restaurant" bug we get from time to time! We aren't really movie goers, but I do love Red Box at McDonald's for the $1 rentals and the fact that people give us their free rentals off of their large sodas!

And usually once a summer, our dads take us to a Cardinals game!

With all that being said, the fact remains: I am human. I do get the "let's buy something" bug every now and then. It's especially tempting when we get large checks like Josh's summer school check or a tax refund. Those always go towards debt (which is how we paid off cars and credit cards relatively fast) but I sometimes think, "I sure could get a cute couch and love seat and even matching end tables and a coffee table with that!" But...

"The things of earth...will dim and lose their value..."

I'm not saying I won't have a nice couch and love seat someday! Just not yet. It's not time yet.

And I sometimes blow our restaurant budget on McDonald's dollar menu instead of saving all of it for one nice evening out with hubby. It's crazy. But I'm getting better!

The bottom line is that we have very supportive friends and family. We now have a system that works. We are content with what we have and we live within our means.

I'm looking forward to seeing the article which comes out May 28th.

Special thanks to the Causey's for being on our Financial Peace journey with us. And thanks mom, dad, mom-in-law, and dad-in-law for your support and even buying diapers on an occasion or two back when we didn't have this all figured out yet! :o)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Laundry Friends

One Sunday evening while we were sitting around and talking at Ray and Shirley's house (for our Sunday night fellowship), Ray mentioned he saw an article that talked about refrigerator friends. You know...the friends you have that when you go to their house, you feel more than comfortable going to their fridge because you just feel like looking! Or you just know they have a can of your favorite soda! :o) I have a handful of these people in my life.

But I submit to you that there is another level of friendship. I guess you could call these laundry friends!

Yesterday I received an email from my friend, Sarah H. Normally Tuesdays are our American Idol nights. We always get together and watch, whether it be at her house or my house. Our sweet husbands endure this show and watch it with us, often commenting on the songs or attire. I think they secretly like it!

In her email she said, "Could we come to your house tonight? My dryer isn't working, and I have a load that I already started!"

Of course, I said yes. She brought over two baskets, and we watched our show while the laundry was being done. I know if I ever needed the same, she would let me wash and dry my stuff at her house, too!

Off the top of my head, I would say I have three laundry friends in my town. These are people who I know would feel comfortable letting me visit with them while I had to use their washer and/or dryer. It's not that there aren't many people who would be kind enough to offer...but you know what I mean. I still have to feel comfortable enough to ask! :o)

And while I'm there, I might peek into their refrigerator!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What's in a name?

I have hit a writers block of sorts. Not that I don't have a few things that I'd like to write about, I'm just uncertain as to how to go about stating it! :o) But here is one thing that's been on my mind.

I named my son Gabriel because I love the name. He is not Gabe. I do not like it when people call him Gabe, and I usually cringe on the inside when I hear it in reference to my child. Personally, if I know someone who named their child something that often is given a nickname, I always ask first. "His name is you call him Joe, Joey, or anything like that? Or are you sticking to Joseph?" Isn't that that polite thing to do? I mean, really...don't we as parents do A LOT of thinking about names?

On one (and only one) occasion, I did bring myself to say, "I'd prefer him to be called Gabriel," and that person still calls him Gabe. Ugh.

That's all I've got for today! :o)

Gabriel: Man of God. The name of the angel sent to Daniel (Dan. 8:16; Dan. 9:21): to Zacharias (Luke 1:11-19); and to Mary (Luke 1:26-38).

Monday, May 4, 2009

Preschool (part 2)

I just wanted to share a few things...

This is Caleb's handwriting as of 5/3/09. I scanned it off of a paper from Sunday School. We will work on his letter "A" this summer so that it's lower case. He's been working on his "e" and it's almost correct!

One of Caleb's recent drawings. See how it's all square? He said he drew Wall-E! :o)

This is probably one of my favorite projects he brought home from preschool. On each of the flower petals, it says something about me (made it for Mother's Day). They asked him each question, and they wrote down his answer:

My mom has BROWN eyes.

My mom has BROWN hair.

My mom is THIRTEEN years old. (Too funny!)

I love my mom because SHE GIVES THE BEST HUGS. (Oh, melt my heart!)

My mom is THE PRETTIEST WHEN SHE SINGS. (I got tears when I read this.)

My mom's favorite food is SALAD. (Boy, I have him!)

Preschool Promotion

I didn't have a blog back when Caleb first started preschool, but I can tell you this: I had no idea what to expect! I wasn't sure how he'd do with a group of new kids, new teachers, etc. He does tend to be very outgoing and willing to play with anyone, so for the most part, I wasn't too worried! But I didn't know how he'd do with the new activities and new instruction.

It turned out to be a great year!

Caleb has learned so much. He can write his name legibly. He can cut with scissors around shapes. He's getting better at coloring in the lines. He can count past 20 (into 30's, 40's, etc). He learned so many songs! He already knew the Pledge of Allegiance, but he also learned the Pledge to the Christian flag. This is just a small list of his accomplishments! :o)

But most of all...I just love the Biblical truths he learned. Every day when I'd pick him up, I'd ask him what he learned. He would always respond first with something from his Bible lesson.

And do you remember something I wrote back in January that Mrs. Carrie told me?

I have to tell you the cutest thing today. Since today was black and white day at preschool, the kids were to color the things that God made that should be black. There was a spider on the coloring page, and Caleb kept wanting to color it red. We kept telling him that he needed to color it black. He started coloring it red, and Mrs. Cathy and I told him not to...he needed to color it black. He said he didn't want to.

So Mrs. Cathy said, 'Sometimes we can't do what we want to do, we have to do what we are told to do.'

I told him that Jesus tells us to obey our parents and teachers. I said the Bible tells us that.

He said, 'I got a new Bible.'

I asked him, 'Do you read it, or have someone read it to you? The Bible tells us to obey, do you know what obey means?'

He said, 'I think I'll color this black.' It cracked me up! He realized what the right thing to do was and did it. Way to go! I just thought I would share that with you.

Thank you Mrs. Carrie, Mrs. Cathy, and Mrs. Diane! I'm looking forward to next fall!

For more pictures, click here.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hello. I'm still alive.

Wow, it's been several days since I've written anything. Has anyone missed me?

Too much has been going on. Caleb had his preschool promotion on Thursday. It was so cute, I hope to post some pictures on here soon and write more about preschool!

On Friday, I took Sarah to see a specialist in St. Louis about the excess drainage out of her right eye. It's so gross, and it's often very red and irritated. He said it can be fixed via a short "procedure" which requires anesthesia. Not thrilled about the anesthesia, but evidently this is not uncommon, and the physician does the surgery quite often. I'm sure I'll write more when we decide when to take her to get it done.

While I was gone on Friday, Josh opened up my new bedding (that I wrote about earlier in the week) and made the bed for me. He perfectly displayed all the pillows. But there was one problem. The bedding did not look anything like the picture. The texture of the comforter was not as I expected, and the flowers did not pop out at me like I envisioned. I hate it when the picture doesn't look the same as the real thing. Ugh. I even became teary-eyed when I realized that I would be taking it back since I thought I had finally found something I'd like.

I just got done putting together a slide show for our "Senior Servant Award" at church tomorrow. Since I didn't get the pictures until Wednesday, and I didn't even have my own computer until Friday night (Josh had taken it to school to have the hard drive wiped clean so we could start over...high speed is now a reality) and then today we spent CLEANING after which my in-laws came to visit...all that said...I finally had a chance to scan the pictures tonight at 6:30 and then start putting them into the slide show. It's ready to go.

I know...very random post. I hope to get back in the swing of things by Monday. I have a few ideas floating around in my head! :o)