Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Reading

Reading after school.

Reading before bed.

Makes me smile.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Misc. Monday - Limos, Hair Cuts, and Babies

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

1. On Saturday evening, we celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday. Josh's dad asked him to research limos because he wanted to surprised her with one. So Josh did some calling, and he planned for the limo to arrive at our house at 5:00. His parents arrived around 4:30 to meet us (because she knew we were going out for dinner), so keeping her contained for a half an hour was fun...ha! We blamed it on the Mizzou game. Couldn't leave while it was still on, right?!

The look on her face when she looked outside and saw it was great! We all had a great time, but the kids probably had the most fun.

2. I finally asked a girl I go to church with to take pictures at the hospital when I have baby girl. I just decided that it would be easier to ask a non family member to do this for me since it seems like we're all wrapped up in the hype of the day when it's here! She does an amazing job, and I plan to have her take a nice family picture sometime soon after we're settled with our new blessing. Thanks, Bonnie, for saying you'd do this for me!

3. On Friday, I took the boys to get hair cuts.

As you can see, I waited a bit too long for Gabriel.

This should be a pretty normal, mundane thing, nothing to blog about. But for some reason, Gabriel has decided to hate hair cuts (after being such a good boy the first years of his life). When we arrived, I asked the boys who wanted to go first, and of course Gabriel chimed in with his new phrase (that he says A LOT about EVERTHING lately), "I scared." So Caleb jumped up there and began his hair cut adventure, and I started wondering how on earth we were going to accomplish this feat with Gabriel.

"Look how brave Caleb is being!" I said to him. "And Kara is so nice. She does a great job!"

"I scared," he repeated to me.

So in that moment, as he cuddled up close to me, I just put my hand on his little head and started to pray. I didn't know what else to do. As simple as a hair cut seems, I recognize that sometimes things that seem simple to us as grown ups aren't simple to kids. I asked God to calm Gabriel, to allow Gabriel to trust me and trust Kara, and for him to have a peaceful spirit.

With God's help, and several dum-dums, the hair cut was a success.

4. My best friend is in labor as I type. She's the one who has been pregnant with me all four times, and I really wish I could be in Indiana with her right now! I asked my doctor if that trip would be an ok idea, and she said she couldn't keep me at home...but wouldn't recommend it with me being 32 weeks. So I've been talking and texting her A LOT, and I expect her to text me back unless she's pushing...ha! I'm so excited for her, she's having her first girl.

Here we are with our first babies in 2004...we sure have learned lots since then, right, Kassie?!

5. I deactivated facebook for 36 hours. Is it sad that 36 hours is as long as I could last?

Friday, February 24, 2012

I Gave Up

On being a big-time blogger that is.

It didn't take long for me to realize when I started writing in 2009 how much I loved it. I loved the outlet. I loved talking about my opinions or my family. I blog hopped A LOT (that is, going from blog to blog, leaving comments or hoping they had BlogFrog so they knew I was there), and as I would read other blogs, specifically ones that had a big following and advertisements, it just seemed to me that I was every bit as able and witty and smart as those women who were making it big.

But while I was being big-headed about it, I failed to remember (and realize) a very basic business/marketing/economic concept: the market was over-saturated with blogs. By 2009, there were so many famous bloggers that there wasn't any room for new ones. I mean, unless a writer had a very distinct something that set them apart, we were all just in the same boat: mostly moms with cute kids and an occasional opinion piece. Oh...and mostly Christian.

That did not set me apart, no matter how great I might be with words.

So by the end of 2010, after a really hard few months in my life, I just stepped back from blogging almost completely. When I look at the amount of entries I had in 2009, it reminds me how much I wanted to make it. I wrote almost every day! In 2010 I did the same until the last three months of the year, when my life was sort of a mess, and I barely had it in me to write. In 2011 I worked outside of the home for 9 months out of the year, so the time I would have spent writing was mostly gone (when I got home from work, that was the last thing on my mind).

Because of my blogging hiatus, I lost my BlogHer ads. I am completely ok with that, I didn't realize how much traffic it would take to make anything. Even when I was getting 150 - 200 hits a day, I only made about $30 over the course of six months or so (I'd say 3 of those months I was actively blogging, so I guess it's more like $30 in 3 months...but still). Making it big was harder than I many ways.

Now that I'm back to being home with my kiddos, I have committed to sticking with my blog, mostly for kid stuff. I did not set out to be a mommy blogger, but I now find myself primarily writing about being a mom...and that's ok! That's my life. My "new look" on my blog pretty much reflects that, and it also reflects that I am no longer trying to make it big. The big-time bloggers don't really go for the scrapbook look! :)

I am just along for the ride that is blogging. I love reading a few here and there, mostly my friends and a few friends I've made over the years through writing. I rarely read big-time bloggers anymore. I'm not sure why.

And even though I'm one of MANY bloggers, it's still good to have an outlet. And I appreciate the ones who stop by from time to time.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sarah's Baby Sister

The other day Sarah was playing on her own, I'm not sure if I remember what exactly she was doing. I do remember I was in the kitchen, and from the other room I heard her say,
"Mommy...if my baby sister is brown, I will love her!"
The pure innocence of those words just warmed my heart. I understood what she meant. It was eye opening for me to hear it, realizing that at 5-years-old, she has no concept of how race works!

She has friends of different races that she sees at church. Perhaps her comment came the day or two after playing at Graysen's house, Ashley's daughter, a family who has adopted two boys from Ethiopia. Maybe she started thinking about how kids all look different, even in the same family? I'm not sure!

But it made me very happy. It made me glad that this is how my kids think. To not only see everyone as one big happy family, but to love them all the same.

If only everyone thought this way. If only all of us were as innocent as children and could see it the way Sarah does.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

I have never given up something for Lent. This is primarily because I was never part of a denomination that really discussed this or promoted it (I grew up Baptist), so I just heard about it growing up and didn't understand the purpose.

Yesterday I happened to flip by the theologically sound show, The Talk, and they were discussing what they would consider giving up during Lent. It sort of hit me when one of the hosts said, "What would be the most difficult thing for you to give up for 40 days?"

If you're my real life friend, keep up with me on Facebook, or have read my blog very long, this couldn't possibly be difficult to figure out about me. My top two would be:


Now, how exactly would a person correlate giving up McDonald's or Facebook with honoring God or growing closer to Him? As I was putting together this post, I noticed that a friend on Facebook said:
"Kinda wondering if all the people giving things up for Lent are actually Catholic. [If not] I guess my question is: why? I mean, if it is symbolic of the sacrifice, it's commendable, but I get the impression a lot of people do it more as a challenge to themselves, like a mid-year New Years Resolution, or because they can. But I hope everyone who does at the very least reads on what it means. Otherwise it's like a mockery of the whole point of it."
I completely agree with her.

If I were to take part in it, it would not be because I think scripture commands me to or that I have to. I think a large part of this practice has to do with self-denial. How often do we tell ourselves no? Could I grow closer in my faith if I had to give up two of my biggies and rely on His strength to do it? As silly as it sounds, I know it would be nearly impossible for me to give up the two I shared. Why is that? Do they have control over me? Maybe they do! That shouldn't be! Why do I find myself pulling through the drive-thru when I'm not hungry or logging onto Facebook when I just checked it 10 minutes ago? Maybe I need to let go of those things to see what He can do in my life.

What would I do with all the time I spend on Facebook?

What would I do with the money I save by not eating out or how would my health improve?

And what does God want to show me through that?

I don't think we only have to make a sacrificial decision during Lent. I think it's something we should consider year-round. I think anytime we find ourselves bound to something, whether it's food or a habit or whatever, maybe we should evaluate the why of it.

What would you give up?

Or maybe the question should be, what should you give up?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Misc. Monday

There are a few blog posts floating around in my head, but I don't know if I have an entire post in me for each one, so I think I'll write a few lines about each thought instead...and link up for Miscellany Monday.

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

1. So last week was Valentines Day, and I have to confess, it always annoys me when people say they don't like Valentines Day because they don't need one day out of the year to show someone they care or boast about how perfect their husband is because he gives them cards, flowers, candy, or whatever all year long. Well, I'm very happy for you, but for some men, they would be lost without birthdays, anniversaries, and Valentines Day (that is, if they remember these).

And I would also say, I feel the same way about Christmas. Do I really need to put any emphasis on ONE DAY when God calls me to serve Him and honor Him all year long? Nope. I don't. So I'll get out my Vince Gill Christmas CD (starting in October of course) and be pretty secular about Christmas. Because it's not about one day.

2. I read an article the other day titled "The Seven Worst Things You Can Say to Your Husband". First of all, I really thought I must have missed my calling when I read it, because I'm quite sure I could have written a better article. But anyway, I found myself feeling pretty defensive while I read it, so I'm not sure what that says about me. For one thing, I can think of FAR WORSE things to say, even though I know deep down each of them would be best kept unsaid. But each one probably comes out of my mouth at some point, and I thought it was funny when I read a comment that said, "Why are we defending men? They deserve these comments sometimes!" Well, maybe they do, maybe they don't.

The other thing that got me was when a woman posted a comment and said she had been married for 3 years and determined that most people who commented needed therapy. Boy, you should have seen people rip her apart, and part of me agreed. I remember when I had been married for 3 years. Shoot, what can go wrong after 3 years? Come tell me what it means to be married after 10 or 15 years, after a few kids, a few jobs, a few moves. Then you can tell me I need therapy. I ALREADY KNOW I NEED IT! :)

3. Some people take facebook WAY too seriously. And some people don't. I prefer the second kind. If I unfriended you and you see me in real life and decide to not make eye contact and not speak with me, I think I'm probably not the one who has issues.

4. Can you tell that pregnancy makes me an ornery person?

Hope you have a great week! I should have a new blog look soon!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hurts and Heartache - Putting Others Before Ourselves

This past Tuesday, February 14th, Josh's grandma passed away.

This is her 75th birthday in 2007, my favorite picture of us with her.

It's interesting to me how different it is to lose a grandparent as an adult as opposed to as a child. When I was just 14, I lost my maternal grandmother. I adored her, spent so much time with her, and was very heartbroken. I still miss her and still think about her. I even wrote a post about her a while back remembering all the sweet things about her. I grieved as someone who lost so much, not really considering anyone else.

At that time, my mom was only 35. I didn't consider that my mom had lost both of her parents by the age of 35. That's only a little more than 2 years away for me. I can't comprehend it.

When my dad's dad passed away in 2006, it was different for me. I was shocked at the loss, I was very sad, grandpa was one of my biggest fans when it came to my pitching! He would travel with grandma to all kinds of games, tell me how great I did, was at all kinds of events in my life.

But for some reason, it was different.

I was more sad for my dad, who just lost his dad. It broke my heart to think that my dad wouldn't have his dad to talk about the weather or the Cardinals or stupid republicans with a beer in hand as they stood around the BBQ grill.

Our last Easter with grandpa, he is seated in the middle of the picture, I was 5 months pregnant with Sarah.

I think the same is true for Josh. While he is hurting over the loss, especially since his grandma was his last living grandparent, I know he is more sad for his mom. He will miss her sweet voice, her sweet stories, and her sweet hugs and kisses...but as an adult, he recognizes that the loss of a mother would be a very difficult thing.

And I wish I would have recognized that when I was 14, I wish I could have hurt more for my mom instead of hurting for myself.

But I think that's something that comes with time: understanding other people's hurts and heartache and realizing that even when we hurt, there are others that could be hurting even deeper.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Snow Day

I love snow days so much. I'm sure it's somehow psychologically tied to my childhood since both of my parents were teachers...which meant those days turned into slow-paced family days! And since I married a teacher - and I stay home with the kids - we find ourselves having those same kind of slow-paced family days.

It started wi
th Caleb asking if he could play the Wii.

Sure, why not.

Josh began making chocolate chip pancakes, and I hadn't had those in FOREVER. I used to hav
e them when my mom would make them, but at some point they seemed too sweet for me. Pregnant Chrissy does not have the same taste buds, nothing is too sweet! :)

Then it was time to bundle up and send the kids outside. Josh went with them, I am too much of a pansy to go outside in the cold ( has to be 72 degrees for me because I am not outdoorsy).

After being out in the cold, it was time for hot chocolate. That's what everyone does after playing in the snow, right?!

Later that d
ay, Sarah needed to finish up some Valentine cards. She worked on each one, writing her name and the person the card was supposed to go to. (Actually, my method was to have her write her name on all of them first, and when she got tired, we stopped. It took a few days to finish writing the names of her classmates and teachers in the "to" space, but she got it done!)

We also finished her Valentine box.

Very simple but very Sarah.

We had
some reading time, movie time, and wrestle time.

We had a nice dinner as Josh and I worked together to make
something I found on Pinterest. It was pretty yumm

Later...after dinner...a bit before bedtime...Caleb asked if we could play Battleship. I thought that would be a nice way to end the day!

It was just what a snow day should be. It was everything I hoped it would be. Sound a little corny? Yeah, maybe. Chalk it up to that psychological tie to childhood! ;)

What do you do on snow days?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Practically Sweet

I'm a girl.

I like flowers and candy and sappy stuff like the rest.

But when it comes to gift giving on my part, I am too practical for that.

Maybe it's because I know guys (most guys?) aren't just dying for the most romantic thing ever when February 14th rolls around. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they'd like a nice dinner, time away from the chaos of the daily grind, maybe even a massage or something. But the glitz and glamor of this particular holiday probably doesn't really do much for them.

And I said...I am too practical to plan something over-the-top for my guy (even if it is a double standard for me to secretly hope he plans it for me).

So when I got the idea of a gift for him, knowing it was something he really, really needed...not something sweet or romantic, I wanted to somehow tie in a nice, sweet saying to go along with the gift. I guess my thoughts are...if I can somehow tie this holiday in with what I picked out, maybe it will seem sweet? :)

His shoes for work were literally falling apart, and I just knew I wanted to find a pair for him. So I did. And I wanted to keep with the love theme for Valentine's

I wrote, "Step by step...we are in this journey together."

He was really surprised. He really smiled. He really liked them. A lot.

So now I know that I will continue with my practicality. I will just have to work on my creative phrases.

Anyone have a creative phrase to go with a repaired garage door opener? :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Dad and His Daughter

Brace yourself.

I'm having an emotional moment.

It could be because I'm

Or because I'm a

Or because I'm

But most likely it's all three of those.

Last night Josh took Sarah to a Daddy/Daughter dance.

Before they left, they looked like this:

And Sarah's hair was all pretty like this:

And at the dance, they looked like this:

But the day we brought her home, they looked like this:

And I may be crying a bit putting this post together.

Of course, it didn't help that one of my friends posted this song on facebook today:

Mark Harris - When We're Together (From The Movie COURAGEOUS) from providentlabelgroup on

Bawled. My. Eyes. Out.
If you haven't seen the movie Courageous, you would think I'm crazy for go watch it and then you can bawl with me.

Deep breath, Chrissy.

There's just something about a dad and his daughter.

Makes a momma teary-eyed.

And sometimes, it makes a daddy teary-eyed, too.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Transforming Rooms

Sometimes when I walk by this room...

...I see that it is unfinished for the girls, but it has progressed just like I had hoped. Because we have worked SO HARD to clean out TONS of toys that had accumulated over the course of over seven years (since Caleb's birth) and over the course of multiple birthdays and Christmases between three kids!

The room used to look like this...

...that is, when it was clean. Oh, dare I show what it ACTUALLY looked like? Ok...for the sake of being honest.

It began to actually repulse me. My in-laws and parents would joke, "Boy, they sure don't have any toys!" And I sort of wanted to strangle them since most of the toys came from them. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate their thoughtfulness towards my children, but as you can see, it got to be too much.

And honestly, I know kids who have more.

So one day Josh and I spent HOURS cleaning out the toy room, knowing it would need to transform into a girl room. We do not have a basement or a way to keep everything, and even if I did, I wouldn't want to. We kept what they played with the most, and bye bye to the rest. We donated most things to our Caring Center (which is like a local version of Goodwill) and a few things I gave to friends. It's funny how sometimes this sort of purging from the house can be the opposite of hoarding...I now find myself thinking, "What else can I get rid of?!"

Caleb is mostly past the toy stage. He LOVES his Legos and he loves playing games on the Wii or Nintendo DSi. He has started reading chapter books, so that takes up some of his time, too. Sarah mostly plays with Barbies and Ponies, so that doesn't take up much room (except for her Barbie house she received for Christmas). Gabriel has a few toys here and there that he likes, mostly some left over that Caleb used to like that we decided to keep!

I'm excited about this new transformation in our home. While it may feel crammed with 4 kids sharing 2 rooms, I can see the benefit of us staying where we are for a while. No space means not keeping things we don't need. And in a way, it's certainly a teachable moment for our kids to learn to give to others who don't have as much.

More transformation to come. Girl room needs a bed for Sarah and some decorations on the walls. Caleb has picked out a color for the boy room, and since we painted for the girls, we should be fair and paint for the boys. :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

To Pray

The other night, I went out to Panera to have coffee with a sweet friend. We talked for almost 3 hours, and it's always nice to have girl time and talk about life!

I asked her a question, and I'm still going back and forth about how I feel/what I think.

"Should we pray about something we don't actually think will ever come to be?"

She told me her answer. I told her I understood her view. I think I agreed, but then I change my mind sometimes.

Do we have to earnestly think God will do it for Him to listen? Or could we pray about something we don't think will happen in a million years, and He still hears us and wants us to know He understands - both the prayer and our doubts?

What do you think?

Friday, February 3, 2012


I'm writing this in the afternoon, all alone, sitting in a very quiet house. My sweet father-in-law took my two younger kiddos to his house to play, and they will be spending the night. They often ask to go, they love their grandparents and are blessed with the best.

So every now and then, I get these quiet moments.


I should cherish them, right? I mean, what mom hasn't said they could use some time on their
own. Time to read a book, pick up the house, finish up a project or something. And I'm sure I'll do those things. The girl room needs work after all! But more often than not...when I'm in these quiet just doesn't feel right.

Perhaps it's because of the season of life that I'm in. Right now, my season is being a mom. With a not-so-big house, a family of almost six can be pretty loud when little kids are playing. For me, though, it doesn't seem str
ange or loud. It doesn't bother me when they run around the dining room table, even though I should teach them not to run in the house. When they are giggling and being silly together, enjoying their time, no matter what the noise level, it makes me happy. Because I have them. They are precious.

Don't get me wrong. Especially lately, as I've been hurting more often than not, sometimes I wonder if I'm being the best mom I can be when I just sit on the couch and let them watch shows or play on their own. If I'm hurting, I can't always direct them in the best way to play when they may actually seem wild to an outsider looking in. So there are days when I think, "It sure would be nice for them to go play with Papa and leave me here alone!"

But then they go.

And here I am. In the quiet.

And I don't like it.

And I might have had tears as I just typed that.

So while quiet seems appealing to me sometimes, sometimes I have to remind myself that when I finally get it, it's not really what it's cracked up to be. Because it's not really that season in my life.
I'll have plenty of quiet later. In my season of an empty nest.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Getting the girl room ready, Sarah and baby girl will be sharing this space.