Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Storming the Gates

Yesterday, while Jack was in "room time," I heard some noises that weren't typical. So, my curiosity piqued, I looked under his door.  

He had moved the items from the left side of his room to the right side of his room. Same placement. New spot.  

This morning. I heard the same noises. Again, I peeked under the door and saw he'd done the same thing. All three large items were moved to the same place. 

I guess he wanted a new perspective. I do it, too. I've moved furniture in his room several times, and when we lived in the condo, I was always trying out new room arrangements. 

A new perspective. We all need it occasionally. 

The Husband needs it badly. Truly. If we've ever needed you to storm the gates of heaven for us, this is it. 

He has been at this job as a correctional
officer for almost a year now. The job was a god-send last year. It worked better with his hours at the academy. It allowed us to save up for and buy our house. It has paid the bills and bought the groceries every month. 

But, it's a hard job. Not physically. Mentally. 

He is locked in a room with 30-50 men. Men who are often angry at their circumstances and some who are violent. 

In order to remain in control of an intense situation, my husband has to become someone he's not. Someone he doesn't like. Someone that sometimes follows him home even if he tries to leave him behind. 

It is wearing on his mind and his heart. He so badly wants to be the man God is calling him to be, but this job is strangling that man.  To be verbally abused and threatened 8 to sometimes 16 hours a day 5 days a week is painful. To be on constant alert for a violent outbreak, to have to resort to using foul language because it's the only thing these men understand, to have to witness disturbing acts daily, is damaging. 

He desperately wants to be a police officer. He wants to do good. He wants to help and serve others. He wants to make a difference. He wants his children to see what he does to provide for our family and be proud of him. 

He is doing the best he can in a pretty tough situation, but it's getting harder and harder. Job openings in departments around here are few and far between, and they are often filled in that "small town everyone knows everyone" way. 

Please, please, please storm those gates with us. Please add him to your prayers. Pass him on to those prayer chain warriors in your life. Pray for the hand of God to move in such a mighty way that no one can doubt it was God who did it. 

He needs this new perspective. Please God, WE need this new perspective. Move mountains. Open doors. Shove him toward that perfect position that you have for him. Allow him the opportunity to serve and honor you with his words, his actions, his service to others. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

In the Beginning...There Was a Garden

Y'all, I'm feeling the itch. 

It's more of a tick, really. 
We've got this huge backyard (which really is not very pretty right now...I'm sure the overcast weather isn't helping my view), and I am itching, ticking, jonesing to start a garden. I love flowers, but I'd rather plant veggies and fruit. 

The problem is that I have no idea where to begin. 


I've searched and searched on Pinterest, and there are tons of blog posts and articles about gardening, but I'm having trouble just getting started. 

What do I do first? 

When do I plant? What kind of soil?  How much sun/shade?

Where do I plant? Side of the yard? Back of the yard? Along the fence? Out in the middle?

What do I plant? Cucumbers, definitely.  Bell peppers, most likely.  But, what else? What's your favorite, easily grown fruit/vegetable?

What pests do I need to worry about? 

I also need to keep in mind that I have two little ones. I don't have a ton of time, and usually one of them is attached to my leg while the other is held in my arms or strapped to my chest, but I do want to do this for them and with them.  

The plethora of information is overwhelming. I found an article that was titled "The 101 Things You Need to Know About Starting a Garden or You Will Fail" or something like that. Probably less hostile. 

I need someone to go seed/plant shopping with me (or tell me exactly what to get). I need help with setting it up, and then I need to be taught how to take care of it. I'm totally a hands-on learner. Simply reading the information will get me nowhere. 

I want it to be pretty and orderly and make sense, and if I have to do this on my own, I feel like it will be ugly and disorderly and confusing. That made me sigh. Loudly. 

If you love to garden and you live around here, or you love to garden and you'd like to come visit for a day or two--I volunteer my parents' guest room...that's ok with you, Mom, right ;)--, please come. 
Or you hate gardening but know someone who loves it and will gladly pass on this post to them, or you love gardening, but will write up detailed, simple, easily-followable guidelines preferably with pictures and arrows and pretty charts, please share your expertise!  

I'm not posting this to Facebook since I've given it up for Lent, but if you read this and you want to pass it along to friends and family to help me out, I'd be ever so grateful! Or if you have any helpful hints, tricks, tips, not-to-do's, I'm all ears. Really.  Comment below, email, or give me a call.  I'm wanting to learn. I just need the right teacher. Or two. Or five.  

Saturday, February 21, 2015

3 Days In


It's only been three days since Lent started, and it has seriously been so tough not to open up my Facebook app on my phone (I finally deleted the app) or type in the website address in my browser. It's been much tougher this go-round. 

It hasn't been tough to incorporate the Bible study I began, though. I've done half of a chapter to a whole chapter each morning while Jack has room time and Ella's napping.  The memorizing of the verses are a bit harder; though I've got Hebrews 12:1 down pretty good now.  It's a great one, and I wrote it on our chalkboard in the mudroom to help me remember it. 

This is totally off topic, but I'm eating this bowl of oatmeal to help boost my milk supply (apparently oatmeal is a galactagogue).
 I can't stand oatmeal, but this is the steel cut oat kind, which makes it a little tastier. But not much. So to make it edible, I add a splash of milk and a big spoonful of Nutella. That makes it much easier to swallow. Literally.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

40 Days

They say to make something a habit, you should do it for 40 days. I suppose the same goes for breaking a bad habit.

40 days. 

There are many instances of the number 40 in the Bible.
The Flood for 40 days and nights. 
The Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years. 
Jesus fasting in the desert for 40 days and nights. 
40 days from the resurrection to Jesus' ascension. 

The Lentin season begins today, Ash Wednesday, and (not counting Sundays--the days of rest), it lasts 40 days, ending on Easter Sunday. 

Traditionally, things are "given up" during this time to encourage more time of reflection and to gain a closer relationship with Jesus, the whole reason for this season. 

I've decided to give up the time I spend on Facebook. 
I feel like I spend way too much time on there, and this gives me the opportunity to break that habit and start a new one. 

Yesterday, my sister brought me a birthday gift (thank you, Beth!), and one of the items was a Bible study. I've decided that I'll be working on that in some of my free moments instead of perusing comments and articles and pictures posted on FB throughout the day. 

So, here I go. Jack's having room time, Ella's napping, and The Husband is working outside on the house. All's quiet. Mostly. 
I've got my morning smoothie (milk, a spoonful of oatmeal, two spoonfuls of ice cream, half a frozen banana, a spoonful of coconut oil, and a heaping spoonful of peanut butter) and my Bible study. 
Guess I should grab a pen :)

If you've chosen to give up something (or start something!) for Lent, what did you choose? Let's help keep one another accountable :)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Stories

I'll start with my own. 

Jack played in the dirt for the first time yesterday morning. Before, he's inspected grass and leaves but has never just dug in. 
I guess watching the guys re-level the house inspired him. So anywho, yesterday, he kept leaning off the porch to dig, and I felt that was slightly unsafe. So, I plopped him down on this piece of rectangular concrete just off the porch and told him to sit there and not get off. He went to town digging through the dead leaves and grass. He yanked up roots and inspected them. He pulled up handfuls of dirt and put them in his bowl. He stayed there for over 30 minutes enjoying every second. After lunch and his nap, we headed back outside to soak up more of the gorgeous weather, and he immediately requested (lots of grunts and pointing and signing "help") to get down to that spot. I gave him a spoon and fork (super appropriate digging tools, I know) and his bowl, and he sat there investigating and pretending to stir up his "soup."  Then, he put some of the grass/dirt/root/leaf mixture on his spoon and pretended to eat. Well, I thought he was pretending. Instead, my boy took a bite of that nature-y goodness and smiled. Dirt covered his mouth and he smacked his lips. I calmly (maybe with a hint of disgust) told him we don't eat that stuff. He smiled and shook his head.  We went inside, and then he took a long bath.

Earlier in the week, I was in the bathroom straightening my hair while Jack had room time. He normally listens to nursery rhyme CDs while he plays, and that morning, as I worked on my hair, I heard "London Bridge is Falling Down" begin to play. In the back of my mind, I remembered hearing that there was an actual reason the song was written, so I did what I normally do when I'm curious: I googled. 

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've likely heard all the controversy surrounding the newly released movie 50 Shades of Grey based on the same-titled book.  I've read many articles about it (although surprisingly, none have truly focused on the horrendous writing). This one (http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/film/fifty-shades-grey-and-abuse) is the best one I've read, and I feel like it states the case well based on truth, facts, statistics, and comments. A companion (though, admittedly longish) read would be this one http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/02/consent-isnt-enough-in-fifty-shades-of-grey/385267/.

Last one:  last night I read a post about music in worship services. I was raised on hymns, and although many hymns are beautiful and stir my soul, most don't resonate with me. So, this article (http://www.crosswalk.com/church/worship/what-happens-when-we-sing-in-worship-11627945.html?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=fbpage&utm_campaign=cwupdate) was a refreshing read and helped me feel less guilty about that. 

Have you read any good articles or blog posts or books lately? Post them in the comments below, if so!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Friday, February 13, 2015

Five Facts Friday (2/13)

1. This little dude is 20 months and 2 days old. 
He keeps us on our toes and in stitches the majority of the time. 
He voluntarily gives sweet Eskimo kisses to his sister and me. 
He shrugs his shoulders and looks perplexed when he's done something he *knows* he shouldn't have done. 
His imagination is developing, and it's an amazing thing to witness. 
He signs 20+ words, says "momma,"
"dadda," "Ella," "papa" (for Grandpa), and has attempted "circle," "man," "banana," & "backpack."
He still adores his baby sister and wants to hug and hold her often. 
He enjoys room time and spends an hour to and hour and fifteen minutes in there. 
He takes one 2 1/2 to 3 hour nap each afternoon; at night, he's in bed by 7:30 and wakes the next morning around 7:15. 
He's shy, but friendly around strangers; he's wild, outgoing, and loving around his peeps.
He LOVES riding in the car and asks to do it often.
He runs and dances and spins in circles.  
He's such a cutie and a card. 

2. This gal is a squealing, raspberry-blowing machine who has begun to make this scary, inhaling-with-sound noise. Frightening. It delights her. 

3. We had our house re-leveled this week. Insurance covered a little over half the estimated cost. Jack really liked watching the guys work, and he'd run from one window to the next. He'd wave at them, and then he'd grab a play fork from his kitchen and pretend to "dig in the dirt."  

4. I did six loads of laundry yesterday. I did two more today. Can't wait for Heaven and the whole no-laundry thing. 

5. Speaking of laundry. The Bestie's friend Sara (thank you so much, Sara!) sent over a bunch of hand-me-downs for the kiddos. And, by a bunch, I mean two large trash bags and one large diaper box full. Or this:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Thankful Thursday (2/12)

How fitting that today is Thankful Thursday. 
I just received this in the mail from my very sweet cousin, Sarah. 

It is an incredibly thoughtful gift, and it made me cry (hence why my very blotchy face is nowhere near the picture). 

Yesterday, Jack received this ABC book from that very same wonderful cousin. 
He LOVES it. I love it. It's a very special book filled with lovely memories. 

Thank you, thank you, Sarah, for being such a kind and generous cousin and friend. 

It's a strange feeling when my heart smiles and aches all at the same time. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thankful Thursday (2/5)

Today, I'm thankful for activities that keep Jack entertained. 

Yesterday was an overcast and chilly day. We'd had a pretty good morning, and I wanted to keep that good vibe going as long as possible. So, when Jack woke up from his nap and while Ella continued with hers, I grabbed a large, empty, plastic container and tossed in a few items like a funnel, a pitcher, a small beach ball, a measuring cup, etc. Things that could be used when exploring with water. 
I filled the bucket a third of the way with warm water since it was cool outside.  Jack wanted to help. A lot. 
I lugged that heavy sucker outside and told Jack to have at it. 
I talked to him about the warm water and the cool air.  How things floated and sunk. 
I told him about pouring water from the containers, how it was okay if water got outside of the container, and then I let him explore. 
He did this so happily for over 20 minutes and could have gone longer, but by this point, most of the water was gone, the ground was wet, and he was soaked (and cold, I'm sure!). 
So, we headed in for an early warm bath and more water play. 
Ella woke up and joined us :)
I'm really thankful for his curiosity and the ability to let him learn through play, and I can't wait for the weather to warm up a little, so he can do more of that! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Is It Just Me?

Is it just me that feels that potty training a 19-month-old is the least fun thing in the world?
It's not even like we initiated it. He's been telling us for a couple of months when his diaper is wet or dirty. So, then we started helping him notice his body cues before he'd have a bm. He's done that deed several times on the potty now. Yay! Wet diapers are another story. He always tells us after the fact. But, then he still is insistent upon sitting on the toilet. So we sit there (with his pants off, of course. Geez, Mom. Who leaves their pants on when using the toilet?). And we sit forrrrrrrrrreeeeeeevvvvvvveeeeerrrr. We read books. He holds little items from the basket on the back of the toilet. He tries to play with the toilet paper. He wants to smell and spray the smelly spray. I'm tired. 

Is it just me that feels guilty about being given gift cards?
Gift cards are great for when you have absolutely no idea what to give someone. 
The problem I have is that we never have "extra" money, so when I'm given a gift card to "get myself a little something special," what happens? Do I spend that money on me? Heck, no. Every single gift card I've been given the last couple of years (unless it was a specific card for a service like a massage or a pedicure) has been spent on one of three things:  the children, groceries, necessities for the house. I feel guilty spending anything on myself, so although nice, gift cards given to me are really gifts to my family. 

Is it just me that thinks she's the prettiest, sweetest, most cuddly baby ever?

Is it just me that thinks that changing out of pajamas is overrated?
My current reasons for not getting dressed. 
It's rainy and cold outside. 
I just washed laundry yesterday, and I don't want to put more clothes in the hamper. 
I'm just going to get spit up on and drooled on.
I have no plans to leave the house anytime soon.
(Yes, my legs are swung over The Husband while he dozes on the couch.)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunday, Sunday

We got to go to church today :). 
All four of us. 
We made it there on time, actually a few minutes early, which is a pretty major accomplishment for us...which is pretty sad since we live like 2 minutes away. 
We said, "hi" and shook hands with folks. 
We gave hugs to old and new friends. 
We sang and worshiped. 
We heard and absorbed most of the message, which I think is a big accomplishment with two little ones on our laps. 
We had a great morning and are hoping the afternoon and evening go just as well. 
These two looked so cute and did such a great job sitting (mostly) quietly during the service. :)