Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Cupcakes and Marriage

I made cupcakes this morning for The Husband's birthday.
He requested blue.  
I obliged because that's the kind of amazing wife I am, and I worked super hard at adding those 20 blue drops of food coloring to the boxed cake mix, coconut oil, water, mint extract, and eggs.   Yeah, I'm pretty hard-core in the baking department.  

When the timer beeped it's ending, I pulled the tin out of the oven and smelled the yumminess, and then I saw these two.   

I, of course, sent a picture to The Bestie first.  Then, I thought I could work up a blog post about them somehow.  

Then, it hit me.  

These cupcakes are like marriage.  

Marriage, like these cupcakes, is often messy.  Marriage isn't always neat and lovely.  Marriage is, in the wondrous words of The Bestie, sometimes "just too much.  And it makes you fat."  She's a wise one, that girl. 

Marriage can also be yummy and fulfilling.  It can be sweet.  It can be worth the time and effort put into it.  

Happy birthday, My Dear. 

Thank you for working to make our life together love-filled in the midst of the mess.  

You are loved.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Resurrection Day - 2016

Happy Easter, y'all!
We spent yesterday with both sets of grandparents hunting for eggs and had a lovely day back at home with The Husband's side of the family.  
*side note* Their Pop-pop built this chalkboard/abacus/discovery board for them for Christmas, and they are FASCINATED by it. It's super neat!

Jack had THE BEST time watching his Pop-pop take care of the tree stumps. He played hard with his Uncle Nay-nay and Auntie Faith. He loved loving on his Nonnie. (Playing on those stumps is going to be such fun! I have grand ideas -thanks to google- for what I want to do with them!)

Ella, however, was on people/excitement overload and fell into hysterics for most of the day and into the evening and well into the night and was only calm when in my arms with her face buried in my neck. I googled out of desperation and found this article helpful. She's obviously the one who is reduced to tears. Jack lashes out, which he did when it was time to tell everyone goodbye.  Jack benefits from quiet, alone time to reassess and calm down. Even just a few minutes can do it, and he'll usually sigh hard and say, "Done, Momma."  
I spent last night praying for wisdom on how to help them both when they get overstimulated.  
Being a toddler is tough. 

Heck, being a human being is tough!
 But, we're not doing it alone. We have someone to run to when we're lost and afraid and alone and overwhelmed. Someone who understands all of those feelings. Someone who can say to our storms of life, "Peace. Be still."  
Trust Him. 
He's the Maker and the Healer and the Comforter. 
He's the Life. 
He's the Truth. 
He's the Way.  

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." - 1 Corinthians 1:18

Happy Resurrection Day, my friends!
He IS risen!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thankful Thursday (3/24) - Maundy Thursday

Today is Maundy Thursday.  It's the day that Christians remember the sacrifice Jesus made for mankind.  It's the day we reflect on the cross.  

I talked to Jack a lot about the cross and Jesus today.  We read books about Jesus' death and resurrection.  The kids each painted a picture of a cross for our learning activity.  He's too young to understand the importance of that symbol, but he pointed to the cross he painted and said, "Jesus cross......happy? And I smiled and said, "Yes, buddy. The cross is a happy thing.  It's a wonderful reminder of what Jesus did for us."   

Tonight, I read them God Gave Us Easter before bedtime.  This is my favorite part:

Today, Dear Readers, I'm thankful for the cross of Christ. My sins and yours were the nails that held Jesus there.  

And by that one grace-filled, love-filled, mercy-filled act, my sins are forgiven. 

Jesus didn't stay on that cross.  He didn't stay dead.  He rose.  He lives.  
As John Stott said, "We live and die.  Christ died and lived!"

And, the risen cross no longer bears the stains of death.   

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.   Do you believe this?'"   ~John 11:25-26

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Two Things Tuesday (3/22)

1. It's the week before Easter, so that's what I decided our learning time activities would be focused on. I wrote up these lesson plans after browsing through ideas on Pinterest. 
If there's one you're interested in, let me know, and I can find the link. Mostly, I just see what's out there, and then I make it my own. Except for Saturday's learning activity. I found that baby here. 
It's great! 
We checked out these books from the library yesterday afternoon and got busy reading. 
These are my favorites so far. 
Monday's craft turned out super neat, and both kids enjoyed it (although Ella was very happy when I cleaned her hands off, haha!). They love going over to the fridge to feel the puffy texture.  
Today's was simple and turned out pretty neat, too. I'm looking forward to Thursday's activity :).

2.  This kiddo has spent A LOT of quality time in the time-out chair as of late. 
I'm having to use it in addition to our usual discipline method because he has really been exerting his strong will and the use of the word "no."  I was texting a friend (who's also the mommy of a toddler), and we were lamenting the ins-and-outs of toddler disobedience and discipline. I even texted her what my now-memorized-response is to his disobedience. 
We are definitely in the trenches and are both ready to see the fruits of our labor, haha. 
I told her about the book Shepherding a Child's Heart and how I'm thinking of making a "circle of blessing" chart, so he (and Ella) can have a visual. It'll probably be similar to these I found online (because, y'all, I'm not super creative, and I truly need the creativity of others to get my brain going!). 
What methods do you use for bringing up your toddler in the way he/she should go? 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

A Weekly Recap

It's been a busy week, but there were quite a few highlights. Tuesday afternoon, my parents met the kids and me at our local festival. Jack really enjoyed the petting zoo, and they both thought all of the rides looked neat. Next year, we'll have to take them on a few. :)
Wednesday, we started our St. Patrick's Day celebrations early with green smoothies :). I didn't give any to Ella because it had peanut butter, and she's not quite two yet. Jack thoroughly enjoyed his and requested more (after it was all gone! He said, "Darn, Momma!" Haha!). And Thursday morning, they had green cinnamon applesauce oatmeal!
I helped the kids make handprint shamrocks (one we gave to my mom for her birthday), and we started our flower dying experiment. 
I trimmed each stem at an angle and talked to Jack about how the stem would draw up the liquid (water and 20 drops of green food coloring -- I added twenty more on Friday when I noticed the coloring was very faint on the petals). He was a big help by putting the flowers into the container. :)
Friday, Jack and I examined the changes in the carnations and colored a picture of some. 
We gave the arrangement to Nana when we had a belated birthday lunch with them today. I fixed salmon, pasta, and sliced cucumbers and some green beans.  
This morning I made cream cheese mint cupcakes for us to have as dessert. They turned out pretty yummy :)