Sunday, February 19, 2012

Priorities

The past few weeks I have been feeling the need to sort out my priorities and my role as wife and mother.
I enjoy being involved with various activities through church and with friends but when those activities get in the way of my time spent with God, my family, and general up-keep on my house, I feel the need to scale back a bit.
A typical day finds me waking up the in the morning and immediately fighting the clock. I have to rush and get Hans breakfast, cleaned up, and dressed for the day, and then I have to wake up Caroline (remember, she sleeps in like a 15 year old...) and get her dressed and in her car seat and we head out to either run errands, attend MOPS, Bible Study, or a play date. We don't arrive anywhere we're going on-time (something that really bothers me as I always strive to be on time). We don't end up coming back to the house until close to lunch time and I usually bring in two crying kids because they are so hungry and tired. After I hurriedly make lunch for Hans and myself, it's off to bed for nap time while I attend to Caroline to coax her into a sleep in her room. I end up feeling exhausted and unproductive. If both kids have a good nap, I can usually put in a load or two of laundry and clean up a bit, but if they don't have a good nap, I find myself greeting Tom at the door ready for a hand-off on child care and the house is definitely not welcoming or hospitable for my husband who has been working so hard for us all day.
Not. my. ideal.
In my Bible study, we are reading a book, "Lies Women Believe" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Don't let the title fool you, it's a great book and not at all like a soap opera. (Coming up next week on...Lies Women Believe...duh duh duh...). Every chapter we read speaks right to my heart. Last week the chapter we were reading was titled, "Lies Women Believe About....Priorities". See what I mean about speaking right to me? The book talked about lies many women believe about their priorities and then counters it with the Truth from the Bible. For example, many women believe the lie that "I don't have the time to do everything I'm supposed to do" (like, taking care of the kids, laundry, meal planning, keeping up with housework, being there for your husband etc). But the Truth to this lie is that there is time in every day to do every thing that God wants me to do.
Not my agenda. What God wants me to do.
If you could tell from the first paragraph in this post, most days, I'm left feeling frustrated at what little things I accomplished. I found this quote summed it up completely,
"The frustration comes when I attempt to take on responsibilities that are not on His agenda for me. When I establish my own agenda or let others determine the priorities for my life, rather than taking time to discern what it is that God wants me to do, I end up buried under piles of half-finished, poorly done, or never-attempted projects and tasks. I live with guilt, frustration, and haste, rather than enjoying the peaceful, well-ordered life that He intends."

So, there it is, I need to keep my time with God (in devotions and prayer) sacred so that I can discern what it is He wants me to do. One thing is for sure, He has created me to be a wife and mother and right now, my priorities are to Him, my husband, and my kids (in that order).

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In Luke 10:38-42 when Jesus visits with Mary and Martha, it says that Martha "was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made" while Mary was sitting at Jesus' feet listening to all He had to say. Jesus told Martha, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
I can benefit from being a lot more like Mary and a little less like Martha!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"Happy Day Hans"

Hans got to name the title of this post today. I said "Happy Valentine's Day!" to him today and he responded with, "Happy Day Hans!". Coincidentally, that is also how he repeats "Happy Birthday" too. We had balloons around the house days after his birthday and he would walk around with them exclaiming, "Happy Day Hans!". We're a very happy household ;) .

Growing up we always had a Valentine's breakfast prepared in the morning. It was a great way to start my day before heading off to school. My mom would decorate the table with her Valentine's china dishes, red goblets, and a table cloth. Whatever we ate was dyed red and we also got to eat a little candy too! I so looked forward to that breakfast. And, although I really appreciated all of the details that went into it, I don't think you have to go too overboard in order to make it memorable or exciting for your kids. I was reading a blog the other day (i can't remember which one it was, otherwise I would link to it), and the blogger talked about how her mom would just put red food coloring in her milk for her cereal and she just thought that was the best thing ever. Just putting extra touches here and there makes it feel less like an everyday breakfast and more special.

I painted hearts on a burlap banner I had made a couple of years ago.
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I don't have valentine's plates or nice china to use so i just bought valentine's paper plates and had them on our everyday white plates. We're using them throughout this week so it's a good deal for $1.50.

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We had pink pancakes with pink whipped cream and sprinkles. Scrambled eggs, sausage, and strawberries. Hans was most excited about the pink heart pancakes. He called them "cookie pancakes" which confirms the theory that it's the little things that your kids remember and think are special.

Hans had a special valentine at his table spot, Finn McMissle!
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Tasty!
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If you're wondering where Caroline was during the breakfast. Well, she is 3 months going on 15 years and asked to sleep in until 10am so we obliged!

Happy Valentine's Day!

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I hope you are able to enjoy a fantastic Valentine's Day with your loved ones! I've always loved Valentine's Day, even when I wasn't married. I've never been a fan of the "Hallmark" idea of valentine's day where the guy is supposed to buy an expensive card for you, bring home flowers, and make reservations for a fancy dinner. I just love the simplicity of hanging out with the people that you love. Whether that be your parents, your friends, or your kids and your husband. It's just fun to celebrate caring and loving one another but also remembering that no matter what you've been through, we are God's children and loved by Him. He is Love, after all!

*Random addition to this post. After writing the title and hearing Hans saying "Happy Day" again, I can't get the song "Oh Happy Day" from Sister Act 2 out of my head! Really brings me back to 7th grade where we sang many Sister act songs in choir. More specifically it reminds me of going on a ski trip to Lutsen with my friends Julia and Liz (and Liz's family) and we listened to this sound track over and over and over again. We said it was because of practicing for choir, but we were obsessed. I've included the link to the video for your listening (and reminiscing) pleasure. ;)




Thursday, February 9, 2012

Daughters, Love, and other stuff

I recently pinned a pin on pinterest (say that three times fast). It was a quote, "The greatest thing a father can do for his daughter is to love her mother". I love it. And, it's got me thinking about the daughter we have in our home.
One precious little girl we've been given. I'm so excited to have this little girl in our lives. Not just because she is already my little companion. Or that we all think she is the sweetest thing around town.
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I'm most excited to see how the boys in her life already cherish her so much....

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Now, I'm not naive enough to think that siblings won't be siblings. Oh, I know we'll have our fair share of "I had this first" or "Stop copying me"...but I can see how this little girl is wrapping her Daddy and her brother around her little finger.
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Hans picked out a sticker for her after she had her 2 month appt. and shots last month. When we got home, he ran over so he could put her sticker on

And I'm excited to witness her relationship with her Daddy.

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A friend on facebook posted an article called, "50 Rules for Dads and Daughters"...it is so sweet and touching. I can't wait to watch Tom and Caroline interact like that together. Right now, she is just soaking up the cuddles and kisses from her Daddy, but I know their relationship will continue to grow and blossom and Tom will help shape her character and will help influence the choices she makes as a grown up.

I think I get so excited for Caroline to have this relationship with Tom because of the impact my Dad had on my life and my choices. My parents marriage is one built on faith and their relationship with Christ. Starting off each day with devotions, they pray together for their kids (and grandkids).
Growing up, when my dad would drop us off at school he would pray with us before we got out of the car.
And when I was away at college, I received a letter each week with a $2 bill from my dad.
When a college boyfriend broke up with me a few days before Valentines Day, my dad flew out and brought me flowers with a note saying "I treasure you. I love you. Love, Dad". You think that had an impact on me? Yep! I still have the note, in my night stand drawer.

And look who I chose to marry? An amazing man who loves me and treats me like gold. A man that is the best father to his kids. He loves the Lord and you can see it in how he lives his life. He loves us and shows us everyday.
The quote definitely started me thinking and I could write around in circles all day long so I'll stop now. Check out the article if you have time... Very fitting around valentine's day too!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"Choo Choo" Lunch

Remember, in my last post, how I mentioned that cookie cutters work wonders for your kid's lunch? Well, here is a little example...

Hans never particularly liked sandwiches. We've learned a couple of tricks to help him out a little.

One, he'll be a little more apt to eating the sandwich if it's warmed up. We were tipped off on this fact when we realized he doesn't like sandwiches, yet looooves grilled cheese sandwiches....so, throw the turkey/cheese sandwich in the microwave for 10 seconds and voila.

Second, his imagination has just been running wild lately. He loves pretending with his toys and we've discovered that we can get him to eat (and do) quite a few things he wouldn't normally eat (or do) if we pretend something is a car or truck, or bulldozer, or airplane, or helicopter, etc. You get the picture. For example, the other night, Hans wouldn't touch his baked beans. He brought them up to his lips in the beginning and then decided that is not what he wanted with his pulled pork for dinner. I was thinking, "how in the world could we make this dinner into some sort of truck- thing?". Then, duh, it dawned on me....stay with me here...the fork is a "bull dozer" and it had to get all of the baked beans, or "boulders" into the "cave" or mouth....yep.....totally did the trick! Hans ate up his entire dinner!! That's not the only time this type of trick has worked. We've gotten him to eat a few different vegetables this way. Tom and I were never allowed to play with our food growing up and we're still teaching good table side manners, but allowing the occasional bull dozer over for dinner to get your toddler to eat is okay with us!

And, it doesn't end at dinner time. When we can't get him to cooperate to get ready for bed, we just take his cars and talk to him with his cars and he listens to them and says, "ok, night night time."! Oh the vivid imagination of a 2 year old!

Keeping the sandwich eating tips in mind, we had a choo-errific lunch today!

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Throw on an engineer's hat and you're set. "All aboard!"

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Apparently I don't have to try too hard on creating realistic shapes for him to eat. After he finished off the entire train, I gave him the rest of the sandwich that was remaining after cutting out the train. Really, they were just scraps. When I put them on his plate, he exclaims with excitement, "Oh, a helicopter!!!!!". And, after he finished that, he says, "More helicopter please!". Haha!

On another note, Caroline is getting so big and growing out of her clothes so quickly!! I have been thinking that I was short on her current size and then the other day I uncovered one big bin and HUGE bag of clothes that I had overlooked from my nieces....we're talking serious mountain of clothing- it's awesome!!! I've been having so much fun going through all of the darling clothes. We are so so fortunate!

Isn't she cute?!
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I love her expression in this one...

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Of course, when you glance her way, you get a great big grin. She is All smiles All the time!

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Oh I just love being with these kids.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2nd Birthday

We had a blast celebrating Hans' 2nd Birthday!

Hans woke up on his birthday with a room full of balloons. With Daddy's help, he promptly filled his crib with the balloons and began a game of hide-and-seek. Needless to say, he woke up pretty happy!
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His birthday-balloon-fun was followed by a delicious snowman pancake breakfast before heading off to Bible study with Mommy and Caroline.
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He loved having his snowman pancakes! If you ever want to spice up your meals with toddlers cookie cutters work wonders! I will sometimes cut out his sandwiches with our cookie cutters and that sure keeps him occupied for awhile. He enjoyed driving around PB&J trains all over his plate the other day.

After naps, we took Hans out to the Rainforest Cafe for dinner. The animals and thunderstorms really did their trick at keeping him distracted during the (looong) wait for the food. We also let him open up one of his gifts (Lightning Mcqueen) before dinner arrived. He loved playing with Daddy and his new car. "Hook-em Up, Mater!"
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Moving forward to his birthday party day that Saturday....

We had a Sledding theme birthday party for this year. Our house has a good size hill and the backyard and so we thought we'd take full advantage. And we didn't let the record setting temps and no-snow winter slow us down ;).

Hans woke up that morning excited for "Snowman!" He was very excited because we had told him earlier that he was going to have a snowman birthday cake.
The table was already set for the bday party when Hans woke up, so he was able to eat breakfast downstairs in the "big chairs" aka bar stools. He was really happy about that but you can't really tell by the picture.
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Is he coping an attitude already at TWO?! Nah.. ;)
Waiting for his birthday guests to arrive!
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We invited our family and small group kiddo's over to celebrate Hans with us.
My mom and dad were the first to arrive. Just in time to give some cuddles and kisses and take some pictures.
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Downstairs we had a "hot chocolate bar" and some snacks.
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As soon as our guests arrived, we bundled up the kid's and headed out to the backyard for some sledding fun!

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The birthday boy sledding with Daddy and rolling around in the snow!

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Mommy had fun taking pictures of it all!
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Papa pulling the kids...
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The adults managed to have a little fun too...

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Some friends stayed inside to hang out...
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Caroline was never in want for love or cuddles!

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Next, we went back upstairs for some lunch! The kids sat at the birthday table and had corn dogs, diced pears (or "icebergs"), and carrots ("snowman noses"). The adults warmed up with white bean chicken chili for lunch.
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It was noisy and fun although some preferred it a little quieter apparently... he he...

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After lunch, Hans opened his birthday gifts downstairs...
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Keeping with the sledding theme, instead of traditional party gift bags, I made some felt mittens and stuffed them with party favors and strung them across our mantel.

This was a party of mostly two year olds so we kept it simple, no games, just sledding. I found these wooden snowman ornaments so that was an activity some of the older kids could do. It was really cute to see big cousins Ellen and David go to town decorating their snowmen!
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Finally, after gifts, we sang "Happy Birthday" to Hans and enjoyed some...birthday cake!
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Tom and I made the snowman cake together. Hans was talking about it for days before his birthday.
He was so cute when we all sang Happy Birthday to him. His smile was priceless and his face was beaming as he was realizing, "That's why everyone came over to my house, for my birthday!".

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Whew, what a fun time we had celebrating Hans 2nd Birthday! Thanks to all of our family and friends that came over and helped make it special for us!