Monday, December 26, 2011

The Day After Christmas

Wow! What a fun Christmas we had this year! I hope every one of you can say the same! I plan to do a full Christmas recap with photos but have to wait for my camera to get back home. (It is in the car and Max and Daddy are out on a Daddy date). The little kids and I are having a quiet morning at home. Jack is napping, Sophie is playing with her new Disney Princess castle (which is only half put together because I gave up!) and I am rotating between attempting to get my house back in order after Christmas exploded, playing princesses, and reading this book...
The Hunger Games
Check it out here

Oh my goodness! I am not really into fantasty/sci-fi type stuff but I heard good things about this book so I asked Nick Santa to put it in my stocking. And now I can't put it down!

Anyway, I hope you all are having a fabulous Post-Christmas day! I hope to be back later or at least by tomorrow to share all of the Christmas fun!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Our new addition

Meet Scout Ramsey...
He was our little Christmas present to our family! And we couldn't be more in love with the little ball of fur.

Nick and I had started having the dog talk when Max started begging for a dog. Nick who had been extremely anti-dog up until this point was starting to really soften up so I started doing some research. I really wanted to find out what would be the best dog for our family. After lots of research I decided that a shih tzu would be a really great match for us. I thought maybe we would get one in the spring or summer. But, then my sister sent me a link to a really cute shih tzu puppy named "Mickey" at a local animal rescue. 

Nick and I fell in love with his picture and decided we had to have him. Unfortunately, right before we left to go visit him we called and found out he had already been adopted the evening before. Honestly, I was a little devastated. Nick convinced me that we should go to the place anyway and look at their other dogs.

When you go there they have pictures of all the dogs they have up on the wall and then they bring you the one you want to the visiting room. There was a picture of a super cute lhasa-poo named "Kenny" and we asked to see him. They told us that "Kenny" was super shy so they were going to bring his brother "Kyle" in too so that he would be more outgoing. We ended up falling in love with "Kyle" and decided he was the dog for us. We liked "Kenny"'s size, he was most likely the runt of the litter. But, "Kyle" was much more friendly with the kiddos. 

The place we got him from rescues puppies who are going to be killed from puppy mills. I guess the pet stores and people who buy from puppy mills only like a certain type of dog and when they don't sell them they just kill the rest. So sad. I think ours didn't make the cut because typically people prefer white faces on this type of dog and he doesn't have enough color variation. But, we think he is just adorable...even if it is hard to get a good photo of him with his dark eyes and face!

Max had already named our dog Scout so that was already settled! Scout is settling in well here at the R home. He is a very good little dog. He loves to snuggle and is doing pretty well on potty training. Not perfect... but pretty good! I think he is just the perfect fit for our family!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Run Run as Fast as you Can...

Am I the only one who {HAS} to say this everytime I see a gingerbread man?? Ha!

My kiddos are so into Christmas this year. They want to be involved in every last detail.  I am hoping to have them help me make wrapping paper tomorrow. But, for some of our gifts we handed out earlier I had them help me by making these cute little gingerbread men and women from a little kit from Michaels. They are supposed to be ornaments but they also make super cute gift tags. The kids were able to add their own personal touch to the gifts and added to craft paper and a ribbon the gift still looked festive!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Just say {no}

I can't believe Christmas is getting so close! This year our family has really been enjoying the time leading up to Christmas. I love our Advent Activity Calendar and think we will have to do it every year. It has provided so many fun evenings for us. Here is a pic from our shaving cream drawing the other night...
Had to give the blog a little shout out! But, in all reality, it has been an amazing last few weeks. Whenever I hop on to Facebook or read blogs or talk to people there is so much complaining about business. And I totally get that. But, I think us moms need to step up and take back the Christmas season for our families. Use what you learned in middle school and "just say no"! Ha! Don't bake cookies, don't go to that Christmas party, don't buy your kids 20 gifts each... unless that is what you truly love to do.

Some people like being really busy this time of year and that is great. Business is a different standard for everyone. I have friends that could go to a Christmas party every night for the 24 days leading up to Christmas, bake two dozen cookies everyday and still feel refreshed and festive. Great! And I have friends that if they get more than a few things going on in one week they feel out of sorts and run down. That is okay too. Figure out your own limits and what works for you.

Just enjoy the time with your family. I know that I will treasure each precious memory made this month for the rest of my life and I pray that these are the memories that will shape my children.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sophie the Ballerina

 Saturday was a very big day in our house. It was Miss Sophie's very first ballet recital! She was so excited... although I think the word had no definition until after her first time on stage.
 Sophie had a full row of supporters for her stage debut. Mom and Dad, Grandpa and Grandma, Grandma June, Uncle Simon and Aunt Emily and Cousin Lauren were all there to cheer on our little dancer. I think someone loved all of the attention even though she was a little nervous at first.
 After the first song she was totally into it and couldn't wait to get back on stage. Her group got to dance twice and I was very surprised at how well she did.
 Even if she did spend the second half of her last song just playing with her hula skirt. But honestly, who can blame her? And she looked super cute.
 Of course like any ballerina should be she was showered with flowers after such a wonderful performance. Which may or may not have been her favorite part of the day!
 Mommy and Daddy couldn't have been more proud of our little girl! She was wonderful for her stage debut!
But, being such a wonderful ballerina can really wear a girl out...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Kid Pics and Friday Links

Here are a few pics of the Little R's this week. They keep us busy all the time! But man, they are cute!

We have had a fun week continuing our Advent activity calendar. Last night we got to go to Journey to Bethlehem at Harvester Christian Church. For any of you local peeps I highly recommend it! It is quite an amazing production! We loved it! And we got to meet up there with my sister and brother in-law and my two sweet nephews which was a very special treat.

I wanted to share my favorite links again this week! I am having to re post because as some of you may noticed a certain 1 year old posted my draft which was only half done earlier in the week and added a few of his own words! Thankfully Jenn alerted me of the issue and that post was deleted. So, here are favorite links for the week in their complete and un baby edited form!

My Philosophy of Parenting: Pondering Christ by Sally Clarkson at I Take Joy
I have a feeling a week will not go by without a Sally Clarkson post included in the round-up. She is by far one of the most encouraging women. She is truly a Titus 2 woman teaching the younger women to love their children. The world would be a better place if we had more women like her being bold and mentoring us young moms without a clue! And she does it without talking down to younger women which is a rare gift!

Ode to a Mouse and His Cookie by Jenn at Just Us Scotts
My dear real life friend Jenn wrote this post and it totally cracked me up. I think we can all relate to this kind of day! And I was very impressed at all the pregnant lady was able to accomplish! Ha! :)

Enjoying the Simplicity of Staying Home by Lindsay at Passionate Homemaking
This post was so timely for me. I tend to feel the need to always be out and on the go but I also am very easily overwhelmed when life gets too hectic. So, obviously, I have found myself frustrated a lot lately. I felt like this post gave me the permission and encouragement I needed to stay home! I think I need to become much more intentional about my time away from home.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Let it snow!

Pickle was a litte bit mischevious last night...

Maybe he was inspired by the light dusting of snow we got here yesterday? Either way, I love the touch of whimsy that was added above my kitchen sink!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

On the Road Again

The kids had so much fun last week with this activity that I decided I needed to keep it going. So this time I took out the craft paper, taped it to the floor, drew a road and voila! Hours of entertainment! The big kids mostly enjoyed drawing the scenery but my little man loved zooming his cars all over that thing!

As you might have noticed, Max liked to draw lots of animals on the side of the road. Let me tell you, a roll of craft paper has been a very good investment into hours of fun around the R's House!
Growing Home

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

and I am loving it! Christmas is my second favorite holiday afterall (surpassed only by Valentine's Day which is obviously the best holiday ever because, hello! It is my birthday!). This year has been a fun combination of old and new traditions.
One of our new traditions this year was an advent calendar that included a fun family activity each day. It has been so much fun already! Here is what we have done so far...
  1. Get out the kid nativity sets and play out the story of Jesus' birth
  2. Watch Elf
  3. Decorate a gingerbread house
  4. And on tonights agenda... Draw pictures in the snow (a.k.a. shaving cream on the table)
And Pickle is still bust suprising us every morning (or most mornings.. we might be a little forgetful when it comes to moving Pickle!)
 And I have added a few more decorations to spruce things up around here. I have definitly gone much simpler in my decorating this year!
And I wanted to give a big "thank you" for everyones amazing support of my first post over at Homemakers Challenge. I feel so blessed by such amazing friends!
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I am contributing over at Homemakers Challenge today!

Homemakers Challenge

Happy Monday, friends! Today is the day! Please click over to Homemakers Challenge and check out my first contributor post! It is about simple ways to decorate your home for Christmas. Click here to check it out!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Favorite Links from this week

I thought it would be fun once a week to share my 3 favorite blog articles I found online during the week! Not as much fun as goofing off with my favorite (and only) husband... but still lots of fun. So, in  no particular order, here are my favorites from this week!

"Violence in Video Games- does it really matter?" by Cassandra at The Better Mom
I loved this article and thought it was such a great reminder. Since my husband was addicted to video games growing up this is something we both feel very passionate about and I think her article is well written and really gives a lot to think about.

"Do unto your children as you would have them do unto you" by Sally Clarkson at I Take Joy
A wonderful article on loving and nurturing our children. As an ex-Babywise mom I am so thankful for Sally Clarkson speaking the TRUTH moms need to hear! Snuggle, cuddle, and respond to those babies all day long mommas! You won't regret it!

"Why the Heck do we Hate Tim Tebow?"by Jen Floyd Engel at Fox Sports
I love this article because not only do I love Tim Tebow and the Broncos but I found it to be something all of us Christians need to think about. I was challenged.

If you read these I would love to hear what you think!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pay it Forward

Today I finally got to be a part of a "Pay it Forward" line at Starbucks! If you don't know what that is, it is when the person ahead of you pays for your drink and then you pay for the person behind you. It is really neat to be a part of. Especially in our world where people pretty much keep to themselves it gives you an amazing feeling of community!
As I was driving away I couldn't help but feel very "Christmas-y". And although I couldn't really define that term in real words I will just say that it felt nice.

And it got me thinking about how I can give that feeling to others this year. Especially to those who maybe don't know Jesus. It made me realize that at Christmas time we really have an opportunity to be "light". What if Christmas time became a time of year when people couldn't ignore Jesus because His love was so obviously being displayed?

I know for us mommas with young kids serving can be hard. So, I thought of a few things we can do for others without taking away from our own families this season. And please add your ideas to the comments if you have some!
  • pay it forward (or backwards!) at Starbucks or any other drive-thru
  • leave cookies or a gift card in your mailbox for your mail carrier
  • leave a special treat on the porch for the UPS and Fed-Ex delivery guy
  • take cookies to the fire station or police department to thank those who serve our community
  • leave an extra big tip for your waitress or waiter... or pizza delivery guy
  • take time to WRITE (handwritten notes are so meaningful) Christmas cards to people in your life who might be lonely this time of year
  • Buy fewer gifts for your own children and help them buy gifts for children in need (we were able to do this this year and it gave us an amazing teaching opportunity)
  • Invite someone to your home for a meal or dessert that you know needs a friend right now
  • "Ding dong ditch" your neighbors with a little gift basket of Christmas treats given anonymously
  • And pray for God to show you who He wants you to bless this Christmas season! He will tell you who He wants to say a special "Merry Christmas" to!
Let's share the hope that we have this Christmas season. If you can't do anything else just smile at people and say "Merry Christmas"...

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."- Matthew 5:14-16

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oh Christmas Branches!

When it comes time to decorating for Christmas I love to watch my house transform from fall to Christmas. It is especially fun when you can turn your fall decorations into Christmas ones.

I finally got my mantle looking decent this fall. It is a challenge because it is a super narrow mantle. I didn't want to have to take everything off and start from scratch so I decided to just change the fall to Christmas.

All I did was add some ornaments to my branches (voila! New Christmas tree!), put a bow on the bunny, change out the pumpkin for a cranberry ball, and change out my candle. I love being able to use what I have and keep it simple.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Afternoon Fun- House Drawing

 My kiddos are little artists. They love to draw, color, paint, you name it. And as I have admitted before I am just not the most crafty momma. So, I am always on the lookout for new ideas. This idea dawned on me when the kiddos were getting a little squirmy yesterday afternoon. I had some craft paper that I plan to use to wrap Christmas gifts. I taped a big piece of it to the floor and then drew a house and told the kiddos it was their job to "decorate" the inside of the house. While Jack's favorite part of the acitivity was to sit right in the middle... everyone else had a really great time and it kept them busy for a good long time! And it really stretched their imaginations. I loved listening to them decide what would go inside and outside of the house. If you know Max you know of course that the outside of the house was totally surrounded by animals! Ha!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Keep Rowing

I have mentioned several times the wonderful Bible study I had the opportunity to be a part of this summer at my church called, Bloom. I think it was on the first night our wonderful pastor's wife shared this concept from a devotional she was reading, "Hidden Gems from the Greek" by Rick Renner. Here is an excerpt from the book and a part of what she read to us.

The Attitude for Success - by Rick Renner
 "In 1 Corinthians 4:1, Paul wrote - Let a man so account of us, as the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

In this verse Paul calls himself a minister. This is the Greek word hupertas, a vivd term that conveys"the essential attitude necessary to get the job done."
Interestingly, this word hupertas, translated "ministers" here was used in classical Greek society to describe "low class criminals."

- Why would Paul use such a word?
- Is he using the word as a picture to make a point to us?

Originally, this word described the very lowest class of criminals. These criminals were so low that they were outcast and removed from society. Often they were assigned to the bottom galleys of huge shipping vessels where they literally became the engine's on those huge ships.

They were sentenced the rest of their lives in the darkness below the deck-endlessly rowing and rowing and rowing. Day after day their job was to heave those massive oars back and forth, pushing them through the water to make the ship move through the sea.

This is the same word that Paul uses as the attitude necessary to do what God has called us to do! God has called us to take our place in His plan - to grab hold of an oar, so to speak, and to begin to serve Him practically in some way. We are to keep rowing, rowing, rowing, and rowing doing our part and fulfilling what He has asked us to do."
Picture Source

Since hearing that concept whenever I am really having a struggle I think of that picture. Of just putting my head down and rowing, and rowing for God.  Lately I have really had that picture in my head when it comes to parenting.

My Max is the sweetest boy. But, he is a hard little guy to raise. Lately, we have really had some issues coming back with his fits and tantrums. It has been very rough. It is easy to get discouraged. And it is really easy to get very down and just see myself as a failure as a mom.  But, the truth is, I am not a bad mom... I am just an American girl who likes instant results! Ha! But, in this situation that is not happening. But, instead of being discouraged, I know I need to just keep rowing, and rowing, and rowing. I need to be diligent in doing what I need to do.

But, it is hard to be the one rowing at the bottom of a large ship. It is not glamorous. No one really knows what you are doing so you don't get any praise. And the worst part... you can't see the shore. So you keep rowing and rowing not knowing if you will reach the shore in an hour, or tomorrow, or 5 weeks from now.

Dealing with Max's behavior is hard right now because I can't see the shore. I don't know if we will get past this next week, or in a few months, or maybe not until his eighteenth birthday.  But, I believe the diligence will pay off at some point. I believe that our diligence as Mom's WILL pay off. And I believe our diligence in serving Christ in all that we do will pay off.

For most of us who are Christ loving moms we rarely get to see the shore in the things that we do. We often are the ones that stay home and care for our children, serve in the nursery at church, take meals to new moms or sick people. We are often at the bottom of the ship rowing and rarely getting to see the end results of what we are doing. But, Jesus sees what we are doing. And He knows who we are doing it for. We just need to remember who we are doing it for. Although I will be very happy when Max's behavior is better (life will be easier for ALL of us!) but, at the end of the day, I am doing it for Jesus. And Jesus will get me to the shore every time.

Growing Home

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Contributing at Homemakers Challenge

Homemakers Challenge
I am super excited that I have a new opportunity to be a contributer at one of my favorite blogs, Homemakers Challenge! Click over here to see me and the rest of the team. This opportunity was such a neat little God thing. Especially since most of these other ladies are REAL bloggers! I am so excited to get to be a part of a community and write about one of the things I am most passionate about; homemaking! I will let you know when my first post is going to be published. But, until then go check out the blog. There are some really wonderful writers over there!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

This weekend is flying by a little too fast for my liking. I am trying to savor every minute of wonderful family togetherness that I can. We have had so much fun so far!

Wednesday night was when the weekend officially started in my book! I took the big kiddos to the library after dinner and we got some movies and books. The kids wanted to surprise daddy so we swung through the Starbucks drive-thru and got coffees for Daddy and Mommy and cake pops for everyone! Then we all snuggled up and watched "The Last Airbender" together... and looked at pictures of puppies on the computer. (A certain 5 year old has "puppy fever" pretty bad)

Thursday was great! We got up and had a little breakfast and then when the Macy's parade came on we had doughnuts while we watched. The kids were really into the parade this year. Then they helped me make an apple pie to take to my mom's house for Thanksgiving. We headed out to my parent's a little after lunch but didn't eat Thanksgiving dinner until 5. The weather was beautiful and we had a great time just playing outside and enjoying each other. After dinner and dessert (which were amazing!) the big kids spent the night at Mom and Dad's so Nick and I took Jack home and put him to bed and got to enjoy the rest of the evening by ourselves!

Friday morning Jack slept in a little (I was pretty sure I heard the Hallelujah chorus when I woke up at 7am and Jack was still sleeping). When he got up the three of us went to Panera and then Toys 'R Us to do a little shopping. We forgot how easy it is to go do things with just one kid! Ha! Toys 'R Us was crazy but we were able to find some great stuff. Let's just say a certain boy is going to have a very Star Wars Christmas! Then we went and picked up the kids and had Thanksgiving leftovers with my parents (YUMMY!). We spent the rest of the day doing some Christmas decorating, playing outside, and just enjoying being the 5 of us! We topped the day off snuggled up on the couch watching the CBS TV Christmas movies. Seriously, I went go bed feeling so overwhelmed with gratitude for my family.

This morning all three kids slept until 7:30 (more Hallelujah chorus!). Nick made us all waffles for breakfast. Then my parents came and helped (and by helped I mean, they did it alone) hang our lights! After lunch Sophie and I went to Michael's and got the finishing touches to decorate the outside of our house. I will try to get a decent pic but I just love the way it turned out. This is the first time we have ever had lights on our house!

We are just hanging out right now and then our plan is to go to church this evening  with my sister and brother-in-law! We are hoping to grab dinner at IHOP together afterwards and then go to a drive thru Christmas lights display in Wentzville. I am really excited! I love getting to do fun things with my sister!

And the best part of all of this... we still have tomorrow!! I imagine it will be a day of housework and lounging! I can't wait!

Oh... and look who showed up last night!
It is Pickle! Our Elf on the Shelf!

I hope everyone else is having a wonderful weekend! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I am thankful for all of my sweet blog readers. Thank you for encouraging me to write and for giving me an audience. I am one {blessed} lady!
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Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Party

Today we threw a fun little Thanksgiving Party for a couple of our friends. I advertised it to the mamas as a "real playdate". Not the kind where moms just sit and drink coffee, but one with actual activities for the kiddos! Although, don't worry... there was plenty of moms drinking coffee...

We had a Thanksgiving snack and cookies, made a craft, colored a picture, read a story, and even did a poem with motions. I think all of the kiddos had a great time! And I am almost positive all of the mamas felt like they needed a nap afterwards!

But, I sure am {thankful} for such wonderful friends for myself and for my kiddos!