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!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hair, Pinterest, and Christmas

I have two very important questions...
1. Have y'all seen my new haircut? It was a big change for me but I am really starting to like it.
2. Can people from Missouri say y'all? Because I really like to.

Life here at the R Home has been pretty good. Things are starting to settle down a little bit with activities ending and this mama LOVES that. I was never a homebody until this year and now, when I have too much outside stuff going on I get stressed out!

I should be getting some stuff done around the house today but that just doesn't seem to be happening! We are having a little Thanksgiving playdate for a couple of our friends tomorrow morning and I have some super cute crafts and snacks planned... but I should probably be getting my house cleaned up and things like that!

I must say, thank goodness for Pinterest when you are trying to plan kids activities! There are so many cute ideas and I love being able to find them all in one place! I am already looking forward to some winter/Christmas crafts! Here are some cute ones I have found so far...
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And just asking... does anyone else already have their Christmas tree up? I usually decorate the weekend before Thaksgiving. I know to some people that is just plain wrong! But, I love having my tree up on Thanksgiving day!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Can Mommy drop out of preschool?

So, Max is in preschool this year. He does great and his teacher has nothing but wonderful things to say about him. And I have heard her talk to other parents when their kiddos are having issues so I know she isn't just saying things to make me feel good! Ha! Really, it is a fine situation. Max is just fine with preschool. He usually doesn't want to go in the morning... I mean, who wants to leave their dino game and go to school? But, he is always happy when I pick him up.

But, I don't like preschool. I don't like getting 3 kiddos dressed and out the door in the mornings.... and usually having to wake the littlest one up to go. I don't like getting three kids into carseats, out of carseats, walk into the building and then get two kiddos into carseats and back out at home... only to repeat the process about 2 hours later. And this is only going to get worse as the weather gets worse.

Plus, I just don't rest easily when my kiddos are away. I am on "alert" the whole time making sure I can hear my phone in case I get a call that he needs to be picked up or something. Plus, I have two other kiddos! Life is actually easier with Max because he is pretty helpful and keeps his sister entertained!

So, chances are... I will not have a preschool drop out. But, a Mom can dream right?
Max before basketball practice on Saturday, how cute is he?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pictures from Sunday

Just wanted to share a few pics from before and after yesterday's Resolution Ceremony. I was pretty pleased that the kiddos managed to look at the camera since it was on self-timer mode! Anyway, I hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Resolution Ceremony

So have you all seen the movie Corageous yet? Oh my goodness it was so good. I laughed, I cried, and everything in between. Well, our awesome pastor saw the movie too and thought it was so good he decided to rent out the whole theater for the men in our church to view the movie. Our church then decided to have a Resolution Ceremony like the one seen in the movie where the husbands commit to be men of God and leaders of their families.  It was an amazing event. Of course our kids acted up the entire time and Nick and I both felt our patience wearing thin. But, at the end of it I was so happy we chose to participate. Nick is already a commited husband and father and in the ceremony he didn't promise anything that he wasn't already trying to do. But, it was still so meaningful to participate in a ceremony as a family and see Nick publicly promise to be the man and father that God has called him to be. I am so thankful we go to a church that truly wants to see lives changed and to see men step up and lead their families. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity that was given to our family today.

And if you haven't heard of Corageous here is the movie trailer. Go see it!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Does anyone else feel like we live in a time where people say "being a mother is the highest calling" or "being a mother is so important" but the same people put down motherhood in the next sentence. I know that this is just venting and that there are some people out there who actually DO believe that being a mom is an important job. But, I feel like most people who say that are also the ones telling me, "you need to have something you do outside of your family just for you... why don't you sell Tupperware?"  Or "this is great now, but you are going to go back to work once your kids are in school right?"And the most discouraging thing is that so much of the time I hear this from moms. The message is: "What you are doing now isn't good enough. It is fine for the meantime, but you need to get in the game!" I know these women are just buying into what the world is selling them but it is so disheartening.

I CHOOSE to be a full time mom. I have a college degree. One I could easily use to work from home (as many people point out to me on a regular basis). I am an educated adult and have the option of going back to school and getting even more degrees if I feel like it. But, I choose to make my family my full time job. I am not saying it is wrong for other people to choose to work from home or even outside of the home. But, I do feel tired of being put down for my choice to not work and dedicate myself full time to my family. And I am even more tired of Christian women trying to pass off these "suggestions" as Truth.

A few months back I started buying into this idea that I needed to be doing something outside of my family just for me. I had been hearing it a lot. And I started to believe it. Where before I felt secure and confident as a full time mom I started to feel insecure. I started to think I was a bad mom because I didn't have a job outside of my home or a big hobby that took me away from home a few hours a week. And again, I don't think those things are necessarily wrong for some people. But, I also don't think they are necessary for everyone.

I do believe that we need to see ourselves as people outside of just our calling as mothers. But, I believe that God wants our identity to be in Him. And for me I do not need a job outside of my home to see my identity in Christ.

I DO enjoy time away from my children from time to time. I love getting out by myself and grabbing a coffee and reading my Bible at Starbucks or even going to the grocery store by myself. I love getting together with ladies for Bunco or a craft night. I love meeting up with my mom to go shopping or spending some time during the afternoon on the phone with a good friend. I love getting date nights out with my husband.

So, I am not saying that women who choose to work or have hobbies are doing anything wrong... unless they are using their work or hobbies to give them an identity. We as Christian women need to be loving each other and encouraging each other to find our identities in Christ. The only other thing the Bible tells us to encourage each other in besides who we are in Christ is to love our husbands and children and to be busy at home (Titus 2:4-5). We need to stop preaching the world's gospel to one another and start speaking truth to each other.

So, if you are struggling as a mom feeling like you don't have your own identity outside of your children and I want to encourage you to find your identity in Jesus. He is all we need. And if we pour our lives into Him he will pour His life back into us. When we are keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus we realize that it is not us that matters, but Him.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Here is a pic of those cute little R's on Halloween! We had a great night. My parents and sister and brother-in-law came over for dinner and we took the kids to a few houses to trick-or-treat. Like always it is wonderful to be able to celebrate with family! And the kiddos had a blast!

I haven't posted a reading list in awhile but I thought I would share my two favorite books I have read/been reading!

"The Well Trained Mind"- I am loving this book. When I first learned about Classical Education a few years ago I knew it was the direction I wanted to go in teaching my children. This book really reinforces my views and gives step by step, year by year instructions. I checked this book out from the library but will be buying myself a copy for reference for sure.

I actually checked this book out from the library and then ended up buying a copy too. This book has a lot of great practical tips for raising kids to know and love the Lord. And above all I am so inspired by Michelle Duggar's calm and patient parenting! After reading this book I have been able to apply a lot of what I learned and have found myself parenting with more love and kindness. So good!

The weather here today is super rainy and dreary so I am currently trying to find the motivation to get some housework done and dinner going. We have spent the majority of our day doing crafts and reading books! My favorite kind of day!