Monday, February 21, 2011


Apparently Wisconsin was not quite ready to let go of the snow. Spring tried to start edging it's way in, but alas spring is never quite welcome in February.

I knew it was supposed to snow yesterday, but the morning looked pretty clear and we'd been having SUCH warm weather, I really thought it would end up being a small flurry. My husband had to fly to Dallas and as he was preparing to leave, I decided we'd drive him down. I was sad to see him go and thought an extra hour chatting with him was priceless. We loaded up the kids. Chloe napped while the older two watched a movie. Marc and I got our hour was like a mini morning date;) We dropped him off at the airport and started to head home.

I wasn't relishing a day at home by myself so I decided to stop in downtown Milwaukee at the only Whole Foods within hours of us. We loaded up on organics and the kids got to pick a few treats. It was already lunch time as we were leaving and though the snow had started and admittedly was coming down pretty hard, I decided to stop at the mall for lunch and to allow them time to get out energy in the play area.

That may have been a bad choice! The drive home proved treacherous. We saw an accidentand a few cars in the ditch. I was VERY thankful that I am experienced driving in the snow and kept praying that we wouldn't get stuck as I had no idea who I would call to help! I should have headed straight home and I knew I would kick myself if I got in trouble with three kids in tow! We trucked along at a slow pace and only partial felt badly for the cars that tried to whiz by us only to end up in the ditch. We made is without issue and enjoyed staying cozy the rest of the day.

I did snap a couple pic's with my cell phone...
It was crazy. The people with 4-wheel drive knew what they were doing and plunged ahead at a snails pace. The little Ford Fusion that ended up in the ditch thought he could whip past us all...
Can you see the road? It's not just the picture. I couldn't see it much better!

P.S. I do have to shout out to my friends Christina and James. He drove her over last night for a couple hours so I could have some adult conversation. I also owe my neighbor something HUGE. He cleared my driveway last night and again this morning. I am think some major baking is coming his way!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Book Review-The Liturgical Year

I ordered this book, hoping it would give me inspiration for incorporating more aspects of the Liturgical Year into the life of our family. I hoped for a review on historical significance, as well as practical examples for incorporating liturgical practices into our lives in a meaningful way for our children. What I found was a book that was very verbose and hard to wade through. The author makes many statements about the importance of the liturgical year to our spiritual walk, but I found myself wanted her to justify the statements with scripture, with facts. She asserts that the liturgical year is the most important aspect of our walk with Christ. While I would disagree with that fundamentally (believe scripture and prayer to be more meaningful and quite frankly more scripturally based), I do think the liturgical year should point us to Christ and ADD to our walk with him. When we read the old testament we find a God who instructed the Israelites to remember what he'd done. We also see this in communion. I wanted the author to make the liturgical year come alive for me. Unfortunately, this book read like a poorly written textbook. I finished it utterly disappointed. I learned little and found none of the practical application I was hoping for.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review- God Gave Us The World

God Gave Us the World

God Gave Us the World is a sweet book. It follows a mother and her bear club through the museum as the cub learns that there are all different kinds of bears. He asks questions and she answers them. The book does a great job of emphasizing God's creativity and care in creation, as well reinforcing the beauty he placed in making each bear unique. It provides an easy avenue for discussion with your children. The theme is clear- God made us all different, but no matter what skin we have, where we live, or what food we eat, we are all unique and special. We are all valuable and loved. We should appreciate and embrace our differences.

The books illustration (as with the other books in the series) are beautiful.

The only criticism I have to offer is the author went beyond the above theme and tried to also incorporate environmental themes toward the end of the book. The book went a little awry at those points. It felt like she tried to fit too much in one book. The book would have flowed better and made most sense had she simply stuck to valuing each other and saved the theme of caring for the earth for a different book.

(I recieved this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Boredom is a GOOD thing!

A friend with older children told me recently she though boredom was the breeding ground for imagination. When her children would come to her saying, "I'm bored!" She would excitedly reply, "Great! This is the perfect time for you to use your imagination."

One of my favorite things about my children is their imagination! I love listening to them play, looking at their drawings, and even, believe it or not, helping them pick up a crazy mess when the mess was a result of an active imagination. I really filed Summar's words away. I appreciate and value imagination but never had made it's connection to boredom.

Today, Ava was at School and Phin wanted to watch TV. He had already watched his daily show so I said "no." He was frustrated because I also wasn't playing with him, as I had housework to do. I simply ignored his protests and said, "Go play, buddy." He did occupy himself for quite some time with his Toy Story characters, but when I started sweeping he decided to help. He ran to get his broom from the closet and "helped".

Within a matter of minutes his broom became a horse and he trotted around the house saying, "Giddyup Bullseye!" He literally entertained himself on his little cowboy adventure for like 20 minutes. I took some pictures (cuz he's so darn cute) and as I snapped my little cowboy, Summar's words rang in my head. Boredom the breeding ground for imagination. What a gift!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What would I do without him?

Shout out to the single mama's out there. Your job is infinitely harder than mine. My hubby is out of town. I hate sleeping alone. I am usually pretty about getting to bed, but last night I procrastinated going to bed and then had trouble falling asleep once there. I wasn't necessarily scared, but restless. I definitely miss Marc.

As I lay awake tossing and turning my thoughts drifted to be thankful he was alive and that his absence was only temporary. My sister's good friend was widowed in her twenties with a young child. Who am I to complain about one night without my husband? How did she ever sleep? or did she have to just wait until sheer exhaustion took over?!

There are lots of reasons that I am thankful for Marc, but here's the couple that are at top of mind.

-He's big and strong and makes me feel secure at home. Truth be told if there was an intruder we'd both be scared out of our minds (he'd readily admit that), but something about his manliness makes me feel secure and I like that.
-He's the best snuggler.
-He scratches my back every night...and I love my back scratched. I think it's become part of my wind down routine;)
-He get's up with the baby.
-He get's up many morning and gets the kids breakfast so I can get another 30minutes of precious sleep!
-He helps get my sons energy out...and boy does that little guy have a lot of energy.
-He puts the kids to bed every night. They sure missed his presence in their bedtime routines!
-He's my friend and I love to talk to him about our days.
-We pray together every night. I, of course, do pray on my own, but I missed that connection before bed.

He's traveling a lot in the next few weeks (three place in the next week and a half alone). So I better make sure to appreciate him when he's home...still working on the encouragement challenge to help keep that top of mind;)

Monday, February 14, 2011

You laugh so you don't cry when....

1) Your daughter picks a picture of you to bring to represent the letter of the week (which is "K" and my name is "Kim") which seems extremely flattering until she adds, "I hope they can tell it's you. You are old now and in this picture you aren't old yet."

2) You purchase five airline tickets for vacation with miles and are so proud of yourself for saving money, only to realize when you open the confirmation email that you somehow booked them for the wrong month and end up paying $500 in change fees. (This was really my husband, but boy did he want to cry, so I helped him out by laughing.)

3) Your 7 month old actually sleeps through the night, but your four year old keeps you up for an hour freaking out about the wind outside.

4) You are helping your two year old with his grape juice so he won't spill. Your four year old decides to illustrate for him "how it's done" and ends up spilling HERS all over the floor!

5) You lay out all you need for breakfast before you go to bed, and your husband so kindly decides to be a servant and clean up the kitchen after you....

6)You sex drive finally returns in a small capacity since going on a hiatus since child number three. Okay- this makes you laugh AND might have started thinking her body was broken.

7)You are so proud of yourself for catching up on laundry and looking forward to a "day off" when a teeny little person decides to have "blow out poop" day and soils four changes of clothing.

8)You forgot that you put chicken to thaw in the fridge...a few days ago and now it all needs to be discarded. DOH!

9)You load three children in the car for a quick run to target before dad get's home from work, get them into a cart and reach into the car to grab your purse...only to realize it was left at home.

10)You look in the mirror after weaning baby number three..."whose body IS that and where did mine go?!"

11)You try to lose weight at 34 and realize it really IS harder to do than it was at 23.

12)You and husband make family run to target and though you think "Marc must have thrown my purse in the back when he was unloading the cart." for some reason you don't actually clarify this fact with the husband until you get home. It is then that you both realize your red purse is not visible to a man when it is sitting in a red cart and it was left at Target....with all you month grocery cash inside ($700).

13)You return to target and a stranger found said purse in the cart and turned it in...all the money still inside. (Okay- you laugh AND cry here too;)

14)You decide to take a much needed nap while the kids are "napping" only your 4 year old didn't get the memo and decides to "help out" by checking on the napping baby...thereby ruining the babies nap and yours. ARGH!

15)You tell your four year old you'll take care of packing her back pack for school, only to find when arriving at school that you only packed ONE of her shoes. (She's never forgotten her shoes...let alone just putting ONE in the bag!) Poor kid had pretty hot feet from spending the day in her snow boots. Oops.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I turned 34 yesterday. I am not one to get too hyped up about age, but I am always aware as I get older that I never "feel" like the person I thought I would. When I was a kid 34 seemed old, then all of a sudden I'm 34. I certainly know myself better and I love my life, but I keep wondering if there is a day when you "FEEL" like a real adult. Sometimes I feel like my body is getting older and my mind in draggin' behind. I've still so much to learn, so much room to grow. Will I feel like I catch up to my age at some point?:)

My sister and her husband came up for the weekend. All I wanted for my birthday was some help with the kids so I could get my scrapbook area set up. The men folk watch the kids and Karla and I went to work. I now have a small scrappin' area in my large walk in closet. It isn't large, but I will sit right next to a window and it's all mine, so I think it will be a perfect escape. There aren't too many things just for me now a days; I feel like this is a gift that will keep on giving. I'll be able to escape and be creative now and then, I can make a card or two during nap time or spend a week working on a layout. I hope this will be something that will "fill" me...being creative usually does. I'm so thankful that they came up.

Last night we went to dinner and our good friends, the Steinke's drove up from Kenosha to join us. We laughed and stayed up too late, but my, did we have fun. There was a table near us that started singing happy birthday to their birthday girl, "Sarah". My crew couldn't be shown up so they then sang to me so loudly onlookers might have supposed they were drunk- they weren't, of course, just super fun! Not liking the fact that we bested them, Sarah's crew then sang even louder! I don't think I have laughed so hard in a long while. Sarah's friends even gave me a pair of sunglasses and a medal that said "winner". Sometimes the simplest things makes the evening spectacular. Good friends and lots of I ever blessed!

I have had 34 blessed years. Who knows what the future holds, but I hope God grants me 34 more! Maybe I'll even feel like an adult at that point;)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chloe slept through the night last night. AMAZING!

The problem is now I am getting ready to go to bed (too late, I might add) and anxious because I don't know if she'll sleep again or keep me up. I am going to keep myself awake, worrying about not sleeping. That must be the very definition of insanity!

Seriously, before kids did you ever even fathom such nonsense? If you haven't had kids yet, PLEASE enjoy every bit of shut eye you get, it is SO NOT overrated!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Annoyed that I'm Annyoyed

Okay- here is a confession. At the moment I find myself frequently annoyed with my four year old. I am quite frankly annoyed that I am annoyed. I mean she's my child-you don't picture finding your own children annoying. I love her,but am finding myself gritting my teeth quite often, of late.

This four almost five year old stage is just not always my cup of tea. Oh, I find some of the things she says hilarious and I so appreciate how capable she has become. She is helpful and can do almost everything herself. However, she also thinks she is sooo cool. She is getting a little too big for her britches! She's kind of a know it all, questions me all the time, acts as if Phin and Chloe are her children instead of her siblings, etc., etc., etc.

I feel like I am constantly having to remind her of her place, correct her for disrespecting me, and disciplining her for disobedience for which she ALWAYS offers a "good" reason. It's exhaustin! It also feels a bit schizophrenic because she intermingles this ridiculousness with episodes of being absolutely charming. My mind is spinning; apparently she hasn't gotten the memo about my sleep deprived state. Or perhaps she has and is enjoying watching me squirm!

Ah, the joys of motherhood. It's not all a bed of roses, is it? Perhaps I need to roll her into the encouragement challenge. Of course with her current state, I can't leave out the negative (my role is to train her) but perhaps I should take extra pains to make sure I'm offering extra encouragement too and maybe I'd find my annoyance lessening. (I sure hope so, otherwise I'll most likely consume more chocolate and at some point this baby weight really does need to come off!)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day One

I've started the encouragement challenge. What a blessing already to be aware of my need to bite my tongue. Oh that God would help me be "swift to hear and slow to speak"! I journaled through all the reasons I am so glad to be Marc's wife. Had I more time of peaceful quiet by myself, I do believe I could have written a hundred pages. It's nice to take time to focus on the positve and I am finding myself completely humbled. My husband is such a gracious man and in our ten year marriage has learned, despite it not coming naturally, to be a servant. He is a godly man who easily admits his faults and will never stop working to make the grass on the other side look completely brown. He's quite simply, amazing and I do love him.

It's only day one and already I found myself "feeling" more love by "chosing" to being more loving. God is cool like that, isn't he? I am thinkin' this just might be a year we really celebrate Valentines and all it's cheesiness. Why not?! I am going to just bask in love and enjoy every cotton pickin' cheesy moment of it...romantic comedy, candles...and CHOCOLATE:)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Emotional Me

I am a bit emotional this evening. I had a wonderful talk with a friend today about marriage and in meditating on it afterward, I realized I have gotten a little too comfortable. Marc and I have a great relationship and it's taken A LOT of work to get there/or stay here depending on how you look at it. We've been married ten years and this blog couldn't begin to contain all the joys and struggles we've faced during that time. How we both have grown and changed during that time! Marc is far from perfect, but one of the things I so appreciate about him is that he is almost always willing to admit his faults and really strives to work on them. He gets lazy or loses perspective from time to time but when he realizes he's fallen off the horse, he dusts himself off and gets back on.

Lately I've been really tired and critical. He's been stressed at work and I've frankly found the whole thing annoying. Instead of caring for him and the load he is bearing, I've been frustrated that his stress is complicating my life. How selfish!

I've been thinking for a while about doing the 30-day Husband encouragement Challenge.
( I had tried to do it after Ava was born and lost steam. Lately I'd thought a time or two about trying again and committing to following through, yet I hadn't actually taken the time to find it again on the internet. After mentioning to my friend today that I had been thinking about it, I felt like I had to finally follow through;) Already day one is convicting to my current critical self "saying nothing negative about you husband to him or anyone else." I hate to admit that this will be hard for me.

I love to point out when he forgets to take out the trash, leaves an empty toilet paper roll in place, doesn't make the bed, leaves laundry on the floor, etc. All little things I just have to point out that really only serve to kill his spirit. As mentioned in my recent book review, I was recently reminded that if Marc was perfect I'd be the only one in the relationship who was ever wrong!

Because Valentine Day is coming, I recieved an email today from Hearts at Home on love. "Immature love is a noun. Mature love is a verb." Below is an additional excerpt from that email:

  • Love as a noun spent all last week wondering what your spouse was going to do for you for Valentine's Day. Love as a verb spent all last week preparing your expression of love for your spouse.
  • Love as a noun feels despair when you no longer feel "in love" with the person you are married to. Love as a verb understands the ebb and flow of feelings. It focuses more on expressing love than feeling love.
  • Love as a noun demands its own way. Love as a verb works to understand differences and is open to new ways of doing things.
  • Love as a noun finds faults in others. Love as a verb gives grace and forgiveness.
  • Love as a noun expects others to serve them. Love as a verb serves freely.
  • Love as a noun expects to always feel warm and fuzzy and "in love." Love as a verb realizes that often we have to choose to love even when we don't feel like it.
So- I have found the 30-day challenge and I am going to quit being a baby and treating love as a noun. I should know better! I do love my husband and I am going to make sure I start ACTING it out! If you want to join me, let me know. We can hold each other accountable!

Book Review- Plain Wisdom

I recently joined a couple publishers blogging review sites. They send me free books in exchange for a review- cool, right?! I have finished my first book.

This is a book written by a best selling author and her dear friend, a member of the Old Amish Order. It was a delightful book- heartwarming, to say the least!

Each chapter has a topic and each woman writes a small bit on that topic; the book also contains, much to my delight, recipes referenced in their descriptions (YAY!). The title couldn't be more fitting. The book is filled with simple nuggets of wisdom that all women can relate to on some level, but that encourage and challenge the reader. I was glad to find, when I received the book, that the layout would lend itself to being read in small moments of time (like when I arrive a few minutes early for preschool pick up) and intended to keep it in my purse. Two chapters into the book, however, it was out of my purse and my "to dos" were put away. It was such a refreshing read, that I didn't want to put it down. It was well, but simply written so I finished it in two days (even with my three kids, whom, I promise, I did not neglect;)

Our lives are filled with joys and pain and through them we learn and grow. These women authentically share the things they have learned through good and bad. It was such a priviledge to read and filled my heart.

We all come from different places, were raised in different family cultures, have had different experiences that shape who we are, but God is the same. He has created each of us to love him, love others, and be loved in return. This book takes us on a journey of learning to do each one. I was reminded once again of the treasure that I have in my family and my need to not get caught up in busyness and miss what life has to offer me. I was challenged on how I often view myself and others. I was encouraged to hope and be joyful. It was like having coffee with a really good friend and finding myself energized.

While I will reread this book and certainly find more gems of knowledge, two chapters especially stuck out to me this time. Here are two quotes from said chapters:

"I had no more value after I became an author than when I was home tending to runny noses, little bumps and bruises , and laboring over hard-fought-for school lessons my children would never remember learning (even though the skill became a part of them). Our value can't be wrapped inside what others think or we think, because that is too dependent on this ever-shifting world. The value God places on us makes us more than we think we are, even on our hardest days, weeks, or years."

"When your friends aren't perfect, be grateful- because if they were you'd be the only one in the relationship who wasn't."

I encourage you to pick up a copy of this book (it will be release 3/15/11) or download it onto your eReader. You'll find a smile coming to your face and joy filling your heart.

(This book was given to be free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Secrets to "How I do it"

Having three kids is a relatively small family here in Sheboygan, but to many of my Chicago and college friends it is large. (When we were pregnant with Chloe we got quite a few "why? You already have boy and a girl?" or "woah, I guess you guys are gluttons for punishment.") Quite a few people without children or people with one or two children will say to me, "Wow, I don't know how you do it." I usually just laugh cuz let's face it we all do what we have to do. Anyone is capable of doing my life and quite frankly most would probably do a better job at it.

I had to laugh today as I was getting out of the house with my kids and realized perhaps I do have a few secrets that I should share.

1) Getting out of the house is a headache, everytime and sometimes I actually break a sweat. Here is how I have developped our getting out plan: I start the car first (it IS winter in Sheboygan). Then I get Chloe bundled up and put her in the running car, then Ava, and then Phin. Then I go back into the house, put my own boots and coat on and gather our things. Here is the confession- sometimes they are in the car for a good 5-10 minutes. I seize the opportunity to do things like actually go to the bathroom by myself- after all they are all buckled in and not going anywhere. Moms of one child would probably be horrified at this; it has become a sanity saver for me.

2) We eat fast food atleast one day a week and more if I feel like it. I strive to feed them healthy but I give myself a lunch off once a week. No set up and no clean up means being able to take a breather during naptime. If it's a bad week it happens more than once and I really never feel very guilty about it.

3) My kids watch one hour of TV every morning from 8-9. Chloe usually doesn't go down to nap until 8:30, but I use this time to clean up the kitchen, shower/dress, and have a little quiet time to myself. If mama ain't taken care of the day just is all discombobulated. They often also watch a half hour from 4:30-5 cuz some days I just can't handle them in my way while I'm trying to get dinner ready. I once swore my kids would hardly ever watch TV...and then I had kids.

4) My kids clean up after themselves. Sure it is a headache in the beginning to teach them and in that moment would probably be easier to do myself, but it's worth the teaching. I have plenty to do without picking up after them. Ava being four also does the dusting, sets the table, and helps with the dishes. After dinner both Ava and Phin clear their own plates and help put things like ketchup and butter away. They also put away their own folded laundry. (There are risks to this one, as sometimes I find Phin's piles in the linen closet or bathtub- who knows what goes on in a two year old's head!)

5) I have a cleaning lady. This week she didn't make it because of the snow. We live in a big house. I did not have a moment of rest yesterday. I even had to vacuum while holding Chloe. With kidcare and cleaning I was literally on my feet for 13 hours....can't do that every day and be nice to my husband- therefore cleaning lady. I cannot do a messy or dirty house for very long- I start getting itchy acting one wants that:)

6) Chloe sometimes has to cry in her crib until I am finished with what I am doing. Ava never even cried. I'd here her chatting and rush to her side. Poor Chloe has to cry loud enough to get my attention and even then has to wait a minute or two while I wrap up what I am doing.

7) We have a date night once a week.

8) I totally pick my battles, therefore, I ignore my son when he steals lollipops and sometimes find candy wrappers in the play area that I had no idea were consumed.

9) Sometimes when it's a bad day and I just need a few minutes to think, we go for a drive. I get out the DVD player that we are only supposed to use for long trips and let the older two watch a show. Chloe is always good and quiet in the car. Sometimes I just need a few minutes of thinking if you see my driving in circles you now know why.

10) My husband helps a lot...he's the real super hero in the family. He does dishes and picks up regularily, doesn't complain when we have to do an errand or two on date night, and is very gracious when he is out of clean laundry (like Tuesday this week when I had forgotten to put the whites in the dryer the day before and he had no clean underwear).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"If You Think My Hands are Full, You Should See My Heart"

I saw this quote on a t-shirt today and fell in love with it! I cannot tell you the number of times I am out with my three kids and I hear, "You really have your hands full, don't you?" Of course, it's usually said with a smile in kindness, but for some reason it just kind of annoys me. I politely just answer "yes", but the more authentic me is sayingto myself, "Gee, you think?" I don't know exactly why this annoys me. Perhaps I have some deep psychological issues or perhaps it isn't deep at all. Surely, there is a twinge of jealousy when a person shopping on their own says this to me. Let's face it, doing Target alone vs. doing it with three kids is completely different! (For those who've never had the opportunity to experience both, let me enlighten you. Doing it alone is fun, doing it with three kids is an adventure of varying levels of enjoyment/misery depending on the day and the said children's behavior.) Whatever the reason for my momentary annoyance, now I have a new response! Sure, it might be a little hair raising to do errands in 10 degree weather with three itty bitty's, but I love my life!
I don't know when or how that happened- or even goodness on onlooker might think I'm insane to love this chaos. I mean today alone, my son has almost wrecked our plasma TV by throwing Sheriff Woody across the room to Buzz Lightyear. My daughter stuck stickers on my refrigerator that I needed to remove with GooBeGone (thank God for that stuff). My son took me literally when I told me to throw his lunch in the trash and literally THREW his plate from the table to the trash, splattering ketchup all over the kitchen floor and cabinets. All this and it is just after 12noon.

Yes, I live in Chaos, but I love these little boogers. My heart indeed is infinitely more full than my hands.