Thursday, March 31, 2011


I am very proud of myself. I've worked out three times thus far this week. That is good. I am trying to have more self control over food. That is also good.

What I FEEL though is "BLEH!" That is "kim"ish for "this is SOOO not fun" or "this is SOOO not yummy". I miss sugar. I miss fat....but at the end of all this I so hope to be NOT missing my baby belly.

It takes 21 days to make a habit right? I can't wait to get there and feel excited about being healthy. Right now breaking my "eat sugar to feel joyous" habit is not so easy.

Like everything else, I KNOW I need to strive for that which is work to achieve but my emotions are going for the immediate pleasure option (which of course, causes unhappiness and poor health long term). I'm taking everyday like the little engine in my kid's book. "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." I just keep trying to imagine how AWESOME it will be to make it to the top of this mountain...maybe I'll even post a bikini picture flexing...LOL. (Don't worry, mom, that was a joke.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Book Review- When Hurts Run Deep

It would be difficult, if not impossible, to find anyone who has lived very long in this world without experiencing hurt and yet still so many of us are left with "why?s" and are so lacking in the area of healing. Kay Arthur has penned a beautifully written and profoundly biblical book that explores our questions and at the end of day points us to the only place healing can begin, the cross.

I shed tears as read through this book. Kay has experienced her share of hurt. Her depth of understanding partnered with her depth of scripture offers real hope and healing. I found myself enlightened, healed, and equipped to share this knowledge with others.

This is a fabulous book. Kay says at one point that this book may be one of the very purposes of her life. If so, I can only imagine her Lord looking down and saying, "well done, my good and faithful servant."

Note- I was given this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review- Couples Who Pray

I just finished reading "Couples Who Pray Together". I highly recommend you read it too!

The book is filled with true examples of couples who have strengthened and even saved their marriage by praying together. The book includes a 40 day prayer challenge, with the promise that if you commit to doing the challenge, your marriage will improve.

Marc and I already pray together almost nightly, but this book was challenging. We often are tired or spend our time interceding for others. What will happen if we start pouring our hearts out before the Lord with one another, thanking him for all his blessings, but also asking for things personally in our marriage and in our family? The beauty of this book is that everyone can learn something whether prayer would be a new practice or whether, as in our case, you can deepen the practice already in place. I was challenged to commit more time to our prayer life so we can deepen the way we pray with one another.

The book encourages you and gives you tools to find the right time, format, style for each individual couple. While we aren't yet to the end 40 days of the challenge, it is obvious to me that couples who decide to commit to the challenge and complete it will be unable to remain static in their marriage. Praying together is intimate. Choosing to pray with your spouse is choosing to open your heart to them in a new way.

This book is an easy read, but a challenging read. Marriage are falling apart in this country. Oh that more people would read this book and embark on the prayer challenge and make the old addage true "the couple that stays together prays together".

I'll update you at the end of our 40 days;) I adore my husband, but who doesn't want their marriage to be even better?

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

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Marc: Hey guys look at this monster blueberry (holds up a HUGE blueberry)
Marc: Ya, look- a monster blueberrry.
Phin (hold hands over mouth): OH WOW!

a few moments elapse

Phin: Papa, is the monster INSIDE the bluebewy?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ava's Fifth Birthday Party

Ava's Fifth Birthday Party was last Saturday. I have intended to upload pictures and a post all week, but my younger two have been sick and I've just not had time to sit at the computer. So here is my late post;)

One of my favorite things about Motherhood is planning and throwing birthday parties. I love making the experience special for my kids. I want the day to be dreamy for them. I want to make memories for them AND for each kid that attends. It's also just a wonderful creative outlet for me!

This year Ava wanted a Toy Story Themed shindig. Toy Story is huge around our house so coming up with ideas wasn't difficult, making a cohesive party the end result was;) Still, I think we ended up with a great event. Mostly importantly my little girl loved her special day!

Ava dressed up as hair and all;) My mom made Ava cow print chaps to go with her Jesse T-shirt.

My Mom made Ava's bitty baby a matching "Jesse" outfit (awesome grandma;)

Ava's friend Sofia also decided to dress up.

Can't have Jesse with out a Woody, now can we. (Yes, my mom made his chaps too)
What's a grandma to do with extra cow print fabric...why a vest for baby sister, of course!

Ava's best buddy Charlotte came all the way from Chicago! How special is that!?

Why we were waiting for everyone to arrive, the kids were given empty "goody" bags. They had to make them into "Potato Heads", but their options were many:)
After everyone had arrived and made their bag, we went down stairs for carnival style games, with prizes to be had for all....token prizes for trying with some pretty good stuff for winners. We split the kids into four teams so no one had to wait too long anywhere. Game #1- bean bag toss.

Game #2- "The Claw" (They got to reach in with the claw and try to get the "alien" but there were also many other objects, like silly putty, play dough, etc. If they got an alien...they got to get a bigger prize from the basket.)
Game #3- "There's a snake in my boot" (They had to throw four tiny rubber snakes and get the in a cup or for a really big prize in the miniature cowboy boots.)

Game #4- Buzz's Shoot Out (Used nerf gun to knock down Sid, Al, Zurg, and Prospector)

Game #5- Woody's Roundup- They all got three tries at lassoing our rocking horse...surprisingly two kids were able to actually do it.

Finally- everyone got a hit at the pinata, which needed to eventually be whacked by Uncle Jason so that the massive amounts of candy inside could be added to their goody bags.

The birthday girl with her fifth birthday cake.

Blowing out her candles.

Here are most the munchkins...a few had to leave before we snapped the photo. Cuties, huh?

My FIVE year old

My dear daughter turned five yesterday. I can't believe I have a five year old. Time goes by so quickly, I realize how much of who she is has already formed. Her character is developing and the time where WE as her parents are her greatest influence is running short. We've not done a perfect job by any stretch of the imagination, but I am so very proud of the little girl she is. I took a few moment yesterday to reflect on some of my favorite things about Ava.

1) Ava follows directions to a T and strives to keep others in check;) She often can be heard trying to direct her brother to obedience. Often this quality in her makes me laugh. A few examples:
-The dentist told her we are supposed to help her brush her teeth until she's 8. Heaven forbid a night goes by when she does it herself. At the mere suggestion, she will quote the dentist's instructions verbatim.
-The first time Marc used conditioner on her hair, he read the instructions aloud (he'd never used conditioner on himself, so he didn't know what I was asking him to use;). She now wants to make very sure that we have "let it sit for two minutes" before rinsing.
-Similarily, when we bought her Flouride mouth rinse, we read the directions. She could be coughing up a storm or have cotton mouth, but if thirty minutes have not yet elapsed she will not take a drink of water because "the bottle says wait thirty minutes before drinking water."

2) Ava is one of the most grateful children I have ever met. She get's VERY excited about receiving gifts and is genuinely touched at the guesture. She is quick to say thank you without needing a reminder from mom. Just yesterday we took her to a movie for her birthday (a big treat for her), when we got in the car to go home she said (completely unprompted) "Thank you Mom and Papa for giving me such a special birthday.":)

3) She is VERY helpful. I am aware of parents tendancy to put too much responsibility on the firstborn. I try to keep it in balance, but she is just so darn helpful. If I am busy she will get the stool and get her brother a drink of water and has even put her brother to nap while I am feeding Chloe. I don't ask her to do these things, but it warms my heart to see her servant spirit in action.

4) Her teacher called her "a compassionate leader". I don't know how we could be more proud. She doesn't follow, she sets the tone in the classroom, but she sets out to make sure everyone is included and cared for.

5) She is a girly girl. She loves pink and princesses. She dreams and dances. I love her femininity.

6) She loves our family and makes effort to tell us so.

7) She has a heart that if learning to love and follow Jesus and asks such thought provoking questions about God and the bible.

8) She is SMART and loves to learn and explore.

9) She is imaginative and a dreamer. She is different from me in this way but I love to hear her crazy stories and watch her make up games to play with her brother. It's fascinating!

10) She is very honest. If you ask her what happened and she just hit her brother, she'll tell you "I hit Phin". This year, she told me my belly was big (painfully honest) and my very favorite was when we went to the dentist in September for her six month check up and the dentist asked, "Do you floss your teeth?" Ava replied, "We never do, but my mom DID do it today before we came here." (busted:)

Happy Birthday, my dear, wonderful five year old!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Meet Hammy

Ava is our artist. Although I often dramatize things a bit, I am NOT exaggerating when I say she draws atleast twenty pictures a day. I have a stack of photos in our kitchen. She cannot part with her art and so I have to keep the stack and every month or so weed through it and slip it out a few pictures with the recycling. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE her talent. We have framed lots of her drawings and Phin's scribbles and used them to decorated our finished basement. I am proud of her, but if I kept it all, we'd soon be appearing on the show "Hoarders".

Because we want to foster her affinity for art, we recently enrolled her in a animal themed clay class at our local art museum. We wanted to giver her the opportunity to experience a new medium. SHE LOVED IT! Because the clay has to be fired, we didn't get to see her stuff right away. They called this week and said it was all ready to be picked up.

The most precious gift was inside. Ava made her brother his very own "Hammy" piggy back. Phin is often sad because Ava has a real piggy bank. He has ALL the Toy Story characters and loves the pig. He affectionately calls him "Hammy" (real name in movie is Hamm). He often tries to put coins in Hammy, but his piggy bank slot is pretend- just an indentation instead of an actual slot. I never realized that Ava noticed his piggy bank envy.

Now I have to admit, as I unpacked her "art", I had to refrain from laughing at some of it. It is cute, but wow- it's... well,...done by a four year old. She was so proud and here I wanted to laugh. But my precious baby boy did not laugh at all. When she handed him his very own piggy bank, he was in awe and he simply said, "I lub it!" (two year old for "I love it"). He even wanted to take his new "Hammy" to bed (no I didn't permit that;)

I love my kids and I am so thankful to see that they love each other.

Phin with his precious "Hammy" piggy bank.

Ava telling him how she made it.

Here is "Hammy's" face...bless his little pig heart.

My very, very, very favorite thing- Etched into his side is "Ava Phin Love"....DOES IT GET ANY CUTER?!

In case you wanted to are all of her creations: Starting at the far left and going clockwise AROUND Hammy: 1) "cow mask" (It even has little holes on the side to attach a sting. I hope she never asks to try it on- it must weigh 5 lbs;), 2) Pig mask, 3) bear cup, 4) duck cup, 5) cup that lost a few parts (she can't remember what animal that was;), 6) tiny pig bead, 7) bird

A little paper, went a long way

It's no secret that I have a certain affinity for McDonalds Coke. Not only do I LOVE Coke, but McDonalds does it like no one else. I have recently switched to Diet and it is satisfying in re. to weight loss, but there is nothing like the sweet slurp of the real thing. I had a terrible night's sleep (Marc is away) and today it is pretty snowy and my baby has a cold and has had three teeth break through this week. Mama decided to go for the real deal this morning.

The cashier who is at the McDonalds drive-thru most mornings (I wish I knew her name, but she always has a fleece on) is a young lady who looks sad, even troubled. She is never rude. Her voice on the speaker is actually really nice and doesn't always go with the person you see when you drive up to pay. She has died her hair jet black and it is cut short and unstyled; it is very masculine looking. She always has on earrings...but they are diamond 9mm hand gun earrings. I often wonder as I pay, what her life is like. Who is she? Who makes hand gun earrings? Why did she buy them and why does she wear them every single day? What do they mean to her? What is her real hair color? Why does she hid her feminity?

Today as I drove up, I paid in change and she asked if I wanted a reciept. I don't know that she's ever asked me that before. I replied, "Yes, because my daughters school collects them." She then not only handed me my reciept but handed me a large stack of reciepts, assumedly from previous patrons who didn't want them.

I cannot tell you how much this small guesture touched me. One could say it was no big deal, but I was there; I can tell you it was. The smile on her face as she handed me the stack of reciepts is etched into my memory. Her usually downtrodden face was aglow. She was offering me the gift of kindness and generosity. It wasn't just about the reciepts. Her face offered me a glimpse into her beautiful heart that she for some reason keeps masked behind a wall of black and hand gun earrings. For a moment, I saw the women God created and let me tell you she is beautiful!

So often I think I have to do BIG meaningful things to touch the lives of others, but today a women gave me what many would think was garbage. She not only probably gave me enough reciepts for a few classroom books (McD's gives schools supplies for reciepts), she showed me that she valued what I did and it really, really touched my heart. I can only hope and pray that somehow God will use my smile and my affinity for Cokes and collecting reciepts to somehow touch hers.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I don't mean to toot my own horn or anything, but....

I Rock! That is right. I rock.

My husband has been gone all of four hours and in my mad rush to get Ava to school, I grabbed the spare set of car keys; no time to find my set. The problem is the spare set is JUST car keys. It seems my little son was playing with the lock on the door from the house to the garage. I went to open it upon returning home and found it locked. I could only laugh. I mean REALLY...of all days! We don't have a hide-a-key cuz we have one of those spiffy code box things that opens the garage door. Guess those don't work so well if the door from the garage to the house is locked.

I first tried to somehow open the door with a credit card. Those cop shows make it look easy. My card kept getting stuck. I am not quite sure how to make that one work. I mean it didn't seem to be doable. I could have tried for the entire day and don't think I'd have made any progress. But just having a go at it made me put on my "determination" hat. I got back in the car and we took a little trip to Walmart. I bought a flat head screw driver for 82 cents.

We got back home and I got the door open in TWO tries and about 1 minute. I did a little happy dance. Phin joined the jig and began saying, "we got it open, we got it open." Funny how it became "we", but I guess he thinks watching counts as helping;)

I am thinking I can spend all the money I saved on a locksmith all to myself. Anyone think I could convince my husband of that?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

FINALLY...a green he will eat!

My son is a picky eater. No matter how reassuring the doctor is or how much I try to calm myself, I totally experience anxiety about this! He eats all fruits and so we offer him fruits at every meal. But since stopping baby food (which, by the way, he would never eat now) he has yet to eat any vegetable except corn (and really, does corn count!?). Hiding it in food does not work. He will somehow find each tiny morsel and spit it out or refuse to eat all together. He used to eat most meats, but now has huge texture issues and will only eat cheeseburgers (if the patty is pounded VERY THIN), chicken nuggets, and hot dogs. He does thankfully love eggs and cheese. He has NEVER drank more than a sip of milk since we took his bottle away a year ago (despite being offered it daily), but he does consume large quantities of yogurt and cheese (as previously mentioned). He will not try anything new and I do mean anything unless it is some kind of snack or candy, which he seems to have a magnetic relationship to. If it is junk food, he'll eat it no matter where he finds it. The kid would never eat a fresh carrot, but if he finds an old dried fruit snack in the car, he'll crunch it. He frustrates me and I have to DAILY force myself not to fight him re. food. Oh, I've had failed moments. I have tried to force bites in his mouth, I have tried to bibe him with sweets if he'd only try ONE bite of a new luck. The kid is taking all his two year old issues out on food and I am left pulling out my hair while he happily drinks his juice and eats ketchup by the spoonful. I refuse to give him hotdogs for all meals and so he is steadily losing weight. I am just thankful he had so much chub to begin with!

Recently I started buying Veggie Booty again. I used to buy it regularily but got sick of it myself and then sort of forgot about it. When Ava was a baby she'd eat it like it was crack or something. I was sure it would be a win with my little snack fiend, but his snack and vegetable radar were in full force. Somehow he just knew it was coated in broccoli and spinach powder and he refused to even try the stuff. I even called it "Oscar the Grouch snack"...the kid loves Oscar, but still not even a bite, not even a lick of the stuff. I have been determined to get him to eat it, so I keep putting it on his plate. Ava and Chloe devour it- he lets it be...UNTIL YESTERDAY!

I was laughing with Ava about how it crunched and he got up and left the table. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him steathily turn his back and slip a peice into his mouth. Talk about control issues! He totally tried it on the sly. I made sure to keep quiet even though I was dancing inside and sure enough my little man came back to the table and ate ALL of his Veggie Booty. My son has finally eaten something GREEN! Sure, it isn't actually of much nutritional value, but darn it, it is a start. I am amazed. Hopefully, soon he'll quit playing with his broccoli trees and slip one of those puppies in too!

At first, he still examined every tiny green peice;)

He ate them all and even asked for MORE!

(He finally noticed I was taking pictures;)

No more bite examination...this snack is now officially welcomed into the "stuff my mouth as full as I can" category!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

For your enjoyment....

My friend Nicole does "Fess Up Fridays" on her blog and admits to the world the "stupid" things she's done during the week. Of course, they are never really THAT stupid, but that always give me a good chuckle at the end of the week. Props to you Nicole, here are mine, in return...

This week for me was weird. I don't know exactly where my head's been. The kids have been grumpy, I haven't been sleeping well and I just felt off all week. This is never a good thing for my already failing mind! I've had a few doozies this week.

1) Got a message Thursday at 3pm (because I didn't check earlier) from my friend Sommer. She left it Wednesday at 9:30am wondering if I was still coming over. I never came over or even remember making plans this week with her. Poor Sommer. One of us was WAY wrong...most likely me. Thankfully she likes me anyway and we'll get together THIS week;)

2) I arrived to bible study Tuesday night and the leader said, "Did Jan change her mind about coming?" OOPS! Forgot to call Jan and see if I could give her a ride to bible study! She is an older disabled lady from church who had mentioned to the leader she may be interested in coming, but she didn't have transportation. Last week I had offered to call her and to give her a ride. Thankfully when I called to apologize and see if I could give her a ride this week, she told me she had decided to stick with the study she was already in because Tuesdays were already a busy day for her. She hadn't even expected my call or thought anymore about the study...but STILL I had completely forgotten...and it was written in my planner, which I failed to even peruse on Tuesday;P

3) My friend Laurie was over yesterday afternoon. I decided we were having pizza and since she didn't know what they were having either, I invited her to stay and her husband drove up and joined her. I ordered pizza from Papa John's online, which I have done numerous times. When it seemed like over an hour was far too long to still be awaiting our delivery, I decided to call and check on the progress. When I opened up the webpage to look the order number I noticed my confirmation said, "your order will be ready for PICK UP at 5:30"...oops forgot to click delivery! Three hungry kids and four hungry adults later, I realized my mistake and the hubbies ran to grab the food. oops...AGAIN!

4)While eating dinner with them, Phin got in trouble (you'll find it no surprise that I can't recall what he did) so I sat him on the stairs for a time out. We resumed our chatting. About 15 minutes later he peered around the corner and smiled. I then realized he was still in time out. OOPS...but how nice that he obediently stayed there!:) Guess we better start using an actual timer, huh? (Laurie, by the way, laughed and said. It did seem like a long time, but I didn't want to interfere with your parenting!;)

5) I left the whites in the washer for two full days and had to rerun the whole load.

I am sure there are tons more...but the rest of the week is kind of a blur.

Friday, March 4, 2011


I have been complaining and settling for my weight for months now. I gave myself plenty of time to adjust to three and I did not want to pressure myself about things that ultimately aren't important when I was just trying to get a handle on life. But lately I have been really convicted that the adjustment time is past and I am not taking care of myself. I am turning to food for comfort. I hate even writing that sentence; it sounds so pitiful, doesn't it? Yet, in moments of stress that is exactly what I do; I comfort myself with food, unhealthy food at that. I believe God gave us food to enjoy and I never want to restrict my food intake in such a way that it becomes a control issue. God gave us food to enjoy. I LOVE that he did that. I love the sense of taste; I love the pleasure we find in really great meals. God could easily have made food solely for nourishment, but instead he chose to give use taste. Like all good gifts, however, we so easily abuse it, either by indulging too much or rejecting it as something bad. Balance is so hard to acheive in life and I think, impossible to acheive without the help of the Holy Spirit.

I am out of balance. I could probably count on one hand the healthy food I ate this week. Okay- that is a bit of an exaggeration, but a BIT only. Why do I always reach for bready, carby, full of fat options and forget the simple pleasure of an apple or a bowl of blueberries? I recently read Jillian Michaels metabolism book and was momentarily stirred about my eating habits, but instead of immediately fixing them it's like my mind freaked out and they got worse. That tells me what bondage I am in to food! So today I decided to stop the madness. I am eating an immensly satisfying apple. I will enjoy God given food, but I will fight this self abuse. The pleasure of cake last all of 5 minutes, the sluggish mood and flabby body hang out a while! I want to get back to the gym and eat food that came from the earth itself or has a mother (Jillian's advice- not my creativity). I want to take care of my body and be a good example for my kids- not of a dieting maniac but of a person in balance.

I did go to the gym this morning. I met a fellow mama there and had to admit to her I haven't really worked out since being pregnant with Chloe. EMBARRASSING but other than a few power walks and ONE jog last summer- it is true. I don't even recognize the flabby body I see in the mirror! She was encouraging (she has three kids too and is about a year ahead of me) and told me she "got it" and I could get back in shape. Let me tell you- she looks great and more importantly- FEELS great. I am going to keep meeting her and feed off her motivation and positivity. There is just one minor problem...MY BABY GIRL! I was on the tread climber 20 minutes when my efforts were FOILED! The childcare attendant came to get me. Chloe had been screaming for 1/2 hour. I couldn't calm her enough to leave her again so we had to head home. Argh! I am hoping she is just out of sorts because of the flu short she received on Wednesday. My efforts and energy cannot be foiled by an "I can't be left by my mama" phase. Wouldn't that just figure! I finally am motivated; I felt so alive an energized working out. Chloe hasn't gotten the memo that mom NEEDS this, that mom WANTS this. We'll try again tomorrow. Otherwise, I may have to try to get up at 5 am....and that is a whole other layer of motivation and dedication that would definitely require some supernatural intervention!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Adult Time

Last weekend, Marc had a "required" work function in New York City. The owner of Johnsonville was being award MVP 2011 by the Boomer Esaison Foundation (cystic fibrosis foundation). When you are invited, we were told, you "cannot" say no. So...we packed up all three kiddos, drove them to my moms, and flew to the Big Apple.

I lost many nights sleep over this trip. I have really struggled with weight after baby number 3, so having to buy a dress and get all glammed up was a bit stressful. (Why did I not appreciate my prebaby body!?) I felt a lot of pressure about the whole thing- mostly self induced, I must admit.

In the end, we had a great trip. I felt beautiful and we had fun. (I was also reminded of how much I love visiting the city and how grateful I am not to LIVE there!)

Friday Night we went to see "Spiderman" on Broadway. My hubby is a Spiderman fanatic and I have to admit the show was pretty darn cool.

At the benefit...
They had a great 80's band and handed out these groovy glasses...we were especially thankful that they could double as "gifts" we brought home to our children (cha ching!)

Ali and Christina (from America's Got Talent) sang (they both have Cystic Fibrosis). They are incredibly talented, but MORE importantly- they are SOO sweet!

I don't usually take pictures of myself, but since we forgot to take a full length picture together, I had Marc snap one when we got back to our hotel room so my out of town friends can see the dress I had a hard time describing to them over the phone...