15 things I love about my mom

Many of you don’t know my mom, and likely never will. She’s a quiet lady – one that I think many don’t know too well. But I was thinking last night about all the reasons I love her – so in no particular order I’m going to list some thoughts about why I love her so much.

1. I love the way my mom tries so hard (and in so many ways!) to make her hair straight, even though it has incredible and adorable natural curl. All without ever taking herself too seriously.

2. I love the way her face lights up when she sees her grandchildren.

3. I love the way my mom makes lists and keeps herself organized with oodles of post-its and notebooks.

4. I love that my mom can answer any tax question known to man or will find out for you within hours of your asking. I also love that she will get her feathers up -in a sweet, quiet way- if she doesn’t think how it all ended up for you is quite fair.

5. I love that my mom put up with a goat, dog, birds, cats, owls and who knows what other kind of pets while we were growing up so we could enjoy them.

6. I love that what I remember of my mom from my kid years is not someone who hated housework and just wanted a break from us kids, but a woman who cheerfully fulfilled her responsibilities and genuinely wanted to be with us in whatever we were doing.

7. I love that my mom loved hearing my sister and I play the piano and told us that quite often. My girls are taking piano now and #1, Mom, you were an amazing woman, and #2, I know that the influence of your positive attitude helps me to appreciate the “music” they make for the treasure that it is.

8. I love that my mom loved our teenage years.

9. I love my mom for being the best “driver’s ed” teacher ever. EVER!

10. I love that my mom was a college cheerleader; even though many don’t see that side of her anymore she still has that same fun and spunk with those she’s closest to.

11. I love when my mom tells me about a new outfit or “look” she likes and how she’s trying it out.

12. I love that my mom is so cold-natured that she wears boots about 10 months out of the year, despite living in Florida. This may be a slight exaggeration, give or take two weeks. = )

13. I love that my mom was never too anxious for us to be in bed that she wouldn’t take time to pray with us.

14. I love that my mom was so honest with me about how hard labor is before I gave birth for the first time.

15. I love my mom for being an encourager. She is the one that no matter what I tell her about what’s going on in life, she thinks it’s great. “Mom, we’re about xyz days behind in homeschooling.” “You are doing so great! I don’t know how you do it.” “Mom, we bought a house.” “That’s the best thing you could have ever done.” “Mom, look at these pillow covers I made.” “Oh, they’re beautiful!” “Mom, we’re having another baby.” “Oh, that’s so exciting!” “Mom, it’s been a rough day of potty training and no one is taking naps like they’re supposed to.” “It’s okay, it will get better!” I love telling her about what’s going on and I love that the reaction will always be something positive and encouraging. I want to be that person for my girls when they’re grown.

"Grammie" in her happy place.
“Grammie” in her happy place.

Mom, I love you. This list feels so insufficient for all the love you’ve shown to us, and for all the things that I love about you. You are a gift from God to my life; chosen to be the one that would bring me to the point of being a wife myself and then graciously letting me go into the new life that God had made for me. I’m so thankful for your love and your friendship. Miss you! 

The greatest lemonade stand ever – phase 1

the greatest lemonade stand ever

Oh my goodness, how I love our Hopey. Her eyes twinkle when she talks about anything to do with this lemonade stand.

The first lemonade stand has come and went. It was fantastic.

I woke up Hope at 6:22am, which is approximately a very long time before she normally wakes up. By the time I was out of the shower and ready, she had woken up all her sisters (except Zoe, thank you!) and everyone was ready to go.

the greatest lemonade stand ever

We open the door… and it’s raining. I think I may have stomped an internal foot or something. It can’t rain on the greatest lemonade stand ever. They had worked so hard! Hours and hours of making signs, baking, decorating cups with washi tape… we had to move forward.

Sophia and Mckayla had to wash their hands A LOT while we were baking cookies. = )
Sophia and Mckayla had to wash their hands A LOT while we were baking cookies. = )

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We took everything out to the front porch and by the time we got it out the rain had lightened enough for us to move on out to the driveway. It was so exciting to be actually setting up!

Customers came right away; thankfully it was a steady stream not a rush. We quickly realized that the cookies were the most popular item – though honestly, who wants lemonade on a drizzly Saturday morning before eight o’clock? The lemonade became more popular as the morning went on.

The girls were so proud to tell people that one teenager liked the cookies so much he came back for seconds. = )

the greatest lemonade stand ever

Sophia was invaluable for advertising. Every car that drove by was greeted with a rather loud and cheery, “Lemonade and cookies! Lemonade and cookies!” As soon as anyone would get out of the car at the neighbors yard sale she would yell again, “Lemonade and cookies! Lemonade and cookies!” Soon the other girls chimed in.

How long will they keep that up? I wondered. They’re going to be completely hoarse tomorrow!

They kept it up for several hours. It worked like a charm. = ) And no voices were lost in the process.

Gracie and Mckayla didn’t even need to pass out free samples. Business was great regardless. They stayed busy sampling for themselves. = )

At the end of the day, Hope made several dollars more than what she put into it. Also, the only supplies we will have to replace are the cookie mixes.

Bottom line – phase two should be almost all profit.

Speaking of phase two, I’ve emailed our local Chamber of Commerce for suggestions or guidelines on choosing locations for a lemonade stand. They haven’t responded and Hope is less than impressed.

I know this because as Paul and I were eating out on a date this week, he got a text from the family who was -so sweetly!- watching the girls. The text read, “Hope doesn’t think my son would want to be a part of the Chamber of Commerce.” We laughed to ourselves and figured the lemonade stand must have come up in conversation.

When we picked the girls up our friend explained that they were telling the girls about their sons and what they’re studying in college. When they mentioned that one was studying business Hope blurted out, “I’m sure he does NOT want to be in the Chamber of Commerce.” She hadn’t given an explanation so we told how them that she was a little peeved that these people (who are supposed to help businesses!) had not helped her out with her lemonade stand yet.

And that is where we stand. We are working on a location and date for the next lemonade stand.

Stay tuned! = )

(Oh, and there’s already a pre-order for cookies!)

the greatest lemonade stand ever

For family and friends – lately

Hello dear everybody! I thought I would share a few pictures I’ve taken recently. Sorry it’s been so long!

Big sis reads to littlest sis
Big sis reads to littlest sis
Reading on mom's bed. Hale Navy color in my bedroom - I love it!
Reading on mom’s bed. Hale Navy color in my bedroom – I love it!
Cutie pie
Cutie pie
Proud little kindergartener
Proud little kindergartener
Pigtails and favorite purple dress
Pigtails and favorite purple dress
Can't stay inside on such a nice day
Can’t stay inside on such a nice day
Crawling
Crawling

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Got it!
Got it!
Spring wreath!
Spring wreath!
Sisters
Sisters
More about this on Monday!
More about this on Monday!

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See ya next time!

 

Tuesdays, Tuesdays

I have to ask: does anyone find it easy to be distracted on Tuesday?

via Getty Images
via Getty Images

For your sake, I hope not; for my sake, I hope so because that would make me feel better.

Monday you’re coming off the refreshment of Sunday, or possibly in recovery mode from Sunday. (for me it’s usually a combination of both) It’s easy to focus, to make a list, to engage the children…

…and then Tuesday comes and it’s just not there anymore. I make excuses, I get distracted, I don’t accomplish very much and then I feel horrible.

It was just a few weeks ago that I noticed this pattern and began wondering if it happens to anyone else.

So please, share your thoughts! Have you noticed certain days of the week that are more of a struggle than others? Certain times of the day? Have you developed any strategies to combat this?

Right now I’m simply in the recognition phase. So I try to think on Monday night what I can do to be more ready and try to be more aware of the temptation to lose focus throughout the day.

Hopefully soon I’ll be able to leave this time management hiccup for the next inevitable one. = )

Btw, I wrote this last week and true to form Monday was great! I’m setting this to post tomorrow (Tuesday) and hoping for the best. = ) 

The greatest lemonade stand ever

via Getty Images
via Getty Images

Our daughter Hope has been planning and saving and dreaming of a lemonade stand for at least eight months. And it all begins this Saturday!

We had our first official business meeting today after months of brainstorming and waiting for warmer weather. We hope to do several throughout the summer so this will be a great test run for all of our ideas.

She’s so excited! She gave Mckayla the job of passing out free samples (we’re selling cookies, too) but gave her strict instructions that she could not eat all the samples!

I believe that Sophia and Gracie have also invested in the plan. Hope has been saving her money for so long and she has enough to buy all the supplies herself. As her mom, I know that failure or disappointment can be as valuable as success, but I really hope it goes well for her!!

So today we finalized decisions on the menu -lemonade and pink lemonade; oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip and sugar cookies- decided how we would garnish it, figured out what kind and size of cups we would serve it in, how we would make our display, and how we would get ready throughout the week.

Wednesday is shopping; Thursday is banner and menu sign day; and Friday is food prep.

After we shop we’ll make final decisions about prices and quantities to prepare.

Doesn’t this sound like fun??

It’s so sweet to see her eyes light up when we talk about it. As the oldest of a larger family she’s very sweet and patient to help and play with her sisters, but this is big girl stuff!

I’m going to do my best to take pictures and keep track of our progress here because I have a feeling this will be something to remember!!

Check back to see what happens with The Greatest Lemonade Stand Ever. 

Skittles and Casserole

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To say that candy is a lifelong weakness for me would be an understatement.

My father-in-law faithfully keeps me supplied with Skittles, keeps me up-to-date on the newest variations, and often throws in variety bags of chocolates just for good measure.

My sister and I once ran a rather black market operation smuggling junior church candy.

If you remember from this post it took me awhile to learn how you had to eat while pregnant. Oh yes, it also took me a long time to figure out how to keep a house stocked with the kinds of food you should eat while pregnant. I learned quickly that when I was hungry, I would eat whatever was near and easy.

Usually Skittles.

So we have a scene that makes no sense: I’m pregnant, hungry, trying desperately to get dinner on the table. Why? Because I’m hungry! And so are the little people. However, I’m so hungry that I can barely concentrate on cooking. Is there anything in the pantry I can snack on? I’m so hungry!

Out would come the easiest thing to shake out in my hand and snack on.

Skittles.

Or some such other non-satisfying substitute for a good, hearty dinner.

Need I bore you more? The more Skittles I would eat the more I would want which would make dinner take longer and would also make me want them after dinner, for a snack…

So pathetic.

After the birth of Zoe this past summer, friends from church were so kind to bring us meals. Good, delicious, well-balanced meals.

Of course, anytime you’re feeding a baby you will be hungry 24/7 so I would grab a spoonful of casserole or barbecue while putting everything out on the table. That’s so good! I would eat a helping for me and Zoe and still be eating out of the pan as I was putting it away.

I literally had chicken tortilla soup for breakfast several mornings because it was so good!

Brief digression: this was awhile after the uncontrollable Skittle snacking fiasco. I had improved a little.

It was funny to me that when I’m in that pregnancy or nursing-induced hunger cycle, I will eat whatever is there.

Sadly, it rather reminds me of myself spiritually.

My soul hungers for the God it was made to worship, yet I so often stuff myself with spiritual Skittles because I’ve failed to either prepare myself for God’s Word or cultivated an appetite for junk.

I might on a very good day fall out of bed wanting to read my Bible, but if I fail to get up before the girls, or get distracted with other things – the temptation to snack on less will persist the whole day. I won’t naturally take that five minute window when the girls are all happily occupied to be still and pray.

Hearing the Word faithfully taught or tasting it’s riches while reading alone is like taking a bite of a delicious casserole. This is what I need! I want more.

I’ve been working at learning to make those yummy casseroles (thanks everyone for the recipes!) and hunger-satisfying meals. It takes time to meal plan, grocery shop, put them together and even freeze for busy days. But oh the reward when you pull that meal out of the oven or find leftovers in the refrigerator. Yay for avoiding Skittles! (Not permanently, just as a meal substitute.) ; )

The work of preparing my heart for the Word has an even greater enemy than a sweet tooth. As I’ve already said my flesh so easily replaces the worship of God with distraction, busyness, laziness, indulgence.

May I work to prepare my heart to hear and savor the teaching of the Bible at church, to grow more desperate for it’s nourishment as I go through ordinary days here at home.

Psalm 107:8-9 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

January goal check-up

If you remember from New Year’s, my goals are very simple this year. Here are some thoughts on the progress so far.

1. Treasure God and His Word.

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I have to say here, that I am so thankful for my husband. Three times a week I get to hear him teach the Bible and every time I learn and grow in my desire to read and study myself. That being said, I know there are pulls in my heart to choose other things when I have the option. My prayer is that this year those would be put aside and replaced with a deeper hunger for the knowledge of God and His Word.

My current place of study is Acts because Paul is going through this with the students on Wednesday nights. The girls and I are memorizing in Proverbs, and I also would like to come up with a plan of what to read when I just want to sit down and read for awhile. (Do you ever feel like that?) That way there will be some direction of where to pick up.

The other part to this goal is the prayer that God’s Word would be right on the tip of my tongue as I go throughout ordinary life with the girls. I know I need to speak the gospel to myself constantly and I want that influence in their life as well.

Practically speaking, this goal involves nightstands, pens, journals, and a specific effort to reduce clutter. Sitting down to read or meditating throughout the day are greatly helped for me when things are in order and easily accessible.

2. Read. Read. Read.

I love reading! In January I finished The Shallows by Nicholas Carr and I highly recommend it! This month I’ll be reading Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss and The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss by her husband George. Also, Dispatches from the Front by Tim Keesee and Robinson Crusoe with Paul. Someone gave the girls the entire Little House on the Prairie boxed set for Christmas so I am officially making it a goal this year to read those aloud to them.

2a. Read aloud the Little House on the Prairie to the girls. = )

3. Regain an enthusiasm for mothering.

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What I’m realizing is that this involves a very careful putting aside of “extra weights” and a very conscious commitment to do the things I want to do with the girls. Discipline is involved in this. The girls are much more delightful to be around when I am proactive about their behavior. Also, the more involved they are with what I’m doing throughout the day, the better. Yes, everything takes three times as long, but that has to be an investment in the future that I’m willing to make.

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I’m sure this goal will continue to take shape as the year goes. More to come!

4. Make monthly menus and make one freezer meal a week. February’s menu is done! And I have two extra meals in the freezer. Hooray!

5. Make a list for every day and week. Do a monthly goals check-up. 

About halfway through January I stopped making a list every morning and I can see how it slowed progress. That’s why there’s a monthly goals check-up (yours truly) to remind me! And out of the twenty-two items on my most recent weekly list, I accomplished about nine. Oh, look at the room for progress there! = )

These next goals are specific to this month alone.

*Make and use chore charts for the girls. It’s time, people. Way time.

*Accept help with things around the house. It has come to my attention that I cannot do everything. In fact, I do it quite poorly. However, I am not content living in such a sad state of affairs, so I am going to need help.

I can think of two ladies at church who have specifically, genuinely offered their help. This month I want to contact them and make a plan to do some things around here.

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Thanks for reading! See you at the end of February. {James 4:14-15}