Tuesday, August 26, 2014

first day of school 2014

 I, for one, was ready for the first day of school. Not that I didn't enjoy summer. Not that I don't enjoy my children. I love them steadfastly and fiercely, but we were all ready for school to start.

Now, my family has prayed every year about how to handle school - homeschool, online school, public school. And each year we believe that this has been the answer. Who knows if we're right or wrong but we feel like our school can be part of our mission field - there are staff members and classmates who need to know the love of Christ, too.

Anyway, we were especially excited about our teachers this year. We didn't know the teachers going in to last year, but they turned out to be fabulous. We have the advantage of going to the same church as both of our teachers this year, so that's great! We've been blessed to have Christian teachers every year (so far) - how many people in America can say that today?!

Squirt's teacher is a friend of mine's mother and she's the most bubbly thing ever. And super crafty. I wish I'd taken some pictures of her adorable classroom but know this; she upholstered a computer chair to match and made the cutest ottoman seats from milk crates. He's going to fit right in!

Moose's teacher - oh goodness, how people have gone on and on about how wonderful she is when I say that's who he'll have this year. She has a heart that I'm excited to get to know more. She has the discipline and routine that will serve beneficially to Moose. I'm so thrilled about this. And her theme is cowboys - adorable. Race cars would better fit Moose but oh well. LOL

Last year on their birthdays, I decorated their door/hallway like above and below. They wanted me to do it again this year and I forgot for Moose so didn't do it for Squirt either. So I did it for the first day of school. Don't let the colors fool you - it's not Christmas yet!

Moose is dead set on this race car driver thing. I need to get him behind the wheel of a go-kart or bumper car or something. And 2nd grade?! Wasn't I just dropping you off at preschool?!

Squirt in kindergarten. He wants to be a superhero - which he then qualified as a Jedi superhero. I am so excited for him to learn so much this year, especially for someone else to teach him to tie his shoes. haha!

Moose practically dragging his lunchbox down the hall. He's all the way at the end so it's an easy find. He hasn't let me walk him to class at all. I guess my boy's growing up - and isn't that the point?!

Squirt walking in. He wanted to go by himself and I was like "um...can't you walk in by yourself tomorrow?" I've walked him in twice now and twice by himself. His room is Moose's kindergarten room too so he really does know his way, but it's hard to see your baby walk in all big.

And I was emailed this adorable little picture from the first day. Sock monkeys and polka dots - that's the classroom scheme. So cute. I wish I was a kindergartener.

When do your kids start back to school? Are you glad (if they go away to school) or sad? And don't feel judgement from me on either side - I think it's your choice and emotions don't tell how we love our children! I was glad and sad and I always will be!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dolphin Tale 2: Brave Souls by Cozi Zuehlsdorff (exclusive music video)

Check out the new music video on Fandago of Cozi Zuehlsdorff's new song "Brave Souls" from the soon-to-be released Dolphin Tale 2.

It's a pretty beautiful song and I love the movie clips embedded in it. I am excited to see this movie (although we need to see the first Dolphin's Tale!!) and my boys think it will be good, too.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Twirl by Patsy Clairmont (book review)

I've heard Patsy Clairmont a few times as a speaker at Women of Faith. She is a petite thing of a woman with such a great laugh and a big ol' funny bone. I enjoyed listening to her so much, I decided to read her book, "Twirl."
image via BookLook
Going along with my theme of rest lately, the back copy print says "Is life making you so dizzy that you'r forgetting what's most important?" I can't say I have forgotten (except in certain moments on certain days) but it's dizzying. You always think that life is busy and it'll slow down but I have yet to see that.

And so what do we do? Do we continue on without a bit of rest? I think Clairmont's book has helped point me (and can help you) in a few directions of finding rest within our busy lives. The book is set up in small chunks that don't need to be read in any certain order, which I like. The chapters don't really have much in common except trying to find something that God can use in your life to help you stop being so dizzy.

Some of the chapter titles are "More," "Read," "Laugh," "Pen," "Art," "Verily," "Bubbles," "Cuddle," and "Edit." There are many more but these are some that really spoke to me. Read is about reading, of course, and I love to read or I wouldn't write so many reviews on here. I always can use more laughter in my life, even if it's just watching an episode of "America's Funniest Videos" with my family or watching my sons be silly. I have always wanted to be an author and I don't know if I have the chops but I sure would love to try it. I loved the "Verily" chapter which was about poetry. I don't try my hand at poetry much (usually only for school projects) but since reading this chapter, I've written a few that I kind of like.

I used Clairmont's advice in her "Bubbles" chapter just last night when I took a long soak in the tub. I wasn't feeling well due to sinuses and this helped me feel so much better. I realized the need for that quiet soak probably once a week. I'm excited to add this to my life.

I'm thankful I read this book so I can add - not more to my schedule but make room for more in my life. More writing, more editing (of mouth and word), more bubbles, more laughter, more trees and flowers. More of the Lord and the good things He has planned for me.

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. Others may or may not have the same opinions, but my opinions are my own.

Star Wars

It started about a year ago when I watched the original (albeit newly remastered - hey, it was on a garage sale) Star Wars trilogy with my boys. They could have cared less except it was tv. The past year has mostly been about superheroes. And I know the difference between the Marvel and DC Universes. I do. And most of my friends think I'm a little crazy (unless we're playing Jeopardy and it's a superhero question - bring it on!).

But my friend Erin gets it. Hilarious as I was getting on here to write about how much my children love Star Wars, I click on the blogs I follow and see Erin has written about this very thing.

So my kids didn't really care about Star Wars even when we had a Star Wars themed birthday party for them. And then the library kicked in and we started to read books about them. My husband likes to say that if we have 30 books checked out from the library, 25 of them are Star Wars. I'm talking Level 1-4, craft books, movies, pop up books, board books. We know our Star Wars. I don't think my boys quite know the weapons as well as Erin's boys but I love hearing them talk about Wookies and Ewoks and X-Wings and AT-ATs.

It's a language I'm learning along with them because I, like Erin, want them to know I love them. If my boys weren't in to Star Wars, we'd still love superheroes and read superhero books and watch 60s superhero tv shows (which we still do some but it's secondary right now). I want my boys to know that as they grow, I'm interested in what they're interested in. Some day that may be baseball or soccer or golf (oh dear) or writing or an instrument or something else entirely.

So for now, dear friends, if you have Star Wars trivia questions bring them on because that's what we're in to these days.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Hungry Girl Diet by Lisa Lillien (book review)

I was really interested in The Hungry Girl's new book, "The Hungry Girl Diet" until I read through it. I realized that I would not be able to make this diet work for me. It's only a 4-week jump start plan, not a long-term plan (which is good because diets are not sustainable in my opinion). However, there are so many of the recipes that I wouldn't be able to make, mostly due to the lack of ingredients. I live in a smaller town and our grocery store is great, but it still doesn't have some of these ingredients or if it does, my budget won't allow for those things.

image via the Hungry Girl website

I have a hard time accepting that we have to spend an arm and a leg to afford to eat healthy. And so I will continue to stick to my own diet of watching proportions and moderation. I think that I will use some of "The Hungry Girl Diet" recipes when I can adapt them to my real life. I will also continue to follow Lillien on her website.

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. Others may or may not share my opinions but they are my own.

Monday, August 18, 2014

10 year reunion

How is it that a decade can pass so quickly? I'm fairly certain it was just yesterday that I was walking down the aisle with a maroon cap and gown, handing my mom a carnation, saying good-bye to my high school friends, never thinking it'd be 10 years until I saw some of them. And yet in the blink of an eye here it is, 1 marriage, 2 kids, 1 degree, several half marathons, jobs, and moves and 10 years later.  So this past weekend, my class had a reunion. Several went golfing in the morning, but we don't golf so I opted to take a short run with my best high school friend, Mandy.

I'm so glad I did. It was 10 years of experiences pushed into 35 minutes, but so great. So great to learn that the rumors I'd heard about her were true but had brought her to a broken place where Jesus filled her heart. I cannot tell you the answered prayer that is! To hear about her husband, her step-kids, her job, her heart.

Later after family pictures and family lunch, it was time to head to meet the rest of the class. Out of our 23 graduates, 14 of us made the trek - some from blocks away, others of us from states away. Introductions were made (some of which were unnecessary thanks to Facebook), "what do you do?" asked, explanations given, memories and lives shared. Of course, there was a keg and stands to go along with it; I wouldn't have expected less, to be honest. But in the midst of their drinking games, I found that a childhood friend married such a sweet girl, another enjoys to mountain bike, kayak, snowboard, and run (we talked more that night than we probably ever really had), one friend is done having children, two others had them cuddled in their wombs, one is getting married, another contemplating surgery. I talked to everyone but some not as much as others.

Mandy and I giggled about stupid nights and I think we're both thankful we aren't who we were. Some haven't changed at all - at least not that night. The same familiar laughter I spent my whole childhood listening to came out in my pint-sized friend. The beautiful girls still beautiful, the boys filled out into men but still ornery. It's hard to believe that some of us spent 18 years of our lives together (some late-comers less) and now we've lived such separate lives for 10 years, a whole decade.

Strange how we are somewhat strangers now but that it feels so familiar being with them, like coming home. I guess that's what high school is like, what growing up is like. I just know I really do hope we don't have to wait 10 years to get together again.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Summer is generally seen as a time of rest, but I feel like I've gotten very little rest on a day-to-day basis this summer. I think having the kids home and up from 7am (or before) until 8-9-10+pm with hardly any break during the day (no regular naps here!) has been taxing on me (and Moose from the sudden bouts of tears over any little thing these days).

As the kids continue to butt heads and I find myself on the losing end of sleep, God has really shown me the importance of rest.


Does that word make you crave it or fight against it? Rest is so important to us and I think we try to stay away from it and act like we don't need it. Sleep is for the weak! Wrong! God, the Almighty Maker of Heaven and Earth, our constant companion and protector, rested. He rested.

My friend Stacey wrote a few weeks ago about "Sabbath daily" - oh how I needed to hear that.
I am reading "Twirl" by Patsy Clairmont & there's a whole chapter on rest in there.
A devotional from "She Reads Truth" was about resting.

I'm not good at resting. I tend to fill up quiet with tv or reading (or the occasional talking to myself...I mean, talking to God out loud). It's very seldom I just sit and even more seldom that I sit outside, which is really where I feel most connected to God. This morning I was outside for my Bible study and got to see - even if for the moment - the most perfect piece of sunrise. I was out the other morning to work out and saw the best-looking moon. Those are the times when I feel like God is so real I could touch Him.

And yet, I forget. In the day to day, I get caught up in my weariness. Instead of heading to where my heart deeply craves, I take the easy way out. To moving, doing, making, baking, calling, writing, scrolling, texting, surfing (the web), checking, re-checking, emailing, reading, watching. When I forget I need to "be still."

In that stillness I know He is there, waiting. Waiting to love on me. Waiting to teach me. Waiting to take on my burdens. Waiting to engulf me in peace. Waiting.

So I wait no more. Off to heal and build up and wait and listen and learn and love and be.

rest more

And I say, "Oh that I had wings like a dove!
   I would fly away and be at rest;
yes, I would wander far away;
  I would lodge in the wilderness;
I would hurry to find shelter
  from the raging wind and tempest."

Psalm 55:6-8

We can't stay in the wilderness forever but sometimes desolate places are where we find God. Where we can get away and hear Him. Get away and listen for Him. Desolate places don't have to be foreign or exotic, just get out of your box and go somewhere to find Him. 

Your porch or yard, the park or ballfield, the picnic table or gazebo, the field or pond.

Then look around.
See Him.
His creation.

Friday, August 8, 2014


Becky D, you are the winner for the Noah Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack. Fair warning to watch this as an entertainment movie, not historically or biblically accurate. :)

Disclaimer: You have 48 hours to email me your mailing address or I'll have to pick another winner. 

SONG GIVEAWAY: You Got Me - Gavin DeGraw (new music preview from Dolphin Tale 2)

Dolphin Tale 2 is coming out soon to theaters, but here is a featurette music video from Gavin DeGraw called "You Got Me." I thought it was a sweet song so here I am sharing. Aren't I nice?! According to my younger son, sharing is respectful to God!! From the mouths of babes.

You can also win a free download of this song by telling me what your favorite song is (before you listened to this one). That's how you enter! Leave a comment with a valid email address.

Disclaimer: Void where prohibited. Must be 18 and older to enter. Contest will end Friday, August 15, 2014 at 11:59pm. Winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to email back to confirm their prize.

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