Tuesday, August 31, 2010

52 First Dates: Week Twelve

I had to throw in a photo of my honey and I.
This was our wedding photo taken over nine year ago!
Crazy... we were so young.

So how did your One Word experiment go?  Were there any surprises?  There were some fun words in there huh?  I have to admit that we were a bit stumped on some of them and wanted to give further explanation for our answers.  We found ourselves laughing pretty hard in the end.  This one was a lot of fun and one that I'd love to do again.  I think as we go through every stage in our lives, answers will change.  People will change.  And that's what makes some of these 52 First Dates so great.  They can be easily adapted to ages and stages of life.  Rich, poor, young, old... we can all find ways to invest in our marriages.

Are you ready for the next one?

This one is a bit more serious, but oh, so important.  I'm not one to easily express my emotions.  My husband is actually much better at giving me hugs and saying he loves me.  But even then, we have times where it just goes unsaid and we start to resent the time that's passed.

So your challenge this week is to write a love letter to your spouse.  It doesn't have to be long (but do put some effort into it).  It doesn't have to be mushy (but it should be sincere).  And be real with how you care for that person.  Remember the specific ways they've made you feel loved.  Mention the little things that remind you how much you love them.  Speak in your authentic voice.

Now you can take this one as far as you want to, but I would suggest reading them out loud to each other over dinner or dessert.  Love letters are incredible, but try to read them to each other and they become even more powerful.

Are you up for the challenge?

Check back in and let us know how your dates are going.  Anything new you've learned?  Leave a comment or check out the Facebook Event Page and let us know how you're doing.

And don't forget to check out this week's giveaway!

*Linked to these Parties

School Time Sandwiches

The school year is here and it's lunch packing time once again.  And if you're anything like me, you probably tired of the ole peanut butter and jelly.  I don't think my kids will ever out grow it, but I certainly have.  I need something new, something tasty, and something to shake it up a bit.

And it has to be nutritious!  If there's anything I want to give my kids, it's the ability to try new foods and always evaluate what's going into their body.  I truly want to give them the gift of good health.

So we're finding new ways to accomplish that.  These are just a few of them:

*BLAT'S: Like I said yesterday, this is my new favorite sandwich... whole wheat bread, a little REAL butter, bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado and sprouts.  I kept the lettuce off, but everything else was a wonderful combination.

*Peanut Butter and Jelly (obviously): We substitute the cheap peanut butter for Adam's or the freshly ground peanuts and use homemade jelly or homemade apple butter.

*Veggie Quesadillas: Quesadillas are an easy choice for lunch and we load ours with olives, tomatoes, artichokes, bell pepper, green onion, everything we can cram in there.  And the cheese seals it all together to make it perfect for a school lunch.

*Granny Smith Quesadillas: Some yummy melted swiss cheese and granny smith apples make these quesadillas smooth and tart.  Perfect contrast.

*Turkey Club Wrap: Whole Wheat wrap or tortilla filled with some nitrate free turkey, tomato, cheese, lettuce, and smoothed out with spicy brown mustard.

*Jazzed Up Tuna: Basic tuna is easy.  So start with the basics: tuna, mustard, and a little mayo.  Chop up some celery and onion.  Toss in some slivered almonds and cranberries.  And season with a little lemon pepper.  Plus there's your fish recipe.  Very yummy!

So what are you cooking up in your kitchen?  And stay tuned for more lunch ideas coming soon!

Don't forget to check out this week's giveaway!
*Linked to these Parties
*Linked to Weekend Bloggy Reading

Monday, August 30, 2010

Giveaway: Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family

I'm not sure when it was that this book came on my radar.  But the more I mulled it over in my mind, the more I knew I had to read this one.  With two kids in my house, I can't imagine what it must take to manage a household of 12.  Honestly, most days, I feel like I can use all the help I can get.  I had to pick it up.

A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family is written by Mary Ostyn, fellow blogger @ OwlHaven.  As the mother of 10, her book is packed full of tips for stretching the budget, breaking the supermom mold, and balancing time constraints with all all those hearts to touch.  Ostyn sets out to show us that large families are not only possible, but enjoyable.  One of my favorite features of this book was the interspersed comments from other parents integrated into the text.

The last few chapter were the most interesting to me.  Using effective consequences and developing sibling friendships are at the top of our priorities these days and the areas we struggle in the most.  These two chapters alone made the entire book worth it to me.

Since I've been so blessed with this book, I'd like to pass it on to a reader.  Interested in winning?

Here's how to enter:
Required actions:
1. Become a public Creative2xmom follower.
2. Go to OwlHaven and come back to comment on what you like.

Additional entries:
After completing the above actions, you can earn additional entries in the giveaway by doing any or all of the following:

1. Blog about this giveaway on your blog linking to this post and to OwlHaven.

2. Tweet or facebook this giveaway (may do once for each action).

3. Become a follower of facebook page, which ever you didn't do above.

4. Link up to Made by Me Monday

You have until midnight Sept 6th to enter. Leave me a separate comment for each entry. One winner will be chosen at random and I'll announce the results on Sept. 7th.  Good luck!

*Linked to these Parties

Made by Me Monday

Hey, how was your weekend?  Much going on in your neck of the woods?

Our weekend was wonderful.  I awoke Saturday morning to the calm sounds of rain.  Rain!  I know this isn't huge news for some of you, but I live in a very hot part of Northern California.  So hot in fact that it's been over 100 degrees the entire past week.  And rain!  Oh, it was fantastic.

The kids got up, dressed, and ran outside to play in the puddles.  The rain was light so it took awhile to gather in the puddles, but once they had a couple, the jumping began.  So puddle jumping and mud pie making insued.  The kids played so hard in fact that my four year old actually took a nap.  Oh, it was a glorious day!

The rain cleared up for a fun Dora party Saturday night and church the next day.  A little yard work, a little reading, and lots of family time.  It really was a great way to spend the weekend together.

And we discovered this awesome variation of a BLT:

I'm working on a lunch/sandwich post for later in the week.  So stay tuned.  This one just bumped to the top of my list.  We loved it!

Oh, and while you're here, don't forget to check out this week's giveaway!  It's a good one; you won't want to miss it!

So what have you been up to?  Show us those projects.  Write a blog post highlighting your project with a link back to this post so that others can join in on the fun.  Then link up below to the blog post itself.  You can do more than one project; just add more than one link.

*Linked to these Parties

Thursday, August 26, 2010

5 Tips to Make School Mornings Run Smoother

It's going to be 108 degrees today and Noah's already been in school a week and a half.  A week and a half!  Can you believe how quickly school starts!  My mind is still reeling that I actually have a kindergartener.  How did we ever get to this place?

As kids are gearing up to start school all over the country, I thought I'd share with you just a few little tips that have gotten us through so far.  I'm sure as time goes on this list will grow, but for now, here are my top five tips for getting through the mornings:

1. Prepare what you can the night before:
Everything you can!  Right now, I'm packing snacks and lunches the night before, the kids pick their clothes out and lay them on the couch, and shoes get laid out as well.  Homework, workbooks, and library books all get rounded up and put in the backpack.  Anything that has to be signed is done and packed the night before.  Do what you can the night before and it will stretch that limited time in the mornings.

2. Start with a full stomach:
I know some mom's require their kids to be dressed before breakfast.  Just the opposite works for me.  If my kid is hungry, the whole world is falling apart.  Starting with a quick hearty breakfast puts everyone in a better mood.  We made quick breakfasts around here:  eggs and toast, yogurt and fruit, leftover pancakes from the freezer, or oatmeal.  Quick, fast, and lasting.  Puts us all in a better position to listen and follow Mama's directions.

3. Create a chart:
We created a chart last spring.  There were six items on the chart: turn off night light, eat breakfast and clean up, get dressed, put away jammies, brush teeth, put on shoes.  We put a picture next to each one so that our non-reader still knew what needed to be done in the morning.  It also puts more responsibility on your kids to get ready in the morning.  If they ask what needs to be done, ask them if they've checked their chart.

4. Play some music:
Music in the morning is calming for me and my kids.  Music can be used to create so many moods.  Often I'll start the morning with something calm as they're first getting up.  But then we pick up the tempo after breakfast.  It keeps everyone moving and generally keeps us from grumbling with each other.

5. Limit screen time:
Most mornings the TV and computer are off limits.  But on occasion I'll allow a little screen time.  However, everyone needs to be up, dressed, and ready to head out the door.  If we have a few minutes still, I'll consider something extra.  This teaches your kids that their responsibilities have to be taken care of first, then comes the reward.  If someone's moving their feet slowly in the morning, Mommy's not going to reward that behavior.  Sometimes we have to do the hard stuff before the fun stuff comes.

These are just a few of the things that help us get out the door in the morning.  Some days are good are some aren't so good; we're still a work in progress.

Do you have an special tricks for getting ready on a school morning?

*Linked to these Parties

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

52 First Dates: Week Eleven

Hey everyone,
How did your date night go last week?  Did you create a bucket list?  Where there any items on there at surprised you?

I have to be honest in saying we missed this one.  We had family in town last weekend and hubby started his new job so he's working nights.  Our date night routine is certainly going to need some tweaking if it's going to survive.

We have done a bucket list in the past.  Somethings were little: visit the Grand Canyon, enter the cooking division at the fair, etc.  Somethings were big: visit several foreign countries on mission trips, write an ebook, etc.  Ministry goals, business goals, fun goals, personal goals, marriage goals.  Goals that would require both of us to bend and hopefully not break.

I hope this exercise brought up a lot of good stuff for you.  I know in the past it's brought up exciting things and scary things, but all good as we've worked together and brought us closer to being on the same page.

Are you ready for a new challenge?

This date requires a little prep work on your part.  On small slips of paper, you're going to write the following words:
color, vacation, music, chore, children, parents, family, friends, talent, childhood, store, candy, sport, winter, summer, spring, fall, outdoors, restaurant, habit, house, birthday, pets, food, late night, read, watch, listen, taste, drink, ... other words you want to throw in as well.

Write each word on a slip of paper, fold it in two, and throw it in a bowl/a hat/ something to mix them up in.  Take turns drawing words from the bowl and just say the first word that comes to your mind.  Don't think; just say the first word that pops into your head.  Is it funny, is it serious, is it bizarre?  Let your mind go and see where the conversation takes you.

Bonus points this week if you're still working on couch time.  If not, make a special effort this week to work on that habit.

*Linked to these Parties.

First Day of School

Well, here's those long overdue First Day of School photos.  I stole the idea from those Pottery Barn photos that keep popping up.  I don't have a spare little blackboard laying around so we used what we do have: a drawing board.  Would have worked even better if the Kindergartener hadn't gotten ahold of it and added extra drawing, but such is life.  I really like this idea so we'll see how many years I repeat it or come up with something new.

Noah was very excited that first day.  I think this must have felt like big kid school for him.  

And of course, little sister couldn't have been left out of the photos all together.  She wanted to be right in there as well.

Noah started last Monday and all last week was minimum days for Parent/Teacher Conferences.  Seemed funny at first, but it was nice to meet with the teacher right away and get a feel for where she's headed.  Today was the first day that he realized that other kids stay after lunch since Mommy will be picking him up at noon.  He's still excited, but I think the reality of a bigger school set in quickly.  He's yet to let my husband or I leave him on the playground before the bell rings.

(And between you and me,... I'm ok with that.)

So life goes on here.  We had a Back to School party for the Mommies yesterday.  I had planned on taking pictures, but got so wrapped up in conversation that I completely forgot.  It was a lot of fun with about 5 Mommies and 7 Little Ones running around.  It was nice to have a little Mommy time after a very hectic summer.  And nice to talk to other Moms who are getting into the swing of things after sending their Littles to school.

Hope you're all have a great start to the new school year!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Made by Me Monday

How y'all doing?  How was your weekend?  Do anything fun?  
We had a busy weekend and a super busy morning around here as well.  My in-laws pulled into our place around 11:30 pm on Friday night.  Kids were both in bed long ago so they had no idea Nana and Papa were here till the next morning. 

Nana, Papa, and Auntie Becca spent the weekend with us.  We kept busy most of the time with putting in a new entertainment center and a few other projects that hubby needed help with.  The kids had a great time running around and playing with their aunt, who is a senior in high school.  I think she was probably exhausted by the time she went home.

After nine years of marriage I found out that my husband likes coconut.  Guess there are still some surprises in this marriage!  So I promised him I'd make a coconut cake while his parents were here this weekend.  I used Paula Deen's recipe and it didn't turn out half bad.  Even better the next day.

Personally, even though I don't like coconut, it was pretty good.  For me, omit the coconut on the frosting and it would have been perfect.

So what have you been up to?   Show us those projects.  Write a blog post highlighting your project with a link back to this post so that others can join in on the fun.  Then link up below to the blog post itself.  You can post more than one project; just add more than one link.

*Linked to these Parties

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lee's To Do List

I love this homemade applique lace tank (@ Ruffles and Stuff).  So sweet and so easy!

Cheesecake swirl brownies (@ Feathers in our Nest) look decadent.  Can you imagine how quickly these would sink my diet?

Looking for a great wedding gift?  Check out these Monogrammed Wine Cork Hangings (@ I Can Find The Time).  Cheap, easy, and gorgeous.

In light of the Walking in Rhythms of Grace series, I was delighted to find this article about the Importance of Women as Mentors (@ Simple Mom).

Friday, August 20, 2010

Blog Swap: A Vision to Remember

Hey y'all,
I'm blog swapping today.  Make sure you drop by A Vision to Remember and say hi.  Be sure to make Bobbie feel at home as well.  Hope you enjoy!

I am so excited to be here today! I am the author of A Vision to Remember. I also have my own etsy shop, where I sell many of my creations. I am a stay at home mom of 2 awesome girls and one dog. They are my inspiration for sure. Everything that I have made has been for them in some way.

Here are a couple of things that I have made over at my blog:

I love making rag quilts. I sell many in my etsy shop, but this pattern is available for download on my blog here.

This was a fun pleated headband that I made for myself (one of the few times that I craft for myself, if you know what I mean :)

I also made this fun Ribbon skirt for my daughter (Part 1, Part 2)

I also have many other tutorials on my blog. Make sure to stop by and check them out.

I also have my own Etsy shop. There I sell rag quilts, car seat tents, and lots of patterns. Some of the patterns I sell are rag quilts, belly band, and fabric flowers.

Thanks again for swapping blogs with me and make sure to stop by tomorrow and link up to Check ME Out Saturday Link Party Have a great day!

Share Your Summer Photos: Week Ten

This is it!  Your final challenge:

Photograph something wet!

Well, it's summer.  So what's wet?  The pool, of course.  Although school started on Monday, yesterday topped off at 100 degrees here.  So we still have lots of swimming left in us.  We'll probably be hitting the pool at least once a week from here on out through the middle of October.  But we're already noticing that we have to go earlier and earlier in the day or it's just too cool.  Who knew that a pool after a 100 degree day could still be cool?

I plan on getting out and "stealing" the author's idea and taking photos of the kids near "their number."  But for now, here are some photos we took earlier in the summer during swim lessons.

So now it's your turn.  Did you Photograph something wet?  Journal or don't journal, but do share with us what's going on in your life.  And don't forget to invite other's to join in as well.   

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Play it again, Mama: Made to Love

(Originally posted 2/08)

The dream is fading, now I'm staring at the door
I know it's over cause my feet have hit the cold floor
Check my reflection, I  ain't feelin' what I see
It's no mystery
Whatever happened to a passion I could live for
What became of the flame that made me feel more
And when did I forget that...
I was made to love you
I was made to find you
I was made just for you
Made to adore you
I was made to love
And be loved by you
You were here before me
You were waiting on me
And you said you'd keep me
Never would you leave me
I was made to love 
And be loved by you

The dream's alive with my eyes opened wide
Back in the ring you've got me swinging for the grand prize
I feel the haters spittin vapor on my dreams
But I still believe
I'm reachin out, reachin, up, reachin over
I feel a breeze cover me called Jehovah
And Daddy I'm on my way
"Cause I was made to love...

I was made to love you
I made to find you
I was made just for you
Made to adore you
I was made to love
And be loved by you
You were here before me
You were waiting on me
And you said you'd keep me
Never would you leave me
I was made to love
And be loved by you

(Partial lyrics to "Made to Love" by TobyMac)

I've had this song playing on my "My Space" page for about a week and I'd really caught in my head.  It has a great tune and gets my toes tapping.  It's a new favorite.  
What does it mean to be "made to love?"  If you're anything like me, the day in and day out of being a mommy can become quite monotonous.  Especially with a two year old.  I find myself not "loving" in the tasks that seem to drag on: potty training, dishes, laundry, making dinner.  But this song has been a faithful reminder that even in those things, I am to be showing my love to my husband, my son, my daughter, and those I invite into my home.  I wasn't made for these "tasks", but rather to love those around me.  So how am I showing that when the household chores are piling up and my patience is at its end?  And where do I draw that love from to get me through the day?
As I write this, my son is screaming in time out.  And why did he go there?  Because we love him and want what's best for him.  And how will be continue to love him through these turbulent years of toddlerhood?  By drawing on the source of love, Jesus.  
So as you go throughout your days, remember that you were made to love those around you.  And if that means having a two year old help you with dinner, and cleaning the inevetable mess that will accompany it, embrace it.  And draw that love from the one source that can continue to supply it even when you think it's at its end. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

52 First Dates: Week Ten

How was your date last week?  Did you have fun reminiscing overing those wedding albums?  We certainly did.

This was any easy one for us as last week was our anniversary.  Can you see how I planned the timing on that one?  It was fun after nine years to sit down, look at pictures, and really remember how in love we were on that day.  So much has happened since then, both the good and the bad, it's just fun to remember who we were then and how far God has taken us.

What about you?  How did your date go?  What pictures did you reminisce over?

Are you ready for a new challenge?  Now's the time for you to make your bucket list!  Not just a personal one, but a marriage list.  What are somethings that you both want to accomplish personally and together as a couple?

Do you want to go on a mission trip together?

Do you want to see all 50 states together?

Do you have a desire to start an new business and how can your spouse support you?

Is your desire to be the best parents you can be?

Begin listing out those goals that you both want to accomplish.  Maybe there's a desire of your heart that you haven't shared with your spouse.  Or maybe you've shared it, but they haven't realized how important it is to you.  Maybe this is a time you can discuss those deep callings that you both sense and are being led in for your future.

Pick 2-3 that you want to accomplish this year (or take steps in) and begin by praying over them.  Are you in agreement on them?  Are there any items on this list that give you some hesitation?  Why?

This could be a great discussion between you and your spouse.  So take advantage of this time and really be open with each other.  Hear each other out.  Be prepared for some surprises and be willing to be honest as well.  Can't wait to hear how this works out for you!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

For the full story on this photo,
check out

For more Wordless Wednesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

I (Heart) The Fair

This past weekend, we drove out to the Humboldt County Fair and visited with family.  This is something my family has done for the past several years and we've recently come on board with it in the past three years.  This was also the first time that Daddy got to come with us.

The fair is always just good fun for me.  Yes, it's expensive.  Yes, I want to pull my hair out by the time my wallet closes.  Yes, it's a long day without naps.  But Grandma and Great-Grandma are there to help as the day goes along and Grandma always helps financially as well.  We just have a great time experiencing all that the fair has to offer through the eyes of a 4 and 2 year old.

Daddy, Lydia, and Noah on their first ride down "The Heights."
The slide earned the name "The Heights" last year when I tried taking Lydia and realized I was too afraid of heights to go any farther.  Thus, Mommy is afraid of "The Heights."

Lydia riding the kids' roller coaster.
Noah had to go to the bathroom so she ended up riding by herself.
Brave little girl.

Lydia and Noah riding on the airplanes.
They rode several times without getting off.

My beauty!

Big Boy, Big Smiles!

Noah on the trampoline and bungee jump

They do love each other.
This photo was taken near the end of the day,
waiting for their turn in the fun house.
It was Lydia's first time and Noah was very anxious to be the Big Brother and show her all about it.

Protecting his Little Sister down the slide.

Noah on the last ride of the day

Lydia finally getting to ride the carousel

Can we tell it's the end of the day?
Mommy, Lydia, Great-Grandma, and Noah
Lydia was dying for another ride on the carousel.

We had such a good time.  It was a stressful day, but we determined early on that we were going to have fun.  I still had my moments of meltdown, but all in all, we made it through with good memories and few scares.  What a fun way to cap off the final weekend of the summer!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Made by Me Monday

Hey gang,
Can you believe the first day of school has arrived?  Seems early to me, but my facebook and blog reading is all awhirl with first day pictures and memories.  Mine will be posted later, but right now, I'm dealing with a very tired four year old little boy who is recovering from the first day of kindergarten.  Wow!  I've got my hands full.

I've got some fun stuff lined up for the rest of the week, but since it's already half way through Monday, let's get this Made by Me Monday underway.

Show me those projects.  Write a blog post highlighting your project with a link back to this post so that others can join in on the fun.  Then link up below to the blog post itself.  You can post more than one project; just add more than one link.

Let's start sharing!

Everyone has a story... What's yours?

Every Life Has A Story - Chick-fil-A from Dan T. Cathy on Vimeo.

As the summer begins to wrap up and school anticipation ramps up, I've been looking toward the future.  For some people January brings up those feelings of new beginnings.  For me, it's always that back to school time of year.  That anticipation of a new school year... it always has me re-evaluating my goals and where I'm heading.

With all that said, the Lord has been working in my heart about women who have a story to tell.  Stories of hurts and healing.  Stories of how God met them in their darkest hour.  Stories of hope.

Starting in September, I want to start highlighting some of these stories.  The Lord has placed some wonderful women in my life who have incredible stories to share.  And Creative2xmom is opening up to be a place of encouragement and challenging.  Won't you join us in learning from these women and what God has done in their lives.  Can't wait to see where this journey takes us.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lee's To Do List

My hubby would love this Mocha Silk Pie (@ Pioneer Woman).  Better start planning for next year's anniversary.

Noah and I tried these Chocoholic Muffins (@ The Mom Zone) last spring.  They are fantastic.  Rival those Costco muffins for sure.

Love these Play Spice Containers (@ Naptime Journal).  Where can I find these spools?

I'm dying to make one of these Butterfly Feeders (@Homemade Mamas).  This would make a great science experiment with the kids.  And I'd like it too.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Share Your Summer Photos: Week Nine

This week's assignment: What Color Means Summer to You?

Green, green, green,... green means summer to me.  It's so fun 'cause I live in an area where the winter's are pretty mild and at time can actually be green.  In fact, our summer's are so hot, brown might be a better description for our surroundings.  But green is just refreshing for me.  It's full of life and cool.  

This has been my oasis this summer: our backyard.  We've been able to keep it pretty green.  Yes, I do realize there are a couple of brown spots, but all in all, we've been blessed.  The temperature difference from our front to back yards is easily 10 degrees.  We love it!

What color means summer to you?

Let's start sharing!  Journal or don't journal, but do share with us what's going on in your life.  And don't for get to invite other's to join in on the fun as well.

Next week's assignment: Photograph Something Wet.
Last one so make sure you join us!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Nine Years In The Making

Yesterday was our Nine Year Anniversary!

Nine Years!

It seems like a lifetime ago that we were married.  More than that, a lifetime ago that we met.

We've actually got a pretty phenomenal story of how we met.  I was junior at Simpson College and Dave was a freshman.  It was the spring of 2000 and I was leading a mission trip to Ukraine.  Dave was going to Ukraine too, on my best friend's team.  Sarah kept telling me about this guy Dave who I should meet.  I was all blah, blah, blah,... in one ear and out the other.

Meanwhile Dave had mentioned in passing to his friend Sean that he thought I was cute.  A passing comment, but Sean hung on to it.  So in and out of travel, Sean kept dropping hints, talking Dave up, and generally prodding things along.  At the end of the trip, I did give Dave my email and we left it at that.

Over the summer, I was working late hours and one evening, received an email from Dave.  It was short and sweet, but I suddenly realized he really was interested.  I panicked.  I wasn't the type of girl to go around handing out my phone number to anyone.  This was the first time I'd done anything like this and it shocked even me.

We emailed over the summer, but for some reason, neither of us thought to make plans for connecting in the fall.  I returned to school and wrote him off, thinking there was no way I'd ever see him again.  I walked into the Registrar's Office a few days before school to pay off my bill, and there he sat.  No way, I thought.  What are the odds?

We started to talk only to realize that he was rooming with a good friend of mine.  The more we talked, the more we realized just how many connections we had in common.  Our paths should have crossed long ago.  In fact, they had crossed in the past, but neither of us realized at the time.  Apparently, the night before Spring Break, we had both gone out with some friends, both sat by someone we didn't know, and both came to recognize that it was each other.  We had met before!

As the fall wore on, we started dating.  Lots of manipulating circumstances by friends, lots of hints and prodding by others, and we were engaged in February and married the following August.  Nine years.... how quickly it's flown by!  But what a ride!

When we look back, it's been a crazy road... living in two cities, multiple apartments, living with friends, youth pastoring and then not, missions trips, two kids, fights, making up, lots of prayer, and unwavering commitment to each other.  The last two have been what has kept us together.  Every marriage is rough.  But our commitment to God and each other has been what's made it work.

Can't wait to see what the road ahead brings!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

52 First Dates: Week Nine

So how's your dating life?  Mine's pretty good.  Guess who I'm dating?  Shhh...

It's my husband.

We were out of town last weekend for an anniversary trip.  In fact, today is our ninth anniversary.  Nine years, two kids, two cities... not too bad.  We've survived.  And are finding that this dating thing is helping us thrive.  We're both enjoying it and spent our date this past week walking through Lithia Park in Ashland.  It was a little bit cooler up there and it's pretty wooded.  We just spent the time talking, taking pictures, saw a mama doe and two babies in the park.  It was fun.  Nice to just walk.

Did you go on a walk with your husband/spouse this week?

Are you up for a new challenge?  Time to break out those photo albums.  If your married, let's specifically get out those wedding albums.  I know I haven't looked at mine in quite awhile and what a shame!   All that money for pictures and how often do we look at them?  What a great way to remember where you were in your life and reflect on how far you've come.  I know we were very young we when were married so it's fun to look back and see how much we've grown.

If you're not married, you must have some dating pictures.  And if you don't, then this week's assignment is to take some.

Got it?

Now get out there and do some dating!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Surviving Early Pregnancy

I have two beautiful healthy little miracles.  I love being a mom.  I love getting up each morning (ok, maybe love is a strong word) and being excited to see what new things we can learn together throughout the day.  Each day is an adventure and I wouldn't trade my life for anything.

To say that it's always been a smooth road would be an exaggeration.  Both of my pregnancy had their ups and downs, leaving me wondering what I had gotten myself into.  Pregnancy can be really rough on the body and sometimes it can make you wonder if you're really ready for motherhood.

These are just a few of the things I've survived and learned in my own journey:

*Back Pain was my biggest problem in my first pregnancy.  I had injured my back in a sledding accident while we were pastoring a youth group.  Miserable experience.  I became pregnant with my son weeks after that incident.  My back has never been the same.  For awhile I was popping Tylenol every night before my doctor had a fit about it.  I came to rely heavily on my body pillow as it seemed to be what best kept my body in alignment.  Invest in one; you won't regret it.

*Nausea was my nemesis with my second pregnancy.  Back pain became the least of my worries.  Chasing a 2 year old and being sick left me feeling absolutely drained.  I came to rely heavily on morning sickness pops, seasickness bands, and ginger drops.  Lemon ginger tea was also a staple in my diet.

*A quick protein snack in the mornings was a must.  I always munched a couple of saltines and a handful of peanuts immediately after getting out of bed.  The nuts were perfect and I kept a jar in my office at work.  Small nutritious snacks throughout the day kept my energy level up and kept the bottomless pit full.

*Both of my pregnancies I had sugar spikes and would pass out.  Snacking became essential.  So did communication with those around me.  My warning symptoms included: ringing in my ears, light-headedness, nausea, "spacey feelings," people sounding far away, and finally passing out.  I had a friend that I spent a lot of time with in my first pregnancy.  She knew that if I passed out, I was fine, just needed to go home, rest, and have a snack when I came to.

*Rest, rest, rest... I was always grabbing a cat nap when I could.  Sleep was never long enough.  At first I felt guilty for not going out every time someone called me.  Or being available to complete a project every time I was asked.  But sometimes it's ok to say no and take some extra time to rest.  Remember: you are growing a human being.  It does take a lot of work.  Your body is working, even when you're sleeping.

*Finally don't be afraid to approach your doctor for prescription medicine if the nausea becomes too much.  With my second pregnancy, I couldn't handle it any longer.  Nothing kept me healthy.  I always felt sick.  All medications have side effects so you have to judge whether it's worth it to you or not.  I chose the cheaper medication, but was often drowsy.  So I only took it when it was absolutely necessary.  Consult your doctor about your options.

As always, I'm not a doctor.  I'm just a mom sharing for my own experiences.  However, these are the things that worked for me and I hope will work for you too in your own journey.

Tell us... how do you survive early pregnancy?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Made by Me Monday

Well, gang, I had a horrible time with my Made by Me this week.  I cut my material wrong, decided to make do, had my sewing machine break down, and finally put the whole thing away, vowing to tackle it another day.  

Do you ever have days like that?  Things just don't go as planned?  We've been having quite a few of those lately.  I think it's because the summer is winding down and we're cramming too much in.  Things have been tight in our budget and just don't have a lot of motivation lately.  So I need some help.

I need some inspiration.  Show me those projects.  Write a blog post highlighting your project with a link back to this post so that others can join in on the fun.  Then link up below to the individual blog post itself.  You can post more than one project; just add more than one link.  

Let's start partying!

*Linked to these Parties.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Link Love

I'm so sorry I forgot about Link Love last Sunday.  Seems like life has caught up with us this month and I've been doing a lot of scrambling to get back in a rhythm.  Since last Sunday was Party Link Love, I decided to go with that theme this week and show you some of the great parties that are cropping up around the blogosphere.  Enjoy!

This Girly Birdie Baby Shower (@Creative Party Place) is adorable.  I love the floral arrangements.

I'd love to throw a tea some day and this Menu for Tea Parties (@An Afternoon to Remember) would be a great resource for getting started.

Christmas will be here sooner than you think so check out this great resource of Christmas Theme Parties (@Tip Junkie).  Great ideas; time to start planning.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Share Your Summer Photos: Week Eight

This week's topic: Photograph that Summer Sky.

Week Eight already.  This has been quite a ride, looking at our summer through new eyes.  And actually my husband took these photos while we were at the beach this summer.  We usually have pretty great sunsets in our area, but with the temperatures we've been having, we don't do a lot of outside time in the summer.  Here's what we saw in Oregon:

So what does your summer sky look like?

Let's start sharing.  Journal or don't journal, but do share with us what's going on in your life.  And don't forget to invite others to join in on the fun as well.

Next week's challenge: What Color Means Summer To You?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

August's Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables

What new ways are you incorporating fruits and vegetables in your diet lately?  Pea pods (although not on this month's list) have been a staple in our house as of late.  The kids love munching on them for snacks or having them along side their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at lunch.  I've been buying them by the bagful.

August's Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables:
Summer Squash
Green Beans

You have to make sparklers if you haven't already.  Name them something else if you must, but it was one of the best family deserts we've had in awhile.

Fresh fruit is in abundance and we are loving serving it with every meal.  Most evenings we have a variation of some sandwich and serve it with green salad and fruit.  Quick, easy and refreshing.

Pasta salad is also easy with BBQing in the summer.  We went to a neighborhood block party last week and took pasta salad with cucumber, squash, onion, and tomato.  It was light and fresh.  I've never done squash in my pasta before, but it tasted great.

Speaking of BBQ.. we did kebabs last night.  Oh, they were fantastic.  What a great way to stretch some meat and be nutritious.  We layered our meat with squash, onion, and bell peppers.

Eggplant lasagne is on our menu for next week.  I've never had any success cooking it with the skins, but peel the skins off and it's fantastic.  Both of my kids love it and it's actually pretty quick to pull together.

How does this month's cheapest fruits and vegetables inspire creativity in your kitchen?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

52 First Dates: Week Eight

So sorry for the thrown together date last week.  I had all the best intentions of writing that post early, but as the week wore on, I got overloaded with settling the house, kids, and getting myself ready.  It turned out being more overwhelming than I had anticipated.  Anyways...

Hubby and I had a great time last week.  We ended the week with a four day church staff retreat.  It was a nice time of spending time with other couples and actually having some adult conversation.  Some adult conversation without hearing, "Mommy, I have to go potty."  And although the time commitment kept us from having a formal date night, it did open up lots of time for communication.

We find ourselves communicating on a deeper level than we have in a very long time.  Deep heart conversations  into things we've never shared.  It's amazing that after only 2 months of committing to a regular date night, we've made lengthy strides in our relationship.

So here's your assignment for this week:
  Take a walk together this week.  Send the kids out to grandma's for the evening or to have dinner at a friend's.  Stroll through the park, farmer's market, neighborhood, etc and take note of what you see.  Spend some time just chatting and letting your mind wander.  You might be surprised at what topics of conversation arise.

Check back in and let us know how your dates are going.  Anything new you've learned?  Leave a comment or check out the Facebook Event Page and let us know how you're doing.

Monday, August 2, 2010

So sorry dear friends...

I've been sitting here for awhile trying to get photos to load and just don't seem to be getting anywhere.

I have missed you over my long weekend, but it seems although my absence may be a bit longer.  I'll try to add something tomorrow, but in case I don't, I'll be back for 52 First Dates on Wednesday.  So sorry.
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