Sunday, June 23, 2013

God the Tangible

Last night we prayed for us as were preparing to go to church in the morning. Praying for the girls to have open hearts to what they learn, to be able to understand what they learned and for Daniel and I to be able to share God to our class and use us so our kids could hear from Him and understand what they were hearing.

As I explained to the girls what we would be praying for that night, I talked about who God is, I have done this before but tonight they were much more interested. To make God tangible to a 2 yr old I explained that God created everything, He made the skies, the stars, the moon, the sun, He made them and us and so on. {this was good timing too as their Sunday School class has been talking about creation anyway}

The girls began to point to things and ask if God made it. Their beds, their lovies, our dogs. It was fun. It was also neat to see them start to understand more about God. It was bringing God into a bit more perspective, as well as grasp Him because they could see the things He made.

I told them that God is everywhere and spread my arms out to show them. Rose and Lilly both asked if God was also in the glider that no one happened to be sitting in in their room. I said yes. God is everywhere. Even in the chair.

Rose and Lilly jumped up and ran to the chair, stood on the side of it and said, "Hey God!"

Adorable overload.

They babbled and made conversation with the empty chair.
But to them it wasn't empty.
The creator of heaven and earth was sitting there. To them He was already loving and friendly. He understood their babble. He enjoyed their smiles and their faith. 
Lilly asked to hug God. I said sure! God loves hugs!
They both opened their arms wide and wrapped them close, smiling. They made a friend.

We then prayed and I said we will learn about God tomorrow when we go to church.

We lifted the girls up to lay them in bed and Rose cried that she wanted God.

She ran back to the glider, snatched some air over the chair and then, ran with a clenched fist to her bed and threw her air into her bed, then proclaimed, "There He is!"

It was so funny.

I laid her down and she kept telling me God was next to her. I agreed and kissed her goodnight. Lilly followed in suite and said God was in her bed too.

This morning I picked Rose up out of bed. She wiggled and whined, then reached into her bed, snatched the air and with a clenched fist told me she was taking God with her downstairs.
I laughed and said SURE! I was impressed with her remembering last nights events.

All morning she had a clenched fist, she pretended to pass God into her other hand if she needed to switch hands for something. She also would say, "Oh no! I dropped God!"
I told her she can't drop him but to a two year old who believed she was holding something in her hand, He could be dropped. She would pretend to pick him back up.

We went to church and they got busy with the day.

I was thinking how funny they were, how they saw God in their minds as someone they could carry with them all the time, to be held with a clenched hand, to worry about dropping Him, to worry about making sure He wasn't left in bed.

Oh how much we can learn from a child...
Is it silly? Is it really just a 2 yr olds wild imagination? Just a need to feel He's tangible to go through such extents? To talk to Him in a chair?

Isn't that how we should be?

a : capable of being perceived especially by the sense of touch : palpable
b : substantially real : material
: capable of being precisely identified or realized by the mind 

Related words: 
tactile; corporeal, physical; actual, concrete, embodied, existent, material, real, substantial; appreciable, detectable, discernible (also discernable), noticeable, observable, perceptible, seeable, sensible, visible

Shouldn't God be visible to us? Substantial, real, existent, concrete, actual, physical? 

The more we believe God is everywhere, in our homes, our rooms, beside me as I write, beside you as you read. The more concrete He is, the more detectable, the more seeable.

The more He is of these things, the more we are able to reach out and clench on to Him. To talk to Him. To remember not to leave Him in our beds when we wake up and go on in our days. To simply turn and ask God for help, He is right there after all isn't He? 

To remember not to drop Him. But to hold on to God the tangible.

My daughters & their faith can really give their mother some perspective.

I want to see God in my home, to acknowledge Him always in my house, in my car, in my workplace, in my church, wherever I go. The more I do that the more I'll reach out to Him, talk to him, listen to Him, be accountable. The better our relationship will be.
I want Lillianna & Rosalee to see God this way always. Luckily they already have a head start on me.

The girls got hugs from God last night.
it's not silly.
It's tangible.
He's tangible.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013



I'm not always sure how to open a blog post, mainly if it is going to be an intense one.
So that's my opening.

It's funny how God can shine a light when your not paying very close attention. Even funnier when He hit's you with that light like a semi truck with it's brights on.

I had been reading a wonderful book called, Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers. A very well put together book about incredible women in the Bible. I eagerly skipped over a chapter to read the story of Ruth. Some reason or other I just stopped right towards the end.
I couldn't find interest in finishing it's last bit. It had been months.
Last night I sat on the couch with my mind just going in every which direction. I felt like I had choices to make and I didn't know how to even start. My pitiful two second prayers asking for an answer weren't cutting it and I was absorbed in my own confusion I couldn't find what I needed to really seek my answer.
Then I pick up my book. Of all the times to read, my mind couldn't contain itself and I decided to attempt to redirect it's attention to a story. Then the truck with it's brights hit me.

There is so graciously a devotional at the end of each story of these women in the bible. I finished up the story of Ruth and I felt the sense of celebration as I ended it, satisfied. Yet, I pressed on to read the devotional. Something I wouldn't have done normally, especially late at night, with my mind overflowing, with my husband gone up stairs for the night already, all these unusual things but I found myself in the midst of God by continuing into the devotional time.

Ruth had to make life changing decisions. Extreme ones. I need to make big decisions and are extreme to me.
I told my husband I am not one to jump off a bridge and say, "God catch me!"
But I am one to use a rope and say, "God, I trust You to hold me."
I found myself at the top of a bridge and I looked down and coward. Because the rope can seem uncertain. It can seem weak and frail. But at the bottom I could see what I desired.

That also scared me.
Because sometimes it's hard to believe that my desires are God's as well.
Because sometimes I like to believe it is to justify my own wants.
I'm afraid of making up my mind based only on me and my wants, and making a mistake.
Praying for something that I've made up in my mind to do already and just asking God to play along.

"I am going this direction God! Come and follow me!"
when it should be,
"I will follow You and go Your way."

But I couldn't find my mind in any kind of clarity to see the path I needed to take. To follow.
This time of devotion opened my heart, my ears, cleared my mind and I found myself in discussion with God. As I read each question I heard it like God was beckoning me. & then there was this passage:

Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.'
Romans 12:2

I prayed for a transformation. To change the way I was thinking, so I would know what He wanted me to do.
& when I prayed this, I knew how good and pleasing and perfect his will really was.
It was so clear.

Suddenly as I asked questions that had been running through my mind over and over, they were just being answered, so plainly.

'Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.'
Proverbs 3:5-6

So what has been so intensely on my mind I could hardly focus, that I need this awing moment, to be hit by an oncoming vehicle with it's lights blaring on me?

I've decided, along with my husband, that I will give my notice at work & officially be a full time stay at home mom! {Insert giant happy smiley Liz here}

Thursday, March 7, 2013

For a Friend; Meal Planning & Frozen Dinners

Today I'm talking food::

I am all about freezer meals and crock pot meals. I was at first skeptical about it. Would it really save me money? Would it save me time & work? Would it be something I could keep up with? Would it taste good? The answer is yes to ALL.

When I first started it felt a little overwhelming. In order to not succumb to freaking out I initiated a plan.

1. I would only select meals that were simple, meaning almost no prep work. Just toss all the ingredients together and done!
2. I wanted meals that could all go in the crock pot so I didn't have to do any work & would cook on a day I was out of the house.
3. I wanted meals that were all easy to freeze so they would last a while if I wanted them to.
4. I would double up each recipe. {Believe me, this IS less work, less ingredients, less to organize, less meals to figure out.}
5. I would ONLY start with a weeks worth of food.

I basically picked out 3 meals, doubled up the recipes and ended up with 6 days of food. I planned one meal to actually cook at dinner time which was Breakfast for dinner. It's easy and it's cheap.
The only downfall is that it feels rather repetitive having doubled up meals for only a weeks time. BUT I wanted to try the whole deal out without feeling overwhelmed because if I did then I'd forget the whole idea and the purpose is to help me be less overwhelmed.
The girls just won't allow me to cook, they are attention hogs. Both of them!

So let's pick three meals.
(I used pinterest to find meals mainly and would pin them to my freezer/crock pot board)
{also note I may not be writing all the recipes exactly as written because I just decided to go without certain ingredients for us- so there is a link to each recipe from it's original home}

1. Easy Crock Pot Potato Soup
From Pearls, Handcuffs & Happy Hour
  • 30oz bag of Frozen Shredded Hash Browns
  • 3 (14oz) Can of Chicken Broth
  • 1 Can of Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1/2 Cup of Chopped Onion
  • 1 Pkg of Cream Cheese  
Add all the ingredients to the crock pot except the cream cheese.
Cook 6-8 Hrs Low
1 Hour prior to serving, add cream cheese and heat till melted.
Top with Bacon bits, cheese and chives (if you want)

2. Mandy's Big Mess
From Crockin' Girls
  • 1lb Smoked Sausage (sliced)
  • 1 Bell Pepper (chopped)
  • 1 Purple Onion (chopped)
  • 1 Can of Pineapple Chunks (drained)
  • 1 Jar of Sweet & Sour Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Tabasco sauce
Place all in the cooker, cook 3-4 hrs low.
Serve over rice or with salad.

3. Mexican Chicken Taco Chili
From Skinnytaste
  • 1 Onion (chopped)
  • 1 Can Black Beans
  • 1 Can Kidney Beans
  • 8oz Can of Tomato Sauce
  • 10oz Pkg of Frozen Corn Kernels
  • 2 (14.5oz) Cans of Diced Tomatoes with Chillies
  • 1 Pkg of Taco Seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp of Chili powder
  • 24oz of Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breast
Add all and cook 10 hours Low or 6 hours High
30 min prior to serving, pull out chicken and shred. Add back into the soup and stir.
Serve with salad or with chips- yum!!

We're going to write our grocery list now, I am going to double up these recipes.
{another note: The Potato Soup and Mexican Chili serve about 10 people each recipe. I am doubling it anyway just for this example and it will make PLENTY of food and left overs}

Shredded Cheese (optional)
2 Pkgs of Cream Cheese

48 oz of Skinless Boneless Chicken Breast
2 lbs Smoked Sausage

Canned Goods:
2 Cans of Black Beans
2 Cans of Kidney Beans
2 Cans of Pineapple Chunks
2 (8oz) Cans of Tomato Sauce
4 (14.5oz) Cans of Diced Tomatoes with Chillies
6 (14oz) Cans of Chicken Broth
2 Cans of Cream of Chicken Soup

2 (30oz) Bags Frozen Shredded Hash Browns
2 (10oz) Bags of Frozen Kernels

2 Onions
2 Red Onions
2 Bell Peppers
Chives (optional)

Seasoning & Other:
Taco Seasoning
Chili Powder
2 Jars of Sweet & Sour
Tabasco Sauce
Bacon Bits (optional)
Gallon Size Freezer Baggies

Copy and Paste this onto a word or note type file and print it. There is your grocery list.

When I make a trip to the store, because it's usually a months worth of dinners, I'll do one night of shopping and then the next night dedicated to prepping the food.

Label your freezer bags, two for each meal, with the meal name, and small directions like...
ex: 'Potato Soup, 6-8 Low Add Cream Cheese 1 Hr Prior' per bag (which is 2 bags)

Instead of throwing it all into the crock pot like the directions say- toss it into the freezer bag {EXCEPT the ingredients that are not suppose to go in until the end}

This should make 6 meals. But like I said the Potato Soup & Mexican Chili will be enough for possibly two dinners or left overs.
For US, this would make us 4 meals from the Mexican Chili, 4 from the Potato Soup and 2 with lunch size left overs from Mandy's Big Mess.
So 10 meals!!!

Start with just planning out ONE week. Do it like that till you feel comfortable and confident to go to two weeks- or prepping 6 meals that are doubled plus Breakfast for dinner twice or planning to have left overs for dinner a couple nights to make it to two weeks.
Then brave 3 weeks or 9 meals.
Then 4 weeks, 12 Meals.

 Thank goodness for Daniel- he helps me prep meals

We also do simple FAST hardly any work meals, like Pizza night, which is pre made refrigerated pizza dough and then let the girls decorate the pizza, or taco night. OR once in a while let the girls have a separate meal and then make dinner for Daniel and me after they go to sleep to enjoy a quiet meal we both like (& the girls probably wouldn't) Like Salmon with Asparagus.

Planning out meals made it that we didn't buy more than what we needed. We had a plan of attack and didn't need to guess what we may need. It has saved us money.

I write all the meals I find in a little dollar Journal I got at Michael's. I try to keep up by going back to the recipes and marking how much we all liked them- kind of like a star system.

 Because I did one week at a time to two weeks and finally a month it never felt overwhelming or too much to handle.
I really love it- I've merged into freezing casseroles, breakfast burritos & other breakfast food, and other things that can be used for the month or longer. Less work, more time for me and no worries of having my munchkins attack me because I'm in the kitchen cooking, instead I just get to spend my day and time with them :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Set Your Anchor- Part Two

I started yesterday writing out what Daniel and I feel helps make our marriage tick and keep ticking. You can find 1-7 here which was Daniel's list, and I elaborated on. 8-16 is my addition to 'The List'

8. Pray for your spouse, pray with them, and pray for yourself as a spouse
9. Say you're sorry
10. Forgive
11. Look nice
12. Date
13. Anniversary trips
14. Don't let anyone in the bubble of you and your spouse
15. Time/Share
16. Be financially wise

 8. Pray for your spouse. You won't believe what that does for you and them. You are lifting them up to God and you are pouring your heart out for them. When I bring Daniel to God in prayer I am showing him ultimate love and because of that, my love for him literally grows and strengthens for him. Pray for their heart, their mind, their spiritual walk, pray for what is troubling them, pray for peace, pray for wisdom, patience- it's endless. Lift your spouse up to God and God will honor it.
Philippians 4:6 "Don't worry about anything. Instead, tell God about everything. Ask & pray. Give thanks to Him."
Pray with them- this intimate time solidifies the base on which our marriage stands. We show our vulnerability as we share our needs and lift them up and we see theirs. We make an invitation for God to enter into our presence and bless our relationship. It brings glory to God, and God will honor it.
Matthew 18:20 "Where two or three people meet together in my name, I am there with them." 
Pray for yourself. I ask that God helps me be a good wife, for guidance, patience, compassion, for love and to help me be someone who lifts my husband up. When we ask God to help US be the good spouse we become more aware of hearts and minds so we can slowly but surely move towards the goal of being a good spouse. And guess what.... God will honor it.

9. Say you're sorry.
This is so huge. Matthew 3:2 "Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Repent you! For your marriage is at hand! A world of difference can be made when we say we are sorry. It turns the whole fight upside down. If I am in the wrong I am very quick to say I am sorry- usually- I try. If I am not in the wrong- sometimes I just apologize anyway! Maybe about my actions towards being upset or whatever the situation was- it brings peace to us automatically. Sometimes I want Daniel to say he's sorry and he isn't planning it- but if I apologize he will apologize back. Bring peace, suck it up and say you're sorry.

10. Forgive 
Luke 17:4 "Suppose he sins against you seven times in one day. And suppose he comes back to you each time and says, 'I'm sorry.' FORGIVE HIM."
Oooooooh how the bible is just filled with repentance and forgiveness and telling us to forgive. It is incredibly hard at times to let go- especially if it's a constant thing you find yourself forgiving. But such a wonderful verse Jesus gives us when he gives a limit to how many times we should forgive- He say's there is no limit. He didn't give us one, and oooooh how many times we have done a constant thing to Him we need forgiveness for. The hard part of forgiving is the emotional letting it go and NOT bringing it back up- into your mind or out in the open as a means to hurt your spouse. Thank God that He doesn't do that to us. So we must try our best to do the same.

11. Look Nice
When we were dating I can't count how many times I brushed my teeth in a day, checked my hair and spent hours styling it nice. Picking out an outfit, doing my makeup just right. Then we got married. And I couldn't keep myself looking constantly at my best and began to not care as much. I still care! I do. But some days not so much. But I try to make myself still look good for Daniel. I want him to know I still care about what he thinks of me and myself. I'm telling him he is still worth it. And keeping an attraction to each other is a big deal!

12. Date
Daniel and I did a lot of things together as far as going out when we got married. It was easy to still do. We gave each other time and went out and made an occasion of it. It was special.
When we had kids that's when dating got hard. It had to become intentional. Pick a day and time out so we can get a sitter. It's even more special. We are so busy with kids and we seem to revolve around them. It's important to step away from feeling revolved and revolve around just us again. It strengthens our relationship, it gives us personal time, it gives us intimacy that we just don't get whenever we want anymore. Taking time away out of each of our busy days tells the other that they are still very valuable to us and still desired.

13. Anniversary Trips
I told Daniel when we were engaged that I wanted us to do something every EVERY anniversary, to get out of town and celebrate. It is one of the biggest things for us that strengthens our relationship. Our time away from our home, our distractions, our children, our pups and just being completely focused on each other and ONLY each other... it's like a honeymoon every year. It is like a refreshing and a renewing over us and we feel like newlyweds! Take time out, and not just date time but a weekend trip, or a week trip and enjoy each other all over again like you did when you first met.
Also we make small guidelines- very limited electronics... like the only reason we keep our phones on is in case my mom needs to contact us about our girls. It's just to guarantee our time is utilized at it's best.

14. Don't let anyone is your bubble- Daniel and I have a bubble and you are not allowed in. Just like we aren't allowed in yours. It's a two person bubble. No one else should be in it besides God who is the bubble maker. Is this making sense? haha. I'm basically saying, anyone who talks negatively about my husband, who tries to bring me down about our marriage, anything that would make me feel anything less of my husband or marriage has entered our bubble and is squeezing  their way in between us, even if that's not their real intent- it is what it is. And so that thing or person needs to be removed immediately. Either by setting them in their place or removing them permanently. If you aren't lifting our marriage up then I'm afraid you don't belong and that's how you ought to be too.

15. Time/Sharing-
Honestly this falls into communication. I like to share my walk spiritually, or share my thoughts randomly- usually right when we get into bed which is bad timing cause that's when Daniel can't keep his eyes or ears open to listen to me. Nevertheless. I share my time and things that happen in my day etc. and so will Daniel. It just another block that helps build and keep our building of a relationship secure.

16. Be Financially Wise.
1 Timothy 6:10 "Love for money causes all kinds of evil. Some people want to get rich. They have wandered away from the faith. They have wounded themselves with many sorrows."
Thank goodness Daniel is in charge of our finances cause if I find a penny I WILL find a way to spend it! We discuss our finances together- where are money is going, where it's being saved, we save up for events, we stay out of debt as much as possible with credit cards and pay them off as soon as possible if we use them. When we are smart with our money then we aren't stressing about it and if we aren't stressing then it's not stressing on our marriage- it's not a source of frustration, anger or fear.

I'm adding one more... Talk about the future. It brings hope, it gives us expectations of good things to come. We share our hopes and wants for the future and we plan our hopes and dreams with each other. It will bring light to what may sometimes seem like a black tunnel. Hope.

There is SO much that can help make a marriage tick. These are just some of the major things that help us. I hope it helps you or someone you may know.
Daniel and I have what I would call 'Invisible Rules' it's not something we ever sat down and did major discussion on or wrote in stone. But it's rules we follow in our marriage.
We respect each other
We are kind to each other
We don't swear or use any profanity
We find ways to help each other
We are courteous
We try to have fun and laugh often
We take turns with not so fun things we have to do
We believe in the coventant of marriage and that it should not be broken
We have promised to do counseling before we ever let our marriage walk on the edge of falling apart

I sometimes wonder if it would help couples who are struggling to maybe make a 'Visual Rules' list to help get through tough times and rules to keep their relationship going. If you need to, sit down and write out the rules, maybe not bring up something that will obviously start a fight. Or if one of you want to talk the rule is the other one should be ready to sit and listen so there is no running from a needed conversation. Don't place blame rule. Whatever may help keep a fragile relationship bandaged and from knocking over and breaking.

Again, marriage is beautiful partnership, it's a blessing and brings an enahancement to ones life. It brings out the best and wost in us. It refines us. Marriage is unity- it's a perfect promise that is forever. It's a house with many parts that keeps it together, secure and from falling apart.

I don't claim to have the perfect marriage- we don't always communicate the best, I'm not the best listener, we don't always pray. But we're trying, everyday we keep going and pushing to keep our boat going.

And again it IS possible to make through any trial and any storm, you just need the right boat..
You have to have the right boat- God.
The right sail, your persistence.
The right rudder, your tongue.
And right navigation- His Word.

And the anchor is your heart- it's your beloveds and it should not be moved.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Set Your Anchor

Today my husband brought me home a cookie.

If I had to choose over flowers or a cookie... I choose the cookie. He knows me so well.

I was thinking about us and how our marriage ticks, what helps it tick and why after six years (which may be short to some or long) we still laugh, love and are best friends.

Last night in bed I thought about what is it that we hold valuable in our marriage that makes it strong. Then I asked Daniel what he thought. I asked, "If you were asked to give advice or pointers to a young man getting ready to get married, what would you tell them?"

He (eventually) numbered off;
1. Communicate
2. Listen
3. Make your spouse feel desired and needed
--He later added this evening
4. Watch out for pits
5. Always remember the Knight and Princess
6. You will learn patience- so be patient
7. Hold on and hold on tight song

My addition to that was/is;
8. Pray for your spouse, pray with them, and pray for yourself as a spouse
9. Say you're sorry
10. Forgive
11. Look nice
12. Date
13. Anniversary trips
14. Don't let anyone in the bubble of you and your spouse
15. Time/Share
16. Be financially wise

1. Communication is most likely every ones number one, yet one of the hardest things to do sometimes. 
The bible talks about speaking from the very first chapter of the bible. God spoke and it was. Words can build up and can tear down, words tie us together and expresses the depths of our hearts. We need our words to bind our relationships together and we need to be wise with our tongue, because words once spoken cannot be taken back. It should be used in a gracious way.
Colossians 4:6 "Let the words you speak always be full of grace. Seasoned them with salt. Then you will know how to answer everyone."
Daniel and I express with our words, even when mad or angry at each other, in a graceful way. We start our words by not placing blame but expressing our feelings and why we have them.
Communication is like a tennis match, you can't have a game and you can't have a solid and fair resolution if someone isn't hitting the ball back.
So speak full of grace and enhance your grace with salt to one another.

2. Listen. So much easier said than done. I seriously have a Attention Deficit issue and Daniel is very forgiving of me for it and I am sorry for it. He is an amazing listener and I appreciate being heard.
We all want to be heard, but guess what, so does your spouse. If we don't listen to our spouse we can't learn their wants and their desires, we wont know what needs to be done to help them tick. They wont feel wanted and the words will stop coming out if they keep falling on deaf ears- thus communication will end.
Proverbs 4:1 "My children, listen to a father's teaching. Pay attention and gain understanding."
We won't gain anything if we don't listen.

3. Make your spouse feel desired and needed.
Song of Solomon 2:10 "Rise up, my love. Come with me, my beautiful one."
It felt like that when you were proposed to huh? Or the one proposing. You felt desired and you desired your spouse. You were ready to go anywhere with them and start a new life at any moment with them. I tried to talk Daniel into eloping with me. To just run away together in the dark of the night and not have to wait for family and friends to witness our marriage. I was half joking. Our roots are deep now so just up and leaving isn't really possible. But I wouldn't go anywhere without him, and he wouldn't go anywhere without me. I would follow wherever he goes and he will follow me. We still desire one another.
It helps that when you feel like you're the one being desired- to desire them as well. So if you feel undesired- and you know you can make that feeling of being desired mutual, work on desiring them first and they will too communicate that back and you can begin to rekindle the flame.

4. Watch out for pits! 
Don't let yourself get too distracted with other things outside of your spouse. TV's, phones, computers are huge distractions that can consume our time. Other hobbies that overrule our time with our spouse can become idols. These things aren't evil but they can be if you put them before your wife or husband. So just watch it. And make some changes if you need to, or guidelines.
5. The Knight in shinning armor and the captivating princess
Psalms 18:2 "The Lord is my rock and my fort. He is the One who saves me. My God is my rock. I go to him for safety. He is like a shield to me. He's my place of safety."
Women want to feel safe. Men want to bring safety. Women want to be saved. Men want to save.
God represents His love many times as a bridegroom to His bride- His people, His children, His church.
He wants to save us and we want to be saved. Just as a real bride feels the same desire of safety. Just as real groom desires to bring safety.
When we keep this idea of the knight and princess it parallels in our marriage- to treat your wife like a Princess, to protect her, love her and keep her safe. And your husband a Knight, to trust him, follow him and respect him.

6. You will learn to be patient. Hopefully. Because if you don't you're in trouble. After the dating and honeymoon phase wears off, we can find ourselves seeing that cute chewing sound they make when they eat, isn't quite so charming. Or the messy side of your girlfriend made her seem ditsy and fun- but now she's your messy wife (sorry Daniel). Our endless patience can start to wear away.
You will ultimately learn about being patient as we get irritable, or impatient, or when you have kids! That was the real patience pusher for us.
So be patient!! Have grace and then COMMUNICATE it!

7. Hold on and hold on tight
Song Of Solomon 8:6 "Hold me close to your heart like the seal around your neck. Keep me close to yourself like the ring on your finger. My love for you is so strong it won't let go. Love is as powerful as death. Love's jealousy is as strong as the grave. Love it like a blazing fire. It burns like a mighty flame."
Psalms 63:8 "I hold on to you. Your powerful right hand takes good care of me."
When you find something good, you hang on to it. There may come a day when it may feel like that good thing isn't good anymore, or you're in that day. There was a day when it was good. Hang on to that, keep hanging on and hang on tight. Don't let a cool wind blow between you but keep the flame going. Even a spark can set a forest ablaze. Hold on.

I'm going to let that set in and finish off the other half tomorrow.

I really hope, in some ways, this can encourage others or help in some way if you need it. Or save it for a rainy day.

Marriage is precious, spectacular, an incredible ride and LOTS of work. It peels away at us showing our faults and our impurities. It brings out the worst and the best. It is possible to make it through any situation, any burden, season or storm.
You have to have the right boat- God.
The right sail, your persistence.
The right rudder, your tongue.
And right navigation- His Word.

Monday, January 28, 2013

How Did it Really Go?

Friday morning I had a few crafts I wanted to try with the girls. Thursday I took out what I needed so it would be easy and at arms reach to do the craft.

I thought it would be funny to share the fails and accomplishments of our crafts.

First was noise makers. I took two plates left over from their birthday party, laid some dry rice on one plate, taped a spoon to it and turned the other plate over on top of it. I taped the ends together and ta-da! Plate maraca's!

How did it really go? The girls kept trying to scoop the dry rice with their spoons as I was prepping the plates and cried cause I wouldn't let them eat it. They were impatient and started to fiddle with the plates and I ended up getting impatient with the mess they were making.
When I finally finished them they used them as make shift swords and smacked them into each others and the floor causing little bits of rice to fly out of unseen holes left open in them.
They weren't made for such torture and were flimsy.
The only thing that truly occupied them with the noise makers was the 30 seconds they took to color them.

Next! I had yarn and cheerio's and wanted to make cheerio necklaces to work on their fine motor skills, play with and munch on.

How did it really go?? Lilly held the ball of yarn while I went to get scissors and the Cheerio's and for some reason the ball of yarn scared the daylights out of Rose. So Rose came screaming after me for safety while Lilly followed with her big wad of yarn. Rose tried to climb on top of my head.
Lilly ran back to the living room and managed to get yarn wrapped around her torso and leg, and when I say wrapped I mean it was draped over her some and it was just sticking to her.
Nevertheless she freaked out and cried about it.
I removed it and cut them each and myself a string and showed them what to do.
I had placed the Cheerio's in cups for them to easily access. Instead of putting it on string they played with the cups, pouring the cereal in and out of them, then found toy buckets and poured them in and out of there.
Lilly tried to eat off the string I had put some cereal on and looked at me angry after her attempt. Like what kind of sick joke was this I was playing on her.
I ended up just pulling them off the string and into her bucket. Grabbed a couple more cups and said to go to town.
They had more fun pouring the stuff back and forth in different things.

Later a small piece of yarn was found by the girls on the couch and they both watched over it like it was an alien. I picked it up and they had shear amazement of my super power to pick up and not fear the piece of yarn.

I made play dough.
It was a new recipe I tried where I didn't have to cook it. Which I thought would make it faster. It probably would have been but I made the clay then tried to add food coloring after cause I wanted divide it up to make different colors. But the color is suppose to go in before its mixed and still wet so it combines easy. I ended up with quite a good work out kneading it over and over to get the color in.

The recipe was:
3 Cups of flour
1 Cup of cold water
1 Cup of salt
2 Tsp of oil
Food coloring

I only made half the amount to test it and make sure it was worth using again.
It turned out too dry, I added more water and oil till I felt it was more pliable but it still felt a bit dry.

How did it really go?? Not bad! Lilly, my mini chef in training, loves to help in the kitchen. She had fun helping me make the play dough and then we sat on the kitchen floor and played.
Rose and Daniel joined in and we spent a lot of time and had a lot of fun sticking toothpicks in them, making balls and rolling them, shaping them into animals and listening to the girls make the animal sounds. It was definitely worth it in the end but I would use a different recipe next time. The dough was drying out as we were playing.

Last night we prepped the girls for their bath and I took an ice cube tray and added to each mold:
1 part Cornstarch
1 part Water
1 drop of Soap from their bath soap
& 1drop of Food coloring

Mixed each one and made about 8 colors. Grabbed a couple paint brushes and let them go to town painting the tub.

How did it really go??
WONDERFUL! It was so fun! The girls played and played and probably would have played all night if we didn't end it at one point. They colored the walls of the tub and sides, talked about the colors and I praised their amazing art work. I enjoyed it as much as they did and I wasn't even coloring. I loved watching them play and experiment all's while getting messy in a place that was easy to clean and clean them as they played.
The one drop of color made the paint vibrant but never colored them or the water enough to stain them or make it difficult to clean them.
Rose pretended to paint her nails at one point which was adorable to watch.
When we were done I just used the bath water as it drained to clear off the walls and took just a few seconds to clean!
Totally going to be our new activity during bath!!

Never know how it will really go until we do it. But if it doesn't go well, it's funny to look back on and laugh. And if it goes well, then we have something new to keep the girls having fun! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Potty Training: Last Post

I'm writing my last post on potty training, or dedicated post.

(Here are Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Days 4-6)

We started on Saturday January 12th potty training our twin recently turned two year olds. The take I took on potty training was from friends and a couple mom blogs. I took what I felt would work for my girls and threw out what wasn't going to work or what didn't work.

The most complicated thing out of all this potty training, was potty training two at the same time. (duh)
Really, only because I have two daughters that even though are only 4 minutes apart in age, they are way more distant in personality and needs. Trying to do the exact same take at the exact same time for two different little people didn't work. By the end of each night I knew I had to alter one thing or another for one child or another.

We started with a semi already knew what she was doing Lilly and a scared for her life to sit on her potty chair Rose.

Day's 1-6 are already posted and blogged.

Here is day 7 & 8

Friday I was home all day and the girls did amazing! Besides one accident each in the morning they both went on their own the rest of the day. The girls were bare from the waist down still. I ended up on the phone with one of my sisters for a good long while and though I tried to constantly remind them if they had to pee they needed to go to the potty, I didn't feel quite on top of it on the phone. Regardless, they each went several times and whenever one went the other would applaud them.

I can always count on my girls being good mama's to each other.

Then lo and behold, Rose pooped.
hahaahaa....  I don't know.. it is funny to me that I am blogging about poop.
I was on the phone with Brenda still and my words after my shower of praise on Rose was, "She just pooped like a man!" For real I had no idea something so big could come out of someone so small!!

But I was so proud! My child who we almost felt helpless for, who refused to sit, like the seat was covered in acid, was the first to poop! And she did again Saturday.

We had dinner plans that night and I was rushing to get things done. I walked into the kitchen and walked back into the living room and there was a potty seat with potty in it. I had no idea who peed. No one called out to me to say they were going. No one came to ask for their treat after they went.
James my brother (& sitter) was on the couch and I asked him if he saw who went.
Of course he didn't.
It was mystery pee.
But I was impressed still that someone went all on their own!

I felt accomplished that night. 

Day 8

Daniel was home. I wanted to do underwear and pants, since we had church the day after and I wanted them to be use to being clothed and not have accidents. Clothing still brings a sense of security to them.
The morning we did the norm with nothing on from the waist down. They did perfect. No accidents.
It was so nice to have Daniel home again and have extra help!!
After their nap was the tough part when we had them completely clothed. Rose couldn't seem to get a handle on having clothes on and understanding she still needed to go to the potty. She had maybe three accidents and we just went back to bare. Lilly did fine. No accidents!

Though the evening was a little rough, I still feel overall the day went great.

Today is day 9.
The girls moved up in church to a class room setting. I was so excited for them to experience a class, learn about Jesus at church with other kids their age, through music, crafts and stories out of the Bible. This class also understands at this age there are potty trainers, so they would do their best to help.
We put the girls in underwear but put pullups on top then their normal clothes.
This was so I wouldn't be super worried about messes, but the girls will still feel the accident, if they had one.
They stayed dry the whole time!
They were so happy when we came to get them from class! They were playing and though Lilly got a little overwhelmed as she usually does when she sees us, Rose was jumping and laughing as she walked/jumped towards us. They had a lot of fun. And brought home their first craft from church.
Proud mama moment x100!!

We let the girls play outside but I think that was kind of distracting to them. We had an accident from Lilly and a couple from Rose.
By evening we were back to bare for ease.

We did our normal Sunday night routine, dinner, bath, & chocolate milk while we cuddle on the couch watching Brave. And I felt good about our long week trek.
We still have them wear a diaper at nap and at night. But hey, that's only 4 diapers total a day now!!

Okay so I did day 9 too.

I don't really know my exact expectations were at this point. I'm not really sure if all the people who do the bare from the waist down 3-4 days straight have completely accident free children by the end of day 4. Or if they have accidents and that it's a 'boot camp' for the first 3-4 days to have the kids have it figured out, but it's still a process for X amount of days, or weeks or months.

I feel like for my girls, we all made great progress. I learned to have better patience in all this and it helps that they have really figured this whole thing out.
I spend more time being proud and reassured by my determination than being frustrated like I was last week.

I have a few things to still get down with the girls.
1. Be able to wear clothes and not have accidents
2. Be outside and not be too distracted that they have accidents
3. To get them to sit on the toilet at home with a potty cover to prep them for trips outside of home and they have to go.
4. Go potty outside of home. Store, church, library or wherever.

I may not have 100% potty trained children, but I have two recently turned two year old girls very close and moving in that direction.
Someday this whole thing will be looked at like it wasn't that big of a deal. I'll tell them when their all grown up with kids of their own asking me how I did it with them, to go back to my blog and read it. I know me, my mind will sugar coat this whole mess and I'll say it was so easy and it took no time at all, and I am just mega super mom.

That last part isn't sugar coated though. I am a mega super mom! I mean c'mon, I potty trained two two year olds at the same time! I need a cape.

 The girls playing outside, on daddy and pretending to be asleep on the couch.

 Daniel's face... lol

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Potty Training Day 4, 5 & 6

Day 4, 5 & 6

Well, I didn't have the girls all day for Days 4 & 5.

From what mom said, the girls both stopped peeing. Hahaha. But true.
They didn't pee all morning both days and afternoon Lilly went when she needed to with no accidents and Rose had one I think and then one in her potty. Both days were like this. Except day 5 Rose peed on my mom, but peed in her potty right after mom explained that Rose had wet her and where to properly pee. Way to go Mom!!

So thankful for my mom continuing this whole potty parade for us while we work.

Today I was home and we do story time at the library on Thursdays so this was the major test here. Can Lilly hold it while we're out? And can she tell me when she has to potty? Basically will I not be embarrassed that my child peed on the floor in the library in front of other people in public...
Rose wore a Pull Up cause we all know she's not quite ready for outings free of diapers yet.
Lilly just had her underwear and she didn't have any accidents. In fact she didn't pee once this morning. Which wasn't what I wanted but it did keep from drama happening.

Too bad the girls were so out of it at story time. Lilly cried the whole time and Rose just wanted to play with the zipper on her jacket. They sang 'If Your Happy and You Know It' and Lilly was dragging her fingers down her face whining which gave her a major morbid looking face. Chris and Jenn were at the library too with Saylor and Chris was just laughing at the irony of Lilly's face and the song we were singing. Thanks Chris.
The only time they were happy is when Jenn walked them out through and of the library to the car, Lilly practically threw herself out of my arms so she could have the pleasure of holding Jenn's hand. Thanks Jenn.

We went to Target for a quick run after and the girls did great! No accidents... well I mean Lilly did great. Rose peed some time along the way of our outing.

I brought one of the potty chairs and put in the back of the Acura so just in case I had their size chair. I had stuffed a potty seat that sits on a toilet in their diaper bag in case they needed to go while we were in the library or target. I was afraid they'd freak out with the toilet but I never got the chance (yet) to find out if they would.

I was totally frustrated with Lilly this morning though. She did her refusal of leaving her chair so she wouldn't have any accidents and she sat there for almost an hour and a half. She never went and missed out on lunch because she wouldn't get up. I have to still work on that. It made me feel like an awful mom losing my patience with her :(

This evening went great. With Daniel around my patience meter goes up. The girls both ate dinner and Lilly was talked into stepping outside the box (or potty) and they both went when they needed to with no accidents!!
Rose pulled her underwear up and down about 30 times for fun but I considered it great practice.
I am proud mama tonight!

So here's an image of this new potty training underwear. Normal, yet still too big ones for comparison and the cover.

I was pretty surprised by the size but it fit. I got size 12-18 mo for the covers as the reviews for them said they were over sized and another woman said her 3 yr old fit into 12-18 mo. I listen to you reviewing public!
I feel like it's definitely made a difference for Rose, she doesn't like the wet feeling, she can't escape it and so she has been telling me she has to go. And I love that with the covers over the underwear there's no leaks (so far).

Hoping the girls keep moving forward!! Seems like we are just going that direction. :)

Here's Rose trying to help Lilly wear some special padded underwear :P

Here is Day 1, Day 2 & Day 3

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Potty Trainging Day 3

Day 3 :

I wasn't sure if I wanted to blog this now or wait. But I guess a fresh mind is better.

I think I better start with Lilly. I am so proud. She has it down.
She didn't cling to her potty today. I feel it helped that I laid out an old swaddle blanket and let her sit on it. She doesn't like siting on the cold tile floor and that blanket was like a boat on an icy ocean to her. She happily sat and played and we did watch Cars 2 by request- twice. She wasn't too distracted and she plainly told me she had to pee pee and I told her to use her potty and she did.
It was 3 out of 3 this morning for her and 3 out of 4 this evening.
She only had an accident cause I again tried underwear so she could get a feel for it (plus she looks so cute styling her big girl underpants) She loves them but again that false sense of security and she let it go. She was so upset about it. I blame it on me. She needs more time.

Now Rose....
Oh what to say about this child.
I felt like it was day one again. She held every drop she could in.
In the morning Lilly went three times and Rose four. The first three times the girls both went exactly at the same time. EXACTLY. I asked the girls to sit and try the first three times and they both did, then Rose would get right back up and walk off. But before I knew it Lilly was going and I was praising and monitoring and when I looked back there was Rose peeing too, except on the floor.
I was like, "Wow! They are peeing exactly at the same time!! That's neat." Though Rose's mysterious disappearance was not so neat cause of her accidents.
It occurred to me finally that Rose may intentionally be peeing when Lilly was so I would be too distracted to hound Rose back to the potty before or during her release!
Now she is a two year old, recently turned 2 year old. Am I making an extreme assumption that my toddler is planning to go when her sister does to escape the potty??? Yes. Yes I am.

My parents came by in the afternoon to keep me company. The only problem is that Rose goes into baby mode around my mom, she acts like a different child all together. So when my mom became present she screamed and cried if I told her to go to the potty if she had the urge. She also refused to sit on it again. My mom tried to sit her on it and Rose looked like a cat over a sink of water, claws out ready for battle.
Finally in the evening after my rents left, she went, ooooh, maybe 6 or 7 times, and did the deed in her potty twice. It was a glorious two times. But the other times... it's like she doesn't even care anymore.
She pees- I clean, even having her clean is fun to her so it's no punishment. She doesn't mind the wet, the gross, the yuck. No matter how I express my distaste for her doing this she doesn't seem phased. The only time she seemed really bothered was when I let her try underwear on and she wet it. That feeling really got to her. It was stuck on her.

So we are moving to training pants/underwear. Daniel ran out and got them for her and a few waterproof covers and we're hoping that does it for her. It will hopefully eliminate the majority of cleaning and she have that uncomfortableness she so loathes. 

But what was good about today???
Lilly making her mama oh so happy.
Rose did go at least 3 times to the potty. It was still more than day one.

I work tomorrow. I was really hopeful that Rose would be farther along but at least Lilly has it down. They go off with my mom tomorrow and hopefully she keeps moving forward and not fall back like she did when she saw her today.

I gave in and let them have a treat from the poop bag, thought neither have actually done it on their own in the potty. But they look so cute and happy with their prizes!!

Here is Day 1 and Day 2

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Potty Trianing, Day 2

Day 2:

It was a little rough because I couldn't continue right where I left off the night before in the morning because we had church. So the girls were diapered up and we went to church and then to Target. We did pick out some toys for a poop bag. You know what I mean, they poop and they get a prize from the poop bag. Not as gross as it seems. (Neither have achieves a poop prize yet)

When we did get home we quickly undressed them and set them up for another day in their playroom,
Rose didn't pee a million times on the floor in the morning, Lilly did insist on sitting on her chair. Rose happily sat on her chair without complaint and they both ate their lunch sitting on their potty. Their choice.

It wasn't a long morning and Lilly did her thing fine and Rose we were determined to have pee at least once before she went to bed for her nap. After all she guzzled a gallon of juice she HAD to go and again the strength of her little bottom surprised me as she was holding every drop inside her so she wouldn't have to let it out on the potty.

25 minutes past their nap time Rose finally gave in and she got a mini party and I threw my own cause I was ready for a nap myself!

The evening was a surprise!
Rose went to her potty, she was patient, and she tried. Lilly had an accident which again made her afraid to leave her chair.  I got the most frustrated when we were making dinner and I offered the girls to help make a homemade pizza and Lilly LOVES to help me in the kitchen but because she was restrained her to potty because she was afraid to have an accident she cried and cried and cried some more. And after about 10 minutes of crying and saying 'pee pee! pee pee!' I was certain she had to go and I waited but those 10 minutes made me feel like I was going to go insane. I took a moment to step outside and take a breather, gain some sanity back and then went back in to try again.
I think I waited a half hour before just deciding to make the pizza myself.
I felt guilty. But she wouldn't leave her chair! I thought she had to go numero dos but it turned out it was just fear holding her there.

But during that time Rose played in the kitchen and went on her own to the potty and sat and did her business 3 times! What a turn around from yesterday! Was it a miracle?! It wasn't because she peed twice on the floor after... but I was happy nonetheless!

Since both girls were happily seated on their chairs we brought their table and let them eat dinner on their potties.

Talk about luxury...

I gave underwear a try today, hoping it would help Lilly leave the potty and also let them learn to pull their clothes up and down. It unfortunately gave a sense of security and they both had accidents. So instead it worried me. But it had only been a day and a half. It did at least help Lilly get up and play a bit.

I was able to convince Lilly to play away from her chair and Rose had no troubles with that. Rose had her accidents at the end of the night which burst my bubble of hope. But I reminded myself that some steps are taken backwards and then forward again. 

I said, "If you have to pee, go to the potty." soooo many times today and yesterday I kept mixing my words up by this evening calling out, "If you have to potty, go to the pee!" 

Lilly stayed an average of B because of her mishaps of accidents and not leaving her chair.
Rose went to a B for her going on her own and really learning quickly!

Now if I was to suggest to another mama of twins about potty training her kids, whether or not to do them one at a time or both at the same time.... I'm still figuring that out for myself. With Daniel here it makes it that we each have one girl to watch and teach while crisscrossing to the other here and there. I'd say just get it all done at one time instead of spreading it out and separating them. 
But tomorrow when I'm allllll alone trying this by myself... I may say different.

Wish me luck as I go to Day 3... alone...

Potty Training Day 1

Disaster, terrible, wreck, and why?! Are the words that come to mind for day one.

Let me start with Lilly.
Lilly is a champ. She first tried and went to the potty on her own months and months ago, I can't remember when exactly but it made me proud.
Day one for Lilly was not that different to her except I had her waist down naked. She didn't mind it and she peed in the potty on her own. She got her treats and praises and she was happy.... until.... she accidently peed on herself. Just a little and she made it to the potty for the rest. But that did it. She was so afraid it would happen again that she refused to get off the potty. UGH!
It made it easy on my part but I wanted her to understand life goes on and we pee when we need to. But for Lilly, overall for the day, gets a B.

Now Rose. My Rose. My sweet tempered, chillaxe Rose, was not happy. She threw tantrums I've never seen her throw. She peed so many times I couldn't keep count. My only guess was around 15 times in the morning and more than that in the evening. And not one time of those in the potty. I was so frustrated. I felt like I was wasting a perfectly wonderful and warm day in the middle of winter to just clean pee. Which really Daniel was the main cleaner for Rose. We both were so frustrated.
I can't count how many times I have said, "If you need to pee, go to the potty."
That child refused to sit on that potty. When we told her if she needed to go she needed to sit on the potty she threw her arms around and jumped in anger. She was so mad and afraid. When she peed on herself she would scream like acid was piercing her skin. She hated the feeling, she hated being messy and wet.
I take back that she never used the potty. She did at the very end of the night, only because Daniel and I forced her to sit on the potty. Daniel figured out how often she was going and it was about every 7-8 minutes. She sat on her potty for about 30 minutes after the 7 to make sure she got it. She cried and I babied her with words, sweets and stickers. Rose finally went and she had the oddest expression on her face, because it was odd to pee in her potty.
Her overall grade was a C-

I was happy that she at least became comfortable with her seat and was sitting on it on her own. She also learned to hold in her pee for long periods of time because she didn't want to go in her potty which slightly impressed me. The peeing on the floor when she finally was released from the potty did not.

My technique is my own. I used a few friends ways, some things I read online and made my own way based on what I thought would work best for my children.

I had them undressed from the waist down.
I had a jar full of, marshmallows, chocolate marshmallows, m&ms, chunky chocolate chips, and recesses, so they had their choices for a treat and could see their candy all day to remind them if they want candy they need to do the deed.
I blocked them off from anywhere in the house to just their playroom, which is tiled floors so it would be easier clean up.
I gave them plenty of toys to occupy them in there.
I decided on no tv as it distracts them too much and they pee without realizing it until it's too late.

I did try this woman's way I read on a pinterest post to use a doll and a dropper to make it look like the doll peed to help them understand the concept. It was one of those Nailed It/Fail moments when after the girls were SO impressed with their dolls going potty they searched for all the dolls they could find to have them try to go potty too. I was loaded with dolls and I decided this angle was not for my girls.

It's hard to keep a constant eye on them, but after the morning the evening felt less terrible.

I find it hard with two mainly because I bribed Rose to just sit on her potty and Lilly wouldn't leave her potty. So when Rose got her bribe, Lilly would have this grief stricken & confused face as to why she didn't get something too. I would end up giving her some candy too because it felt unfair, I would say, "You can have a treat for sitting on your potty." and Lilly would reach out for a treat thinking I was talking to her too and she was sitting on her potty so I would give her one.

The bribe thing is hard with two but it also showed them examples of rewards when they were not being the one rewarded as well as understand that they have to fulfill a goal in order to achieve a reward. But again because of their age, it's a little hard to compute and all they see if their sister getting a reward.

On the other hand. The one getting praise and rewarded- I feel I couldn't give them enough praise and truly feel their reward cause I was trying to back the other one off and had to stop and explain to them why they aren't getting something.
It was almost chaotic trying to say,
"YAY! Good job!"
"No you have to potty first."
"You get a treat!!"
"You'll get a treat when you potty."
"Here pick a candy."
"If you pee I'll let you have a candy."
"I'm so proud of..."
"No, you have to potty first, sister pottied so she gets a reward."
And my chance to really throw a party is over.

I was just happy the day was over but sad because I didn't think the girls were so far behind. I thought Rose had a general good idea of the whole potty deal because she's seen Lilly go. But her refusal and stubbornness surprised me.

Day one was rough, but I am writing this blog in the evening of Day 2 and it does get better.

On to writing Day 2 post!!