Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pumpkin Time!!!


I love pumpkin. I love the look of pumpkins. I love harvesting pumpkins. I love decorating cooking with, eating, and photographing pumpkins. I am pretty sure that I love all things associated with this fruit! I also love Fall and guess what? They go hand in hand!!! So today we had our first pumpkin dip of the season! The perfect bedtime treat. This time I served it with Wheat Thins and Pretzels instead of my typical homemade cinnamon chips and it was a huge hit!


Guess what else? My Lindsey drove 8 hours to rescue me from my current madness. I am not going to get into it here but prayers for our family are very appreciated as this is a bit of a chaotic time right now....but on the bright side I have only a little over a week and I will be driving back to PA/MD for a SIX WEEK VISIT, just me and the kiddos!!! I cannot wait, it has been four years since I have spent longer than a day or two with my family!!!!
.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Homeschool Moment

I have had another homeschooling breakthrough! Last year I told you about how Aidan's Sensory Processing Disorder had gotten so much better just from being at home, and now....(drum roll please)! After just one month since summer break and he is up to grade level again. Now I do not usually worry about grade level because that is not the focus of homeschooling (I will explain in a moment). However, Bren and I knew that Aidan had complete power and ability to be able to read, despite his anxieties about it. Brendan was also upset because he is a little bit more attached to traditional schooling than I am.



You see (and this is where I explain), my focus for homeschooling is to encourage my children to want to learn to know things, not to test them on what they didn't learn. My focus is to teach them to rely on their Creator and to Love Him with all of their hearts. My focus is for them to delve into subjects that interest them and not tell them "you aren't in the right grade to study this yet." My focus is to help them through the subjects that they struggle with and to encourage them to find good in those trials as well. My focus is on my individual child, not on a group of children all the same age.

While there are some schools that tempt me to put my children in them because they are way cool, I definitely feel called by God to educate the gifts that he has given me. I also feel called to obey all scriptures and to train them in the way that they should go. And by golly I am so glad that I am finally listening to my Father in this area!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

And the count down begins

I am beginning a count down for two very exciting events. The first has been counting down in my mind for a very long time. It is my pilgrimage back home. A car ride across several states with my five kiddos so that we can stay with my family and friends for SIX WHOLE WEEKS!! I cannot wait to see friends that I have not seen for four years, and to show my kiddos things that they have never seen yet I use to take for granite. I cannot wait to walk and walk and walk all around the lovely towns of Pennsylvania, and to worship in my home HOME church!! Not to mention that on this very long car ride home, I get to make a pit stop in Tennessee to stay with one of my best friends forever (lol a BFF) and take my kids to her home town pumpkin patch! OH GLORIOUS FALL!!
Isn't he an amazing man! And oh my what a cute baby!!

The second count down is to our tax return because when we receive it we will finally be debt free minus school loans. That is right, no bank, credit card, or car payments!! And what can we do with that money? Well finally decorate our home, purchase the much needed clothing, and home school supplies, and dare I say create a savings account! Oh my, we will even be able to take a few weekend trips to the many places we have wanted to visit! The Lord tells us to owe no many anything and right now I am thanking God for a husband that is wise and followed that command. If it wasn't for my neglect of that command we would probably be debt free now, but how I have learned the hard way. I just can't wait to get to the day that we can purchase an item we need when we need it without having an anxiety attack!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Face Lift

Well my my, it has been such a long time that I had to get out my feather duster and give this blog a new face lift! What do you think? I am not content with it and have such a vision of what I want this blog to look like and yet, I cannot seem to do it....maybe it is because I am not a web designer :) However, I do like this for now, and so with lack of time for this decorating I will "let it be" :) A lot of great things are coming this way this fall, so see you back here soon!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Current Favorites

When my Violet comes up to me tenderly, putting one hand on either side of my face, with her very special Violey Smiley and says "I love you Mommy 8 days a week!"

When my Liam looks at you with a curt little grin and says "Uh-Uh" right after you say "I love you Liam," just because he wants you to say it over and over and over again!

When my Aidan excitedly figures out the plot of a story and runs to share it with me, or when he says "pick a number, any number, between 1 and 44" so I say "7" and he says "Andrew Jackson, who Ashton says he is distantly related to!" and he can continue this for nearly all 44 (we are going to video tape him when he is 100% ready!

When Breya looks up to me and says with an inquisitive stare right into one of my eyes "I can see Breya in your little black eye" (meaning her reflection in my pupil)

When Avagrace is so engrossed in an artistic pursuit, to see her mind working, and to wait to hear her thoughts when she is ready to share. She is such a thinker and has such an amazing and unique view of God's creation!

When I made breakfast for my hero this morning long before the sun was up and after he had only two hours of sleep. And I fed it to him. Because he was too busy working on his papers and assignments to be able to stop to take a bite. It was hysterical and the much needed 'respite' of sorts for our long week and his non-stop work for the past five days! He is amazing and I am honored to be his wife!

What are your favorites right now?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Too honest? Is there such a thing?

As I prepare to fill you in briefly on my three week hit-and-miss blog pursuits I am left with the sting of a wagging tongue and the question "can a person be too honest or share too much?" I truly think that the answer to that question lies within the one to whom the question is addressed.

For many people, privacy is who they are. They don't want a person in the world, other than those whom they consider close enough, to know any detail of thier lives. They don't want people to know if they have been ill or if they have had a funny thing happen to them. Some don't want to share if they have been to college or not and what job they have or desire.

Others feel it is fabulous to share what happens in their daily life. What funny things happen to them, what books they have been reading, where they went to school or vacation. Those persons love to tell a good story, especially when it is from what they know, their own life.

Then there are those that only share the good things about themselves and all things that they know about other people. This group is not the group I am talking about here.

What group do you find yourself in? For the second group, is there a truth to the comment of being too honest? Telling too much? Sharing too much of their life experiences or details as they pertain to only them (again not referring to sharing details about others)? I would love to get a good discussion going here. Thanks!

Now, over the past three weeks we have had four emergency room visits due to stomach flu, unruly thyroids, and more stomach flu. However, God is oh so very good and took care of us each and every day. He taught us some new things and still gave us some time to spend together in some very special moments! I appologize for the wishy washy writing and appreciate all of your prayers! I do count myself very blessed for each and every one of you and this blog!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

HE has Risen, Death has been Defeated!

Death has been defeated, the doors to eternity are open and He holds out His hands, Calling your name and loving you with His life, He has died so that we may live with Him forever! That is the ONE TRUE ETERNAL LOVE!!!!

Our traditional Easter Egg "brunch" pizza that I make every year. You wouldn't think that this would take too long to make but several hours later and way past brunch 'time' and we eat this for our Easter dinner! And I wouldn't have it any other way. After all traditions are a vitamin to keep our family strong!

Happy Easter Everyone!!!

Happy Kiddo's with their baskets although the funny thing is Liam managed to take Breya's basket and give her his for the picture so he could steal another chocolate egg, since his were already eaten!

Next week I will showcase more photos with our Easter happenings and update you as to why this blog has been so slow the past three weeks...then at weeks end we will welcome back Lauren H. Campbell Photography by special request and this time you get to ask the questions! Have one? Send it to me now!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Happy Birthday to....Me :)

So today is my birthday and I want to start by saying that I really did have a fabulous day. Truly, from the bottom of my being, I loved it!

Now, you know how I have said that I am a perfect example of Murphy's Law. Well I am sure that some of you just read that and are like "yeah right, that is a great attention getter for a blog topic but how 'unlucky' (or whatever you choose to call it) can one person be). Well my husband and I often marvel at how many things can possibly go wrong when we think nothing could go wrong.

So last Wednesday was the first day in three weeks that I had not had the stomach bug or whatever I had. Then Thursday morning I wake up after sleeping 20 hours and cannot stay awake even to cook. I actually dozed off while sauteeing only to burn myself. Fast forward to Monday and my normally nocturnal insomniac self is sleeping 20 plus hours per day and exhausted. So I go to the Emergency room and spend 12 hours there only to be told that the doc there thinks that the diagnosis from three years ago is probably accurate and I do have MS like they originally thought and that I have just been started in what they call a flair up again. However, he still thinks that yes, I do also have something called Mastocytosis and that the lump on my arm that has been there since I was between 14-16 is either a Mastocyst or a Mast Cell Tumor (not sure what he called it but it was one of the two that I just said) and that I should have it biopsied immediately, oh but he can't do it. So, I leave the ER with my mind whirling and still very tired. With of course no answers and a ton of speculation which I always seem to get and thankfully by now nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to what doctors 'think'. However, I come home to the best husband in the world and the greatest kids ever and do whatever I can whenever I can and due to the fact that I have an awesome group of family and friends who pray for me and lift my family up regularly I waited for God to meet me where I was. Yesterday I stayed awake for 12 hours straight and even get to cook, play, clean etc without injuring myself so I think "awesome I am going to get to celebrate my b-day after all."

This morning was my doctors appt at 8am. The Myriad Botanical Gardens were free for the day because guess what....we share our birthday! So the plan was to get the kids up way early, take me to my appt and then head to the gardens for a quick run through and picnic brunch before dropping Bren off to work at noon after which we can go home, crash, and prepare for Aidan's first soccer game. Good plan right?

WRONG, Murphy had to mess it up because as soon as I get to my doc they review the ER notes and deem a biopsy to be immediately necessary and a spinal. WAIT a second....I am not doing a spinal today. Not unprepared. I dont even get spinal's when I have the fear of delivery a ten pound baby! So I agreed to the biopsy, after all the bump was probably the size of a penny, maybe a nickel.

Ok so maybe it wasn't Murphy but me, STUPID!!! That Biopsy was stinkin huge and now I have like 12 stitches in my dominant arm on my birthday. However, God is always in control even when Murphy thinks he is because I had the best nurse, the best tech and the doctor I trust. So it was actually quite amusing as creepy as that sounds. Then I got to go home to see my hubby for a few minutes before he headed to work and he hands me a wad of cash (that was fun to say and yes I said it that way for effect, did you like it?) so that I can get Aidan's soccer gear and lunch AND dinner out so I don't have to cook!

For those of you that know my husband know that this is a huge deal because he doesn't ever just release money with such ease (thankfully). AND he says that he still has birthday plans for me on Saturday! Wow!

So I drop my King, my Knight in Shining Armor (ok my night in freshly washed ABU's) off at work and head to Target to get Aido his soccer gear and ALL FIVE of my kids behave! We then make a stop at Chik-fil-a and head to that other super store that I strongly dislike for an ice-cream cake YUMMY! and then come home for a nap before soccer during which everyone, even me, got to sleep. We get to soccer and Aidan is finally "on the cool team, I mean (they) are even called the Rockers and (their) colors are Neon Green, White, and Black!" and then we head home to eat Chinese food while watching a movie!

So Murphy ruined my plans but God's were so much better!

Thank you for your prayers, well wishes, and messages!

And to top it all off as I finish this up my husband makes it home before 1 AM!!! Thank you Lord!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

For my husband :)

So Brendan and I just love to tease each other. He will always have the fact that I am two years older to tease me with forever, and so i am teasing him tonight :) Just for you tender hearts I have his permission and encouragement to blog about this, so here goes!
I wish I had editing software that would allow me to circle them for better view, but they are right in the middle, two of them, straight and next to each other.
HAHAHAHAHA he has white hair! Two in fact. (and don't worry I know of all of my age spots and imperfections too, however Bren says he will never grow old and such that he is dubbed Peter Pan by me and some of my bestest girls, so I have to pick! I told him, he didn't believe me, so I offered to pluck them and he of course said no, so I made him pause for a photo shoot "to perfect my close up" (which still needs a lot more work) so for tonight, enjoy the pictures of my darling 26 year old husbands first white hairs, to which he states that his father did not get any gray hair until he was fifty. At which point he explained that at the age of fifty he will be able to say "I am a retired US Air Force General and all my white hair is from my wife and kids" and so I replied "are you sure it isn't from your video games killing all of those brain cells?"

Yup the friendly banter in our home. It truly is friendly and totally loving and we truly do love to tease each other. It was in our marrige vows "to love, honor, cherish, and tease from this day forward!"

Saturday, March 20, 2010

To Cook Is Divine

As I stood in front of a simmering pan tonight, making a delicious veggie and rice dish (if I do say so myself), I had a revelation of sorts. Not only is preparing a meal for your family a daily occurrence that can be somewhat tedious and dare I say mundane; but it is also a miraculous scientific event worth savoring and praying over. It is a time that not only tests our Patience, diligence, and attitudes but it is, at the best of times, therapeutic and divine!

Many nights I am at a loss for what to make. For someone who use to meal plan for an entire month and simply follow my schedule, the new dietary changes in my home (and I say new very tongue in cheek because we are coming up on a year) have left me wading in a pool of confusion. I have yet to find any semblance of cohesion or rhythm in favorites. I have simply trudged through the muck. And while I am still trudging and searching, tonight I had that first "aha" moment where God met me for my family meal making.

I was sauteing the spinach, broccoli, and tomatoes when a huge smile and peace came over me. "Hello my Father, it has been so long since I have spent time with you creating a meal." I remember man nights when I had derived such joy from cooking and creating new recipes and family favorites. Yet now that my food choices are limited by both choice and medical reasons I am baffled. I don't know what to cook or what to blend together to make those firework sparks like we use to have, the ones like a little mouse so poetically describes in one of my favorite Disney movies of all time. Now, tonight, I find solace in an old favorite but long to reach a new one.

I know that part of this feeling comes from the dull-drums of winter. The exhaustion of cabin fever and the excited anticipation of the upcoming fresh zucchini, strawberry, tomato and oh so many more wondrous fruits and veggies. The other part comes from You Lord reminding me of something so very important.

Each and every meal that I make I am creating what my child will be and are. You are what you eat? Yes, in a real sense of the expression, you are. Eating is not just for pleasure and comfort. Eating is for sustainability, health, vitality, and overall well being (including disease prevention). The blending of the foods that You have given me to eat is a chance to be creative, to experience creation, to play with science, and to have fun. It is also a chance to bless my family with good health and appreciation for all that God has given us.

Tonight I am thankful for all that God has given us and for all of you. Thank you for your interest in my musings and thank you for all that you share! Perhaps this week when we all get to the dinner dull drum and wonder "what am I going to fix" or "can't we just go out, I am tired and have no clue what to make" we will remember to pray and ask our Father what it is that He wants us to eat and possibly make?

Be Blessed!!

Winner Announced + Update to giveaway rules

So what an awesome response to Lauren's giveaway! I had over 250 emails! As I stated in the post, emails and comments would be counted when determining the winner and so that exactly how I picked the winner. However, with the fabulous turn out I will need to change things for the future, because yes I do hope to do this again in the future! So from now on I will only be able to pick from those who leave comments on the post. This will make the drawings much more efficient for me and better for all of the readers so that you will be able to get the results quicker (and not at 2 in the morning central time!

Now to announce the winner.......


Drum Roll Please.....




Hehehe, That was fun :) the winner is...Mr. C! Congrats, and thank you to all who entered and checked out Lauren's work. I hope all of you have a fabulous weekend and thank you again Lauren H. Campbell Photography!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lauren H. Campbell Photography

Today I have a word-full for wordless week extended. I just had to include an interview with this gal as her photos are marvelous and there is a raffle that I am so psyched about. So welcome to my corner of the net, pull up a chair, sip your coffee or do whatever it is you do while you relax and get to know the artist of the day!

Lauren H. Campbell is a full-time Corrections officer in Pennsylvania who is also a newly-wed and a talented photographer. She grew up in historic Gettysburg PA and resides about 20 miles west of there today. When she is not working, or snapping photos she spends time with her husband Wayne and their 2 cats Oliver and Emma, and their dog Smuckers.

What started you on your photography journey? Do you have any 'technical classes' or is this all 'real-world' experience?

"I started taking technical classes as electives in high school. By my senior year I was taking all that I could and also working for the yearbook as a photographer and using all my extra periods to work on my photography. I also worked for the Penn State Daily Collegian as a photographer while in college...it's one of the largest student-run college newspapers in the country. I was handpicked out of about 80 other students (and I was not even a photography major!)."

That is impressive. Penn State is a very competitive school, in all fields, it must have felt great to be recognized for a passion that was not what your formal training entailed! What other passions do you have and what would you say inspires you?

"My biggest passion, other than photography, would be gardening. I can spend hours and hours outside tending to my flower and vegetable gardens. I love seeing something you put so much work into become something so beautiful. My favorite season is Spring when everything starts coming to life and I can get out there and get my hands dirty again!" The same is true for my inspiration, "I love looking at something that someone may see as "ugly" or "run down" and finding the beauty in it. That's what I love to capture. I love spur of the moment things, catching emotion. I don't mind doing portraits but I love taking pictures of the real thing...the real emotion, and not (staging it or) making it happen."

Do you have an all-time favorite photo that you have taken?
Probably my favorite picture of all time is the one that I use on my site and for all of my advertising. I was doing some family pictures for a husband and wife that I work with and their oldest daughter (3 years old) was picking flowers for mommy. My husband came along to the shoot because he is awesome w/ kids and he had her hold out the flowers so I could take a photo. The picture turned about beautiful and is definitely my favorite!

Copyright do not copy!

Lauren, do you sell your work and if so where?
I sell my work from my site laurenrhcampbell.shutterfly.com and pictures can be ordered from a link off that site at laurencampbell.nextproof.com. I also do (on-site) weddings, family pictures, maternity, pet photos...anything really!

Lauren, I have drooled over your photos ever since you first shared the link with me. You really do have a talent for catching that ideal shot. One of my favorites would have to be the peacock. Peacocks are one of my favorite animals and they are so strong-minded creatures. It is hard to truly capture their sass and not just their beauty. However, the shot you got of the male in front of the red barn not only captures that but it reminds me of my home in Pennsylvania. Can you tell me about this shot?

The peacock picture was taken at my dad's neighbor's house. My husband and I were driving out to see my dad in Gettysburg and his neighbors were out feeding their peacocks (they have about 12). The one was spreading it's feathers so I hopped out of the car and snapped some photos...with their approval of course! A lot of my pictures come from things I just see driving around, going places.

Copyright, do not copy!

Well thank you Lauren! It has been a pleasure getting a behind-the-scene's tour of your artistic endeavors!

Isn't she great? Now readers, guess what? Lauren has graciously offered one of her 8x10 prints to be signed and sent to one of you lucky visitors! All you have to do is visit her site, check out her photos, find your favorite, and message me here in the comment thread or via email. The winner will be chosen by random, easy right? Now have fun and pass the word around! Comments will close at Noon on Friday and the winner will be announced as soon as the winner is contacted!

Good Luck!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Out with the old...

Ok, so the week of no words will continue into this week as last week we ran into some network issues. It will continue tomorrow with some fabulous artists and a give away or two!!!

For now I will share some really super exciting things that are happening around here! First, spring cleaning has sprung and I am soooo excited. I love spring cleaning, de-cluttering, and reorganizing! Most excitingly for the first time in our marriage, Bren has agreed to let me paint our home! I am beyond thrilled. Especially since we have put house hunting on pause for an undetermined amount of time due to upcoming career moves for Bren and myself. We will be doing major reorganization efforts in our sardine can base house and this place will be so awesome! I will keep you up to date so the first announcement in this move?

GOOD BYE SOFA'S! That is right, no sofa's for us....no chairs, no big clunky pieces of furniture stealing space etc. Instead we will have a living room full of soft floor cushions, pillows, bean bags and rugs. It will be so cozy and we cannot wait! We moved the first sofa out today and the other one will be gone by the end of the week.

Here are the top ten reasons we said goodbye to traditional living room seating arrangements.

10. We live in a sardine can.
9. They took up so much space and became the purpose of the living room, (sitting is not living for us!)
8. We are constantly sitting on the floor with pillows and the kiddos anyway, the sofa's often get in our way of play.
7. The space was so limited that the kids would climb on the sofa for play and this is not something that we want them to be accustomed to for when we have more space and nicer furniture.
6. It always seems that sofa's are breaking in ways that are dangerous such as springs popping out and exposing sharp edges or staples doing the same thing. The first sofa to exit had several staples exposed and a few nails as well.
5. Our sofa's never have matched as one was new for our marriage and one was a curb-side donation from a neighbor who didn't like it after she bought it (single military wife whose hubby spent nearly a year in the desert).
4. Did I mention that we have 7 people living in a sardine can? Even on game night we would end up on the floor anyway because there is never enough room for everyone.
3. I am so sick of stuff getting under bigger stuff. When we cleaned out the sofa today and moved it there were more toys under it than in the playroom! Ok that was an exaggeration but seriously there was at least 5 pounds of stuff under the two sofas combined. That is a lot of room for things getting lost.
2. Children who have cabin fever and do not obey the 'no climbing on the sofa' mandate always get hurt.
1. How cool is it going to be to have a room full of pillows? :)

So to elaborate on # 3, my cell phone has been missing for days. Guess where I found it this evening? UNDER the washing machine! Yeah! I know. At least I have my phone back.

So do you think we are crazy? Do you have any unconventional living arrangements? Do share and I will see you tomorrow for a wordless week continuation. Blessings!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

There is no place like home...

Wordless week continues with some pics from one of my favorite spots 'back home' in Gettysburg PA. These photos were taken during the recent blizzard by the lovely and talented Lisa Steinour. I am so thankful for these precious photo's because they bring me back to my roots with just a glance!






















This last one is my current desktop background. I do hope to have this one framed for my living room at some point!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Avagrace

Since we started her new meds she has remained seizure free, to our knowledge, minus less than a handful of chronic tonic/grand Mal's that were sparked by low sleep or other known triggers for her. The past two and a few weeks have sparked an upward climb in absence/absent seizures again and one grand Mal. Thank you Lord for seeing us through all of this! Please continue to pray for our artsy girl!

My second born holding the 'baby'.


Stunning!?!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Happy Weekending!


Better thank I thought it would be and I am sure you all know how excited I was about this!


Love her, and in this she was Amazing!

First Sushi, Spider Roll @ In The Raw, heavenly!

OKC Ranch Ridin' :) Western Saddles for an English Rider. lol!


Best Friends :)

Andie! How perfect a name!

Look at how gorgeous!

Ashley and a trail!

Look at the Palomino in front!

God Bless the Open Road! Look at that Oklahoma Red dirt!

Me and Andie :) Wish the other Andie was with us too!

Oklahoma Lakes, muddy red water!

Ashley and Angel, and such an amazing day!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Week of no Words

So this is going to be a challenge ;) I am starting today and working through next week for a week of no words. What that means is that I will post pictures or slide shows of our happenings over the next week. I can throw in short captions but that is it. No stories, explanations, reviews-just pics! So here goes!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Night off

Happy Birthday to my fabulous husband and hero! Today was an amazing day celebrating his birth! Thank you Lord for creating him! I can't imagine life without him, he is my heart and my most important person. He means more to me than any other earthly thing and only one love is higher and that is for our Creator.

And here you go Love, my final birthday present of the day....a poem (and I am not a poetess, I am putting myself out there, what can I say, I am in love!)

by Virginia A. Spencer

For Brendan (who truly is my hero!)

From the depths of my being
I know and believe
till the end I'll be with him,
no matter the ride.

Everyday I'm beside him,
even when miles deployed
cause' our hearts beat together
Him that Is---
true love did conjoin.

A decision for a lifetime,
no turning back and no end,
My husband, my lover, forever my friend!

Hey all, I am taking the night off to prepare for a more formal blog tomorrow and to rest a bit. I have had a fever for over a week partly because of my auto-immune stuff and partly because I do have a slight bug. I do well until dinner time and then I want to crash. And so tonight I am giving in! My kiddos are asleep and hopefully I will be joining them in dream world in a few moments. God Bless!

Happy Birthday to You, my loving husband, Happy Birthday to YOU!!!!

My husband has turned 26, gasp, and now he is an old man on the downside of the 20's. It only picks up momentum from here, lol. But momentum is good right? It is what we gain from hard work and learning how to steer on imperfect roads. It is God's Grace to put the wind at our backs after pushing through it for a while and if I feel this way now, imagine how I will feel when I am 70 and pushing through then! I know this all sounds ridiculous to some of you, I was often called an old soul and wise beyond my years, whether I believe that is neither here nor there, but I definitely do appreciate the maturity and rites of passages that I gain and go through at each turn! This even is no different. In fact any chance to celebrate is an awesome event around here and with not having work commitments I found that I have already bounced back into at-home mom mode even though it has only been three days since my last day of work.

The kids were ecstatic to celebrate, the older ones remembering what we have done in the past and the younger ones being excited to get to know this "new" side of mommy. And yes, it is a new side and a reclaimed ignored side that is so happy to be present and accounted for. You see, a birthday is not complete without singing to the birthday person to rouse them from bed, then sharing cake and ice cream for breakfast followed by dessert which is eggs and pancakes. Then gifts throughout the day, surprises here and there, meals cooked in the birthday person's honor, and a general sense of one day of total connectedness, eliminating the outside crap and just loving on one of our own.

And now it is Daddy's turn, my love, our hero! Happy Birthday honey!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Big News!!!

So guess what? We finally put an offer on a house!!! After looking for a house for the past several months, and checking out over 30 houses we finally found the one house that really fit our needs. It is gorgeous and while it is just in offer stage and we have not found out if they have expected it or not, we are so psyched!! Please keep us in your prayers as we really need a home taht fits us, rather than living in a falling apart sardine can on base (that actually costs more in rent than our soon to be mortgage. I cannot wait to start decorating! And yes I will definately be posting each and every picture of the house, and all the updates too!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Junee's Modest Apparel for Women, Teens, and now girls!

Good evening everyone and thank you so much for stopping by! I have some exciting news to share with all of you! Thanks to one of my readers I have found a new modest clothing store that is not just modern but oh so stylish! Everyone, modest or not, will love something from the online store called Junee's. Junee's originally started out as a boutique in New York but thankfully they decided to enter the world of web stores in addition to their three boutique's and now we can have their fabulous clothing delivered to our homes all around the world! And trust me you are going to love it! Junee's rocks! In fact, you will love it so much you will most likely begin making a wish list the second you check out the site, not that this is what I did or anything :) Actually, I made a wish list and purchased several skirts to get me started! Ok, seriously look at these skirts, how could you pass them up!! Oh and guess what, there is an exclusive coupon code for all of my readers at the end of this post!!!!! Thank you Junee's!

This one, called Aba, is only 38.00 and guess what, it really does hit just below the knee! It is amazing!

Oh but then there is this one, the tri-button long for only 44.00, and guess what??? It is truly a long skirt! YUP no screams of "flood preparation" for me! Can you believe it, it actually goes to my feet!

So they not only do what they say they will do but they fit a variety of sizes too! From a Junee's xs-xxl. Now one word of caution, this is a Junee's size, please check their size chart. Their skirts are spot on for what they say that they will fit, however their numbers do not match numbers from other brands/designers/makers that I normally wear. You can find the Junee's size chart here!

So great sizes, really fabulous designs, true to the lengths advertised and get this.....high quality for those affordable prices! The denim is soft and thick. Not cheap and stiff like some that I have experienced. It even has that nice new jean lustre! I couldn't wait to put them on and wear them about! Now I have my blue jean staples all while honoring my conviction to wear modest and feminine skirts!


NOW.....here is the best part! Junee's has become one of my affiliates and is offering all of my readers 10% off any order for the next month!!! Can you believe it??? I am so happy for all of you and hey, I may use the promo code too :) So here it is and please tell all your friends, swan10. That's it! Enter swan10 in the checkout and you will get 10% off their already great prices, for Women's, Teens, and now girls (which I can't wait to order some for Gracie and Violet!) for the entire month of March (and don't worry it is already active so you can order today if you want to!) and shipping is always the low price of $7.00!
AGAIN the coupon code is SWAN10!!!

What are you waiting for? Check out Junee's online today!

HEY LADIES!!!!

So typically I write to you all in the evening/late night hours when all is quiet and well, however, I just got a package in the mail that you ALL are going to benefit from and let me just say, THIS PACKAGE WAS AMAZING!!!! So amazing and so fabulous that I couldn't wait to tell you about it. However, now that I have gotten onto my laptop and the kiddos are napping, and I just got done opening said package, I realize.........IF I tell you about it right now.......I won't be able to show you about it right now! So trust me when I say, you are going to want to come back tonight or tomorrow morning to see what all this excitement is about!!!! Happy Friday! INDEED!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I love my family!

Today I had such a wonderful day, it is one of those amazing days that make your heart just swell. I started out 'training' my replacement at work and it was so wonderful to be leaving a job that I love so very much and a ministry that I was leery of leaving into such good hands. It also made me realize all that I have been missing at home while I have been doing the working mama thing. I really cannot wait to do my special traditions that took a back seat to work and all else that was on my plate during this season of my life.

I also got to talk to my mom on the phone for like an hour!!, to my sister (via facebook), and to two of my very best friends in the whole world. Ashley, who has 10 free puppies here, asked me to help her with a speech she was writing for her class. Do you know how much fun I had???? Yup total dork that misses school and LOVES a writing challenge! Then Lindsey and I just got to catch up and since it has been a while it was so awesome!

On top of all of this I was able to wake up to my handsome man laying next to me and still sleeping, my kids were so well behaved today, and Bren and I have been talking house stuff as far as paint and decorating ideas for our future house that we are looking to buy hopefully soon (yesterday would be nice-so you get the point)! As we move and make decorating progress I will definitely post it here because trust me, I am pushing the envelope a bit with my creativity! My home is finally going to be my canvas!

BTW I have a home in mind that we were planning to sign a bid for on Saturday and today I went to drool over it online while talking to my mom and it was no longer listed. Please pray that this is a fluke! I SO WANT THIS ONE!!!

What was your day like?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

There were four in the bed and the little one said...

I just love to share and hear about the adorable things our children do and we are so very full of them lately!! So I will start with the youngest, work my way to the oldest, and then tell you about my eventful night last night!

For quite some time I have been working with Liam to use words and signs but he will have none of it. He much prefers to point and grunt or scream for what he wants. So during a dessert experience in front of our family Liam wanted his third helping of another family members' cake (can we say youngest of the family?) So I said to him "not unless you say please" so what does he say "peeeece" then he uses the more sign without me even prompting him! I was floored, of course he has known what I have been teaching him, he just didn't want to do it! OH That Boy!

While we were flying back to PA Breya looked out and said "look mommy we are flying in the clouds," now remember she just turned 2 in August, then she said with such surprise and seriousness "we are in heaven?!?" Oh I loved it!

Violet on the other hand decided to treat the airplane like the Little Einsteins plane and pat her lap while yelling "we need more power!" it was so cute because the other kiddos (ones that weren't even mine) joined in. A lady sitting in front of us said that she had always had anxiety at lift off until that day! Violet has also been having a stuffy nose lately and has told us with such sadness daily that "her nose isn't workin!"

Avagrace is my artist and truly loves to make every waking moment into an artistic endeavor. From picking out her clothes and tying socks around her ankles (true story), to eating her food into shapes and then telling us what they are before she consumes the 'sculpture' it is all a masterpiece. The moment we walked into my sister and brother-in-law's home (he is also and artist and my sister is a great encourager of being true to ones self) she discovers the refrigerator full of magnets (that Auntie picked out just for such a situation) that can be pieced together in a scene. She gets right to it and stood there for a good 30 minutes before she is satisfied and then shows everyone her masterpiece! I love to see the world through her eyes, she is so unique!

On the other hand Aidan is full of vigor and sees' the world through social exchanges and is very destination oriented versus journey oriented. He always wants to know what is next, until he sees a baby. He (and I) were so excited to see my cousin-in-laws 1 month old baby while we were home. As soon as Aidan got to see him he could do little else. He wanted to be near the baby at all times and couldn't hold him enough. Seeing Aidan around babies is so miraculous. From birth Aidan was always aware of the little ones. He was not even two when Gracie was born and yet he could sit in her crib with her and watch her intently and gently give her the paci if needed. He is so sensitive and cares so much for the future generations and our country! When we drove away from where 'baby' was he asked Brendan and I if we could be foster parents or adopt some babies because "we need more babies around, we are good at babies and babies need us" he said.

As for last night all three girls had come to join me in my bed before Bren got home from work. At one point Breya fussed and pushed and said to the rest of us who were sleeping "roll over!" At which point Violet and Gracie rolled over so I scooted a bit to my left and boom, I hit the floor and my head hit my bed table! So the song "there were four in the bed and the little one said, roll over, roll over, " Yeah it is a true story! HAHAHA unfortunately my head is not appreciative!

Monday, February 22, 2010

the Word of Promise New Testament Audio Bible NKJV


I am so happy to share with you all a fabulous audio Bible that I was able to review through one of the company’s that I partner with for product reviews; Thomas Nelson Publishers.
For my short review please click here. (link to be added soon)

Several weeks ago I received the Word of Promise New Testament NKJV Audio Bible and I could not wait to open it up and listen to it. When I was in my first year of college and my first year of meeting and receiving the Lord as my savior, I listened to a friend of mines audio Bible in the car on the way to school (an approx. 1hr drive daily) and was in the best spiritual health of my life. It was such an amazing way to start my day. So now, that in my hands I was holding my very own copy of God’s word on CD, I was giddy! I popped it into my DVD player (it is not a movie just a CD but this is how I listen to CD’s since we are lacking a stereo) and began listening. Not only did I get immediately drawn in but so did my kiddos. They immediately wanted to know what it was but as soon as that question was answered they all sat there for at least 20 minutes listening with their jaws dropped. It was a true radio theater experience. Not a dry reading but an engaging story with a narrator and then a background play that draws you in.

Overall I very much enjoyed the Word of Promise New Testament Audio Bible. I enjoy the way that my children wanted to hear it. I love that I am experiencing and hearing the Bible as if it is a surround sound experience. I do not have surround sound but compared to reading my Bible quietly or to the children the audio CD’s bring it to life as if it is all around you not only in you. I also enjoy that it is a New King James Version. This is not the typical translation for me. I usually use the New Living, the American Standard, and occasionally the NIV. However, I love learning from all the versions as well as comparing all the versions. I LOVE Bible study and look forward to hearing different translations, in fact I have a strong desire to learn Hebrew for this reason! When I first received this Bible I actually thought, and am embarrassed to admit; “oh great, the NKJV” because to me it makes the word seem stiff and un-natural to me, like the language of yesteryear trying to reach a child taught a new English language. However, the radio theater style makes the language more natural and easier to understand even for my kiddos.
While the Word of Promise New Testament Audio Bible is full of a ‘star-studded’ cast of characters I felt that the acting and emotion in voice was lacking at times and this is my biggest complaint about it. The voice of the Narrator was amazing as are most of the other voices. However, the voice of Jesus was so dry and emotionless. I am sure that some people may even see Jesus as a straight speaking man that is always cool and calm. I assure you that at one point in my faith journey I saw Him as such. However, as I have grown in my faith I have seen Him in a different light. For instance, when Jesus overturns the tables in the synagogue in John, I use to think he was simply making a point void of emotion. But how could he? He was human and son of God. Loving His father he was appalled at what the merchants were doing in His Father’s house. It would have been like us seeing someone spray painting the inside of a church with horrible language. Would we be able to react to them without any change in tone or feeling of voice? No! While we would (hopefully) not be screaming we would be strong in tone. Jesus is sharing the Word, the Word that He was sent to give. He dies for us and is here to teach the most valuable lessons ever. Think about it, would he be able to be monotone? Probably not! Track 8 on the John CD brings a bit more emotion to Jesus and his word but then it instantly goes back to the meek and mild tone when we get to track 9. At times it is so unnatural sounding to me that it is hard to tell that the voice is suppose to be Jesus talking.
While I would recommend this Bible to others for the radio-theater aspect and the delightful way it draws you in to hearing and experiencing God’s word in a different way; I am still on the lookout for an audio Bible that brings the radio theater experience with a more natural emotion filled portrayal especially from the voice of Jesus. Had I not received this from Thomas Nelson Publishers I would have been tempted to request a refund to try a different radio-theater audio Bible. However, because it is the NKJV and because the annoyance from the actor portraying Jesus is not present in the entire New Testament, this product was completely worthwhile; So much that I would love to have this version in the Old Testament too!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'm leaving on a jet plane!

I love that song! But seriously, we are finally getting to go home. We were scheduled to fly out on Wednesday but because of the East Coast blizzard we have been set back several days. We fly out tomorrow (Saturday) and we cannot wait! One of the most exciting parts of this trips for me, and trust me there are many, is that Brendan and I are taking a no computers vow! We will be coloring, creating, singing, reading, and playing games with the kiddos the entire time! While we always do numerous together activities on the plane and on trips, this trip will include so much more together time! So I will sign off tonight, wish all of you well, and say please check back at the end of next week because there are exclusive Seven Swans coupons from some of our sponsors, along with other great things happening here next week! God Bless!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Where does the time go?

My oh my time does fly! And these days it seems to fly at the speed of light! It has been far too long since I have had a moment to sit down and write to all of you wonderful folks! How I have missed this! Life at the Spencer house has been so eventful it is unreal! I actually stole away and attended a military spouses event sponsored by Operation Homefront the other day and in my excitement I volunteered when the speaker requested. When I arrived on the stage the lady said to another volunteer and myself, "you are stressed," pointing at me "and you are her battle buddy, talk her down" she said to the lady to my right. So I did what I know and that is to share my life, HAHAHAHA!!! I started rambling, "I am suppose to catch a plane for our annual trip home on Wednesday morning and here it is Monday night and I am here!" "Well, you have all day tomorrow" my battle buddy said. "Yes and I have five kids and I must pack for seven people because my husband does not pack, and I still have two puppies to sell before we leave, and I don't have a sitter for my dog yet, and my house should be featured on a show entitled 'I can't believe they live like that'" and as I looked to my right I saw my battle buddy stunned and at a loss for words and I suddenly felt extremely guilty that I gave her too high a ledge to talk me off of for this skit! The speaker chuckled and said "man you are good at this," and my friends who had come to the event too just laughed because they knew that this was the truth and only the half of it!

So that is just a tip of our iceberg but the real problems came when the East Coast started to receive their second blizzard in two weeks! On top of the already 2-3 feet of snow they were getting an inch an hour! For someone who loves snow, like myself, this storm normally would have elicited a bit of envy but considering our flight plans it did quite the opposite.

Our Grandmother (my husband's, father's mother) is turning 80 and so there is a huge family dinner in Connecticut on Saturday. Then on Sunday we will be attending a special church service for her (she is a Pastor). However, our plans were to fly into Baltimore where half of our family lives and then drive with them to Connecticut two days after our arrival. Now we have to fly into Connecticut on Saturday and the earliest that we can get there is 1 hour into the dinner which means that we will not get there until the dinner is over.

The biggest kicker is that my Mother in law saves up her frequent flier miles (she travels for work) and blesses us to come home. This year it was especially for this event. I so wish that I knew someone with a private jet so that we could make it there tomorrow! :)

So for now I am cleaning and I am glad to say that because of my two friends that were with me at the Military Spouses event (which I will write more on later) and two other friends, I am finally so very close to be caught up in my home! I can't thank these friends enough! It is so difficult keeping up with my home when I am struggling with my health and still working out of the home! Tomorrow I will finish packing :)

What has been happening in your neck of the woods?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Our Christmas Tradition

This is my favorite Christmas Tradition and ALWAYS my Christmas present, to get the whole family matching PJ's to wear on Christmas morning. I totally love it, it is dorky, it is fun, it is all me! The best thing is I have rubbed off on my family and now they all love it! There was actually a debate about pajama's this year! Typically I pick them out and nobody even cares to look, grant it many of the 'bodies' in this house are no longer babies and toddlers, but Brendan even but in A LOT of advice this year.

As you may know from years past, we have always gone with the same company. However, this year we chose a different one because the traditional company had sold out of the style we wanted and the only other styles that they had were ones we had used in years past. So I searched and searched for other company's that carried family pajamas.




I very well could have sewn them all for the whole family, and I will do this at some point. However, with a life as busy as ours have been, I did not have a moment to spare searching for patterns and fabric etc. Oh and I am so glad that I did not have time to make them because I never would have discovered Snug As A Bug!


First I will say that this is the company that I will be going with from now on! They were amazing. Their pajamas were actually cheaper than said company from Christmas's past and this is the best part, their pajama's are so durable and soft they will last for years!




Pajama's that we have purchases in the past were thin cotton and would wear out within a season. I could not pass any of them on and in our house we MUST pass them on! But Snug as A Bug will hold up to quite a bit. We have already washed them countless times and they still look brand new with zero fading.

They are also all of our favorites still because of how soft, warm, and comfortable they are! Now all I need is a tri pod so that I can take a picture on Christmas morning with all of us in it!