Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Suburban Graffiti

We have been in the process of remodeling our backyard and pretty much every room on the inside of our home since we tied the knot. Somehow, our girls managed to get theirs remodeled first. Ha! 


We bought this little forecloser for $15 and gave it a makeover.
Gosh, I can't believe this is what the twins looked like just last summer!

Using some graffiti tools, we went to work!


We laid some foundation using large square stepping stones left over from a deck demolition.
(Tyler Deleted my photo here...but I'm sure you get it)


And added a kitchen to the inside($10 find; removing the top shelving for just a stove top fit) with Dollar Store cookware for some great Mud Pie and Mud Soup bakin'. 


The New Renovation...


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Accepting Full Price

I recently finished up a 10 week women's study on "Passion Pursuit" with some ladies in our church. It was primarily focused on intimacy in marriage, but turned out to be one of the richest studies I have ever done. So much that, I plan to go through the book again with some friends. Not only did it fine tune my relationship with my husband, but it flowed out into so many other areas of my life and exposing deep rooted struggles.

One of the chapters of homework really caught me off guard. It was on forgiveness and accepting the full cost of the cross.

Check the box, I got that covered. (Pride Alert)

As I delved into the chapter and answered the questions, I realized how much faith I lack in the sacrifice Christ made for me. I found that the, somewhat, easy part was accepting/expecting forgiveness from the Father when I earnestly ask and that He no longer holds my records of wrongs, but there is a huge lack of faith in forgiving myself. (Gulp)

Holding on to past sins by feeling guilty or punishing myself is not fully handing it over to the Lord and his ultimate sacrifice.
                         He paid for it allHe set me free
                         Free from sin. 
                         Free from punishment (not to be confused with consequences).
                         Free from condemnation. 
                         Free from the enemy's taunting.
It requires great faith to pour myself fully unto Him and allow His full grace and His full mercy to overflow and take over my life. Otherwise, I am just picking my sins back up from the cross and carrying them with me. This faith is harder than I ever imagined because I know I am so U.N.D.E.S.E.R.V.I.N.G.

If you read Luke 7:36-50, there is the beautiful story of the woman who fell at Christ's feet. She anointed him with perfume and her tears in sincere repentance. The Lord responded very clearly:

47 “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” 48 Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” ..... 50 “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

After meditating on Luke 7 for quite some time through the lesson, Linda Dillow and Juli Slattery (Authors of Passion Pursuit) proposed a thought provoking journal entry:

Passion Pursuit by Linda Dillow & Linda Slattery, Page 140, Authentic Intimacy























The journal challenge above painted such a beautiful picture and put His love in such sweet perspective.

I immediately envisioned the Lord sitting in the room, waiting with anticipation as He expected my entrance. He was delighted when He saw my face and quietly said my name as I came to His feet. He gently held out His hands to touch my face as I knelt before Him in brokenness.

Gosh, what security and faith He bestows!

His plans are not to harm me. After all, He died for me! Died so that I may be free. Free to let go of my own selfish control and live in peace. Forgive myself and lavish in the joy He has set before me.


"The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
    slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He will not constantly accuse us,
    nor remain angry forever.
10 
He does not punish us for all our sins;
    he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
11 
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
    is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
12 
He has removed our sins as far from us
    as the east is from the west.
13 
The Lord is like a father to his children,
    tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14 
For he knows how weak we are;
    he remembers we are only dust."
- Psalm 103:8-14


Friday, June 20, 2014

TWELVE

My heart sinks as this little guy has hit the big twelve!  My Ty has become a big guy. No longer my little baby. This little joy carrier is advancing forward like he is 18 months old.




twelve months: 21 pounds, 29 inches tall

  • blows the cutest kisses
  • talks on the phone
  • points at birds and airplanes in the sky
  • rides his firetruck forwards
  • starting to run
  • walks like a cowboy
  • eating solid foods
  • tattle tells on his sissys when they take his toys away
  • loves rough housing
  • follows his Daddy everywhere
  • swims like a fish
  • has 2 teeth
  • discovered the love of BUBBLES
  • likes taking things apart and putting them back together
  • learning to use his spoon
  • graduated out of the church nursery ::sniffles::
  • tasted his first donut
  • tucks his head under his legs like a somersault
  • bobs up and down when trying to dance
  • grabs his ears when he's frustrated
  • understands commands
  • gives high fives
  • can throw a ball
  • squeals when Daddy comes home
  • first to get up every morning
  • sticks out his tongue when he's excited
  • has already learned the word, "Mine."
  • carries food in his hands at almost all times
  • thinks he is as big as his sisters
  • celebrated his 1st Birthday with a "Ty Bash"



Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Father's Day Photo Gift


There has been an obvious popularity for photos with quotes that fill up my social media stream daily. But have you ever thought to add them to your own photos for a sentimental gift? Aah-humm...Father's Day is just a little less than 2 weeks away and I have the most simple DIY keepsake idea to brighten your Baby's Daddy's office space. :)

(Pssst! It's so easy you are going to wonder how you never thought of it before. Plus, there is no expert photo taking required.)

First, Snap a photo of the beloved Father with his kiddo(s)
or snap one of your little nino(s) together
To guarantee that your photo looks publish worthy, use higher resolution photos from your digital camera, i.e., not your camera phone. 

Example Photo: My husband holding all our kiddos on Easter. 

2. Take an ordinary photo and make it professional by tightening [cropping] the frame.
3. Change the effect of the photo to Black & White or Sepia

Simple enough so far, right!

Photo being edited at Pixlr.com. It's easy and dummy proof, seriously.
4. Add your favorite Daddy quote.
(Picnik and Pixlr are my favorite free photo editors for adding text. Pixlr.com is dummy proof. Ha!)
Tip: Use 2 different types of font. One in a Serif like font and the other in a playful, handwriting font.

And WAH-LA!
Send to your favorite print store. Frame or add to Canvas.



This is a photo gift I had framed for my husband's first Father's Day. It still sits in his cubicle to this day. If you don't have a photo with your fella and kiddos together, you can still find a memorable quote and add it to a photo of your children playing or a posed shot like below.


 On the photo above, I added a faded text using Picnik through Picasa. Trying to pose these two for a picture probably took me close to 30 minutes. They were trying to crawl away EVERYwhere! It seems so strange now looking back on their bald heads. Haha!


Here are a couple other examples I have done for others:
Notice the before and afters. You don't have to be an amateur.

Group hug with Mommy & Daddy

Playing in the park


You can apply the same idea for grandparents too!




Happy Gifting and Celebrating the great Dad's in our lives. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Catching Up, Life on Life

Priorities have taken a bit of a shift in our household. Maybe you have noticed my lack of blogging. Ha! God has been reformatting our household and most of all transforming me.

After a bout of some heavy postpartum depression, I am finally jumping into life again and it feels absolutely wonderful. I put on a good face so most don't know that I had been secretly hiding in a hole of postpartum blues. I knew for a while I was struggling, but it wasn't until I had a night out with a girl friend that I found myself falling apart on her couch in a pile of overwhelming anxiety that I realized it's depths. I could no longer compartmentalize my day, tasks, or if just one child started whining. I couldn't get on the floor to play and read to my kids and could barely get in the car to leave the house to go anywhere, even on a date with my hubs.
Coming out on the other side, God has met me with so much inspiration, delight, and increasing faith. I also don't want to mention the realizations that my babies are all GROWN. Ahhhh!  
Our niece, Crailey, sent us a picture of her rocking her twin baby dolls, coincidentally named Anna and Esther, btw. Out of the cute humor, I found my heart aching a bit. My girls, who weren't too far from those baby doll sizes you see, made me realize they were never going back to sweet newborn babies ever again. ::sniffles:: If this could only be consoled by the little man we have, literally, walking around the house (like the cutest waddling baby duck you have ever seen), but he too has decided he's a big guy. He is doing things, I think, my girls were doing when they were 15 months old.

Crailey with her twins, Anna & Esther. So cute!!

As for more big kid stuff, Anna & Esther moved into toddler beds, we lowered Ty's crib all the way down, traded the training potty for the real one, and the girls willingly gave up their bedtime passys in exchange for a Minnie Mouse toy. In the swap, they gathered up all of the passys out of their beds, took them to put in the mailbox with Daddy, who magically sent them to Indonesia with 3 knocks, taps, and a holler, and when looking back inside, the passys had disappeared. They waved, "Bye bye, passy," as they walked away. Ahhhh....big girls!

Big inspirations and joy have come in being a wife. God has shown me where I have been compromising my priorities as a mate. It's easy to lose focus in the infant and toddler stages since they depend on me for almost everything. I started losing sight of affirming my husband on a daily basis and unintentionally forgetting his basic love needs (i.e respect, companionship, intimacy). I have to admit, I was rather prideful thinking I was a pretty awesome wife in these areas until I was challenged reading Ephesians 5:33 (Amplified Version):
However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly] 
I started looking at my husband with new eyes. Ones that are rather infatuated with him all over again. During the day, I find myself admiring and thinking about all the different aspects I love about him. It changes my perspective so that I am not in full kiddo mode all the time. It renews my tone, how I relate and respond to him, and prioritizing my hubs in my daily routine.
Philippians 4:8: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." 
And my husband certainly is those things!

On another priority shift note, my quiet time with the Lord has become of most importance. After Tyler was born, I put it on the back burner. I selfishly felt like if I could hardly get a second of "me" time, then I didn't want to spend any extra moments of what I could have to myself in that sacred place. I forgot and lost sight of how fulfilling He alone can make me.
My new rule of thumb: no Facebook, Pinterest, Blogging, checking messages/emails, or working on pictures (the photographer in me) until I have spent quality time in the Word with the Holy Spirit. 
If I don't happen to get the time during the day, then I retreat from my hubby time about 40 minutes before bed for an uninterrupted period. If I'm not right with the Lord, then I'm not going to be right with my husband in our marriage.

It's amazing how much time all the sudden just opens from the sky. Ha! I have somewhat applied the same rule to time with my kiddos, household chores, and husband time. It's interesting how much of social media have become a distraction in our lives and we don't even pay attention to it. It's so subtle.

We have also amended our prayer time together as a couple. No longer do my husband and I pray together before bed in bed, but instead have carved out more intentional prayer at what we now call our "prayer couch" in our room before getting in bed. This intimate time has become one of my favorite parts of the day. It's no longer rushed for us to beat our drooping eyelids but has created such sweet heart to heart moments after a busy day. Before we start, we snuggle up and my husband usually starts out asking me questions like:
  • What's on your heart today?
  • What are you worried about?
  • What are you struggling with?
  • What made you the happiest today?
It is truly a cherished time with my Beloved before going to the Throne Room. It creates time for us to learn and know the other's heart and fine tuning them towards the Father's. 

In our prayer time, we have found ourselves requesting for an increased faith. It's incredible what The Word says we can do with just a minuscule mustard seed of faith, but yet it's one of the hardest things to obtain, so we thought why not ask the Father to teach us to have more. I have to admit, it is kind of scary to ask for immeasurably more faith, but thinking of the Hillsong United Song, "Oceans," that's where I want to be:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior



The Lord has been so gracious with all His goodness He has bestowed, but it's not all butterflies and rainbows. He challenges me constantly to become better and closer to Him. Becoming His comes with a price of dying to self, tendencies, mindsets, and exposing new sins. Ouch! The sins I have been trying to repeatedly overcome, The Lord has ultimately put His foot down with choices to follow Him and His heart. 

It makes me think when Jesus asked his disciples to instantly leave their lives and what they were doing in that moment to follow Him. In my sin, am I going to hold on to my pride, self righteousness, and unforgiveness of others or am I going to get up, leave it behind, and follow Him? Yikes! 


The alterations in our household have been so gratifying. Being able to function again as a wife, mom, and person is something I am praising the Lord for every day right now. As I smelled the fresh, salty air on our beach getaway with my family last week, it made me instantly realize how far we have come since this hard, never-ending winter. His grace is sufficient. 


Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Countdown is On!

The two month countdown is officially on until the big ONE! Party planning is already in the works for a Tie [Ty] Party! Haha! We are already anticipating a grand smash cake experience.



ten months: 19 pounds, 10 ounces. 27 inches tall
  • and we have a WALKER!!!!
  • now expert food thief
  • has quite the little personality showing through
  • waves hello
  • motions goodbye
  • points with fingers
  • ate his first spaghetti
  • plays ball on the floor- catches & rolls
  • says: ma-ma, da-da, ba-ba, more, yeah, hi, uh-oh, mmmmm...
  • cries with hurt feelings when told, "no"
  • already loves playing outside
  • hates his high chair
  • won't sit still for diaper or clothes changing
  • mimics anna's squint face
  • rides in the red wagon with his sissys
  • toy trucks, trains, & balls are the favorites
  • still no teeth
  • finally has a bit of hair
  • sleeps with two wubbanub passys
  • likes to push his sisters in the cozy coupe
  • traveled a family trip to indiana 
  • and ate at Lambert's Cafe
  • plays in all things water especially the cat bowls
  • likes to color at the art easel  
  • but most of the time ends up with marker all over his mouth
  • still the happiest baby at almost all times
  • picked up his 1st easter egg at his 1st egg hunt



Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Blinking Before 8 Months

Our Tyler is growing so fast! We are almost looking at 8 months already, so I thought I should give a 6-7 month update before it got to be too late on our Half Birthday achievements. Who knows, I might need to reference this just for myself as I am getting behind on writing in his Baby Book.  


seven months: 18 lbs, 8 oz. 25 inches tall. 
  • still loves to play all things with his sissys 
  • fisher price "crawl around car" is his favorite toy
  • baths are most exciting
  • cooing and singing are his alarm clock sounds for mommy in the morning
  • growing hair at snails pace
  • started first foods at 6 months
  • prefers 'baby led weaning' over baby food
  • loves bananas
  • but is really a food thief (cats not excluded here)
  • crawling at record speeds
  • climbing, pulling up, standing & walking along side of tables, chairs, cabinets, everything
  • making all kinds of new sounds (mmmm, da da da, bu uh)
  • pressing lips and making puckering noises
  • conquered RSV
  • flaps arms when happiest
  • showing first signs of being bashful
  • teeth have yet to make an appearance
  • still wakes mommy at 4am insisting a diaper change
  • hates head rubs
  • shows hurt feelings when his sisters take their toys away from him
  • and cries in anger when it's food
  • recognizes his name and understands the "come here" command
  • will soon think his sisters named him, "No No I-ler"
  • ticklish, ticklish, ticklish
  • "peek-a-BOO" makes for good belly laughs
  • little fat rolls can even be found under his armpits
  • plays with his trucks on the kitchen floor like a big boy
  • pulls hair and pinches cheeks
  • makes fake cough noises and laughs
  • can holler and squeal as loud as the girls
  • acts like he is playing the bongos on all flat surfaces
  • is a baby filled with smiles & joy

Recent Funny Story:
Tyler gets lots of hugs and kisses from his big sisters. Bedtime ones are usually the sweetest, but sometimes they are a little overwhelming with it. As one of my recent Facebook posts included: 

"Goodnight Kisses to brother tonight involved applesauce lips and trying to stick carrot sticks in his eyes. Yep."

Anna has recently started long tackle hugs to the floor where Tyler gets agitated because he can't free himself. He gets angry and starts to cry when she does not release. At the sounds of my protesting, she takes it upon herself to spank him and points to me as if to let him know he is getting spanked by her on behalf of Mommy for refusing her hugs. Poor Tyler, I can't help but find the last part a bit hilarious.

On a precious side note of all the hugs, Tyler has already mastered putting his arm around my neck in endearment. :)