31 January 2012

Link up for a book give away!

Hi there Readers!

My great friend Sierra is giving away a book on her blog! Click here to check out her review and view the rules for entering. You can enter every day through Sunday! :D

It definitely looks like an amazing story! (Sierra, I hope I can borrow your copy if I don't win a copy.) :)

20 January 2012

What a week

You know that New Year's Resolution I made? Yeah. Didn't last one week. Not one. Pesky resolutions . . . I knew it would be a bad idea . . .

I was sick this week. There is this stomach bug going around and it has stopped by our house three times so far this season. Just to see me! How sweet! Fortunately it only lasted about 24 hours. Also fortunately the kids have only been sick once. Mike's had it twice.

And yes, I vacuumed up all the crackers crumbs that the kids left on the carpet. Okay, okay. They aren't totally to blame. I ate a lot of crackers too. And we watched three movies. In one day. I just wanted to sleep, but that wasn't really an option until nap time .. .

Because I was sick on Tuesday, I didn't go to PWOC on Wednesday. I do that whole 24 hour rule that exists for sick kids. I figure it carries over into adulthood too. I was so sad to miss PWOC. Sniff sniff.

I was also really sad to miss my weekly break from the kiddos. SNIFF. SNIFF. And boy did I need it. I needed to connect with other women.

So while I was at home Wednesday morning, even though I was feeling better, I was playing some music for the kids on the DVD player and we were dancing around the living room like we do (yes, this white woman cannot dance) and I was swinging Edward around as we were dancing. My body rebelled.

And I strained/pulled something in my shoulder/chest. I say shoulder/chest because it felt like both areas, although later I realized it was really more in my shoulder. So then I couldn't pick up anything up the rest of the day without it hurting quite a bit. Makes for tense nursing!

Boy do I feel old! Straining something while picking my toddler up. So he weights a quarter of my weight. Still. Or maybe it's just that I'm so out of shape. Anyhoo. . .

I was really hoping to be able to go to Heartlink on the base today (Friday). I do want to go for the material, but my biggest reason right now for going was to get a break from the kids. I'd have Daphne with me, but Sophie and Edward would have gone to the CDC for the day. For free! And I've been trying to take a Heartlink class for years. It's a really cool class for mil spouses where they go over all kinds of military stuff. And I hear you get a coin. In the past, something has always come up and I've had to cancel. At least four times, probably five. This time was no exception. Except nothing exactly came up. When I called to sign up for the class, the lady handling the childcare part was out sick. When she called me back, I missed the call. I called her back twice, but she never called me back. Maybe she was sick again. Either way, I couldn't go without my kids being signed up for the childcare. So no Heartlink class. No break. No cool mil spouse stuff. Sniff sniff

This morning was just bad. I just had these overwhelming feelings of being an epic failure in everything wife and mother. Especially mother. And I seem to be offending friends right and left. Sometimes the feelings of not having it all together are just too much. Let's just say there was lots of crying. From all four of us.

And lately I've been doing a lot of thinking about time and life. You only get one life. One shot to do life. One chance. The older I get, the more I think about it, and the more I feel like a failure.

It's not that I have a bad life, because I don't. I just have all these pesky expectations that I never met that keep popping up in my face. My life just doesn't look at all like I thought it would. I don't have a Bachelor's degree. I don't have a career. I haven't done anything "great" with my life.

There's also this legalistic box I seem to put myself into. Sometimes I feel like I really understand the freedom of Christ, the freedom from the law. Other times I feel like that was just an illusion and I'm trapped by all these rules and expectations of what a "good Christian woman" should look like and be and do. It's rather suffocating. And today was one of those days. And I just caved and sat on the kitchen floor and cried.

Oh yes. I'm back there again.

Last week I felt so free in Christ. This week I feel like I'm a slave to the law of Christ. And not in a good way. Now I'm super tense and have a horrible headache and a guilt trip the size of Canada (no offense Canadians, you just have a rather large landmass area, so I'm making use of it) because of how I treated my precious children today. Not to mention Mike.

I really hope next week is better.

17 January 2012

Stationery card

Top 10 Loves Valentine's Card
Create holiday cards that create smiles. :)
View the entire collection of cards.

16 January 2012

Military Monday Blog Hop

It's a Military Blog Hop! :) Join me over at Semper Wifey to link up with some more MilSpouse blogs! :)


iPhones and illegal working conditions

Yes, that title is "iPhones and illegal working conditions".

Most Americans are aware that iPhones are not manufactured in the United States; they are manufactured in China. Most electronics, and a whole lot of other products, are made in China.

I read an article today in the Washington Post about iPhones and the labor conditions that workers, as young as 12 years old, have to endure. So we rich Americans can have our little devices with all their apps and get online whenever we want to update our status on FB.

I don't have an iPhone currently, and after reading this article, I don't plan to ever buy one.

There are an abundance of social injustices in our world. Child labor is one of them. It's great that Americans are fortunate enough to live in a country that has seen fit to outlaw child labor (and with good reason). I find it extremely ironic though that American still support child labor through the sales of a plethora of household items. iPhones being one of them.

These children who help to make iPhones (usually working on a part of the product) are as young as twelve years old and work 12-16 hour days. According to the article, a Chinese working hour is 60 minutes. Read: no breaks. In the US, a minor that is working has to take a 15 minute break every four hours and have a one hour break for lunch every eight hours. Chinese minors are not as fortunate. And they only make about 70 cents an hour. You can click here for a list of articles from varying sites about Apple and the working conditions in the factories that make their products. Apparently 62% of factory workers building Apple products break the 60-hour work week.

The hypocrisy just makes me so angry. Now, if you own an iPhone and are reading this and know me personally, fear not, I will not go up to you and dump water on your iPhone. Here and now though, I want to encourage you to not buy any Apple products in the future. And to research before you buy other electronics. I know I'm going to.

Sound off: what do you think? How does this make you feel about your iPhone? Will you buy another one in the future?

The Great Nurse-In

Mike and I want to travel east next summer, we're thinking Maine to Florida east (and lots of places in between), and I found yet another reason to visit "back east". (Yes, it some ways it feels like we live in the Wild West and it's a long way "Back East".)

The Great Nurse-In. Otherwise known as the Million Boob March. Yes. That's right. The Million Boob March. For any guys reading, it's to support breast-feeding, not a sexual fetish display thing on the Mall.

I read an article here about this event that is going to happen in the middle of National Breast-feeding Week in Washington, D.C. next summer. The event is currently scheduled for August 4th. The name is not set in stone yet either.

I just might have to squeeze in a short trip to D.C. into our itinerary!

The woman behind this event is a mom of two who wants to support breast-feeding in public. Her name is Rachael Papantonakis and she is tired of hearing about public breast-feeding discrimination.

I have to agree with her, I'm tired of it too. I have not been discriminated against when I nurse Daphne out in public, but I'm always weary of getting nasty looks and I have friends who have been discriminated against.

Breast-feeding is a natural, healthy, nurturing way to take care of your child. I know that not every woman can nurse their child (been there, done that, twice); those that can should be able to do so wherever they want. Without getting some negative comment or belittling look.

I think that the whole idea of breast-feeding being thought of as nasty or gross goes back to how over-sexed and out of touch with reality our society and culture is. Breasts are not just for sex. Don't get me wrong, they are for that too, but when you have an infant child (or even a toddler) and are able to breast-feed, they are for nutritional purposes too.

Our society is so engrossed with sex; we're saturated with it. Advertising. TV. Radio (ever heard some raunchy morning shows?), food. Clothing. Magazines. Books. Movies. Music. The list goes on. So it's only naturally that such an over-saturation can twist the real meaning and purpose behind sex. But that's another rant. Err, soapbox discussion.

Mainstream society is also (in my opinion) rather anti-child. So if society is anti-child, it only follows that there would be those who would be against breast-feeding too.

So really it makes sense that some people think breast-feeding is gross, etc. I think they are rather ignorant and uniformed about the beautiful relationship and bonding that is taking place between a mother and a child. Yes, there are a lot of other ways to bond with a child. Although I find that now that I can breastfeed my child, after not being able to nurse the first two, there is no other mother-child bond quite like it.

So spread the word about the Great Nurse-In and if you are able to make it Washington, D.C. next August, make an appearance to show your support for breast-feeding, whether you're a nursing mom or not. :)

Life Update

Hmm . ..  what to write, what to write. . . . ever have a moment like that? You want to write, but you're not sure what to write about?

We {finally} took the tree down. Yay! Now we are 98% through with putting away the Christmas decorations! All I have to do now is bring the stocking holders upstairs and put them in the closet. And move the bin of Christmas decorations from the kitchen where it is currently functioning as additional counter space, to the garage, where it will function as collector of dust until next Christmas.

I've been working on projects in the house and I feel like I'm getting there. Mike has been a huge help in this. The tree is down (cross one off the list!), and we have the jumper set up for Daphne (cross another one off the list!). Today was also an incredibly productive day. I love those days! We started with a great breakfast of blueberry pancakes and scrambled eggs (I burned some of the pancakes! And then I almost burned up a pan because I turned the wrong burner off. Boy did the kids get a scare with the giant cloud of smoke!) Anyway . . . I got the dishes done, got five loads of laundry washed with two of them put away, I made two loaves of bread, menu-planned and went grocery shopping and a made a healthy lunch. All right! And I got a shower in! Score one for me!

Daphne went through four different outfits today with the exploding poopie diapers. Haven't had one of those days since Sophie was a tiny baby! We ran out of the size one diapers today, so she's in size 1-2 now. My baby is growing up!! Sob, sob, sniff, sniff.

Sophie is getting so tall. I'm going to have to move her to 3T clothes before her third birthday. Most of her pants are looking like high waters on her. And she is talking up a storm, with lots of sentences. She has the quite the little sense of humor too.

Edward is just hilarious and adorable and inquisitive, all at the same time. He was pretty tired today (the kids didn't nap again, and at dinner he was resting his chin on his hand, while he was chewing. So his head was bobbing up and down on his hand. And then Sophie got really upset at dinner because she wanted down after one bite and we wouldn't let her get down. So Edward covered both of his ears with his hands, then looked at me, then glanced at Sophie and raised his eyebrows, and looked back at me. I found it to be quite amusing.

Sophie and Edward are really into the "Signing Time" videos right now. Daphne is too, when she can watch them, which I try not to let her too often. Since watching the four videos that we have, Sophie and Edward have learned how to sign: potty, time, wipe, clean, soap, water, train, wet, dry, hungry, cheese, bread, apple, bath, twinkle, star, body, amazing, signing, singing, dancing, playing, sun, day, new and more. I can't remember all the other ones. Yes, it's that many! Those videos are amazing!! And the tunes are really catchy. Mike and I find ourselves singing them all day.

Well, I think that is all for now on family life. :)

Mike's got a new blog!

So my wonderful husband, who is a great writer by the way, has started a blog of his own! (To his family - yes, it's his second blog, but he wanted to start fresh and new.)

Here's the link to it, so please hop on over and check out what he has to say! He's calling it "The Inquiries of a Layman Scientist". :D

14 January 2012

BookMark Break Challenge 2012


**The BookMark Break Challenge for 2012 is just about officially over. There are a few hours left, but I don't think I'll be adding any more books to the list. For I am at 43 books officially, that I read in 2012. Not bad, for as busy as I am. :) How did you do?


Here is my list of books I've read:

1.Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst
2.Amy Carichael by Janet and Geoff Benge
3.George Muller by Janet and Geoff Benge
4.Home and Away by David and Nancy French
5.Just a Minute by Wess Stafford
6. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
7. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
8. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
9. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
10. Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
11. Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
12. Hitler's Cross by Erwin Lutzer
13. G.I. Joe and Lillie by Joseph Bonsall
14. Women of Faith and Courage by Vance Christie
15. Dreams of Joy by Lisa See
16. Adopted for Life by Russell Moore
17. Little Women (Abridged - read it aloud to the kids) - Louisa May Alcott
18. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
19. Whispers in the Wind by Lauraine Snelling
20. Surprised by Laughter by Terry Lindvall Ph.D.
21. What Your Childhood Memories Say About You by Dr. Kevin Leman
22. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
23. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
24. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
25. On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder
26. The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter
27. By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
28. The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
29. Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
30 These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
31. The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
32. What Your Husband Isn't Telling You by David Murrow
33. The Holy Bible
34. Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden
35. Persuasion by Jane Austen
36. The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers
37. Having a Mary Spirit by Joanna Weaver (for PWOC)
38. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
39. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (yes, I read them out of order)
40. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (yes, I read them again this year)
41. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (abridged version - I read it aloud to Sophie)
42. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (yes, I reread it again)
43. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (again, yes, I reread it)
44. This Thing of Ours by Cammie Franzese

On my reading list:
The Holy Bible
The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie OMartian
James: Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore (I think a Bible study would count, it is over 100 pages)

On Deck:
 American Sniper by Chris Kyle
Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand
 


2012 Book Challenge





I came across this at my friend Sierra's blog, so I decided to check it out. I have to say I'm pretty excited!

Who's Your Editor is hosting a book-reading challenge for this year. All you have to do is keep track of how many books you read on your blog (they have to be over 100 pages and school books and rereads count) and then link up with her.

I have been wanting to post all the titles I read in 2011 as well, so I might just list those too, even though they won't count. It'll be good motivation, maybe beat last years list kind of thing. :)

So if you want to join in, head on over HERE.

13 January 2012

Faithful Bloggers - Supporting Missionaries

 I am linking up with Faithful Bloggers today and the Faithful Blogging Prompt this week is: How do you support missionaries?

I must confess, I mostly support missionaries by prayer. I know prayer is no little thing, prayer can move mountains.

It's just that when you hear the term supporting missionaries, you mostly think in terms of money. My husband and I do give a small gift above our tithing to the missionaries from our church, Desert Springs, but that is actually my husband.

When I get some extra funds, which isn't often, I try to support Hope for Honduras. I went to Tegucigalpa in 2007 and Ron and Shelley are often on my minds, as are the people in the colonia. I wish I could support them financially more often. So I do a lot of praying instead.

Mike and I also try to give to Prison Fellowship a few times a year, especially their Angel Tree ministry. And we support a child through World Vision.

I hope that by sharing and linking up with these wonderful people, that I can help to support them by word of mouth.

How do you support missions? Leave a comment with a link to your blog here or on the Faithful Bloggers website. :)


Free From Fear

I have to tell you, I have been living a really fearful life in the last few months. I realized this week how much fear had a hold on me, and it was quite the hold, let me tell you.

The thing about fear is that it can start so small and innocent and before you know, it has oozed into huge aspects of your life, especially your thought life, until it is paralyzing you. The Bible speaks about fear, and I know this, but for some reason, the fear that I have been dealing with in the past few months, I sort of thought that what the Bible says about fear didn't really apply. You know, because my fear is bigger than God. (What a sinner I am!)

This week, God showed me that He is bigger than my fear. And He can take away my fear, all I have to do is trust in Him.

So what is this fear I have had the last few months you ask?

I'll give you a hint. It has to do with pregnancy.

No, I am not pregnant.

I am afraid of getting pregnant again.

No big deal you might say. Use birth control. There's a problem with that for me. I have a very strong conviction about using hormonal birth control. So skip the pill, the patch and the IUD. Okay, I did get other contraception (a diaphragm - sorry for the TMI), but I hate using it. It hurts. Pain kinda kills the mood you know. So get fixed. No can do. Too afraid.

So how have I been dealing with this issue? By avoiding sex at almost all costs. And any kind of affection, that might in any way, lead to sex. I know this is a bit bold, but this is my blog and I'm putting it out there.

I realized I had come to a point in my life where I was too afraid to get a tubal because I was afraid it wouldn't be in God's will to get permanently fixed or that I wouldn't be able to nurse Daphne any more, but I was also too afraid to have sex in case we did get pregnant because I really don't think my body can handle carrying another child. I still have a lot of pain and my body is just worn out. And it shows. Every day. Three kids in 28 months will really take it out of you. Literally. Fear had paralyzed me and the one who was really suffering because of it was my husband, and therefore our marital relationship. Okay, so we were both suffering. And if Mommy and Daddy aren't happy, chances are good that the kids aren't either. There's a cascade effect going on here.

You see, sex is the glue that holds a marriage together. Sex is the sacred bond that brings a man and a woman together in a way that nothing else on earth can. Sex is the ultimate connection. And when you don't have that on a regular basis, you can start to drift apart. Little things start to wear on your nerves. And the next thing you know you're snapping at each other for the pettiest stuff. It's not good. For either person. And don't even get me started on the temptation that you are allowing to enter into the relationship.

I had a really good conversation with a very trusted friend who helped me realize that God loves to give us choices. There doesn't have to be one set path in life that if we don't follow exactly, we're not following God's will. It's okay to choose different things as long as we are not sinning in our choices.

This also helped me realize that fear is not in God's plan for us and that fear gives Satan a strong hold in our lives. I had let Satan have a foothold, not only in my life, but in my marriage to Mike as well and he had used to fear as that foothold. If not getting my tubes tied meant living a life of fear, then it probably wasn't the Lord's will.

So I released my fear of getting my tubes tied to the Lord and scheduled an appointment for a consult.

There's a second part to this fear thing though. I was still afraid to have sex because I might get pregnant. Last night the Lord revealed to me how much that was hurting my husband. The love of my life. My best friend. I realized that Mike had been feeling rejected as a man and as a husband because of my fear to be intimate with him. Ouch. Having my husband feel rejected, and possibly tempted, because I was too afraid to have sex with him is also not the Lord's will.

So I turned that over to the Lord as well. We're still going to use protection, but now I am trusting in the Lord that we won't get pregnant. And if we do get pregnant before I get my tubes tied, then it will be okay because the Lord will take care of us. He's got us in His hands and He is not going to give us more than we can handle.

Lesson learned: if you have a little fear in your life, before you know it, that fear can work its' way into huge aspects of your life and the next thing you know you're paralyzed with it and because of it. And you're hurting the people around you that you care about and love the most. So don't be afraid, trust in the Lord. Give your fear to Him. He can handle it. You can't.

"The Lord watches over you -
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm -
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forever more."
Psalm 121:5-8

10 January 2012

Tegan's Taco Soup

It's time for another recipe! I'm linking up with Premeditated Leftovers for her Hearth and Soul bloghop. Head over there and join me for some great recipes!
I am a big fan of tacos, and since it is winter and we are in full soup and stew season swing, I decided to turn my tacos into a soup! I did try to look for a few taco soup recipes, but I didn't find exactly what I was looking for, so I decided to wing it. I like winging it in the kitchen - if you haven't done it before, you should try it. :)

I made this recipe the other night when we had some friends over for dinner. They really enjoyed it (they even asked for the recipe - a great compliment!). I served it in the pot on the table with tortilla chips, cheddar cheese and sour cream on the side. I think the lime made all the difference in the world from previous taco soup recipes I've made. And the three toddlers (two of mine and our friend's) ate it as well.

Tegan's Taco Soup
(I do apologize in advance for not having a picture, I'll have to come back later and add one in the next time I make it).

Ingredients:
1 lb ground hamburger
cayenne pepper (~1/2 tsp)
cumin (~1 tbsp)
paprika (~1-2 tbsp)
2 limes
1 (16oz) can black beans
1 (16 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 fresh roma tomatoes, diced
corn (~1 cup)
water
cheddar
sour cream
tortilla chips

Put it together:
In a large pot brown the hamburger, seasoning with cayenne (a little, unless you want a spicy taco soup, then add more), cumin, paprika and the juice of one lime. Drain the hamburger and return to pot.
Add the beans, undrained, and tomatoes, also undrained and the fresh diced tomatoes to the pot. Add about 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
When water comes to a boil, add the corn and the juice of the second lime. I use frozen corn. If you're using canned corn, drain the corn. 
Simmer on low about 20 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips, cheese and sour cream.
Enjoy! :D

09 January 2012

Is Marriage Obsolete?

Is marriage obsolete? That is the discussion this week for "The Magic Room" on Blogher.

I know there are people out there who would like to think that marriage is obsolete, but I am not one those people.

Marriage is the bedrock of our society. It is the cornerstone of a productive family. Marriage is a covenant.And not just with your spouse - it's a sacred oath of threeship with your spouse and God.

Yes, marriage is hard. Yes, there are times when you might want to get out. Marriage is about commitment. You commit to loving a person, no matter how hard that might be at times. You commit to stay, for better or worse. Sometimes the worse is really, really bad. The better can be so sweet and wonderful though. You teach your children that when the going gets tough, you still stick around. You don't back down. You don't quit just because it's hard. You are living the idea that people are worth it; that a person deserves a second (and third and fourth) chance if they mess up. When two people stay in a marriage and work through the hard times and look forward to the good times, they are model of hope. Hope that things can, and will, get better. Hope that it doesn't always have to be that way. Hope that you can change.

I wrote that marriage is a sacred covenant of threeship with God and your spouse. I believe that is absolutely true. Two people may the ones getting married, but without the Lord, a marriage is going to be hard to make work. Why? Because God is all about forgiveness and love. We love because He first loved us. We forgive because He forgave us. If we can remember those two saving graces in our marriage when the times get tough, if we can model Christ's love to our spouse and Christ's forgiveness to our spouse, then marriage will suddenly be a lot easier.

Getting back to the main point of this, do I think marriage is obsolete? No. Marriage is the essence of our humanity. We couple with another person to share our lives with: the joys, the triumphs, the ugly messes, the heartache, the dark side of ourselves, the desire to live a better life. Marriage is fragile, but it can be made so strong that nothing can break it. If we take our marriage for granted and don't take care of it, it can wear down and become weak and subject to infestation of temptation and wayward desires. But if we cherish our marriages (and that person we're married to) and take care of our marriage, we can make it strong enough to resist and deflect the shrapnel that lives' explosions throw at it. Our marriage becomes a special haven into which we can retreat to find encouragement, warmth, forgiveness and love.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." I Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV)

Do you think marriage is obsolete? Join the discussion on BlogHer.

Expectations

We all have expectations that we put on ourselves. Expectations about who we should be as a person, as a spouse, as a parent, as a friend, as a worker/coworker, student, etc. The list goes on. We even bring hidden expectations for our partners into our marriages. Sometimes we might have expectations for friends or family members, or for our children.

I have all those. The hardest expectations that I have though, are the expectations I have for myself. I have always been hard of myself. All my life I have strived to be the best at whatever it is that I am doing. It must be that perfectionist, A-type personality coming out in me. I'm working on that . . . it's a work in progress.

Never has this been more true however, than now. Yes, now that I am a stay at home wife and mother, not working, not going to school. Which is ironic since I don't have to a boss or a teacher that I have to work to please.

I just have this view of what I think I should look like/be as a wife and as a mother. That view includes getting up early to do my quiet time and Bible study, fix Mike breakfast, get ready for the day (shower), do a few chores before the kids get up. Get the kids up and dressed in matching clothes (not the kids matching each other, their tops matching the bottoms). Do a few more chores, play with the kids, read to them, do neat crafts that I can display on the fridge, teach them a few things, fix a great, nutritious lunch, they go down for a nap and then I work on a novel, homemade cards,write encouraging notes to friends or something in that arena, do more chores (all these chores would make the house clean and presentable), fix a nutritious dinner with a nice dessert, have family time and devotions, put children to bed and have time with my husband. And I would make cookies for neighbors and friends, make meals for people in the church, and basically save the world on the side.

That is so NOT what my day/life looks like. My day looks more like this: Wake up some time after 0800 or 0830 to the kids fussing in their rooms, struggle to get out of bed while getting upset with myself that I slept in, AGAIN, Mike is long gone to work,  put my contacts in, get the kids up and change their diapers, go downstairs and fix breakfast, attempt to do chores, occasionally read to the kids, usually while I"m nursing Daphne, continue to attempt to the same chore I started 30 minutes earlier but got interrupted because of squabbling or getting a sippy or changing a poopie diaper, realize that Mike will be home for lunch in 15 minutes and hurriedly throw something together for lunch, usually not all that nutritious (I seem to have a constant forgetfulness of vegetables lately), try to get the dishes at least partially done, put the kids down for a nap, sit down to nurse Daphne and either fall asleep or lose track of time on FB, realize it's too late to fix that dinner I planned AND I forgot to do my quiet time again,and throw something together for dinner, Mike plays with the kids after dinner and does baths, I sit down with Mike for a little bit and it's time for bed.  And I'm still in my pajamas as I write this.

You see where there is the chronic failure to meet expectations?? (This is why I don't make new year's resolutions).

So today I decided I'm going to change my outlook on my expectations. Or change my expectations. Either way I've just feeling too much pressure lately. I don't know if it's the constant piles of laundry that need to be put away that seem to be lurking everywhere, or the scattered toys that litter the living room floor that I am constantly tripping over, or the growing layer of dust and stuff on the bathroom and kitchen floor that keeps reminding me I need to sweep, or the hundredth time of sleeping in and feeling like I can't control my day . ..  BUT I am done with that.

I do enjoy sleeping in. Especially since Daphne is still sleeping in our bed and quite frankly, I love that. It's such a precious time waking up with her in the morning as she cuddles in closer and looks for something to eat. I even love the little kicks she gives me as she's nursing. And let's face it, she won't be there forever. She'll get bigger and move into her own bed. And that sweet time will be over forever. Soon Sophie and Edward will be starting school (either at home or at school) and they'll have to get up early to be on time for that. These days of lounging around all day in my pajamas (ok, I don't lounge all day, it just feels like it because I'm still in my PJ's) won't last forever. I might as well enjoy these little things while I can. Consider them small gifts of the day.

I need to realize too that I am not a super-woman who can do everything. I am not that woman who can keep her house immaculately clean and get everything done and have cute handmade cards for every occasion and her Bible study completely done with every eye dotted and tee crossed every week and a gourmet meal three times a day and look great doing it. It's too much pressure to try to be that person. I don't have life all together and worked out. Maybe I never will. But that's okay. My children know that they are loved, they are well-fed, they have a roof over their heads and they have clean clothes, even if those clothes come from a pile at the end of the bed and not hangars in the closet.

So I'm putting those wife and mother expectations of mine away. For now. Maybe in a year I'll pull them back out and review them and see what happens. Today though, I'm me. Me in pajamas with a sleeping baby on my lap, sporting a shark fin hair do, have dirty dishes in the sink, toys everywhere and the only half the Christmas decorations taken down. :)

What kind of expectations do you put on yourself? Do you think you match up or not?

01 January 2012

"This Thing of Ours" by Cammy Franzese



Married to the Mafia. Hmmm. And I thought my marriage went through some rough patches. Cammy Franzese tells her story of being married to a former mafia boss with grace and strength that is rarely seen.

This Thing of Ours, by Cammy Franzese, is the story of her marriage to Michael Franzese, from the Colombo mafia family. Cammy vividly and candidly shares the story of her marriage to Michael and what it was like being married to a man in the mafia. Her faith in the Lord brought them through seemingly insurmountable trials, including house visits from the FBI, being a single mom of three children for eight years while her husband served time behind bars for his crimes, and then reconnecting as a family and starting over when he was released.

Throughout her book, Cammy sticks to her commitment in the vows she made to her husband. She writes that she made a choice and she was going to follow through with that choice, no matter the consequences, good or bad. Her writing on that subject is very convicting: it is hard to stick through the rough times in marriage. Or even in life for that matter. We all make choices and we have to deal with the consequences of those choices. Throughout everything though, the Lord showed her that He was by her side and was leading her every step of the way.

I loved reading Cammy's story. Even though my husband hasn't served time in prison, he is human, and he does make mistakes. And there are times when our marriage goes through rough times. Reading what Cammy went through and how she stuck by her husband and her vows to her marriage, and relied heavily on the Lord throughout that time was convicting and inspirational at the same time.

I recommend this book for every married woman and for any woman who is contemplating getting married. To quote Cammy from her book (p. 92), ""You reap what you sow  . . but ultimately there are consequences for the choice you made."" Something we all need to hear, like it or not.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

New Year's and Resolutions

Happy New Year's Everyone! :D It's 2012!

Okay, so far this year doesn't feel any different than last year . . . I guess that's what happens when you get older . . .or have little kids . . . or both. :)

Normally I don't make New Year's Resolutions because I know I probably won't keep them and I have enough disappointments and unmet expectations in myself. However, I think this year I will make an official New Year's Resolution.

 I say official, because last year I did make an unofficial resolution.(It was a secret.) Last New Year's I was a bit depressed and I resolved to not send birthday/anniversary/etc cards out. (So if you got a card, that means you are really extra-special).   This year, I am going to undo that resolution:

My New Year's Resolution is to send birthday/anniversary/etc cards to all my family and friends. On time. :D And . . (yes, there's an and . . .) . and . . (wait for it) . . .

I want to hand make them. Gasp!

Now there's a big step for me - being crafty. :) (If you know me in person, you know that I am definitely not crafty by any stretch of the imagination.)

I have actually wanting to learn how to make pretty and cute cards (at low cost) for quite a while now; it's just that time is not exactly on my side for doing stuff like this. So this year, I want to start doing that. The clause is that if I don't get to making a card, I will go and buy one so that I still keep the real part of the resolution of actually getting cards out to everyone.

The bonus will be that people get their cards before or on the actual big day (birthday or anniversary or whatever the case may be).

Wish me luck! What is your New Year's Resolution? What do you think of New Year's Resolutions?