Saturday, December 5, 2009

Saturday Seven

1)  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  The tree is up and Christmas music plays most of the day.  And we (actually Jacob) have only broken three ornaments so far this year!  The kids are really excited about Christmas this year, so we're looking forward to a lot of funI'm thinking wrapped presents under the tree are going to be a challenge for the first time.  Jacob, aka mini-destructor of all things, can tear up jack in two seconds flat.  Seriously, the child's guardian angel works overtime....he might even have two or three. 

2)  My sister and I went shopping on Black Friday.  Since we're both expecting in January, it was quite the sight to see.  I thought we did pretty well.....we were at the stores at five in the morning and shopped until about two that afternoon.  And if we had a dollar for all the comments....we could have paid for our Christmas purchases!  I did manage to get over half of my shopping done, which was great for me considering I'm the most indecisive person I know.  I think....well....no.....maybe my mom is.

3)  We're counting down to January 2, 2010!  That's the date we've scheduled for our new baby boy to arrive!  It's hard to believe I'll have a newborn again....ooh, I can't wait!  All the tinyness of an infant.....so sweet!

4) As of now we still haven't decided on a name for the baby!  We've managed to narrow it down but nothing definite.  We had Noah Jackson picked out last time, but after he was born we decided on Jacob Andrew.  So maybe we'll wait to see what the baby looks like before we decide for certain!  The kids are telling everyone we're naming him James, like the engine on Thomas and Friends.  I'm pretty sure it won't be James, but you never know.  I tell the kids it's going to be Sir Topham Hat, to which they wrinkle their nose and laugh hysterically.  (Sorry if you're not familiar with the characters on Thomas....get you some three and four year olds and you'll know all about the Island of Sodor.)

5)  I've had my fill of Pigeon Forge for the year!  Last month we went for a few days with Austin's parents and had a wonderful time.  Our cabin was nice and we had beautiful weather.  We have season passes to Dollywood so that was fun.  It's funny to experience the change from riding all the roller coasters and doing my own thing to standing outside the ride where the pigs go round and round at one mile an hour, snapping pictures with my camera.  Or the fact I was a little scared on the ferris wheel thinking about how horrible it would be if the thing broke.

6)  We came home from our mini-vacation on Monday and on Wednesday I left for Pigeon Forge (again....told you I'd had enough) with my mom and sister and the kids.  We attempted shopping on Thursday, which didn't turn out so well with tired, grumpy children. (And a tired, sick-with-a-cold me.)  We were getting ready to try it again on Friday morning when we heard a knock on our cabin door.  Who could it be???  My wonderful husband!  He had gotten up early and drove three hours to pick up the kids for me!  Isn't he the greatest?  He took the kids home with him and I had a relaxed day of shopping!  It was such a wonderful treat for me and so incredibly thoughtful of him!

7)  Looks like it's only gonna be Saturday Six today because I've gotta run and get ready to go shopping with my family!  Pray for us...shopping on a Saturday with Christmas crowds...shot nerves are sure to come.  :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Freebie Friday

A few great freebies to share with you this week!

-  Go to christianaudio.com to download a free copy of John Piper's book Desiring God.

-  Need some new Thanksgiving recipes?  Go here to access the October/November edition of  Taste of Home magazine.  I love this magazine!  There are always tons of great recipes.

-  Get 50 free photo cards, along with free shipping, at Freebies 4 Mom!  The coupon code expires November 30, so you still have time to order.  I can't wait to get some cute pics of the kids for our Christmas card! 

-  Although this offer isn't entirely free, you can go here to order return address labels for the holidays!  You get 140 labels for free...just pay shipping and handling.  (Click the red letter Holiday under the Home and Family Category)  I've already received mine and they are too cute!  It only cost me a little over $3 for shipping.  Well worth it!

-  Sign up for free samples of:

     Dove Calming Night Body Wash and Body Lotion 

     Aveeno Nourish+ Hair Care

     Huggies Little Movers

     Kotex Overnight Pads with Wings
    

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Easy Cooking Ideas


Spending my time standing over a hot stove is not my idea of fun. I'm always looking for ways to minimize my time in the kitchen, so when I read about the concept of cooking ahead, or freezer cooking, or baking days, (you get the idea) that sounded like something that would work for me. Cook a lot on a given day and freeze for later. Fantastic!

One simple thing I've started doing is, on the days we have pancakes, cook up the extra pancake batter and freeze the pancakes for another morning. Sometimes I double my recipe just to put extra in the freezer.

The same works with waffles. They freeze wonderfully and all you have to do is pop them in the microwave for a quick breakfast! And, since they're homemade with whole-wheat flour, it's relatively healthy! Much healthier than the frozen or boxed mixes.

Another great time saver is to buy meat in bulk, cook it up at one time, and divide it into portion sizes conducive to your recipes. It's even better when you can get meat reduced for quick sale at your local supermarket. Kroger is great about marking down their meat for quick sale.

Just last week I put two packs of chicken into the crock pot, added some seasonings, and cooked it on low all day. That evening I chunked up the chicken, divided it into several two cup portions, and stuck it in sandwich bags to freeze. Today I used the chicken broth to make homemade cream of chicken soup! How easy is that? It took me about ten minutes to get the chicken from the crock pot to the freezer and about fifteen minutes to make three cups of soup (about two can's worth)!

I also love to make up a batch of muffins to freeze for a quick breakfast or snack. One of our favorite is Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. Yum! Kroger usually has ripe bananas marked down to 29 cents a pound, so that makes for an inexpensive ingredient!

I recently found a recipe for Freezer Mashed Potatoes that looked delicious. Since I had some potatoes that needed to be used, I peeled and quartered the potatoes and threw them in the crock pot this afternoon. That took me less than ten minutes! Tonight, when the potatoes are through cooking and I finish the recipe, I'll have two 8x8 pans of potatoes ready for the freezer!

My plans are to have a major baking day (or two) before the baby gets here. That way, my freezer will be nice and full of meals or parts of meals so I can spend less time in kitchen and more time with my family! And since I'll have four littles five and under come January, I'm guessing I'll need all the time-saving help I can get!

*Image from Allposters.com

Monday, October 26, 2009

Belly Laughs

Today marks my 29th week of pregnancy with baby number four....only 11 more to go! I'm thinking it will go by fast due to the busyness of the holidays. I'll be 37 weeks at Christmas! Yikes!

So far this pregnancy has been great, other than the fact I've gained weight like crazy! I've gained #*&! pounds already. What? You couldn't see the numbers? Hmm....That's weird!

I went for my checkup last week and I am already measuring a week ahead. I'm guessing that means another eight pound baby! So far we've had 8 lbs. 10 oz. (Chloe), 8 lbs. 11 oz. (Jacob), and 8 lbs. 12 oz. (Luke). I'm curious to see if we have 8'9 or 8'13 this time.

Last week, a friend of mine told me about her conversation with her son's barber, who also happens to be a member of the church where my father pastors. Somehow they were talking about pregnant women when he made the comment that, "The preacher's daughter is the biggest pregnant lady I've ever seen. She gets way out there."

Yep. That would be me. Way out there.

It's no secret....I carry babies like I've got a beach ball under my shirt. I've had to buy XL shirts at the end of every pregnancy because all my other shirts were too short due to my protruding belly. Contrary to popular opinion, preggo bellies should NOT be shown! Not that bellies should be shown in general, but definitely not ones with babies in them.

Anyway, back to the point.

If I had a quarter for every time I've heard, "How many you got in there?" "Are you sure you're not having twins?" "You'll never make it to your due date. Your huge!" "You look like you're going to pop!" And so on and so forth. I'm already getting these types of comments and I've got two months plus to go!

While these comments don't exactly make me laugh, (Honestly...the thing people say to pregnant women! It's a wonder I didn't knock some of them in the head with my purse!) I've had a couple of incidents that were unforgettable.

Like the time I had to play the invitational hymn for church. The sermon had been very moving but was coming to a close. My dad had asked the musicians to come to the instruments so I waddled up to the piano. It was quiet and somber as people were soul-searching. I sat down on the piano bench and what should happen? Well, let's just say my depth perception was off somewhat and my largely pregnant belly hit the piano keys causing this awful sound. Snickers are heard throughout the audience. My dad turns to look at me with a half grin on his face like "What's going on?" I could have crawled under the piano; I was mortified!

And then there was the time I hit my dad in the back of the head with my belly while trying to get out of the pew to go sing in the choir. His head went flying forward, almost messing up his hair. And if you know my dad, his hair is his trademark. He turned around, while smoothing down his hair, and said, "Hey, watch that thing!"

However, that wasn't nearly as embarrassing as the time I hit a visiting preacher in the back of the head while trying to get out of the pew. It's one thing to hit your dad with your stomach, another thing to hit a semi-stranger. And a preacher, at that.

Then there was the time I got stuck on the subway in Washington, D.C. I was six months pregnant with Luke when Austin and I took a trip to the capitol. He had gotten on the subway and I was following suit except the doors were closing on me. Then the buzzer went off and the automated voice asked to please clear the doorway. Austin then decided we were on the wrong train, so he jumped back off. I swung around only to have the doors start to close on me again, catching my stomach, which caused the buzzer to go off, which caused the automated voice to come on again. People were staring. Austin was laughing hysterically. Fun times.

I'm curious to see what the next couple of months hold for me in the way of memorable stories. The comments and stares I can't do much about. Just grin and bear it, I suppose.

But you can bet your life I'll fake contractions or my water breaking or something major before I attempt to play another invitational hymn!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Psalm 30:5

"...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Psalm 30:5

Remember back in March when I posted this tribute for William Charlie? He went to be with Jesus just weeks before his due date. This was the fourth child in a row this precious mama had lost.



I cried when I read of her loss and I cried when I read of her gain.

God has placed in her arms two beautiful baby girls by the way of adoption! He has turned her sorrow into joy! What a mighty God we serve!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

School Days

Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart! How I am finding that out! There are so many curriculum choices and ideas on different styles of teaching. The possibilities are endless. While this is exciting in some ways, it can also be very overwhelming! Especially for a girl who was not home schooled and hasn't had much exposure to what's out there.

This year, after much deliberation and hours spent reading and searching the Internet, we decided to go with the Pre-K curriculum from Rod and Staff. They have two levels of curriculum so we bought the About Three set for Chloe and the ABC Series for Luke. I also ordered an extra Bible coloring book for Chloe, which was part of Luke's set, and a memory verse coloring book for each of them.

Chloe coloring her Bible story picture

They were SO excited when the books came. They couldn't wait to get started! They have both already completed their first books and are working on the next level. Luke especially loves it. He wakes up every morning asking "When are we going to do school?"

We start by reading a Bible story and they color the corresponding page in their coloring book. Then we complete our workbook pages. It takes about thirty minutes of our time.

Luke carefully cutting-He sticks his tongue out when he's concentrating!

I also read aloud several books a day to the kids; something we all look forward to. I have found they enjoy a variety of books, even chapter books with no pictures; not just the "twaddle" books that we tend to offer our children.

We are having a lot of fun learning together and I am so thankful for this precious time with our children. So while our journey is just beginning, and there are many decisions to be made and ideas explored, I am very excited about our future in homeschooling!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Peek-a-boo

Guess who?



ROAR! It's Jacob!




Isn't he the cutest lion you've ever seen?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Saturday Seven

1) I finally signed up for Facebook. After months of nagging from friends, I succumbed to the pressure and joined. It's good to be able to connect with friends and family, especially those I haven't seen in a while. I love looking at every one's photos. And I love the Farmville game. If I can't have a garden in real life, at least I can get my giggles out of this virtual one!

2) I love consignment sales! There was a huge one in my hometown this week and I got lots of great stuff! It's so awesome to get expensive, name brand clothes for just a few bucks! Because I volunteered to work, I was able to shop early. I shopped for, ahem, three hours! Can you believe it? And when my work shift was over, I ran back out on the floor and grabbed a couple of things I'd missed. Craziness, but such fun!

3) My husband is a natural born athlete. Really. Last night we went over to some friends house for dinner. After dinner, the kids and daddies went outside to play roller hockey. In-line skates, hockey sticks, and a little ball on a whole bunch of concrete. Sounds like fun to me! NOT! I would so be in the hospital with a broken something if I even attempted anything like that. Anyway, I'm pretty sure Austin has never had on a pair of in-line skates but he took to them like a fish in water. He was rolling around on the concrete slapping that little ball around with the best of them. He amazes me! Oh, and his team won! Hopefully, our children have inherited his athletic nature because me......well, I have NO skills whatsoever!

4) Did I mention our friends have eleven children? Eleven. Six boys and five girls. Ages 17 to 5 months. And their mother is the sweetest, most joyful lady you'll ever meet. The children? They are SO incredibly sweet, happy, well-mannered, smart, well-behaved ...did I mention happy?.....just a pleasure to be around. They bless me so much to watch their interaction with each other and with our children. I am so thankful the Lord has allowed us to get to know them better and for our children to have such positive Christian influences.

5) Chloe has been telling everyone she's going to have 10 kids (as she holds up all ten fingers) when she gets married. Five boys and five girls. And she's going to cook for them. Today she told me she was going to live with me.....with her ten kids. I told her when you get married you live with your husband in another house. Especially if she's going to have ten kids!

6) Luke tells everyone (in his thick, country accent) "When we get some land, we are going to have some cows, and chickens, and roosters, and some bulls, and a tractor, and a bush hog, and a garden, and a hay baler, and a barn." Now that's some list! Obviously he hasn't grasped the whole "you have to have money" thing yet. If only it were as easy as making a list! Hopefully, we'll get there some day, little buddy!

7) Jacob rubs his tummy or his fingers when he's sleepy. It's the cutest thing to see. He's extremely ticklish anyway, which makes it funnier to me. At night, when I'm rocking him to sleep, he will pull his shirt up and rub his tummy really lightly with the tips of his fingers. If he's awake but getting sleepy, he will rub the fingertips of one hand over the fingers of his other hand. It's so sweet! I love it! I need to get the video camera out and capture it.....if I could only remember to charge the stinkin' battery!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Silverware Lessons


Whining is not on my list of character traits I want for my children. Not that I have an actual list, but if I did, you wouldn't see whining on there. Nevertheless, whining sometimes happens around here.

I'll share what happened a couple of weeks ago:

Chloe was in a whiny mood. Just complaining in general about everything. I was emptying the dishwasher so I asked her to come into the kitchen and put the silverware away. She immediately started whining and telling me she was tired and didn't want to work, but she came anyway. She started putting the silverware away but she was whining and crying....sniffing really....the whole time. I calmly told her that if she didn't stop whining I would start putting silverware back in the basket, which would result in more work for her.

She continued to whine so I walked over to the drawer, took out a clean utensil, and put it in the silverware basket she was emptying. I ended up putting about six or seven clean pieces of silverware back in her basket, just as I said I would do. I never yelled, raised my voice, or showed any signs of stress. I tried to remain cheerful and indifferent. I would simply remind her that the more she whined, the more work she would have to do.

After seeing that whining was only making things more difficult for her, she stopped whining and actually started smiling and laughing. She quickly finished her job and went off to play; her whole countenance being changed.

It was vital that I follow through with exactly what I had said. If I had not followed through with the consequences, I would be teaching Chloe that I don't actually mean what I say. If I sometimes follow through and sometimes don't, I am sending mixed signals and my children will be confused.

If a child is given a cup at lunch and whines because he wants a different kind, (never happened here!) another cup should not be given. To lecture him and tell him to quit whining, only to turn around and give him another cup, would be the worst thing you could do. All you have done is reinforced the whining. He got exactly what he wanted and he got it by whining; never mind your lecture. This will only prove to him that whining is a way to get what he wants.

I love the following illustration given in To Train Up a Child.

If State Troopers ceased writing speeding tickets and instead started nagging and threatening, it would be tantamount to abolishing the speed limit. Picture a trooper pulling a speeder over and then explaining how sad it makes him feel for them to be going so fast. Can you see a trooper sitting on the side of the road shaking his fist and turning red in the face as each car sped by? Imagine him pulling a speeder over for the sixth time and saying, "Now, I am not going tell you again!" If this were the case then all law and order would break down into "every man did that which was right in his own eyes."

Parent, you can't blame your children if you have trained them to obey only after several warnings, threats, an ultimatum, and finally a gesture of force. It's not their fault. It's yours.

This excerpt is dealing more with obedience in general, but the point of speaking vain and meaningless words is what I'm after. Whether we intend to or not, we are training our children, either negatively or positively.

Patience and consistency are key in dealing with whining, as with all training issues; both of which I have to work at. It's often so much easier just to ignore or excuse the negative behavior, but that would not be fruitful for our children.

As parents we must constantly be looking beyond the outward actions and look at the attitude of the heart. We should always be striving for actions and attitudes that are Christ-like, both in ourselves and our children.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My Three Sons

Remember that old TV show My Three Sons ? Come January, we could have our own version of that show....maybe "My Three Sons and a Girl." To put it plainly: We're having another boy!

For those of you who knew we were so determined not to find out the gender of the baby, let's just say I was having a very pregnant hormonal day. We actually didn't find out at the ultrasound appointment. The technician put the revealing picture in a sealed envelope. Obviously, that didn't last too long! I think my mom was more surprised that we actually found out what we were having than the fact we were having a boy

It will definitely be wild and crazy around here with three lively little boys! We will have to plant a garden just to feed them! Just last week I made homemade waffles (YUM!) for breakfast and Jacob ate THREE of them! And the child is only 16 months old! Little piggy! :)

My due date is January 11, although I haven't scheduled my c-section yet, so it will a little earlier than that. The pregnancy is going well. I'm so busy I hardly have time to think about it! Yesterday, while we were in the grocery store, Luke asked me why my belly was getting so big! It's funny to watch the kids try to wrap their little minds around the fact there is a growing baby in there!

We are so thankful for God's blessings in our lives and know He is sovereign in all things, even in giving this mama three boys. This mama who only had a sister, and no brothers, growing up! It is no small thing to bring an eternal soul into this world; to be responsible for teaching and training them. Our prayer is that God would give us wisdom and grace in raising these little ones and that, one day, they would each come to a personal saving knowledge and acceptance of Him!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Idol Worship?

"The only reason we fail to pray is because we've made an idol out of self."

Ann Voskamp has written a very convicting post entitled Prayer: Why We Struggle (and how not to) . I encourage you to take a few minutes of your time and read it. Then take a few more minutes and pray.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Super Savings!

*click image to enlarge

I had a very successful shopping trip to Publix and Kroger this week! I got a bunch of groceries, as you can see! Before store specials and coupons this would have cost $159.10. After sales and coupons I paid $69.50!! That's a 56% savings!! (Thanks to my quick math lesson from Austin!)
Not too shabby!

How did you do it, you ask? Simple! I paired coupons up with the sales and items I needed. I try to buy the Sunday paper each week so I can clip the grocery coupons and look at the sales papers. There are also great coupon printables online.

Both Publix and Kroger double coupons up to $.50, which can really add up. Publix also runs Buy One, Get One Free sales each week on many items. Pair that sale with coupons and you can get stuff for free. For example, this week Publix had Purina Beneful dog food on sale for B1G1. The normal cost for one bag was $5.49, but with the sale you could get two bags for that price. I had two coupons for $3.50 off per bag - a total of $7.00 off. I actually had $1.51 in overage and two free bags of dog food! That's what I'm talking about!

We have a weekly grocery budget, so I plan our menu based around what is on sale at the stores. I also cook a lot from scratch...well, a lot for me....which helps to cut costs. I usually don't buy this much pre-packaged food, but I got most of it for just a few cents. All in all, I'd say it was a pretty good shopping week!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Freebie Friday


Today I'm going to share two ways I make free money! It doesn't get much better than free! Granted, it's not oodles of money, but any is better than none in my book.

First, there is Swagbucks. Swagbucks is an online search engine using Google and Ask.com that rewards you for searching online! How cool is that? It takes less than a minute to sign up and they don't ask you for personal information like your address, phone number, or credit card.

After you sign up, you will be rewarded three free points. Then you download the toolbar, use it to search, and start earning Swagbucks! I just cashed in some bucks for an Amazon gift card which I'm planning on using for some great books. I am seriously considering the Starbucks gift card with my leftover points! Yummy! There are tons of other prizes you can get if those don't appeal to you.

The second way I earn extra cash is through YouData.com. You fill out a short survey and then are paid to view online advertising. They transfer your earnings to your PayPal account each Friday. They do ask for your cell phone number and email address, but no mailing address or credit card information required.

Both Swagbucks and YouData have referral programs, so you can earn more cash if you refer your friends. They earn and you earn! Sweet! This is a great way to earn a little extra money for the upcoming Christmas season without hardly any effort at all.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for Swagbucks and YouData today!

Friday, August 7, 2009

In Case You Didn't Know....

"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works;..." Psalms 139:14

Recently, I posted a little science lesson refresher about what happens during the first couple of weeks of pregnancy.

If you'll remember, there is ovulation in which an egg is released from one of the ovaries into the fallopian tubes. If sperm penetrates the egg then fertilization, or conception, occurs. These cells begin rapidly dividing, becoming a hollow ball of cells. The ball of cells attaches, or implants, to the lining of the uterus. The inner cells develop into the baby and the outer cells develop into the placenta. From there, the baby grows and develops until the blessed day of his/her arrival.

Take a look at the following statement:

Preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the endometrium (uterine lining)

Now the obvious question would be "What would prevent a fertilized egg (baby) from implantation?" The answer: Birth Control Pills. What happens to a fertilized egg (baby) if it doesn't implant? Simple. It dies.

"But I thought birth control pills just caused me to not ovulate?" Yeah, that's what I thought. Turns out I was wrong. They do more than that. They cause changes in the cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to pass through. This change affects the endometrium lining, which makes it hard for a fertilized egg to implant, should "breakthrough ovulation" and conception occur.

I never could figure out why some Christians said birth control pills caused abortions. I just thought they were misinformed. Turns out, I was the one without all the facts.

Below are actual statements from the prescribing information for different types of BCP's. There are also other statements from other sources as to how the pill keeps a woman from getting pregnant. Let's take a look:

Although the primary mechanism of this action is inhibition of ovulation, other alterations include changes in the cervical mucus (which increase the difficulty of sperm entry into the uterus) and the endometrium (which reduce the likelihood of implantation).
www.thepill.com

Making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.
http://www.drugs.com/changes.html

Ovulation normally occurs when a spike in estrogen levels signals the ovaries to release an egg. Combination pills prevent ovulation by adjusting hormone levels to prevent this spike. They also thicken cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg. In addition, they change the lining of the uterus to make it more difficult for a fertilized egg to implant. http://women.webmd.com/features/comparing-birth-control-pill-types-combination-minipills-more

Used in combination or alone, these hormones prevent pregnancy by:
~Preventing ovulation
~Keeping the mucus in the cervix thick so sperm cannot penetrate it
~Preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the endometrium (uterine lining)
http://yourtotalhealth.ivillage.com/birth-control-pills.html

Combination oral contraceptives act by suppression of gonadotropins. Although the primary mechanism of this action is inhibition of ovulation, other alterations include changes in the cervical mucus (which increase the difficulty of sperm entry into the uterus) and the endometrium (which reduce the likelihood of implantation).
www.loestrin24.com
www.yaz-us.com
www.seasonique.com

The hormones in the Pill can also sometimes affect the lining of the uterus, making it difficult for an egg to attach to the wall of the uterus.
http://kidshealth.org/teen/sexual_health/contraception/contraception_birth.html

The lining of the uterus becomes thinner, making it more difficult for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus should ovulation occur and fertilization take place.
http://www.americanpregnancy.org/preventingpregnancy/birthcontrolpills.html

According to this statistic, about 5 out of 100 couples will get pregnant in a year while using the pill. Now stay with me here. I'm just logically thinking. It takes a couple of weeks after conception for a pregnancy test to show up positive. The implantation is completed by day 9 or 10, before a test would show up positive.

So if 5 out of 100 women have "accidental" babies, how many of the remaining 95 had unknown "accidental" pregnancies that resulted in the baby dying due to the effects of the pill?

Maybe you already knew this. I didn't. And I just about fell off the couch when I found out.
Thankfully, I have only taken birth control pills for a short time, several years ago. I tried a few and they didn't agree with my emotional state of mind at all. If I were taking them, this information would be enough to make me stop.

Most of the women I know (of child-bearing age) use birth control pills. I'm not looking to start an argument or to seem "holier than thou." Please don't feel like you have to defend or explain your choices to me. I wrote this out of love and concern. Love-because babies are God's gift, only He can give, no matter if we "planned" them or not. Concern-because the devil is a liar and the father of it.

I didn't write this post to tell you what to do with your birth control practices. That is between you, your spouse, and God. I wrote this because I feel it is important that you know because, for some of you, it may influence or change your form of birth control.

**You can download a free copy of Randy Alcorn's book Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions? here.
Prolife.com has great article on BCP's here.



Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saturday Seven

1) I am now a van mom. The combination of expecting baby #4 and our Total Money Makeover has caused us to sell our SUV and buy a minivan. (Used, of course!) By doing so, we shaved off a pretty nice chunk of our debt, making us closer to our debt-free goal! I think I'm going to like being a van mom. There is so much space! And the automatic sliding doors....now that's what I'm talking about.

2) I'm thinking about changing my last name to "Nightingale." You know, like Florence Nightingale, the famous nurse. For the past two weeks the stomach flu has camped out at our house. Fun. Cleaning carpets, mattresses, forcing Pedialyte down with medicine droppers, having to get up 15 times a night, and all the rest that goes with the stomach blues. I have done more laundry and given (and taken) more baths in the past two weeks than the whole year combined. All three kids were sick; then Jacob decided he hadn't had enough, so he got sick again. He is finally feeling better and I am so ready to hang up my nursing hat.

3) Whenever I see, hear, think, etc., about the word "nightingale," I start singing the song from Walt Disney's Cinderella. You know, the part where the stepsisters are practicing their music and singing "Sing, sweet nightingale. Sing, sweet nightingale. Aahhh, aaaahhh, aaahhhh, oohhhh, ahhh, aahhh." They are singing so badly the cat leaves and then he hears Cinderella, who is scrubbing the floors, singing in her beautiful voice. And then the cat starts pouncing his dirty feet on her clean floors and she.....Is it obvious I've seen the movie a hundred times?

4) I'm blogging from my new computer! Yea! We finally broke down and bought a new laptop since our other one was about to die, or maybe fry, on us. Seriously, the kicker was when I started smelling electrical burning one afternoon while checking my email. Austin said "TURN IT OFF NOW! AND UNPLUG IT!" We figured a new computer would be a lot cheaper than a fire. Or having the computer blow up in my face.

5) Chloe is sporting a black eye. She and Luke were chasing each other last night when she fell and hit her eye on the rocking chair. She hit right under her eyebrow and immediately had a big knot. Poor thing. Today it is purple and swollen. She looks like she's been in a boxing match. Maybe we should teach her to say "Yo, Adrian."

6) I've never seen the Rocky movies. Or the Rambo movies. Is that considered un-American? I'm guessing some people out there think so. I'm not a big Sylvester Stallone fan. My parents wouldn't have let us watch them anyway. We didn't have a TV until I was eleven and then it was only the channels you could pick up by antenna. I would have to go out onto the side porch in sunshine, rain, or snow, and turn the antenna pole around slowly and wait for somebody to yell "WHOA!" Any of you have that same memory? Those were the days.

7) Apparently, I have bushy eyebrows. I was getting my hair highlighted a couple of weeks ago and I was using a new stylist. She is Asian and speaks with a thick accent. She asked me if I wanted my eyebrows waxed and I told her no. While she was trimming my hair, I was looking at my eyebrows and decided they could use a little shaping up. I never can seem to get it right with the tweezers anyway. So I asked her if she still had time to wax my eyebrows. She said, (with her Asian accent) "Good. They too bushy. Too bushy." And I'm paying for this kind of harsh criticism? Sheesh. :)

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Little Science Lesson

"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works;..." Psalms 139:14

I have a point to this post, which I'll share a little later. Right now, let's refresh our memory at what happens during the first stages of conception and pregnancy. I understand the terms blastocyst, embryo, and fetus are "scientific", but they sound so inhumane. I believe we can call it a baby from the moment of conception.

The following was taken from Merck.com. You can read the full article here.

A baby goes through several stages of development, beginning as a fertilized egg. The egg develops into a blastocyst, an embryo, then a fetus.

Fertilization

During each normal menstrual cycle, one egg (ovum) is usually released from one of the ovaries, about 14 days before the next menstrual period. Release of the egg is called ovulation. The egg is swept into the funnel-shaped end of one of the fallopian tubes.

At ovulation, the mucus in the cervix becomes more fluid and more elastic, allowing sperm to enter the uterus rapidly. Within 5 minutes, sperm may move from the vagina, through the cervix into the uterus, and to the funnel-shaped end of a fallopian tube—the usual site of fertilization. The cells lining the fallopian tube facilitate fertilization.

If a sperm penetrates the egg, fertilization results. Tiny hairlike cilia lining the fallopian tube propel the fertilized egg (zygote) through the tube toward the uterus. The cells of the zygote divide repeatedly as the zygote moves down the fallopian tube. The zygote enters the uterus in 3 to 5 days. In the uterus, the cells continue to divide, becoming a hollow ball of cells called a blastocyst. If fertilization does not occur, the egg degenerates and passes through the uterus with the next menstrual period.

Development of the Blastocyst

Between 5 and 8 days after fertilization, the blastocyst attaches to the lining of the uterus, usually near the top. This process, called implantation, is completed by day 9 or 10.

The wall of the blastocyst is one cell thick except in one area, where it is three to four cells thick. The inner cells in the thickened area develop into the embryo, and the outer cells burrow into the wall of the uterus and develop into the placenta. The placenta produces several hormones that help maintain the pregnancy. For example, the placenta produces human chorionic gonadotropin, which prevents the ovaries from releasing eggs and stimulates the ovaries to produce estrogen and progesterone continuously. The placenta also carries oxygen and nutrients from mother to fetus and waste materials from fetus to mother.

Some of the cells from the placenta develop into an outer layer of membranes (chorion) surrounding the embryo. An inner layer of membranes (amnion) develops by about day 10 to 12, forming the amniotic sac. The amniotic sac fills with a clear liquid (amniotic fluid) and expands to envelop the developing embryo, which floats within it.

Amazing, isn't it? More to come next week.....

Friday, July 24, 2009

Freebie Friday


-Make any purchase at Bath and Body Works and you can use this coupon for a free travel size item of your choice, up to $5. Offer good through July 29, 2009. No minimum purchase required.

-Get a free subscription to American Baby here.

-Every Monday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., you can get a free Iced Mocha or Hot Mocha at participating McDonald's! Yummy!

-Participating Arby's locations offer a free item with purchase every Wednesday. I found a calendar inside the restaurant with the scheduled free foods. This past Wednesday, the offer was a free Roastburger with purchase of a drink. Not too shabby!

-Go here and login to print coupons for $1/1 Chef Boyardee coupons. You should be able to print these twice per computer. Most grocery stores have Chef Boyardee cans for around $1, so this would make them free. If you have a Publix nearby, they have them on sale for $.85, so you would actually make money! Sweet!
Note: These coupons must be printed in Internet Explorer.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We're On Our Way!

I'm really excited about some financial changes we're making around here and wanted to share with you. Austin and I are striving to become debt-free! Yes, that's right, debt-free! Last year we purchased Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and have started implementing the steps in the program.

I don't know about you, but it seemed like we were just getting by from paycheck to paycheck and never really getting ahead. It was so frustrating and discouraging for us. We began to see the bondage that debt has on us.

My sister gave me a copy of The Duggars: 20 and Counting for my birthday. They are completely debt free (with 18 kids!) and they talk about that process in their book. There were so many illustrations where they saw God work in miraculous ways to provide things they needed/wanted. It was so encouraging and uplifting.

I think that's when the wheels really started turning for us. Austin started working on a plan to pay off our debt and to put us on a pretty strict budget to accomplish our goal. It will take discipline and a little creativity, but I'm positive that with the Lord's help, we can do it.

I'll keep you updated on our progress, as well as some ideas and tips for saving money!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Definition of Embarrass

The following definition is from yourdictionary.com:

em·bar·rass (em bar…ôs, im-)

transitive verb

  1. to cause to feel self-conscious, confused, and ill at ease; disconcert; fluster
My definition:

When the cashier at Kroger tells you that your balance is $42 and you only have $33 in cash and NO, may I repeat NO, other form of payment because you left your purse AT HOME!!! So then you have to start taking stuff out of the cart because you are short $9 and change. And there are three people behind you, rolling their eyes, staring at the pregnant lady with three kids under the age of four, who can't even remember her purse-or so she says. And you've already made them wait while you gave the cashier all your coupons. And your oldest child is almost in tears because he doesn't understand why we are giving our groceries back. Then you give back the sour cream and have a credit, which you can't do, and have to figure out a less expensive item to swap it with. And when you finally leave, everyone starts clapping. Okay, not really, but I'll bet they wanted to.

I was self-conscious, confused, ill at ease, disconcerted, and flustered. Yeah, I'd say that was embarrassing.

In answer to your unspoken questions-
1) Yes, I knew my purse was at home. I just forgot about that small detail when I was shopping. I knew I was over my cash on hand. I was thinking, "Oh, I'll just put the ten bucks on the debit card." Pitiful; just pitiful.

2) The reason I had cash, even though I had no purse, was because I had our grocery money envelope with me. What's ironic is that I went back into the house before we left for the store, specifically to get the envelope because I had forgotten it.

3) Our grocery budget is more than $33. I had already been to Publix. You were either impressed by my seemingly ingenious frugal menu planning, or thinking about dropping off a box of groceries at my doorstep.

Feel free to leave a comment with an embarrassing moment so I don't feel like such a weenie. :)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Please the Lord Now

Do not let your growth in holiness depend upon surrounding circumstances, but rather constrain those circumstances to minister to your growth. Beware of looking onward, or out of the present in any way, for the sanctification of your life. The only thing you can really control is the present--the actual moment that is passing by. Sanctify that from hour to hour, and you sanctify your whole life; but brood over the past, or project yourself into the future, and you will lose all. The little act of obedience, love, self-restraint, meekness, patience, devotion, offered to you actually, is all you can do now, and if you neglect that to fret about something else at a distance, you lose your real opportunity of serving God. A moment's silence, when some irritating words are said by another, may stem a very small thing; yet at that moment it is your one duty, your one way of serving and pleasing God, and if you break it, you have lost your opportunity.
~H. L. SIDNEY LEAR~

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Thrifty Mama



Last week I cooked a big pot of pinto beans in the crockpot, fried up some potatoes and onions, and made a cake of cornbread. Yummy! We ate that for two nights! Talk about a frugal meal....just pennies per person.

At any rate, a small bag of pinto beans can go a loooonnnngggg way, 'cause we're having them again tonight! I had about two to three cups of beans left so I am jazzing them up for dinner. Here's my plan:

Drain beans and mash them up.
Add chicken chunks from the freezer, about 1 cup.
Add 1 can of Ro-Tel chilies (mild-cause of the kiddos).
Add 1 cup of cheddar cheese.
Mix ingredients well and then roll the mixture into flour tortilla shells.
Place the rolled up shells into a big baking dish and then bake for 25-30 minutes on 350.

Oh, and of course sprinkle more cheese on top of the shells before baking. One can never have too much cheese. Well, okay.....unless your allergic. Major bummer for you.

So that's my plan for dinner. Who knew that a $.99 bag of beans could feed our family of five for three nights? Gotta love beans! :)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy Days



The last two months in a nutshell:

~Happy 1st Birthday, Jacob!
~Happy Positive Pregnancy Test Day!
~Happy Mother's Day!
~Happy ?? Birthday, Me!
~Congratulations Graduate!
~Happy Family Vacation!
~Congratulations Bride and Groom!
~Happy Week of Vacation Bible School!
~Happy Family Reunion Day!
~Happy More Vacation Bible School!
~Happy 7th Wedding Anniversary to Us!
~Happy 3rd Birthday, Chloe!

It's been extremely quiet here, but don't think for a second it's been quiet at our house. As you can see, lots of happy days around here. I'm absolutely exhausted from all the happiness!

Our biggest news is the upcoming addition of baby number four, due January 11, 2010! We are very excited and pray God's blessing upon the pregnancy and delivery. (Also praying for my sanity because life is sure to be crazy around here with four kids under five years old! )

I hope the past few weeks have brought you as much happiness as we've had!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday Seven -The picture edition


1) Jacob is now walking! He started walking a couple of weeks ago, around 11 months, and life hasn't been the same since. For any of us. He's into EVERYTHING! Nothing is safe around here. He thinks he's been walking for years....he practically takes off running when you put him down. He's so cute toddling around here!




2) Chloe loves junk food. Seriously, she wakes up in the morning and asks for candy. The girl is a sugar-aholic. We had an easter egg hunt and luncheon at church a couple of weeks ago and there were three trays of cupcakes. So I'm sitting there eating my hotdog when a little girl brings me this cupcake and tells me that Chloe grabbed it off the tray, licked the icing, and stuck it back. Yikes! And she had already eaten one cupcake....well, licked the icing off of it. The proof is in the picture! :)




3) Luke had a great time hunting eggs until he saw the church lawnmower. He was suddenly tired and wanted to rest....on the lawnmower, of course. Hunting eggs just takes so much out of you! All the stress of finding them and then picking them up only to have to put them into your basket. Whew! Who wouldn't need a break after that?




4) This is the best Easter Sunday shot I got of the kids. Every year Luke cries while I'm trying to take pictures for Easter. I'll post the pictures one day. It's crazy. He starts crying because he has to stand next to Chloe and touch her. And since Jacob is walking, he decided to walk out of the picture. So much for sweet family picture memories when we're all old.




5) Look at those baby blues shining! And yes, Jacob did wear shoes to church. He wore his squeaky sandals that everyone loves. And yes, I forgot to put socks on Chloe. I bought her a new pair of ruffly socks only to have them soaking wet in the washing machine. Not cool, Jennifer. Not cool.




6) Our jazzy family of five! I had to post this picture just because I spent three days looking for these outfits. Lots of stress....lots and lots of stress. See, I was so tired from shopping I couldn't even keep my eyes open for the picture. What a dud!



7) Meet Rusty! Our newest addition is a seven-week old beagle. He's adorable and the kids love him. They were having serious screaming fits whenever they got around dogs so we thought it would help if we had a dog of our own. So far, so good.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay, I can't even think straight I'm so tired. I was trying to come up with a cute way to end the post but I can barely hold my eyes open. How 'bout another cute pic? That doesn't require much thought!

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Tribute

I have only tears as I read the following. Please read this tribute and pray earnestly for this hurting family.

William Charlie

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hello, again.....hello

I'm back! No, I haven't fallen off the earth, as I'm sure many of you were thinking. It's been pretty crazy around here. Jacob has had an ear infection since Christmas, and if you've had a child with an ear infection, you know how difficult it can be! The poor baby has been so fussy and irritable. (which can make for an irritable mama after three months of continual fussiness!) On top of that, he got the flu a couple of weeks ago. Then, of course, I got it, along with a sinus infection. Pretty sure I was close to dying, or at least I felt like it. I was sick for a week!

We're all doing much better now and the fussiness has somewhat subsided, which has me hoping the ear infection has cleared up. We're looking at tubes for the little guy if it's not cleared up by his next appointment, so say a prayer for him!

Our laptop screen no longer works so we've got the laptop hooked up to a monitor downstairs and it's "out of sight, out of mind" for me. (The screen not working may have something to do with being stepped on by all three kids, being dropped a couple of times, and pulled off the table.) The only reason to go downstairs is to do laundry and I avoid that at all costs! :)

At any rate, I apologize for my lack of posts. To be perfectly honest, I've been in a personal "blah" mode. It's been a difficult few weeks for me on all levels. By levels, I mean spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental. I felt like throwing in the towel on several occasions. But God
is good and His grace is sufficient.

Thankfully, I'm feeling rather ambitious and much like my old self again. I've got some thoughts on future posts running around in my head! Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Give Me the Old Barn Yard

The way the farmer used to get new chickens was to allow the hen to sit on her eggs until they hatched. The proud mother would lead the little chicks around the barn yard, teaching them what it meant to be a chicken. But unknowingly she was teaching them how to be good mothers when they grew up. When they begin laying eggs, they too will find a nice place to lay a dozen eggs and incubate them into chicks. Then, just like their mom, they will proudly carry on the farm tradition.

But there is a new way. Every spring, we go to the Co-op and buy a new batch of chicks. They have been hatched in an incubator and are only a few days old. When you look down in their box you notice that they are all grouped according to age and size, and usually grouped according to sex. They grow up with their peers. They remind me of children in a school yard or grouped in a day care center. They learn to compete and survive in this prefabricated social order. It is not like the old barn yard where the chicks followed the mother hen around looking for something to eat. The new way is much more efficient. Where efficiency and an abundance of eggs is the goal, it is definitely progress. It is a fast new world, you know.

The only problem with this new way is that the young chicks who grow up without a mother’s care have lost the natural instinct to be mothers themselves. It is rare that one of these modern egg layers will devote the time and energy to sit on their eggs and care for young chicks. They are too busy with their own fulfillment to care for the brood.

How are you choosing to raise your chicks?



*Image taken from Allposters.com


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday Seven

I love 7 Quick Takes that Catherine Wheels has on her blog on Fridays and would love to do something similar here. Since Fridays are already taken (Freebie Friday), I took it upon myself to create Saturday Seven! So here goes:

1) It struck me just now that the title I chose, Saturday Seven, is extra neat because Saturday is the seventh day of the week! Purely coincidental!

2) Don't ever, ever, ever put carpet in your house if you have children. Seriously, there should be a law that says you can't even buy carpet if you have children living at home. Hardwood, tile, or linoleum should be mandatory floor covering.

3) The suggested restriction on carpet was brought about by last nights' battle of Georgia red mud vs. beige carpet. The mud won. By flying colors. The now-orangey trail starts at the garage door, goes up two flights of stairs, down the hall, and ends in the kid's bedroom, where Luke went to get socks out of his dresser to use as gloves. I was impressed by his creativity with the socks, but not so impressed with his inattentiveness to his mud-caked shoes.

4) Speaking of socks....I'm currently wearing hospital socks and no, I'm not in the hospital. They give you these ugly brown socks with tread on them to wear to the operating room when you have surgery. Since I've had three c-sections and one hernia repair, I have a nice stash. They keep my feet really warm; so I choose warmth over style. And as we all know, style isn't our forte.

5) And speaking of hospitals, I was actually looking forward to my three day stay when I was expecting Jacob. Who wouldn't? I got to lie in bed, hold my new baby as much as I wanted, choose my food for the day, have it brought to me, have family and friends come to see us, and watch TV. It was a mini-vacation and I'm looking forward to doing it again!

6) Yes, we plan on having more children. Unfortunately, I am limited as to how many because I've already had three c-sections. The risk for complications during future pregnancies increase with each surgery. I wasn't quite as informed about my options as I am now, but we're blessed to have our beautiful babies, however they were delivered.

7) I have come to the disgusting realization that size has NOTHING to do with birthing babies. My sister, who is teeny tiny, had her baby girl here in about 15 minutes. I haven't' been teeny tiny since the third grade and I couldn't get my baby here after 11 hours.
"Miz Charlotte, I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies!"


Friday, February 20, 2009

Table Talk


Last night at dinner, Austin was talking to the kids about the episode of 17 Kids and Counting we had watched the night before. The Duggars had gone to El Salvador on a mission trip to assist a local church there in giving out food and host a Christmas party.

Austin explained that many people don't know who Jesus is, or what He did for us, and missionaries told people about Him. Austin asked "What did Jesus do for us?" Chloe, in her little voice, said softly, "He died on the cross for our sins." Being the emotional gal I am, I added a few tears to the chicken casserole on my plate. My 2 1/2 year old baby girl knew what the Son of God had done for her! What a wellspring of joy flooded my soul!

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 6:7

"And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
"

What a privilege to impart the precious story of Christ to our children! Let us not grow weary or indifferent in teaching our children the things of God.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Freebie Friday


Lots of great free stuff this week! (Thanks, MoneySavingMom!)

Print your coupon for B1G1 Hallmark Card valid up to $2.50. This is good through February 14, 2009.

Get a free one-year subscription to Martha Stewart Living and Woman's Day.

This is my favorite deal this week! I love T.G.I. Friday's. Buy one entree and get one free with this coupon! Valid through March 1, 2009, with the exception of Valentine's Day.

Not for Sale by David Batstone is the free monthly download available at ChristianAudio.com.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Future Fashion Designers

Apparently we are severely lacking in the fashion gene here at our house. The kids decided to dress themselves this morning while I was feeding Jacob. Nursing mommies are a toddlers dream come true. All I could do was laugh....and run for the camera.


Notice the shirt is on inside out and backwards. The usual unbuttoned jeans, which around here, is the only way to wear them. And of course, the cowboy boots he hasn't taken off since his birthday. To his credit, the jeans are sordof tucked into his boots, which is pretty hip these days.



And here is pajama mama. Pink pj pants with a red Dora belly shirt. Top that off with yellow socks and brown shoes and we've got a fashion diva.

I'm pretty sure Calvin Klein will be calling once he sees these cute kids in their jazzy attire. Until then, we'll keep doing our best to keep on stylin' and profilin'.

Monday, February 2, 2009

CVS Trip

I promised earlier today that I would let you know how my trip to CVS went tonight. I thought it was very successful. My dear, sweet husband sat in the car with all three kids while I went in to shop. Actually, I think he circled the parking lot 83 times trying to keep Jacob from crying. **dreamy sigh** The things we do for love and money. :)

Anyway, here's what I got:

2 Stayfree pads $3.99 each
1 Excedrin 10-ct $2.49
1 Huggies Wipes 216 ct $5.99

Total before coupons (and tax) $16.46

Coupons used:
B1G1 Stayfree pads
$1 off Excedrin
$.50 off Huggies wipes
$5 off $15 from CVS
$5 ECB's (Extra Care Bucks)

Total OOP (out of pocket): $1.35
ECB's earned for next visit: $6.49

So in the CVS world, they actually paid me to take this stuff home. Fantastic! See why I'm hooked? So go here to learn how to start saving money today!

Saving at CVS



If you love free or next-to-free stuff, head on over here to learn how to make the CVS stores work for you. Since I started CVS-ing, I have gotten tons of hair care, toothpaste, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, make-up, diapers, wipes, and more for literally pennies.

Just last month I got two mega packs of Pampers diapers for a total of TWELVE CENTS!! No, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you....that was 120 diapers for $.12. That's six cents per pack!! Tell me you're not remotely curious how this works???

And that's just one great deal off the top of my head. I've gotten tons of awesome deals like that one. It's great to see how much money we've saved in our budget by shopping at CVS.

OOOHHH, that reminds me....I've got to get on over there to use a store coupon that expires today. I printed out a $5 off of $15 Friday night. Pair that with a sale, some coupons, and ECB's, and I'm sure to come away with a great deal. I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"Children of Caesar"

For those of you who didn't know, we are going to homeschool our children. Given the state of our Godless society and education system, we feel as if there is no other choice. We are constantly having to defend or explain our decision and encounter opposition by many.

W
hen I found this clip by Voddie Baucham tonight, I was compelled to share. It makes me want to jump up and shout "AMEN!" This sums up any explanation I could give anyone on the issue.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Luke!

His new pirate set...and yes, his shirt is tucked into his underwear. He was in a hurry to open his presents!

It seems unbelievable that only four short years ago we started this journey of parenthood. We found out we were expecting in May 2004. We had a positive pregnancy test in the bathroom of the movie theater at the Mall of Georgia. (Not very romantic!) We were so excited! I had had a previous miscarriage so my doctors wanted to check my hormone levels every couple of days to make sure they were increasing like they should. My parents were on a mission trip to the Philippines so we called them to tell them the good news and to be praying everything would turn out alright. Obviously, it did!

Just two days old!

January 21, 2005, Luke Austin was born at 9:57 p.m. He was delivered by cesarean after about ten hours of labor. And yes, I had an epidural during that time! He weighed in at 8 lbs. 12 oz. and was 21 inches long.

The only pacifier he would take....it was so big!

What a joy he has been! He has a tender heart, a great sense of humor, is cautious and very inquisitive. He adores anything John Deere. If you ask him what he's going to be when he grows up he'll say (rather loudly), "A doctor preacher!".

His "vampire" teeth!

We are blessed to have been given such a wonderful gift. It's my prayer that God will use him for His glory. Austin and I pray for wisdom and guidance as we strive to help Luke become all God wants him to be. Happy birthday Luke! We love you!!

I love Daddy!

The John Deere Tractor!

Chilling in the swing

Cruisin' on the Gator

Friday, January 16, 2009

Freebie Friday


Periodically, I hope to post some freebies I've ran across. We can all benefit from stretching our dollars! Here are a couple for this week. Enjoy!

You can download free online books at DesiringGod.org. There are over 40 to choose from. This is a great way to save some money and still get in some good reading. I have downloaded several myself and am looking forward to reading them.

Over at ChristianAudio.com, you can download one free audiobook each month. This month, their feature book is Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God. Go here to get your free download.

*Image taken from allposters.com

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Without End


Tuesdays are busier than normal here around the Harmon household. Our little friend, Weston, is here on Tuesdays. Weston's mom is a part-time teacher and we are happy to help her out any way we can. Weston is six days older than Jacob, so it's essentially like having a set of twins! (Sometimes I wonder if God is preparing me for something--twins do run in my family!) So the day is filled with the usual, just a little more of it. Diapers, feeding, napping, playing, breaking up fights, reading books, going to the potty, kissing boo-boos....you get the picture.

One Tuesday, right before Christmas break, Weston had just gotten up from his nap and I was changing his diaper in the living room floor. It was a doozie of a diaper that was going to require a clothes change. While trying to take his clothes off, I made a worse mess than was already there, which meant now he needed a bath. Then the doorbell rang.....and I was still in my pj's.

As I was getting up with a naked child, Luke was running to get the door and he and Weston bumped heads. I had to kiss boo-boos while trying to get the door. And wouldn't ya know it was our new neighbor (did I mention I was still in my pj's)?! He needed the key for the house because they were moving in. I'm sure they thought twice about it after seeing four toddlers under the age of three staring at him. Possibly even thought about calling DFACS on the crazy lady who has naked children and doesn't get dressed 'til noon!

Generally, that's what life is like here at our house. Lots of laughter and squeals, smiles and giggles, and sometimes tears. There's toys everywhere, crumbs on the floor, and loads of dirty dishes and laundry. And I wouldn't trade it for the world. Honestly.

There was a time when I often struggled with being a full-time mommy. Others would talk about promotions, raises, meetings, luncheons, etc. I couldn't relate any longer. I had left the workplace to take care of my family. I felt very insignificant when I compared myself to other women.

My perspective was wrong. Very wrong. I was looking at my self-worth through worldly eyes; not through God's eyes. The Bible has much to say about women, our roles, and our importance. It isn't popular. I don't expect it ever will be. But then again, God's Word is usually never popular.

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

God has worked a wondrous work of contentment in my heart. He has also brought to light many ugly attitudes and perspectives I carried that were contradictory to His Word and His plan. I am a work in progress, as we all should be.

So give me the diapers, feeding, napping, playing, breaking up fights, reading books, going to the potty, and kissing boo-boos. I'm okay with that. I'm on a mission. God's mission. And isn't His really the only one that matters?

I leave you with this excerpt from Ann Voskamp's post Strange Disappearance:


If I identify myself as the culture does, as a “stay at home Mom”, one who has no intellectual contribution, gross-national product contribution or status symbol contribution, I become just that: a woman who sees herself as one who has grunted and groaned out another human being and now stays behind her four walls, in self-imposed seclusion. Not much of a vision there---it actually sounds strangely psychotic.

If I deem myself as a woman employed by the Creator of everything ever created, as on work assignment in a sacred domain for the sculpting of souls that will exist forever and forever without end, I have a burning passion of purpose. And a paycheck that is said to be beyond what eye or ear can even comprehend!

This world is going to burn up, cinders for the universe….but your child is a soul without end, forever and ever existence. The world has pitifully, laughably little to offer in comparison to this holy opportunity to raise up a child.


*Image taken from allposters.com