Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bliss (if only for a second)

As a mother, you get excited about so many things. Like finally sleeping for more than 3 hours at a time, all those exciting "firsts" and milestones, getting just a couple of hours alone with your hubby, getting just a few seconds alone with yourself. As a mother of four, there is something else I get really excited about. It's like Christmas, it doesn't come very often, maybe even less often than Christmas in this household. There is a lot of work and stress leading up to this blissful event, but the sight of it, much like the sight of little faces on Christmas morning, makes all the hard work worth it. What is this event that I speak of?

That glorious day when ALL the laundry get done and you are left with EMPTY laundry bins.

It really is a wonderful feeling. This time Cecil helped get it all done....okay he did pretty much all of it. So it was even more wonderful.

But, just like Christmas, it doesn't last long, the joy soon dissipates with the first bath of the night, or the first spill at dinner time, or the next time the girls decide to change their outfits. But man, it's awesome while it lasts!


In our house, we are very careful of what our kids see and hear. I know that it only takes one word or image to be stuck in your head and heart forever. We try diligently to guard our children's hearts against unwholesome things until that day when it is their duty to guard their own hearts and minds. I am thrilled that in my home the "S" word is "stupid" or "shut-up", the "H" word is "hate" and the "D" word is "dumb". I know some households use these words relatively freely, but not here. I am happy that when my kids hear one of these words, it stings their ears, much like some of the uglier, more profane words sting my ears.

Are my children sheltered? Yes.

Do I regret it? Not for a second.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Special Moment with a One-Eyed Penguin

Ahhh, Christmas Break, the time in the middle of the school year when I get to be a stay-at-home mom for two weeks. I have taken time to finish making Christmas presents and to get the house in order after the first 4 months of school and the Christmas festivities. I have read one book and started another, had a lazy pj day, and a wonderful relaxing day with my sister at the spa. But Ava (1) just gave me a subtle little reminder of why I really love these two weeks off.

I was on the computer looking for some inspiration for a cake to make and she toddled up to me with a one-eyed stuffed penguin and a Beatrix Potter boardbook wanting me to read to her. I don't think she has ever sat still long enough to hear an entire story. But this time she did. Before I was done, her sweet little head began to bob. I noticed that her eyes were slowly beginning to close. By the end of the story, she was sound asleep in my arms still clutching her one-eyed friend.

I know it's simple. I know that babies fall asleep in their mothers' arms all the time. But it's so very special to me. I know I miss so many of these opportunities when I am at work, which is why I cherish every one that I am here for.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Working Mom Wednesday

I'm participating in Julia's blog carnival over at Sweet As Punkin Pie.

Question: Have you ever or would you ever call in "sick" if you weren't really sick? (whether it's your job or to another function that you were supposed to attend). Did you get "caught"?

I don't think I have ever called in sick when I wasn't really sick. Unless you count the cashier job I had when I was in high school. The irony (that I'm not so proud of) is that I called in sick so I could go to church camp with my youth group. I'm not counting that though, since I would never do such a thing now. I absolutely hate to miss work now. And considering that my mom is the principal at the school where I teach, I think my secret would be out pretty quickly.

Have a great day, friends!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

This week we are all out of school for the Thanksgiving holidays. We have been keeping busy, and being productive. I have started on my homemade Christmas gifts and that is taking a lot of time. I can't wait to show pictures, but I'll wait just in case the recipients read this.

We are looking forward to a quiet Thanksgiving dinner at home this year. My family all went to Disney World. Yeah, I skipped out on that trip this year with all my little ones. So we were supposed to have dinner at Cecil's sister's house with his family, but her husband came down with the flu. So we will have our nice family dinner here at the house. Although, I don't know if that pumpkin pie on my counter will last until Thurs. now that I know I don't have to bring it anywhere. Speaking of pumpkin pie, I was dead set on making a homemade pie this year. So I ventured to the store with my list of pie ingredients, among those were nutmeg and ground cloves. Well, maybe I am just cheap, I prefer the term frugal, or wise steward, but I was not paying $5.00 for nutmeg and $8.00 for cloves. Especially when I will use it ONLY this one time all year. So I gave in and bought a pie for 3 bucks.

Have a wonderful, safe, Happy Thanksgiving all my friends!!

Friday, November 20, 2009


I have this thing about closets. I secretly like to see other people's closets. Especially people who are organized and have it all together (like I wish I did). No, I don't go to anyone's home and snoop through their closets but I do enjoy the (invited) opportunity to peek in one's closet. I really like it if their closet turns out not to be as organized as the rest of their house, as justification for my unorganized closet.

The closet is where seemingly perfectly organized people put things that just don't belong anywhere else. It's the last place that those people who have it all together get to when they are cleaning and making their homes look perfectly in order. I enjoy that glimpse into a less than sparkling closet that says that they are just a tiny bit like me, that everything, every corner, every shelf in their home is not impeccable.

It's funny how our lives are like our closets. Most of us can manage to appear to have our act together. But everyone has a "closet" of life. It's where we store those hurtful words that we carelessly flung at our husband. It's where we stash the moments of insensitivity and impatience that we've shown only to our children. Those actions and reactions that would embarass us if others saw them. In our "closets" you will find the harsh temperament that we would never share with outsiders; only those closest to us, the ones we expect to be forgiving, and accept us for who we are.

I have a huge bedroom closet, it's one of the reasons we bought our house. It is a constant struggle to keep it neat, orderly and free from unnecessary junk. Similarly, my "closet" of life is also very large and I have to try really, really hard to keep it free from negativity, frustration and hurtful words and attitudes. I am working toward filling my "closet" with kindness, thoughtfulness, and gentleness. I'm throwing out all the other "junk". I'm sure it will sometimes creep back in, as junk often does. But I vow to have a more pleasant "closet" to share with my family.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm so Excited....

I received my very first blogger award this morning from my blogger friend, Julia over at Sweet As Punkin Pie. She is another working mommy, so hop on over and tell her "hello" Thanks Julia for putting a smile on my face early this morning.

So, I am totally new to this and will do my best. Here are the rules for the award.

1. Thank whoever gave this to you.....Check
2. Copy award.....Check
3. Post it in your blog.....Check
4. Tell us 7 things that your readers don’t know about you....Check
5. Link 7 new bloggers....Ionly have 4, I'll do better next time :)
6. Notify winners of the award with a comment on their blog...Check
7. Keep being awesome!....uh, I'll keep working on this one.

Seven things about myself...hmmmm
  1. We are in the process of getting our three-year old son out of our bed and into his own bed. But I secretly...okay, not so secretly am going to miss him sleeping next to me. My husband will too.
  2. I worry way to much about the way people think about me.
  3. On more than one occasion, I have put baby powder in my hair to keep it from looking oily, because I didn't have time to wash my hair.
  4. I love getting up before anyone else in the house just to soak in a little "quiet". Man, this is harder, than it looks!
  5. I love being pregnant and I wonder if I will ever stop yearning for a newborn.
  6. Being late drives me absolutely crazy. What am I saying being only 10 minutes early drives me crazy.
  7. I am a huge procrastinator, but I am working on it. So would that make me a recovering procrastinator?

I don't know if I know of 7 new bloggers. Like I said I am new to blogging. I'll give it a try.

Scrapbook Blessings-because her blog is great and I long to scrapbook again.
Our Enchanting Life because I loved her heartfelt post on Veteran's Day
Scrappin 2009-because I love the layouts that she has shared on her blog
The (Un) Experienced Mom-because even after 4 kids I am still "making it up as I go along"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Danced Alone

Weekday mornings can be a bit hectic in the morning with 4 kids to dress, breakfast and lunch to prepare for everyone and then leaving early enough to get all of them where they need to be. Cecil and I have a perfectly choreographed routine that we go through each morning, almost like a dance routine. I get up, exercise, wash a load of laundry, take my shower, try to unload the dishwasher. Then he gets up and gets lunches started while I get the older girls up and dressed. He feed them breakfast while I fold a load of laundry and finish getting myself dressed. He then wakes up David, all the while crossing his fingers that David wakes up in a good mood. David and Ava eat breakfast, then Cecil gets David dressed. Once all the hair and teeth are brushed, and after a quick kiss from Daddy and Ava, we finally make it out the door.

Well, this morning Cecil had to leave for work at 4:45 and I danced alone. Not perfectly, not without a few missed steps--I didn't do any laundry or unload the dishwasher, or exercise. But hey, I did shower and we all brushed our teeth and made it ,very calmly, out the door earlier than our usual time, since I also had to bring Ava to her sitter this morning.

I hopped in the van, texted Cecil to tell him that all is well, then I said a prayer of Thanks to God for a wonderfully calm, smooth, enjoyable morning, taking joy in the little moments in my life when things are just going right.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Spinning my Wheels

Ahhhh, it's Monday! This weekend was a blur of non-stop activity, which messes with my entire week. There are certain things at our house that just have to be done on the weekend for our week to run smoothly. We had so much going on this weekend that I just didn't have time to do the normal weekend routine. So, for the better half of this week I will feel like I am just trying to keep my head above water. My only saving grace is that next week is Thanksgiving holidays and we are out for the week. But I really didn't want to spend it trying to catch up with chores. Maybe I will try to pull a couple of late nights and catch up on some things. Otherwise I will be spinning my wheels each day just barely getting by in the chaos that is my life.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Spiderman Celebration!

I know I haven't posted in a while, so I will start catching up with David's 3rd birthday party.

It was a Chick-fil-a, and had to be the easiest party I have ever planned. It was relatively affordable, short, and the kids had fun. Oh, and I didn't have to clean up before or after the party. Can't get any better than that. Here are a couple of pictures from the big day.
I asked him what kind of cake he wanted and he said, "Spiderman's hand doin like dis". And did his hand the way Spiderman does to make his web. So I asked a few days later, thinking he would change his mind, but he stated the exact same thing. So I, by all means, had to at least give it a try. The hand was formed from Rice Krispie treats and covered in fondant. I was pretty pleased...other that how the hand was put on the cake. Although I think it was the best tasting cake I have ever made. Chocolate Cake with peanut butter filling..mmmm. But most importantly, David thought the cake was, "Awesome!"

Lion Slayer

So, David has been learning the Bible story of David and Goliath, and apparently how David also killed a lion.

Daddy: David, we have to put change your pants, those don't fit you.

David: No...

Daddy: Yes, you are not wearing those pants.

David: You not boss o me!

Mommy: David, look at Mommy (in a serious, no games voice). Daddy is the boss and you have to do what he tells you to do. You must be obedient.

David: (with a matter-of-fact tone and expression) I killed a lion...I killed a lion with a rock.

Mommy: (looks at Daddy, holds back laughter) You may have, but Daddy is still your boss.

It's so reassuring that he is retaining the information he learns at school.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Life!

Today, on my birthday, at 28 years of age, this is what I have to show for my short time here on earth .

I couldn't be happier or more grateful. My life is full.....my heart is full!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm Shredding

Note: The below entry was actually written a couple months ago. I found it when cleaning out some unpublished drafts. And realized that I still haven't fully committed to doing anything about it. So this is my commitment. I am going to complete the 30-day Shred, and watch what I eat. I will be posting updates here about my workouts and diet for accountability. It's now or never.

Everyone has a weight or size that they feel their best at. And that is not the same for everyone. So when I got on the scale and saw a number that I hadn't seen since one week postpartum for my last baby (8 1/2 months with the first baby), I knew that I had to do something. It's not about the "number" on the scale really. It's more about what the number represents, as it is not a huge number. But over the months, past couple of years, I have stopped working out, stopped trying to eat right, except for a few ill-timed attempts...ahem, the raw food diet that I started on the first day of school that just left me completely exhausted. I have really stopped taking care of myself. So it's not really about weight, its about health, about my health now and my health when I am 50.
Bob Barker, when he found out that he had skin cancer, said that it was a result of "misspent youth". I don't want to have to claim that when I am his age.

So this weekend when I got off the scale, I had a moment and I cried and I beat myself up and I moaned and groaned about how I don't have enough time to exercise. Then my loving husband came to my rescue. And told me in that encouraging way of his, to make a list of the things that I feel will not get done if I take 30 min-an hour out of my day to exercise, and he will do them for me.

The past two days, I have come home from work and exercised. I jogged a mile and walked a mile on Monday, then I jogged/walked again on Tuesday. Today is also day three with no Dr. Pepper. I am determined to make myself healthier.
Cecil says that everytime I do this, it is all or nothing for me. And he is right. For instance, the raw food diet. I spent oodles of money getting all the right foods to eat then it only lasted one day because it was just too drastic for me.
This time I am just going to try to be sensible about my eating habits. Usually when I start out doing The Firm, I jump in with the 10-pound weights right away and its makes me want to quit. I am not going to deny myself chocolate, I just won't eat it every day, or every break I have at work. I will even allow myself to have a Dr. Pepper every now and then.

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Have you begun to think about Christmas yet? Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year. But I typically procrastinate and instead of me being able to relax and enjoy the Christmas season--basking in the smell of cinnamon, peppermint, and pine trees, listening to Christmas music, baking cookies with the kids, baking goodies for others--I am running around like a mad woman trying to get all those last minute gifts purchased, much less wrapped (they may just get a gift bag). Every year that I have been on this beautiful green earth, Christmas has come at the same time on the same date. So WHY, OH WHY does it always seem to sneak up on me??

Well, this year I am one step ahead of Christmas, no sneakin' this year. Not only am I thinking ahead, but my family is changing the way we do gifts this year. Here is a little background on what led to this decision:

Last year, after all the presents were opened. My sister, her husband, Cecil and myself were talking. We realized that we had gotten Ryan a gift card for a certain amount and that they had gotten Cecil a gift card for the same amount. So essentially Cecil and Ryan bought themselves giftcards. Now, hear me well. This is not to say that either party was not appreciative of the gift. But we began to think that we should put more thought into ou Christmas gifts or just save our money.
So, was born the idea that we would do homemade gifts this year. I don't know if Kayla and Ryan are going to or not, but I plan to start now making gifts for everyone. I already have some really great ideas that I cannot wait to get started on. Of course, I can't list them now because well, they may see. However, I am having a terrible time trying to get ideas for the guys in the family. Thus, the gift cards last year!

So do any you have any ideas on a homemade gift ideas for a man? I would love some help with this one. I would also love to hear your ideas for women and children as well.

Have a blessed day!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I have been anxiously checking my mail every day for the past few days. I am awaiting a package that I am really excited to get. Ever gotten one of those before? Before I tell you what I am waiting for let me introduce you to someone special.

Her name is Kristie. We went to the same church when I was in high school. She was a year or two older than me but decades wiser, it seemed. We, over time, became really close friends. Do you have or have you had someone in you life that you can say has helped you to become the person in Christ that you are today? Well, Kristie was that person for me. I was a Christian before I met her, but I hadn't, before that time in my life, grown much as a Christian, if you know what I mean. Kristie and I prayed together, laughed together, cried together and studied the Bible together. She always gave great advice and was really a source of encouragement for me. There was a span of time when we were inseparable. She was truly my best friend.

Well, time went on, and we grew apart. I don't recall why, if I did it wouldn't matter. I got married, had a couple kids. She got married, had a baby girl, moved away. And there was a couple months after the birth of her baby girl that we got back in touch with each other. But quickly lost touch again, as she moved out of state. I thought about her so often and searched her on Myspace and Facebook, but couldn't find her. I googled her name one day and saw an article that a person by her name had written. I wasn't sure if it was her, because I didn't know she was publishing her writings, although I knew that she always loved writing. But as I read the beautifully written article of a woman who had tragically lost her mother at a young age, I realized that it was her. But I still couldn't get any contact information on her. I stalked.... ahem.... searched for her more and found a different article that she had written and wept as I read the article and watched a video that accompanied it. She had lost two babies in utero and was sharing her story with a Christian Pregnancy Center, helping women who had sadly gone through the same thing she had had to endure.

Then I happened to search her husband on Facebook and found a man by the same name. He didn't have a profile pic, but in his friends list was Kristie's brother. My husband looked at me like I was crazy when I said gleefully, "It's him, it must be". So I added him as a friend and told him who I was, not sure if I would get a reply, and hoping it was the right guy. I left my phone number (I was really hoping it was the right guy). Then a few days later, the day after David's surgery, actually, I got a call from her. I was so happy to hear from her. She told me that day that she was expecting another baby girl in Sept. My heart was truly filled with joy for her.

I got an email this month that she and her husband introduced their precious baby into the world and all was well. I think it was the same week that I got an email saying that her book had been published!!

And that is the package that I am waiting for!

What an exciting time for their family! I am overjoyed for all that is happening in their lives! She has been through so much and deserves all the blessings and happiness God sends her way.

Her book is her memoir of losing her babies and how she has trudged through all the pain. While I know that it was a painful process for her to write the book, she will touch the lives of so many women who go through miscarriage and the loss of their unborn children. I am so sorry for her loss, and wish that I had in some way been there for her during those difficult times. But I am so glad that she is using the short lives of her two precious gifts to minister to hurting mothers.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lemonade Stand

Last month, my friend Chasity, and I had a garage sale here at the house. The girls had been wanting to have a Lemonade Stand, so I figured that it would be a good idea to let them do it while we were getting traffic to the garage sale. They didn't sale a huge amount, I think maybe 24 cups. But they were happy and enjoyed themselves.
Selling lemonade in your neighborhood seems like such a quintessential part of childhood. And their childhood is quickly fleeting. It is so reminiscent of summers in simpler times-when kids were free to stay out in the neighborhood until the street lights came on just having fun. Some of that summer innocence seems to be fading, so I am glad they got this opportunity.
I remember selling lemonade at my aunt's house one summer. Our goal was to get enough money for myself, my sisters, and cousins to go to the movies. We reached that goal, but I can't remember what we went to see. That's a neat childhood memory and now my girls can look back on their own Lemonade Stand.

Have a Blessed Day!


Hawaiian Luau

Yesterday, we had Alyssa and Lylah Grace's birthday party. We have always had their parties together since their birthdays are so close. And it is easier for family because with my nephew's birthday sandwiched between my three kids, we would be partying 4 weekends in a row. Although next year I would like to give them separate parties...we had a lot of girls here yesterday and it was a bit crazy. They had fun though and went off without a hitch.

They wanted a Luau theme.

I usually make the cakes but with Ava being sick and in the hospital this week, I just couldn't pull it off this time. So I bought a cake and just embellished it with all the Hawaiian goodies. The girls loved it.

We limboed with Luau music playing in the background....

played Jenga...not Hawaiian but fun.

They made a wish...

And got lots of cool gifts.

All in all it was a great day!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Working and Sick Babies

I just got home from the hospital with Ava, she has double pneumonia and spent a night there on IV antibiotics and breathing treatments. They said it probably stemmed from the flu that she had a couple weeks ago. She is really doing great now. We are continuing breathing treatments at home and she should be fine.

You know, I started this post with the intention of writing about the stress that accompanies working and then having to stay home from my job with sick children. Not that I don't want to take care of my sick children, I just don't like having to call in sick to work. But as I wrote, I began to answer, in my head, every complaint that I had and I erased all that I had written. This is somewhat how that mental conversation went, at the risk of sounding completely nuts:

Blog: Having to stay home with sick children is really stressful.
My head: Anytime you have a sick child it is stressful, whether you are working or not.

Blog: I hate having to call my boss and say that I am not coming in. (with four kids that happens a bit more than I would like it to happen)
My head: You are fortunate enough to work for an organization that loves you and your family and completely understands when you have a sick baby at home.

Blog: But I don't like relying on someone else to do my job teaching my students for me.
My head: Your students are in good hands, they will put a great sub in your place. And furthermore, would your rather have someone else doing your job and taking care of your sick baby at home for you? (OUCH!)

Blog: But I feel guilty for not being at work because I have made a commitment and I should be there.
My head: But what about the commitment to your family, doesn't that come first?

You know, there are feelings of guilt, at times, associated with working outside the home. But it sort of comes from two ways when I have to call in sick, yet again. Nevertheless, my heart is at home with my kids and there is never any doubt that they come first. Keeping my priorities in the right order is helping me deal with it all.

This post may sound completely crazy, leave a comment if it does and let me know! Or some of you may be able to relate to this mental exchange with my self, leave me comment and let me know that, too!
Either way, these are the thoughts that weigh heavily on the heart and mind of this "Working Mom with a Stay-at-Home Heart".

Hope you all have a blessed day!


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Just a real quick post to say that this past week went so much better than the first week. I loved coming home knowing that dinner was almost done before I even got in the door. What's better? I still have some stuff in the freezer to use for this week.

I'm turning back to my trusty Flylady Control Journal to try to get a handle on chores and such. If you have never heard of Flylady, you should check out her site. If you have never tried her system, I highly recommend it. It completely changed the way I take care of my house. I have a "Control Journal" with all of our routines and chores in writing (typing).

Here's how it is broken down...this is all on her site and she does a much better job of explaining it:
  • Before Bed Routine
  • Morning Routine
  • Afternoon Routine (things we do right when we get home)
  • Late Afternoon Routine(what we do after homework is done)
  • Evening Routine (begins approx 6:30, when we eat dinner)

  • Weekly Home Blessing Hour List (the only time the whole week that you spend more than 15 minutes at a time cleaning)
  • Weekly Checklist (Those things that need to be done every week ie. Mop, Vacuum, Refrigerator,Dust, etc.)
  • Basic Weekly Plan (This is a plan that outlines on what days I will take care of the chores on the Weekly Checklist)
Then your home is broken down into Zones for all the monthly detailed cleaning (baseboards, window sills, tops of door facings, top of fridge, etc.) You then take one zone per week and do your detailed cleaning(never for more than 15 minutes at a time).

For example, Zone 1 is the Entrance and Office. Some things I have listed on my detailed cleaning list are:
  1. Dust tops of door facings
  2. Clean Switch plates
  3. Clean baseboards
  4. Wipe down door
  5. Clean computer monitor screen
  6. Clean Window
  7. Shred papers that need to be shredded
  8. ETC.
At the end of the month, your house is spotless and gorgeous.....ideally.

I haven't ever gotten EVERYTHING done on my list...but a little is better than nothing. And I keep my papers in sheet protectors and check off the items I did complete with a dry erase marker. The chores that didn't get checked off are the first to be done next month.

I wish I could post my Control Journal here, but unfortunately I don't know how or even if you can attach documents. If you would like to see it, I would be happy to email it.

on a side note: You know how they have Day Sponsors on the radio on Lifesongs? Well on Saturday, the Day Sponsor sponsored in honor of Flylady. She really is great, and so very encouraging!

Have a Blessed, Stress-Free Day!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

First Week as a Blogging Working Mom

Since I started this blog when I was out of school for the summer, I haven't actually posted yet as a "Working Mom". So here is my first post as a "Working Mom with a Stay-At-Home Heart.

I will just start out by saying that last week was ROUGH. I almost deleted this blog because I felt like a miserable failure at managing both home and work. There was a flood of emotions and a shortage of time. But then I remembered that I didn't start blogging to write a manual on how to go about this journey, but to document my journey, which is often times a little crazy..ok, a lot crazy.

Our schedules this year are really tough because of where my two younger kids are while I am at work...in completely different towns. It makes for a rushed morning and a rushed afternoon. But by the end of the week, things began to smooth out a little. Although, we ate out every night last week except for one night when we had leftover Pastalaya. The house was a wreck because by the time I got home I was exhausted. I really wasn't prepared for last week.

So this weekend, I am working hard to be ready for next week. I am hoping our lives will be more peaceful because of a few things I have done to get us ready.

I spent a few hours today preparing meals to freeze or to refrigerate for the week. Here is how my day went:
  • Went grocery shopping for the week.
  • Put together two meat loaves; one to freeze and one to put in the fridge for Monday night.
  • Made two Shepherd's Pie mixtures-minus the mashed potatoes. Froze them both, one for Tuesday night, one for a later date.
**I have class on Wednesday, so Cecil will make pulled pork from the leftover pork we will have after Sunday lunch.
  • Made a Spaghetti meat sauce to freeze for Thursday.
  • Pounded, breaded, fried and froze chicken breasts for Chicken Parmesan on Friday. I will just thaw and add marinara sauce and pasta.
  • Cut chicken breasts into strips and froze for Chicken Marsala.
  • Diced, cooked, and froze chicken breasts for Chicken Pot Pie.
  • Made a double batch of Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookie dough. Cooked one batch for snacks for the week. I will freeze the rest for use at a later date.
  • Making a batch of pancakes to freeze. They are super easy to heat in the mornings for breakfast.

This all sounds like a lot. But it really didn't take as long as I thought it would. I plan to do this for a couple weekends to try to accumulate a few meals in my freezer for really busy days. I just have to remember to take it out to defrost. I am horrible about that.

I already feel better about next week. Now I am off to tackle the laundry and get uniforms ready for the week.

Whether you work outside the home or inside the home, what are some of the strategies you use to help your household run smoothly?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fashion Savvy

I usually try to let the girls pick out their own clothes. I try to let them wear what they pick out barring anything inappropriate or just really extreme. This morning I told them to get ready because I had to go to the school and this is how Lylah Grace came out of her room. She always puts together the most interesting outfits.

She is so proud of her choice!

You know, layering is so in right now. Notice she has not one but two sweaters over her shirt. And yep, I'm letting her wear it. Although with this heat, I 'm sure one or both will come off. I just love her!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Happy Birthday to You!!

Ava's party went very well. We had the usual family and a couple close friends over for hamburgers, hot dogs, and cake. This birthday was, of course, a happy birthday, but for me it was a little sad. I just can't believe that my baby girl is one. I no longer have an infant. I guess why I'm a little more emotional is because she may be my last baby, and I just don't want her to grow up. But that is our job as parents, I guess, to grow them and teach them. I just wish sometimes that we had a little more time to do that.

Here are a few pictures from her party:

The last one was the day after, on her actual birthday. She was wearing the new dress that Mrs. Chasity got her and the headband that she made for her. Yes, we know another Chasity, I am not referring to myself in third person. That would be weird, but I guess not as weird as if I made my daughter refer to me as Mrs. Chasity.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Finding Joy

The school year is fast approaching. Already I am feeling anxious, busy (more than usual) and like I just don't have enough time in the day. I know myself well enough to know that I can get really grouchy-for lack of a better word. I have really been praying for God to help me to have a joyful heart in everything I do. I know, I know, I know, without a doubt that time is going to get crunched, schedules are going to become so full, they are bursting at the seams, and I know that the way I deal with these things along with the other daily inevitable bumps and gliches depends on my heart place. It depends on where my priorities are.

Like I said, I have been praying for a joyful heart for a couple of weeks now, and this verse is lodged in my brain for some reason. (I really know the reason)

Satisfy [me] in the morning with your unfailing love that [I] may sing for joy and be glad in all [my] days.

Psalm 90:14

I read or heard this verse somewhere this week-I can't remember where for the life of me. But it has really stuck with me. I think this may be my motto for the next 9 months. It just reminds me that my joy is not going to come from anything that can happen to me throughout the day, my joy comes from Jesus. Therefore, anything that happens to me throughout the day will not steal my joy away. It also reminds me that I need to "meet" with Him in the morning, for me it will be first thing in the morning. I'm really going to have to commit to having a prayer time each morning. I know it sounds terrible- and I feel ashamed even as I write this- but some mornings are just too rushed for me to sit down and have a quiet time. But as a wise woman(Lydia), has said over and over, "You usually make time for the things that are important to you". And it is so true. I mean, would I really leave the house without taking a shower? Okay, crazier things have happened ;) But my point is by not having quiet time in the Word every morning, I am essentially saying, "Ok God, I'm really sorry but I have got to unload the dishwasher maybe I'll talk to you tomorrow. Call me crazy, but I really don't think I, or anyone, would say that if God were really stading in front of us and really wanted to have a conversations with us. If there is something God wanted to tell me, you better believe that I would want to hear it. Well, God may not physically be at my kitchen table every morning, but I do believe that he has a word for me, and I want to hear it.

A couple more verses that I will lean heavily on are:

When anxiety [is] within me, your consolation [brings] joy to my soul.

Psalm 94:19

Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all
circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Party Season!!

It's party season here at our house. These next few months are busy ones for us. We have one birthday in Aug. Two in Sept., and three in October. Not to mention fiveother extended family birthdays in Sept. and Oct.

This year is Ava's 1st birthday. I decided to do a cupcake theme. Partly because a friend let me use her adorable, giant cupcake pan. But also because cupcakes are just so darn cute and fun. I mean at what other time do you get to eat a whole cake all by yourself. Today I realized that her birthday is sneaking up on me quicker than I thought( that always happens to me). So I stopped the garage sale preparation to do her invitations. It was pouring outside and I did not feel like leaving the house with 4 babies so I was determined to make them from what I had here at the house. Plus, it was a good excuse to play in my newly organized scrapbooking materials. Here is what I came up with. They're very cute if I do say so myself.

Loving your Home

Before this summer, I was ready to sell our house and get a bigger one, one with more room. After all, Ava, the baby is in our used-to-be office, which makes quite a cute bedroom once we get a door. I thought we could not raise 4 kids in a three bedroom house, especially when they get older and are wanting their own space. I worried that there was not enough room for all of our stuff.

But over this summer, while I wasn't working, I have really worked hard here at home, decluttering and getting rid of unecessary things that are really just taking up space. I don't know about you but when I look around and see clutter, it literally sucks energy and joy right out of me. What I have been trying to do is streamline our household. To make sure that everything has a designated place. To try to get things to run more smoothly. There is now room for all of our "stuff"--quite comfortably actually. I tried to use this motto when I was making my way through the house: If you don't love it or use it, get it out--a tip from Flylady (more on her later-love her)

I have also acquired a few new decorative items. Thanks to my sister-in-law who gave me a beautiful antique console table, which may just be my favorite piece of furniture in the whole house--and it was Free!

Now that I have gotten rid of things that I don't love and added a few things I do--I am loving my home. I don't feel like I need some new, big, fancy house to be happy and organized-A sinful outlook I often had in the past. I love the home we have been blessed with. And this goes a long way in trying to create a peaceful, loving environment for your family to come home to. Now I don't really want to move-this is the home where our children are growing up, our first home. It's so much more than just a house. And it's no longer a burden, it's a blessing.

Reading this, it would seem that the change in the way I see my home is purely materialistic...getting rid of things, adding things. But that is not the whole truth. I have spent time in prayer about this very issue. Because to be honest, by the end of the school year last year, this house seemed like it was falling apart. I seemed like I was falling apart.

I am determined not to let that happen again. But I needed a different attitude. Not just a change in mental attitude but a change in my heart. I needed to realize that all the chores, duties, and necessary tasks that I do around here are blessings to my family. At times, I still remind myself of this. But it helps to think of tasks as blessings rather than chores. Everytime I clean the toilet, my family will be blessed by that. Everytime Cecil doesn't have to rummage through the dryer or baskets of unfolded clothes to find what he needs, he is blessed by that. Now, they may not see it that way, the kids certainly won't. And that's okay. Although, Alyssa did tell me the other day, "Mom, I appreciate all of your hard work". That was nice to hear, not so much for the fact that I was thanked and appreciated, but because one day, she will be a wife and mom running a household and she is learning and observing at a young age that it often takes hard work. And that, too, is part of my job.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Just Too Young

Everyday this week I have been bringing my older girls to horse camp at a local ranch. On the way there everyday I have passed a Knights of Columbus building that is holding a "Teen Dance" in the near future. On the sign the ages are 8-16. Eight years old!! That absolutely breaks my heart. My Alyssa is 8 years old and I cannot imagine her being at a dance where there are also 15-16 years olds. I wouldn't let her go to a dance at this age even if it were only 8 year olds, but the fact that 16 year olds are also included is crazy.
I mean, 8 years and 16 years is only an 8 year difference. But these kids are worlds apart! I know the KC charges for the kids to get in, so allowing such young kids to go is just another way to make a buck (I am not condoning their part in this, at all). But why would a parent allow their 3rd grader to attend such a function. The younger they are exposed to boy/girl interaction (dancing, flirting, touching), the younger it progresses into something more. Then their innocence slips away before they even know the value of it. And it is our responsibility as parents to protect them and prevent that from happening to the best of our ability. It very much saddens me. I know I am not going to do everything right, I just pray that I can make enough right decisions with my children to protect them from that sort of heartbreak.
What do you guys think about this?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Nervous Energy....It's Addictive!

Ever since I was younger, when I get nervous, angry or upset, I clean or organize. My parents say that if they wanted the house clean they would just make me mad or ground me. Cecil can tell now when I am stressed or upset about something because I go through the house purging, cleaning and organizing like a mad woman. I have to say that, while I don't like the stessed out feeling, I like the effects of it.

So, in the days leading up to the surgery I had a lot of nervous energy. I had a long list of thing that I had to get done before we left. Good thing Cecil stepped in and helped me prioritize or we still would not have left for the hospital. But I did get a few things accomplished that really needed to be done. And now that they are done, its a huge relief. Here are some before and after pictures that show the benefit of nervous energy.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

We Are Home!

Updating on the blog didn't work very well, because for some reason, I couldn't use my phone to blog. So I tried to use facebook a little.
We are home now. David did amazingly well. We are so proud of him. He had a couple rough days fighting fluid in his lungs. But other than that the surgery went absolutely as planned. He checked in on Friday, had his surgery, stayed in the PICU until Wed. when he moved to a regular room and then went home on Thurs. He is such a trooper and a good little patient.
We couldn't have asked for better doctors, nurses and staff at Ochsner. They were all wonderful, as they have been every time we have gone. By the time we were leaving, David was saying that the nurses were the "bad people". We, of course, told him they weren't and that they were people who love him and want to help him. It is so evident that the PICU staff love what they do. And I am so thankful for that.
I know that we had so many people praying for us and for David. Thank you all so much for that. Thank you to those who came to the hospital with us during the surgery. That meant so much to us and we know that you didn't have to come spend hours out of your day to sit in a waiting room with us, but you did. And we love you for that. It's funny how such trying and stressful times can also make you feel tremendously blessed at the same time.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

David's day started out really good yesterday. but around 9:30 his oxygen levels dropped to the 70s. He had a lot of fluid in his lungs. He was in too much pain to cough like he normally would so it just built up in there. An x-ray showed he also had a huge air pocket in his abdomen that was keeping his lungs from filling up all the way. They put him on a medication to loosen the stuff in his chest and put him on a good bit of oxygen. He was on breathing treatments pretty often.
By the time we left last night, they were trying to ween him off the oxygen slowly and he was starting to keep his oxygen level up where it should be. Hopefully he will be completely off by the time today is over.
Other than that little hiccup, he is doing really well. They told us that what happened yesterday has nothing to do with his heart or his heart functioning. It was strictly respiratory, which is not uncommon. He woke up a lot yesterday and was able to have a little juice and water. He is still on morphine for pain.
Throughout all this he still has his manners: I asked him if he wanted something yesterday and his response was "no 'tank' you". It was the cutest thing! He is also still saying yes ma'am and no ma'am. So Sweet!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Update on David

Thank you all for your prayers yesterday and in the days leading up to David's surgery. The surgery lasted right at 6 and a half hours. At 1:40 the nurse came out to tell us that he was all done and that everything went wonderfully. She said that there wasn't even the tinyiest bump along the way. We then got to go into the conference room to see the surgeon and he told us the same things and that they were trying to get him off the vent before he left the Operating Room(which is awesome for David's situation).
When we got to see him in the PICU he was, in fact, off the vent. He looked great. Doctors were coming in saying, in amazement, that he didn't even look like he had anything done to him. He is on morphine and another medication for pain. He didn't wake up much yesterday except, to mumble for his orange juice, bubbles, and his Daddy. We are hoping he gets to go to a regular room in the next couple of days.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

David's Journey Part III

When David was about 8 months, they decided it was time to do the second surgery, called a Bi-directional Glenn operation. They would take the Superior Vena Cava-the vein that runs from the top of you body to your heart-and attach it to his pulmonary artery. This time we would have to go the Houston to Texas Children's Hospital since there was no surgeon to perform the surgery at Ochsner.
His surgery was scheduled for July 3, 2007. We checked into the hospital at 2:00 on July 2 for pre-op stuff and stayed at the hospital that night. His surgery was at 7:00 am the next morning. My family came to Houston to be with us. We also had church family who drove all the way to Houston for the 6-hour long surgery.

After a long, exhausting wait, the doctor finally came to tell us that David did wonderfully, and that we could go see him. He looked really good and stayed sedated most of the day. By the next day, he was eating and drinking and even smiling a little. He moved to a regular room on July 5, and then just 4 days after his surgery, he was ready to go home! We could not have planned for things to go any better than they did.

We stayed in Houston for another week until his follow-up appointment, which was also great. Then we were able to go home.

Now, today, we are preparing to leave to go to the hospital for his 3rd and final surgery. Today we do pre-op, tomorrow is the surgery. We just pray that everything will go as well as the first two operations did. This surgery will be at Ochsner, so we get to stay closer to home. But David is older and I think it is going to be harder for him and for us. He doesn't really understand what is going to happen, but we do tell him that the doctor is going to fix his heart. And he's ok with that.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dishes, Dishes, and no More Dishes

I used to feel like I was always in the kitchen. Cooking and cleaning...I don't mind the cooking part, but I spent so much time cleaning in the kitchen, several times a day. Well, a few weeks ago, I decided to make a new house rule. Are you ready? Here it is:

No one is allowed to put anything in the kitchen sink. If you do put anything in the sink, you have to wash it by hand.

So simple, but yet so effective.
Of course, this requires some cooperation on my part as well. I make sure that I run the dishwasher everynight. And unload it before breakfast in the morning, so everybody can put their breakfast dishes in the dishwasher. After dinner, all I do is put my plate, fork and glass in the dishwasher along with the pots I cooked with. Everything else is done for me!

Would you believe that for about three weeks now my kitchen has been CLEAN! At first, Lylah Grace thought it was cool to have to wash dishes by hand but that got old quick. Now, to conquer their bedroom!

Friday, June 26, 2009

David's Journey: Part II

We checked into the hospital on October 4, 2006 for a c-section. We knew that David would go straight to the ICU, but we still were unsure of what to expect. The doctors couldn't really tell us how he would do after he was born. We also knew that within the next few days, our brand new baby boy would be undergoing a major open-heart surgery. I really was terrified, I didn't want to admit it then, but I can now.

His delivery went well, aside from the fact that it was a section and that TOTALLY freaked me out. I heard him cry and saw him for a second then they took him to evaluate him and warm him. They brought him back in and Cecil got to hold him for a second. I got to give him a kiss,

and they took him to the PICU. I didn't get to see him again until the next day, because I couldn't get out of bed. Cecil would go back and forth between my room and the PICU and see how he was doing. All the nurses and doctors kept saying how wonderful he was doing, his stats looked great, he hardly ever cried. He had IV's and central lines and spent most of his time under a little hood to keep his oxygen levels from getting too high.

The next 7 days were pretty uneventful, we couldn't stay in the ICU so we stayed a couple night at a friend-of-a-friend's condo in New Orleans, and a few nights at the hotel at Ochsner, so we could be close.

I finally got to hold him on October 8! On my birthday!! The nurses had no idea it was my birthday but it was such a special present. She said I could hold him for about 10 minutes then we would have to put him back under the hood. Cecil had just taken the bags down to the car, we were going to run home to get some more things, and the camera was in the bag. But even without a picture, I will never forget it.

The day came too fast, but I knew it had to be done. When he was only 1 week old he went in for his first heart surgery, called a BT shunt. They say your heart is about as big as your fist and I looked at his 7-day old fist and imagined how tiny his heart must be. It was just amazing that his doctor would be operating on it.

A couple days later, one of the nurses, Stephanie, had told us what to expect when he comes out of surgery. She said that he will probably be swollen, possibly so much that we wouldn't recognize him. He would be sedated and probably on a respirator. She even brought us to see another patient who had had the same operation a week before. She was still sedated and on a respirator. So we were prepared to see David, well, sort of. I don't know if you are ever really prepared to see your baby like that.

Throughout the surgery, we had family and church family with us and we waited anxiously trying to keep our minds occupied. Then the finally called us back and told us that David did beautifully and we could go wait at the elevator to see them bring him up. We saw him for just a second and got to give him a kiss. Then they took him to get him all hooked up in the PICU, so we waited a little longer.

When we finally got to go in, they had changed his room and we walked right by that room because the baby that was in there was crying and squirming and had his arm raised up, we knew that couldn't be David. But it was. He wasn't on a respirator or anything. They said he did so well they were able to take him off the vent before he left the OR. We were so relieved and thankful.

Within 3 days we left the PICU and stayed about 4 more days in a regular room then David got to go home for the first time. He never had any complications and progressed and developed as it nothing was wrong with him.
At about 8 months we started preparing for his second surgery.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Menu Planning

If there is one thing that saves us time and money around here, it is menu planning. I try to make a menu each week of what we will have that week, and do my grocery shopping based on the menu. It helps cut down on us eating out, which is awfully expensive for a family of 6. It keeps me on track and I don't wait until 4:30 to decide what is for dinner, only to realize that everything we could eat is still frozen and won't be defrosted in time for dinner.

I have recently started trying to make my menus based on what is on sale that week at the store. That has been really difficult in the past because I just didn't have time to do that much research. But I have over the past couple of weeks, come across some very helpful tips and sites on the web. I will share those in a later post.

Here is our menu for the week:

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Turkey/Cheese wraps
Dinner: Roast, Mashed potatoes, carrots

Breakfast: Pancakes
Lunch: BBQ Pork Sandwiches (made from Monday's roast)
Dinner: Pork Chops, Rice/Gravy, peas

Breakfast: Pancakes
Lunch: Cheese Quesadillas/Salsa
Dinner: Chicken Pot Pie, Salad

Breakfast: Cinnamon Toast
Lunch: Tuna Sandwiches, Apple Slices
Dinner: Spaghetti, Salad, Texas Toast

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: PB&J
Dinner: Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Salad or Carrots

Breakfast: Wafflewiches(sandwiches made of waffles with bacon, eggs, cheese, and syrup)
Lunch: Tuna Sandwiches, Apple Slices
Dinner: Leftovers

Breakfast: Cinnamon Toast
Lunch: Turkey/Cheese Melts
Dinner: Lasagne, Carrots

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Hobby?

I saw this fabric in the store and fell in love with it. I said to myself that would be such a cute dress...maybe I can make one. Now, I don't really sew, or at least I didn't. I did make my girls' comforters and curtains for their room. But that is just a lot of straight stitches. I was really surprised that I pulled this one off. I'm not really crazy about the pocket in the front, but I'm leaving it because I just love polka dots!
This was actually really easy and I have already bought more fabric and another pattern to make another.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

David's Journey

This summer, as most of you know, David will be going through his third open-heart surgery. His surgery is scheduled for July 10 at Ochsner. We will be using this blog to keep family and friends updated on David's status and recovery. But since we have made so many new friends since David's journey began, I wanted to give a little background on how we got to where we are today. And believe me, I know this path has been made a lot easier by so many prayers from people who love us.

When I was 5 months pregnant, Cecil and I went to see the Dr. hoping to find out whether we were having a boy or a girl. We both said it really didn't matter what our baby was, and said, like a lot of parents, "as long as he/she is healthy". As we sat anxiously in the ultrasound room with the tech, we watched her check all the anatomy and she told us that we would be having a little boy. We were both, of course, very happy. However, I felt like something else was going on. She kept going back to the heart and looking closely, as if she wasn't quite sure about something. She stopped and calmly said,"Ok, I am going to go get Dr. S and let him come take a look.

Ok...now I knew something was up and I told Cecil that something was wrong with the baby's heart. I had seen enough baby hearts on ultrasound to know that you see the little "cross" separating the four chambers. That wasn't there. Plus, Dr. S. doesn't come in to look at the ultrasound, normally.

So, he came in and scanned me and told us that he suspected that, in fact, there was something wrong with the heart. He immediately called Ochsner and got us an appointment with Dr. W., a pediatric cardiologist, that day.

We arrived at Ochsner and Dr. W. did a fetal echocardiogram. He was so patient and so nice. He was with us for well over an hour. He was able to tell us what was wrong with our baby and what would have to be done about it. It is just amazing the things they can see, even while the baby is in utero.

He told us that what our baby had was very serious and would require surgery. David was diagnosed with a single-ventricular heart, transposition of the great arteries and pulmonary atresia. This essentially means that he only had one pump, whereas everyone else has 2, the aorta and pulmonary artery are switched, and his pulmonary valve did not develop. We were also told that this(these) conditions would require three surgeries; that his heart could not be repaired, but that it can be fixed so that he could survive; and that I would not lose this baby while in utero, since I was essentially doing all the work for his little body, it would be after he was born that we would have to be concerned.

With that, we left and went home and tried our best to explain all this to our family, when we didn't fully understand it ourselves. We saw another Dr. in Baton Rouge who also diagnosed David with Situs Inversus (all of his organs are flip-flopped or a mirror image of where they should be). The next four months were a whirlwind, and yet it seemed like a very long four months. I spent many hours in the Dr.'s office being monitored and having non-stress tests. We saw specialists in New Orleans often throughout the pregnancy. David would be delivered at Ochsner by one of the high-risk specialists there. We made plans to deliver David on October 4, 2006, by C-section since he was breech. So we anxiously and very nervously awaited his arrival....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What's in a name?

Some of you may be wondering what the name of my blog means...thought I would elaborate just a little.

I am a working mom of four children, needless to say I get very busy, like most all of us do at times. Let me say first off that I love my job as a third grade teacher. And the environment in which I teach is really wonderful.
However, while my job is great and I plan on being there for a while, my heart is still at home with my babies. I still want to do the things that I feel like I could better do, if I was at home. I try hard to make the most of every free moment we have, which sometimes isn't many. I strive to have a smoothly run home which encompasses many different aspects-from establishing routines, to organizing all our "stuff", to meal planning and working hard to cook for my family(I will be honest, during the school year we eat out far more than I care to admit), to doing the little things with the kids like making play-doh, or making them homemade goodies.

I know there are some out there who can pull off the job and all the "stay-at-home duties" without a cinch. I have to work at it. And I guess that is kind of what this blog is all about. I get asked countless times how I do everything I do. There are times when it gets really stressful, but I try to keep everything in perspective (my husband helps with this one). I don't know everything, in fact, I'm sure I don't know much at this early stage in my life as a mommy. But I hope to share a few things that work in our house---and things that don't. So stay in touch and leave a comment if you stop by, it will make my day.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Don't Miss the Story

David (2yrs) brought home a little bookmark made out of his precious little (but ever-growing) footprint with a cute little poem on the back side of it. It was meant to be hubby's Father's Day present. The little handprint and footprint artwork he brings home from preschool is so very special to me. I just love it...it's like a piece of him immortalized in his project.

Cecil gave me a long hug and David apparently wanted all the hugs for himself. He grabbed the ribbon that was tied to the footprint that Cecil was holding and tore it off, leaving a tear in his precious little foot. I got upset, asking Cecil why he let him tear it apart and resisted the urge to ask David why he had destroyed Daddy's present.

Cecil in his loving, patient, and calming way said, "'It's ok...now I have a story behind this present. I was loving my wife and David wanted our attention and tore the foot." That changed my focus immediately and I realized that the foot was still useful as a bookmark, but with an added memory tied to it where the ribbon had once been.

How many times do we miss the story behind the things that go wrong. There are so many times that I don't have my cool, level-headed husband there to help me see the memory that is being made, or more importantly, to help me shape the way the memory is made. It is a constant goal of mine to see things, my actions and reactions especially, the way my children see them and the way they will remember them.