Thursday, February 26

Love Story Part 3, 30 Hours of Hunger

My goodness... I really didn't think this love story would take so many parts. I'm pretty sure there is just one more to go after this one :) 

For now, here is Part 3. Click here & scroll down...


Your prayers would be appreciated this weekend. Stephen & I will be engaged in a homeless outreach Friday night & most of Saturday.  My dear mom has agreed to take care of the kiddos for us (Maddy will be with her dad). I'm really excited about this opportunity. The congregation has been so generous with their donations of jackets, blanket, new socks etc. It's going to be a great event & I can't wait to see how God moves! 

Tuesday, February 24

Mom's Tuesday Tips

What are your mommy tips? 

tip: (noun) a useful hint or idea; a basic, practical fact

money saving, time saving, family bonding... whatever you have found to be a blessing as a mom & want to pass along to others. I invite you to share...

Here is my tip for the week.... 
  • My evenings have gotten pretty crazy lately now that I'm not getting off of work til 6p. Bed time has been pushed back a little. Olivia's new bed time is 8:30 & Maddy's is 9. There's just no way to get everything done that needs to get done before then. Therefore bath time during the week needs to be a fairly quick process. Bubble baths are lots of fun, but who has time to scrub bubbles out of hair when there are snuggles to be had & books to be read? To make bath time quick, but still fun I use Sesame Street Fizzy Tub Colors. Olivia thinks they are the best thing since sliced bread... seriously. Picking out which color is always such a fun time. The container comes with red, yellow & blue tablets. But colors can be mixed to make new ones... R&Y= Orange, Y&B= Green and B&R= Purple. The combos are a good way to teach her about colors too. I've tried other bath tablets, but these are the most vibrant (you can't tell that in the pic below... I think the flash dulled the color a bit). Wal-mart has them cheaper than Amazon, but they are not available online through Wal-mart. 
I hear there is a fancy little widget called Mr. Linky that makes these blog carnivals a lot easier to share links. Unfortunately, I do not have access to Mr. Linky (yet). SO, if you decide to share a tip please either leave your tip in the comments or if you decide to host a Mom's Tuesday Tips on your blog please leave your post link in the comments so everyone can benefit from your tips as well. Thanks! 

Sunday, February 22

Love Story Part 2, LOST, Prayer Requests

Ok, I just posted My Love Story Part 2. Click here & scroll down to Part 2. 

Yay...  Amanda & Mandy. You guys knew it. The line from my favorite show is LOST.  I'm so glad to know I have fellow LOST fans as blog buds. I'm pretty sure it's the best show ever created. I must confess I've even attended LOST parties. Sick I know. I just love it. BTW... I must brag a bit... Time travel was one of my original theories! Beyond that I'm... LOST! (Ha, get it....

Prayer requests: 
  1. My pastor & a team from our congregation is headed to Suriname, a South American country. They are headed out today for a salvation/healing crusade. Suriname is a Hindu, Muslim, Christian nation. Please pray for many salvations & healings... as well as protection for our team. 
  2. 30 hours of Hunger is this weekend. Please pray for us as we finalize the details... 
BTW... Gary, the man in the video got a job & a place to stay since that video was created. Thank you Jesus! 

Thursday, February 19

Fun Food Time & A Contest

There was quite a bit of excitement in the Sanders house this evening :) Reece ate baby food tonight for the first time. Of course it turned into a huge family event... it doesn't take much people. How exciting! Take a peek & please ignore the naked 5 year old... you never know what you're going to get around here, seriously... 


I don't watch very much TV. We don't even have cable (I know... unheard of, right!) We all love to veg in front of the TV & do NOTHING. If we had cable we'd get nothing done & there would be no family time... so we did what we felt best for us & had it turned off. So instead we watch movies sometimes & catch a few of our favorite shows online. There are 3 shows that Stephen & I faithfully catch online each week (the girls also watch a few of their favs online too). 

My all time favorite show had a great episode this week. I'm going to give you one line & I want to see if there is anyone who knows what show it is (Amanda T. I know you're going to get it). It was the absolute best line of the night. I cracked up...

"We're not going to Guam, are we?" 

no prizes if you win except the pure pleasure of being right... but who doesn't love great trivia?!?! 

Wednesday, February 18

1st Day @ the New Job

I should totally be sleeping! BUT I just finished my "homework" & wanted to blog quickly about my first day back to work. Please know that I was extremely tempted to break out the camera to take pictures of my new office so that I could include visuals in my post.... but I'm pretty sure that would have quickly thrown me into the office "weirdo" category... so I'll just tell you about it instead.... I had such a great day. I absolutely LOVE my new job. I have ZERO experience in the mortgage industry except for the fact that I have one. So today was filled with so much info... my brain isn't used to working this hard :)! I feel like I am now educated on just how bad the mortgage crisis is in the states. It's a very sad situation. I am excited to be in the business of helping people though. It seems like the loan modification industry is about to explode because people who need help with their mortgages are faced with only 2 options at this point: foreclosure or loan modification. 

So anyway, as I said before God really hooked me up on this one. I was only out of work for 2 weeks & this job is truly better than expected. That's just how He rolls :) Thank you guys for praying for me! I really appreciate my blog buds & my sweet friends. Obviously going into a new situation is always a bit scary. I had a few of my friends & my sweet hubby send me text messages today just to let me know they were thinking about me & loved me. Isn't that sweet? Those texts really made my day. Thanks guys... you're the best. 

Boy o boy... here we go.. back to the working world. My day started with no breakfast (totally forgot to eat this morning) I got to mom's house to drop Reece off & she asked me what I ate for breakfast... I guess my blank stare gave her the hint that I didn't... so she fixed me an egg sandwich... awww. Thanks mom! Stephen had an evening meeting scheduled today so I had to make last minute arrangements for the oldest girls to get picked up from school on time. Then my dear hubby ended up going to the wrong house to pick the baby up (We have 2 sitters during the week for Reece... my mom & another sweet lady we know from church alternate) I forgot to tell him she was at moms today & not at the other sitter, I would have loved to see her face when he knocked on the door.... oh & then there was the lunch break spent in the back of my van w/ my battery operated pump. A mamas gotta do what a mammas gotta do. Back to the craziness. In some strange way I love all of the busyness (productive busyness makes me happy)... even in all the drama involved. I enjoy it. I just need to get into a good schedule. Schedules are vital to my sanity. My husband makes fun of me, but there has to be some sort of method to the madness. It will take me a bit, but I'll find my groove soon enough. 

So anyway, 1st day back= complete success 

Now I must get some sleep! I'll be on the phone tomorrow afternoon with clients. ALREADY?!?! Hopefully I'll be feeling just as successful tomorrow night!

Tuesday, February 17

Mom's Tuesday Tips

What are your mommy tips? 

tip: (noun) a useful hint or idea; a basic, practical fact

money saving, time saving, family bonding... whatever you have found to be a blessing as a mom & want to pass along to others. I invite you to share...

Here is my tip for the week.... 
  • Have a favorite clothing store? Be sure to sign up for their emails & mailing list! Most stores will keep you updated on sales & send coupons often. Also, if you know which store you are headed to on your next shopping trip be sure to Google search coupons before you head out... chances are you'll find something you could use. One of my favorite stores to get my work clothes at is New York & Company. This weekend I got a $35 dress shirt, two $18 basic 1/4 length sleeve V-necks, & a pair of $17 dressy flip flops for $50 dollars! I knew they were having a President's Day sale on the basic shirts (buy one get one 1/2 off). I Googled coupons before I left & found a "spend $75, get $30 off coupon". I saved $39 dollars. Not too bad! I also received a coupon when I checked out to spend $30 & get $15 off on my next visit. I'll be heading back for accessories soon :) 
I hear there is a fancy little widget called Mr. Linky that makes these blog carnivals a lot easier to share links. Unfortunately, I do not have access to Mr. Linky (yet). SO, if you decide to share a tip please either leave your tip in the comments or if you decide to host a Mom's Tuesday Tips on your blog please leave your post link in the comments so everyone can benefit from your tips as well. Thanks! 

PS- hi ho, hi ho... it's off to work I go :)

Saturday, February 14

My Love Story

Inspired by my new Canadian blog bud JD, I decided to record My Love Story. She shared hers and it made me think about my own Love Story. Actually, I've had a few really good Love Stories in my life (I will explain more... probably NOT what you're thinking). My first Love Story begins the summer of 1995...

I was 14 years old & packing my bags for Myrtle Beach. 

My best friend's family invited me on their summer vacation. We were headed down there to meet up with more of her family.... which included her cousin & his best friend. (they were around the same age as us... you know where this is going) The idea was that I would "hook up" with her cousin Chad & my friend would "hook up" with her cousin's friend. I cringe at the thought of this, considering Maddy is only 4 years away from 14! (That's OK... she knows better. She is very well aware of the fact that she is not allowed to even start thinking about dating until she's about 37 or so :)....) Anyway, I remember how excited I was to be going to the beach... especially Myrtle Beach. Rumor had it that they had "real" palm trees down there. Honestly, the last thing on my mind were the boys. However, as we pulled into the hotel & saw my friend's family unloading their van I saw Chad & his friend... Stephen. I stared at Stephen & thought to myself... "Please be Chad, Please be Chad, Please be Chad"... O'well. 

I really don't remember too much about that week other than Stephen. 

 We were quite the hot topic of the week. We got into trouble for disappearing down the beach one night. We decided to go on a romantic walk as we held hands & got our feet wet in the waves. (again I cringe, as I think of my girls) Oh man, did we get fussed at! We both ended up on the balconies of our hotel room sulking. Fortunately for us the rooms were right next to each other... so, there we were again... alone together. Then there was the night that all of the adults left to go out to dinner. They left the 4 of us alone at the hotel... what in the heck were they thinking?!?! There were a few love pecks that evening (cringing). 

 I'm almost positive that by the time we were ready to go home our friend's parents were truly regretting bringing us along. Little did they know it was all a part of God's plan! 

Call it puppy love, adolescent infatuation... I don't know. I do know that I met my future husband that week... when I think back on that time I don't think of myself being 14. It was so real to me & meant to be. Crazy I know. (Maddy is SO not reading this post for a long time!

I remember the day we left the beach... I was staring out of the back window of the truck, crying my eyes out as we drove away. I was so sad to be leaving Stephen. I'm sure the entire time my friend's parents were siting up front rolling their eyes, looking forward to the moment they dropped me off at home & wondering how they were going to explain my heartbroken condition to my parents. 
Once we got home it was back to the regular routine. I had a full time job that summer, working for a doctors office, filing medical records all day. I was rich for a 14 year old, so I had plenty of money for my new collection.... pre-paid phone cards. Oh my, did we talk! We drove our parents crazy. I know I snuck a lot of the phone calls on my end. When I did get caught I'd get the "you're way too young for this type of foolishness to be going on" talk. I remember several times Stephen's mom picking up another phone in the house.. "Stephen has to get off of the phone now, bye Kasie". We would talk for hours.. about nothing. Oh, we were so in love. :) We kept this up for several months... then for whatever reason our conversations faded. Our parent's nagging probably wore us down. We ended up losing touch for about 4 years. 

In that four years (short version): 
I met Madison's dad when I was 16, had Maddy when I was 17, graduated high school when she was 3 weeks old, realized that it wasn't going to work out with him & we separated. All the while I thought about Stephen often. It was just something about him that I loved & missed so much. 

So, one day... out of the blue... I decided to call him... 

To be continued.... 

Part 2 

Ok, THE call. I must confess that I can not recollect anything about this phone call. I had to ask Stephen for details & he didn't have much. He did remember where he was when I called... standing in his kitchen. I thought it was sweet that he remembered that much. What's important is I made the call & the sparks came flying back! 

I do remember the butterflies & giggles... it was just like time had not lapsed at all. This was now summer of 1999. I was 18 & Stephen was 20... We were both living at home (I had moved back home). I, of course, had Maddy. About a month after our initial chat I decided I wanted to go to Kentucky to see him. So my girlfirend & I hit the road for a 375 mile road trip. For the sake of time I will steer clear of the eastern KY cracks (which include banjos, yard sales on the side of the interstate & one stop light towns). Let's just say it was culture shock. (I joke, but I must say.. I've grown to love the peacefulness & beauty of his home town.) I remember how nervous I was as we drew closer & closer. 

My girlfriend & I checked into a hotel right outside of his town. Shortly after we got there I was greeted with roses & that handsome boy who hadn't changed too much from our first adventure in Myrtle Beach. It was just like old times. We had a great time together. I got to meet his parents & a few of his good friends. I only stayed for the weekend & this time it was my girlfriend rolling her eyes as we left & headed back home. I remember crying so hard. I was so confused. I just knew he was the one.... but so far away from home. 

I couldn't take the distance much longer, so not too long after that trip I headed back. This time with my girlfriend & Madison. Madison was about 1 1/2 years old. Stephen was so good with her from the get go. He was a natural. Maddy fell in love with him. 
He came to visit me once too in that time period. Then in November (about 4 months after that initial conversation) I visited on my own. He planned a romantic getaway at a nearby state park. We were in the middle of dinner & he said he left his wallet in the room & had to go get it. After dinner was over we headed back to the room. When we got there I noticed a little trinket box on the table... it had a little boy on his knees proposing to a little girl. I thought to myself... there is no way this is happening. When I opened the box he got down on his knee & said something very sweet ( I asked Stephen if he could remember what he said to me & his response was "something awesome, I'm sure"... He doesn't have a clue.) I couldn't remember either but I do know I said yes. So there you have it.... after lots of phone conversations & a few actual visits in person we were engaged. 

He moved to Richmond that December the day after Christmas (6 months after that initial conversation). Shortly after that we got our own place & started planning a wedding. We also started partying quite a bit. Drinking was our favorite past time. Drugs slowly crept into our lives as well. One drug led to another, which led to another & that's what our life became... Having a "good time" with whatever felt good at the time. 

August 11, 2001 (I was 20 & he was 22) we were married. I absolutely loved my wedding. Madison was our flower girl. Our pianist played "you are my sunshine" as she came down the isle. It was very sweet. 

After our luau reception Stephen & I headed to Cancun Mexico for a 1 1/2 week honeymoon. We had a great time. 

When we got home it was more partying. The events of September 11th marked our 1 month anniversary. September 11th 2001, you remember what happened. We were all glued to the TV, afraid to open our mail because we didn't want to die of anthrax poisoning. We'd tense up every time a loud plane would fly overhead. What a spiritual experience that was for all of us. Everyone rushed into the churches & held their candle light services. Not me, I was so confused, however I did start questioning my purpose & my life more than I ever had before. It was a very sobering experience. I remember always thinking, even before 9/11, that there was something pretty major out there for me. Something that I was missing… almost like a hole that needed to be filled inside of me. I didn't understand it. I called it depression & filled it with drugs & alcohol. If I could just always feel as good as I did when I was high then life would be just fine!

Well the partying, drinking & drugs just got more & more out of control. It became who we were. That's just what we did… I'm pretty sure no-one really knew how bad it had gotten for us. Of course, we thought everything was perfectly under control! HA, well that following December I ended up leaving Stephen. I thought there were bigger & better things out there & I ruined our marriage after only 4 months, it was over. 

Stephen moved in with his friends and Maddy & I got a teeny tiny apartment right outside of Richmond. 

My job was about the only stable thing going for me. It's a good thing, because now I was a single mom living on my own. There was this guy that I worked with named Howard. What a great guy. We both worked as bill collectors on the same team & even though he was about 15 years older than me & we had nothing in common he was my best bud at work. He'd sit & listen to some of my weekend stories & he'd just be really sweet & talk about his 2 boys & their adventures. Then one day, out of the blue he started telling me about this church over on the other side of town. I guess my foul mouth & party stories made him think I needed something more in my life… a higher influence, a touch of righteousness, a little bit of goodness. Whatever, I'd just nod politely. Then Easter rolled around that following spring & I thought… you know, maybe I should take Maddy to church for Easter. So I did.

This was the beginning of my second love story...

To Be Continued.... 

Part 3
I got lost on the way to church that morning. I took the wrong exit off of the highway. Man was I mad! After driving around for about 20 minutes I decided to U turn it & go the other way… Oh my Goodness, is that seriously a church? Where is the steeple? I drove up & parked. This place is huge! I pulled Madison out of the car, fluffed her dress & straightened her hair, took her by the hand & walked slowly inside. Oh man, everyone was so nice. Everyone was smiling, shaking my hand, being helpful. What a crock! This place is so commercial; I am going to hate this. Why did I listen to Howard? They don't even have pews here. What church doesn't have pews? And where is the hymnal at, how am I supposed to sing without the hymnal. Oh well, there was no turning back at this point.

As the service started, I began to feel something I'd never felt before. People were singing to God, they were holding their hands in the air worshipping. What a sweet presence there in that big sanctuary, a presence that I had never before felt in my life. Whatever this is… whatever these people have going here, I need more of it. Boy did I have a lot questions for Howard! I returned to the church
 the following week. I don't remember much of what Pastor talked about, but I do remember him giving the invitation… Are there any here today who need a special touch from God? Is there anyone here today who has never asked Jesus Christ to be there personal Lord and Savior? If so, please come forward. My body took control... my mind didn't have any say in the matter. There was no time to think, just react. Yes Pastor, that's me. I need it, I want it… everything you've mentioned, I need it in my life. So I took the walk… to the altar, in front of all of those people. Pastor led me & the others that joined me that morning, in a simple prayer; A prayer that has changed my life dramatically.

I remember shortly after I made the decision to be a Christian a really good friend of mine asked me something like… so what's the difference? What's the point, I know God. She couldn't understand what the whole new thing was. Why was I all of a sudden so different? I really couldn't give her an answer, I didn't understand myself. How was I supposed to put in words what God had done for me? How was I supposed to tell her about the darkness that had been replaced with joy. a true joy, a joy that I had never felt before? How was I supposed to tell her about the suicidal thoughts, the self-destroying horrible thoughts that were no longer there? How was I supposed to tell her that I now had this hope for the future, a reason to live & be happy with just living? A new purpose, a freedom like I had never sensed before. No longer was I held captive to the fear & worry that had me entangled. I couldn't explain to her these things; all of these new emotions & good feelings inside. It was a whirlwind; I couldn't really explain it myself. Could all this goodness be for real?

I now understand it. The Bible says… old things have passed away & all things become new. My Spirit had been awakened.

We were created by God. We were designed to be worshippers of God. We were designed by God for a special purpose. Only when we accept Christ as our Savior & receive what He did for us on the cross can we truly be happy.

He must increase as I decrease. What I've found is that He knows more about my true hearts desires than I do. Why wouldn't He... He created me & He is the lover of my soul, my sweet Lord, my best friend. Jesus is my everything… He saw past the wreck of a life I had created for myself & saw the little girl crying for help. Crying for help to get out of a living nightmare. He saw the real me, the me He created me to be… you couldn't pay me enough money in the world to go back to life before Christ. All of  sudden I had a REAL reason for living. I am madly in love my Savior! He delivered me from depression and addiction. All those things that were ruining my life. Unfortunately, my marriage was ruined... so I thought. 

Honestly, I didn't think too much about Stephen. I heard through the grapevine that he was even deeper into drugs. I prayed for him every now & then... but I knew after I had hurt him that there was no way he'd want anything to do with me. I became a Christian April 2002 and that October the Lord led me to get back on touch with Stephen. I called him out of the blue one Saturday night that October. I do remember this conversation. It was pretty awkward. Simple conversation... "how have you been"... "good, how about you"... type of thing. I told him I had some things I wanted to share with him & asked if I could come over for a visit. He reluctantly agreed. I went to the place that he was staying & I shared with him everything that God had done in my life. At this point Stephen's life was consumed with depression & drugs. He listened to what I had to say but w/o much reaction. It was an extremely weird visit. He had become a person that I didn't know anymore. God wouldn't let me give up though. He had me call and invite him to church... several times. Eventually he said something like "If you will leave me alone, I will go to church with you". So he did. He ended giving his life to Jesus that morning. He was set free from the depression & drugs that had him bound & miserable. He was working with a guy that had been sharing Jesus with him. Imagine his delight when Stephen told him that he had accepted Jesus as his Savior! Stephen was living in a bad place, so his friend invited him to stay with him for awhile. Stephen & I decided we were going to do it the right way this time. We acted as if we were never married. We lived apart for 3 months & a pastor friend of ours married us on January 31st, 2003 in the narthex of our church. 

To Be Continued....

I took a portion of "Part 3" from a blog that I wrote on Myspace a long time ago. Here is a video that I posted before & felt was appropriate to post here as well... 

Wow, it's been awhile. Let's see. Where were we.... Stephen & I were remarried and ready to start our brand new life together... again. 

When I met Jesus that previous spring Madison did too. She was learning in church about God's goodness & how we can pray to Him, ask Him for things, rely on Him to lead us and be there for us no matter what, etc. We would pray together before bedtime and just about every night she would ask God for a baby sister. Her faith was solid & she just knew that God was going to provide her with a baby sister. Stephen & I were not together... and there were no plans in sight for me to be with anyone. I was getting myself straight & enjoying getting to know my Lord. How was I supposed to break the news to her that there was no baby sister in sight any time soon? 

She prayed relentlessly & faithfully every night for her baby sister. 

After Stephen & I got back together we decided that we did in fact want another baby. We got pregnant 3 days after we were remarried. Could you imagine the excitement & glee when we broke the news to Madison?!?! 

We decided to name our new baby girl Olivia... before we even knew what it meant. 

After she was born we found out that her name means "olive branch" which represents "new beginnings". How appropriate? A new beginning is exactly what we had been blessed with. 

God is so faithful & we've decided that as a couple & as a family we are 100% committed to serving God. Our prayer is "lead us Lord, we'll go where you want us to go & do what you want us to do." We make mistakes & stumble along the way... we all do. But our promise to God is that we will serve Him all the days of our lives & then through eternity forever. 

Our life here is temporal. We are living for our eternity... we are living for our Heavenly Father. 

He's done way too much for us not too... & even if He hadn't we still would, just because He's God, our creator & because we've been created for a purpose. He has a divine purpose for our lives... a path that leads us closer & closer to Him... there is no where else we'd rather be. 

So really, this love story is an ongoing daily walk together with our Lord & Savior, creator of our universe & author of our lives. 

It's His story, really! My prayer is that others would see His love & light in us & fall madly in love with our God too. The one & only true God. 

Wednesday, February 11

I'm No Longer Unemployed!

I got the job!!! I am so excited about this position... apparently I had the job before I even got there. My friend is the call center director... little did I know.  There is still a question about what my actual schedule will be... I'm asking God for favor on this one! Either way I start on Tuesday! The company helps people who are struggling with their mortgages. They work as a 3rd party to mediate terms with the bank. They provide a good service to the public, so I'm happy about that. My position is an inbound customer service rep. I've worked in a call center before so I know what comes with the territory. The comic is a little joke, but I'm actually really excited about working with the public again! The pay is great & commission is involved too. I'm not sure about the benefits yet. In all the excitement I forgot to ask (I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that I was so nervous b/c I haven't been on a real interview in ages) Anyway, I'm working with the youth tonight at church & I'll see my friend. If I get the opportunity I'll ask him about the benefits. God gets all the glory for this one! I know I applied for every administrative/customer service positions in the city... this one just happened to fall in my lap & it's better than what I expected I'd get. Thank you Lord! 

Reece's Lovely Locks

Imagine my excitement when I realized there was finally enough hair for a bow. OK, it only stayed in long enough for us to take the picture... but very exciting nonetheless. Mandy, get ready... I'm going to be hitting your store soon!

Who says girls can't rock a mohawk... OK, maybe more like a limp baby spike, but how cute?...

Can you guess who started this one? 

and last but not least... the inevitable bald patch. As much as I tried, in vain, to prevent it, o'well... 

Late Breaking News...
  1. Reece rolled over twice yesterday... yay Reece 
  2. AND, drum roll please.... I have an interview today @ 2! I'll let you know how it goes. 

Tuesday, February 10

Mom's Tuesday Tips

What are your mommy tips? 

tip: (noun) a useful hint or idea; a basic, practical fact

money saving, time saving, family bonding... whatever you have found to be a blessing as a mom & want to pass along to others. I invite you to share...

Here are my tips for the week.... 
  • I talked to my Kroger meat man the other day while I was grocery shopping & asked him when they put their meats on sale. I don't know about you but I LOVE seeing that yellow & orange "Manager's Special" sticker! He said they mark their meats down EVERY morning b/c the "Manager Specials" have to be sold that day or tossed. They mark down as early as possible so they have all day to sell. So for the best meat prices & selection @ Kroger go early. That's for Kroger... I'm sure whatever store you shop at has some sort of system in place... becoming familiar with it may save you $$. 
  • Indoor fun for the kiddos... Mckmama posted a great blog about indoor fun. Check it out here. In addition to what she posted some of the other good suggestions in the comments I read were fort making, play-dough, color pictures to send to grandma, baking, read books, puzzles, body tracing on large sheets of butcher paper & then decorating, indoor skating on paper plates, put on skits, make roads out of masking tape all over the house & play w/ hot-wheels, make collages out of magazine pictures & playing games together on the computer. My ideas were: watching movies together, boards games, Hide & Seek and blasting the music while dancing around the house together. 
  • Valentines Day is Saturday. I love Valentines Day... especially helping the kids make their valentines for their classmates (this weeks indoor fun :)...) I will also make it a point to remind the kids what love really is. That is my final tip for you this week. Share with your kids what real love is... 
Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. 

It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated w/ pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its on rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it (it pays no attention to suffered wrong). 

It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. 

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything (without weakening). 

Love never fails! (never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end) 

(1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Amplified Version ) 

We can teach our kids to walk in love, reminding them that we all make mistakes... but helping them realize that the world would be such a better place if we all strived for this love walk? We can only do our part... our love walk is important, but the awesome thing for our kids to realize is that God is Love (1 John 4:8) I'm going to make sure my kids are reminded this Valentines Day that as much as I love them there is a Daddy in Heaven who absolutely adores them & loves them like no one else ever could!

PS- I've had a few dad's visit my blog lately. I hope you can forgive me for not including you in the title of this blog carnival. I must admit "Mom & Dad's Tuesday Tips" just doesn't sound as catchy :) However, I welcome you to join in if you'd wish! 

Monday, February 9

Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Here is what I have NOT been doing... 
  • Madison had a friend over Saturday night for a sleep over. There would be no way I would linger downstairs until they passed out to make sure there was no inappropriate "boy" chit chat going on & then go to bed feeling totally guilty because I didn't let them enjoy private girly time during their slumber party. Only a ridiculously overprotective mother would do something like that, Not Me!
  • I had Olivia's ears pierced when she was a baby. Unfortunately they got infected & the holes closed up. I chose to wait until she got older & decided on her own that she wanted to get them re-pierced. To my delight there has been ear-piercing talk going on in the house lately, but she has seemed too afraid. Saturday morning she woke up & said she was ready & really wanted them done. I would absolutely not get so excited that we would take a spontaneous trip to the mall to get her ears pierced. Even if we did, she would be way too scared once we got there, I'm sure. I would totally not try to coach her into it for about 20 minutes while the worker ladies were totally slammed with waiting customers to have Olivia ultimately refuse to get them done & decide last minute that age 6 sounded like a much better age to get them pierced.  No way, Not Me(Even if all of that happened, Olivia would most definitely not sport the marker dots on her ears at church on Sunday by asking all of her friends how they liked her new earrings- No way, not my daughter
  • There is no way I would buy my infant child this onsie... I mean really?!?! Not Me... totally inappropriate! 
  • There's no way I could forget to strap Reece into her bouncy seat during my shower the other day & get out to see this....
Most definitely not. That would be completely irresponsible! And to have a picture means I would have had to leave her like that to run around the house in a towel dripping wet to find the camera. So it's a good thing that there isn't one! No way I would do something like that... completely careless! Nope, Not Me

Friday, February 6

Resumes, Bilingual Babes & Clinic Deceit

Oh my... I've been updating my resume ALL day long. When I went to bed last night my intent was to wake up this morning & clean the entire house. (That would be the good wifey thing to do, right?... definitely not blog all day or spend hours just chatting with Reece while I walk "over" the clutter scattered through out the house) BUT when I woke up this morning I decided I needed a new resume. I know the news is portraying a bunch of doom & gloom. I refuse to let that discourage me. I am well qualified & there are tons of companies still hiring. So I was thinking that maybe my resume needed a facelift. I just finished & I must say, it looks so good. I sent it to Stephen for his "tweaking" pleasure. (he is really good at that sort of thing). He said it looks 1,000 times better & all he had to do was add a comma. See I told you I've been working ALL day on it. OK, maybe not all day... Linda came over for lunch. Then there is always the baby. My goodness does she love to be snuggled & hates it when my attention is on something else? But boys does she love Dora. I'm pretty sure there is something horribly wrong with letting your infant become best friends with Dora the Explorer.... so I'll justify it with my desire to see her be a multi-cultured bilingual lil tot. We have to start young right? This world is a diverse place. 

Then of course, like my focus wasn't already way off b/c of my future spanish speaking baby girl, I get a phone call from the school. Duhn, Duhn Duuuuhn (there's that fancy sound effect again). It was the receptionist calling to let me know that Madison had come in, right before a test, to let me know I had to come get her because she wasn't feeling well. Right before a test... REALLY?!?! Silly child, she doesn't realize that I used to be a clinic deceiving expert. That's right... I remember the days of sucking my bottom lip until it swelled up and then going to the nurse with an indescribable reaction to something... AGAIN! I even pulled the "thermometer under the light" trick a few times too... "Wow Kasie, 106... I'm surprised your still conscious". My mom was a softy though... she'd always come get me. Anyway, I chatted with Maddy & reminded her that she has plans tonight & a sleep-over planned for tomorrow night (pray for me people),  so if she was too sick for school then she was too sick for a social life this weekend because she really needed to rest so she'd feel better.  Then the most amazing thing happened... she was supernaturally healed, right there on the spot. I'm so glad we believe in miracles! Seriously though, we chatted for a bit & she did confess that she was having some test anxieties. I'm so glad she can be honest with me. We prayed & she felt better. I love my snookums. 

So anyway the resume looks great & good news... a friend that I work with in the youth ministry sent Stephen an email today... he thinks he can get me on board at his company & needed my resume. How convenient.. I just updated it! So I tweaked it a little bit more to gear it towards that position & just sent it over. How exciting! He mentioned an interview as early as Monday. 

Besides researching interview techniques this weekend, I have a full load planned. I'm going to hang out with the Young Adults tonight. We have a fellowship planned at a local restaurant. That means our date night will be tomorrow night. We're doing a family date night. The theatre that Madison goes to for drama classes is having a fundraiser tomorrow night. We're going to head over there for a night of karaoke & improv. Maddy wanted to invite a friend, so we're also doing a sleep-over. Now that she's healed and all this is still a go! 

Good times. 

Thursday, February 5

I'm not sure I'm ready for all of this!

My mom found the video of Olivia's birth the other day. The exciting thing about this is that the tape isn't just Olivia's birth... it also has her first year's footage on it. Of course we had to watch it over dinner tonight. :) It is ridiculous how much Reece & Olivia look alike as babies. Who's who?... 

(These pics are horrible. My scanner broke so it's come down to taking pictures of pictures. ARGH!)
It was so sweet seeing Olivia roll over, blow spit bubbles & kisses, crawl & even take her first steps.  It was neat to see Madison at Olivia's age too. Madison was in the room when I gave birth to Olivia. After she was born Madison was over at the warmer stroking Olivia's hair and she announced to the room... "When the baby is 5, I'll be 10!" I had a mushy mommy moment & all I could do was hold Liv as we watched the movie thinking... my girls are getting so big. 

The other day we were in the car & Madison said "mom, you're going to be so proud of me... I'm going to try out for the cheer leading squad at school." I WAS so proud... especially considering that lately her favorite sport is tackle football! I just thought about my sweet girl in ponytails with ribbon & a cute girly uniform... then all of a sudden my wonderful vision was shattered when I realized what this meant... MIDDLE SCHOOL. Holy cow, reality sunk in. My BABY is going to middle school next year. Then she went in for the kill... "mom, does this mean I can shave my legs now?" WHAT?!?! What happened to the days when blowing spit bubbles & waving bye bye was a big deal? I'm not sure I'm ready for all of this!

I think I am a little more prepared for Reece's next year... at least this is familiar territory. Isn't the 1st year so much fun (ya know besides the sleepless nights & all)? She's trying really hard to roll over & has finally discovered her hands... She's working on trying to grab things. Of course it all goes straight to her mouth. 

I have tried so hard to get video of her laughing, but as soon as she sees the camera she just stares at the "pretty shiny thing"... Stephen got some good footage tonight though & I wanted to share.... 

Tuesday, February 3

Mom's Tuesday Tips

This is my 50th blog... can somebody say YAY! My original intent was to have a nice place to come & keep track of memories for the kids as well as keep the grandparents & long distance family & friends in the loop. That is still the goal. However, in the process I have learned that this blogging thing is like therapy for me. It's my new hobby :) OK, maybe more that a mere hobby. Stephen's new nickname for me is "blogaholic". Sure the kids will have a place to come when they get older & reminisce (I seriously need to figure out how to back this thing up on my hard-drive) BUT I've also traveled through blog world & realized that there are so many other opportunities that come along with this blogging thing. So w/o further ado...

In honor of my decision to go back to work full time AND go back to school I introduce...

I need your help people. Seriously! My life is about to get pretty darn CrAzY. I know I have family & friends that read this & I have my faithful followers (all 6 of you ;)...) in blog world. But this non-domesticated "but trying really hard to become domesticated" mom needs your help. 

ANY mom , whether she is a working mom or a stay at home mom (which by the way, as far as I'm concerned is still considered a "working" mom), has her hands full & can use as much help as she can get. I know this blog carnival won't be as flashy & fun as most... I just hope that it will not only be helpful to me, but to you as well.

So what are your mommy tips? 

tip: (noun) a useful hint or idea; a basic, practical fact

money saving, time saving, family bonding... whatever you have found to be a blessing as a mom & want to pass along to others. I invite you to share...

Here goes... my 1st 

  • We have instituted family date night. On Friday night SOMEONE goes out on a date. We take turns taking the older girls out (me & Maddy/ Stephen & Liv  & visa versa) It's nice to spend individual time with the girls... BUT we will also have mommy/daddy date nights so the girls can see that we love to spend time together as a couple as well. When you have a busy house full it can be easy not give as much individual time as you want... so having the schedule guarantees it. Its also a nice way to celebrate our family. The dates don't have to be expensive either. Here are some free date night ideas: Mickey Ds playland, reading books at Barnes & Noble, game night, take a walk & talk, bike riding, go to the mall & window shop,  crafts... what I've found is that it really doesn't matter what we do they just LOVE the alone time w/ us! 
  • To save $ I make a WEEKLY menu before I go grocery shopping. The weekly menu helps b/c I can check the grocery sales & make my menu around the sales. I can also look at the weeks activities & plan around them.
  • Here's a good "2 day dinner" idea:
Roast (a 3 pound roast works for us) 

Day 1: Roast w/ carrots & potatoes (slower cooker.. LOVE it!) 
Day 2: Roast tacos (shred the left over roast & mix w/ a little taco seasoning. Heat CORN tortilla in a little olive oil on the stovetop, eat the roast on the warm tortillas w/ fresh chopped cilantro, lime juice (roll the lime on the counter hard w/ your hand before you slice- somehow makes it juicier), salsa, shredded cheese & sour cream... YUMMY- This is a Linda specialty) 
  • Subscribe to a fun online magazine... Oh, I know just the one, My friend Carmen just so happens to have one (how convenient) .... Check out Fresh Wind Here
  • When things seem to get really hectic in the house & you really need a break just pull out the duct tape, tape the kids up & lock them in the closet. It works every time!... Um, OK, unfortunately that is considered child abuse... never-mind, scratch that last one 
OK, your turn! Watcha got? 

PS- despite all this blogging, Mom's Tuesday Tips logo making, lebanese food eating, clean sweep video editing & sock folding I've been doing lately ... I seriously am still looking for a job! Please say a little prayer... I know the right one is out there for me, daggonit! 

Monday, February 2

Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Here is what I have not been doing. Please join in the denial with me. It will be fun!
  • We lost our brush for about a week. There is no way I would let the girls use a foot brush in it's place. No Not Me, that would be totally disgusting! 
  • There is no way I am married to the crazy man in this video. Nope Not ME... 

(BTW... there is no way that that footage is from the Clean Sweep video that was promised & never posted. I would never do such a thing. Not ME.) 
  • This most certainly is not my pile of socks that need to be folded. I would never let it mound up this high. Not Me, that would be ridiculous
  • There would be no way that I just took my Christmas tree down over the weekend. I am not one of THOSE people who keep their Christmas decorations up through the entire month of January... nope Not Me
Oh, that was fun! Now it's your turn! 

Sunday, February 1

6 years!

Our 6th wedding anniversary was yesterday. We had a great day!

It involved a few of these....

A little bit of this (lebanese food, mmm mmm good)....

and a little reminiscing...

It was no trip to Snowshoe...

but it was a very special day & I am reminded  how fortunate I am to be married to my best friend. I am so in love with my husband & I thank God often for restoring our marriage & making it better than I ever imagined it would/could be. Here's to 6 years & many many more to come!

Oh & just for kicks....

a picture of Stephen that was taken in 1995 in Myrtle Beach the week we met. Aww, ain't he cute?