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I’m so thankful I married a man who (very often!) gets down on the floor to play with our kids. He is a great daddy!



As promised, here are our keepers. 🙂







Recently, I had the privilege of helping to take a friend’s senior pictures.  We met out at a sculpture park that I had never heard of and I absolutely had a blast!  I LOVE photography and I’m constantly snapping pics of the kids, or sunsets, or whatever.  But I decided it was high time to take some “official school pics” of my kids.  The last time I officially dressed Belle up, did her hair and got some keeper photos was when she was 18 months old.  Wow.

We scheduled it for a Saturday night at dusk.  Jason ended up not being able to come, but I plowed ahead anyway since I really wanted to get this done.  Plus, Kodak was running a special for 200 prints for $1.99 shipped to my door! What a perfect time to order 170 prints (yes, I ordered that many from just this photo shoot!) for the kids to hand out to all their friends & to give to all the relatives!  With my husband’s approval, I told the kids if they could smile and obey momma for a while so I could take their pictures, well, we might just find our way to the Starbucks drive through for a kid’s hot chocolate.   Wowza- did that do the trick!  We got to the sculpture park and Johnny ran over into the grass, sat down and folded his hands and gave me the biggest and cheesiest smile ever!  Good start to the night. 🙂

Here are a few of our outtakes for your enjoyment!

He made it about 4 photos into our shoot before the goofiness starting eeking outa him!

I think her face started to hurt from smiling, but she really wanted this pose with the flower since it was

one that I tried with Sam (who’s senior pics I took).

“Hold on mom, I have something in my toe.”

“Why are we all laying in the grass???”

“And then I went to the store and bough a LION!”

Is it just me or does my son look like a baby Yoda? 🙂

“I like to smile without my teeth.”

“Can we have some hot chocolate yet?”

And yes, I will post our keepers soon!

I’m guest posting today over at my good buddy’s blog-  A Wife Loved Like the Church and showing off my made scrapbooking skilz my hopes of preserving some of my kid’s memories!

Do you have any favorite one-liners from your two year old???  🙂

I’m a “giver” by nature.  It is what I love to do.  I love to give to my friends, family and anyone really (yes, I’m the crazy lady in the store who will walk up to someone and tell them about a deal somewhere else in the store-ha!).

I was reminded today (as mom’s will be celebrated this weekend) that I believe one of the greatest things we as moms can give to our kids is to pray for them.  Yes, the healthy eating, money managing, personal hygiene, and green living skills are good, but praying for them? Man!! I really want to do that more.  I want to affect their lives for now and for eternity and I can do that through seeking the Father on their behalf.  I found a similar list a few months ago that I have been aiming to pray through on a daily basis for my kids (yes, I have a long way to go to say this is a “habit” my life).  But as I was typing this list for church this week, I realized how cool it would be to pass along to anyone else who would like specific ways to pray for their kids.  I just pray for whatever number on the list matches with what date of the month it is.  For example, today, May 6th, I would pray that they would glorify God and rejoice always.

Would you like to join me in creating this prayer habit for our kids?  I am confident that their lives will forever be changed!

Biblical Prayers for Children
“Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace.” -Psalm 144:12

1) That God would draw them to Himself at an early age (John3:3, 6:44, Psalms 78:5-7)

2) For them to obey and respect authority (Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:1)

3) For their moral purity (Psalm 119:9, Proverbs 5:7-23, 1 Thessalonians 4:3, 2 Timothy 2:22)
4) That they would be protected from the deceits and schemes of Satan (Psalm 91, Ephesians 6:10-11)
5) That they would know and love God’s Word (Psalm 119:9-11, 2 Timothy 2:15, 1 Peter 2:2)
6) That they would glorify God in whatever health or life circumstances He gives them, rejoicing always (Philippians 4:4, 1 Thessalonians 5:18)
7) For them to be wise in the wisdom of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7, 2:1-7)
8 ) That they would have and be a special friend (David & Jonathan: 1 Samuel 20)
9) That they would endure hardship in fellowship with Christ (Colossians 1:24, 2 Thessalonians 3:13, 2 Timothy 4:5, Hebrews 10:36, 12:7)
10) That their yes would be a yes and their no would mean no (Mathew 5:37, Psalm 15:4)
11) That they would be equally yoked with a godly spouse (1 Corinthians 7:32-35, 2 Corinthians 6:14-20)

12) That they would always be humble, desiring for God to have the glory (John3:30, James 4:10, 1 Peter 5:5-7)

13) That their life would be used to promote God’s kingdom (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 20:24)

14) That they would understand grace and so live out the law of Christ (Titus 2:11, James 4:6, 1 Peter 1:13)

15) That my girl(s) would have a quiet and gentle spirit and my boy(s) would be the spiritual leader of his family (1 Peter 3:4, Ephesians 5:23, 1 Timothy 3:4)

16) That they hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness (Matthew 5:6, Proverbs 20:11)

17) For them to identify with femaleness/maleness and be protected from gender confusion (Romans 1:25-28)

18) That they hate evil, avoid it and get caught when they disobey (Psalm 34:11-14, Proverbs 4:14, Provers 15:3)

19) For them to be hard workers (Romans 12:11, Colossians 1:28-29, 3:17, 3:23-24)

20) That they would think Biblically (John 8:31-32, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Romans12:1-2)

21) For them to be an encourager to others (Ephesians 4:15,29, Philippians 2:1-2, Hebrews 10:24)

22) That they would love the church (Ephesians 4:14-16, 1 Peter 1:22)

23) For them to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16, Colossians 4:5-6)

24) That they be secure in who God has made them to be (Psalm 139:13-16, Romans 8:1, Ephesians 1:3-6)

25) That they know they are deeply loved (Psalm 103, Lamentations 3:22, Titus 2:4)

26) That they love the Lord their God with all their heart (Matthew 22: 37-39

27) That they love others as they love themselves (Matthew 22:37-39)

28) That they would have honesty with the Lord, themselves and others (1John 1:1-9, Psalm 15:2)

29) That they be faithful stewards of their God-given talents and their money (Luke 16:10, 1 Timothy 6:6-10, Psalm 112:5, Proverbs 11:24-25)

30) For them to live by an eternal perspective (Acts 20:24, Romans 12:1-2, Philippians 2:20, Colossians 3:1-2, Hebrews 11:13)

31) That they would be men and women of prayer (Colossians 4:2, James 5:16, Acts 2:42)

HA! I had a hard time finding wall to wall space in the room to take the measurements because the entire perimeter of the room is full!  I had to measure up to the dresser and then add the measurement of the width of the dresser to get my final numbers!

Tis true.  And while technically all of our kids shared the same room in our rental house, we had a 3rd room available as our “overflow” room.  However, since we are staying at my parent’s now, there are only 2 bedrooms available for us to use. That means all that extra bedding, another dresser and all the cloth diapering is now happening in their bedroom as well.  It is a tight fit, but I’m impressed at how we have eaked out every square inch of space in that room to make it work.  Check it.

Here are the custom bunk beds my husband designed and built earlier this week for their room.  If you notice right down at the bottom of the picture the bottom bed is several inches off the floor giving me extra space to store their small totes of toys.  Woot!  And thankfully the closet is quite roomy and already had the organization in place.  I only bought the hanging shelves for the diapers.

Here we have the cloth diapering station next to the crib. Also notice the pack-n-play that is ready at a moment’s notice for the 1 am wake up calls that have happened the last few nights.  We take the little man and put him in the laundry room to cry it out so he does not wake up his brother and sister. 🙂

Now that we have had several days here I feel like this room is functioning like a well oiled machine.  The only thing I miss is our glider rocker that I used each night to feed Kade.  Now I just get up and bring him in our room for his too often night time snacks. 🙂

Yep, here we are all laced up and ready to go.

A couple of years ago (yes, you read that correctly) a friend of ours, Mike, gave us some free admission and skate rental passes for the Coralridge Ice Arena.  I was super pumped because every year on my birthday when I was a kid, I just wanted to go ice skating. 🙂  I was thrilled that I might be able to get a few hrs of skating in for free!  I put them in my wallet and …..promtly forgot about them.  About a year ago, I found them again and go so excited!  But then realized they had expired in December of ’09.  Sad day!  I went to the ice arena and asked to speak with a manager and asked if I could still use them since they were only a few months expired.  He said that was fine.  I could not go skating that day, but decided it would be one day very soon.  A few weeks after, I found out I was pregnant… yep, pretty sure ice skating +  morning sickness/being pregnant was not going to be a good combo.  Once again, ice skating was put down low on the “to-do list”.

We had our little man at the end of 2010- which puts me with ice skating passes that are OVER 1 year expired!  I decided that since I really wanted to be able to take the kids skating, I would once again go ask a manager if they would accept my passes.  Much to my surprise and delight- he said yes!  He even crossed out the expiration date and wrote his intials on the passes so I would not have any trouble handing them to a cashier at some point.  We quickly found a date on the calendar that worked with our schedule and when the ice arena had open skating! Yesterday was the day!  I was able to take both Belle and Johnny skating for FREE! Thank you Mike for the passes!

I was reminded once again yesterday to ALWAYS ask for a deal!  You never know when they will say YES!

This guy is for sure my big talker.  The moment we hit the ice, his feet were going every which way direction except forward.  If I had not had a hold of his hands, he would not have made more than 2 seconds.  However, the entire time he was telling me where we should go, how he could do it by himself and that he was a big kid.  I seriously was laughing most of the time I had him out on the ice because of his comments about “how good he was”. 🙂  But for 95% of the time, the above picture was how we were skating.  He just sort of hung there with his feet a good foot in front of him. I was bent over at my waist trying to let his feet stay on the ice but keep him upright as well.  I made it three laps with him and my lower back was done. 🙂  But he was a trooper, loved every minute of it and would have kept going if ol’ mom could have kept up.

And of course, my lil’ lady and I getting ready to head out.  I was not sure what she was going to think skating.  She tends to get quite emotional when things get hard or she is overwhelmed… I know, she follows closely in her mother’s footsteps.  *Sigh*

But we made it on the ice with only 1 minor meltdown and no falls!  By our fourth and final lap she was actually letting go of the wall at times (still holding onto my hand though) and balancing along side of me.  Again, I think if I could have kept going, she would have loved to do a few more laps.  Maybe next time I will do some lower back exercises to be ready! 🙂

And our littlest man? He and daddy had some bonding time together along with whatever kid was “resting” while they took turns going out on the ice with mom.

And my favortist part of yesterday?  We had the camera along so I decided to take some pics of the kids at the play place at the mall. I was busy taking pictures of the kids when some lady walked over and said “Would you like a picture with all of you?”


We gathered everyone together and tried to get some smiles.  It did not work until I said “We are going to say ICE SKATING!” That got giggles and smiles outa the older two.  Kade-man?  We need to work on “on command” smiles. 😉  But I seriously love this picture of all of us- in fact I think it is the first one of our entire group since we are a family of 5!

Yeah for family days!

We have all heard of what is happening in Japan right now.  It is heart wrenching.  When I see pictures or videos, I want to turn away because it is easier to just not think about it.  But that is not what my heart wants to do.  I want to be there, to love on someone, to give them a hug or a clean glass of water or cry with them.  While that is not an option for me right now, there are two things that I can do.



Jason and I were talking this weekend and I mentioned what he was thinking we should do to help the people of Japan.  We decided we would give some money.  I was thinking a certain number.  When I asked my husband how much he thought we should give, he more than doubled the original number in my head.   I winced for a half of a second (remember, I’m a frugalista and get excited about $.50 coupons!), I realized he was right.  We have made it a priority of our marriage to be generous whenever we can. This crisis in Japan is a big deal.  These people need help, now.  And God is good all the time, he has blessed us beyond what we deserve (especially recently when he allowed Jason to keep his job and work remote for Beisser) and has asked us to give with a cheerful heart.

“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” – Proverbs 11:25

So yesterday during nap time, I was able to make our donation.  I literally checked “Japan” off of my list of to-dos yesterday.

But then this morning during our morning quiet time I felt God tugging at my heart that I needed to get the kids involved.  They had no idea that we (as a family) had even given money to help.  Since generosity is a very important character trait that Jason and I really want our kid’s to grasp, I knew what I needed to do.

During Kade’s morning nap, I gathered Belle and Johnny around the computer and we watched a short video of what was happening with the tsunami in Japan.  I kept it short, but made sure they knew what was going on.  Then we googled some pictures of the earthquake and we talked about how people had lost their homes and some of them had no food or clothes.  And how people from all over the world were showing up in Japan to help people.  I told them that yesterday mommy and daddy were able to give some of our money to help people over there.  Then came the part that I was not sure how they would react.  I asked them if they would give some of their money to help.

Let me set the stage here, the kids have been saving and saving and SAVING all of their money for a trampoline.  Like the 12′ kind.  It has been fun to see how far they have come in the last 2 years since we started putting all their coins and birthday/Christmas money in this fund.  They have done a great job!  And while Jason and I plan to put money towards the purchase as well, we really wanted to teach them about saving.  In fact, I was gearing up for a “How to teach your kids to save!” post in the very near future.  While I’m all about saving, I’m also all about being generous with those resources God has so graciously blessed us with.  Anyhow, just a week or two ago, we had taken their penny jar to the bank to cash it in and put that cash in the savings account.  (It helps that their aunts, uncles and grandparents all know they are saving for this trampoline, so they regularly get pocket change when we have vistors!)  So, we cashed that in so their piggy bank is sitting empty on their dresser.  Just this last weekend we visited Jason’s parents and they had quite a little stash of change for the kids to put towards their trampline fund.  They were pretty excited to put that money in their jar. So that is what we are working with here…. money they had just received… I knew this was going to be close to their (mostly Belle’s!) heart.

At first Belle’s eyes got all watery and she said “I don’t want to give ALL our money (see above) away!”  I decided to asked her a hard question.  If she was somewhere and only had her shirt and pants left and had no food or water- would she hope and pray that someone would be very generous with her?  (Yes, I realize this is pretty deep for a 5 year old, but she was tracking with me, so we went ahead). She said yes.  I was able to share concepts of these verses with her:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”- Matthew 6:19

“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”- 2 Corinthians 9:7

And I asked her again (and Johnny, but he was more interested in looking at the pictures on the computer 😉 ) if she would give her money that Grandma and Grandpa had generously given to her to help someone over in Japan.  Much to my surprise, she said yes!  I asked if we should give all of their coins (I do not plan to ask for “all” of their money each time we give to something, but I was asking this time and reminding her that we could trust God to take care of our needs and ask Him to help us continue to be able to save for the trampoline in the future) and that is what they decided to do.  Here they are counting up what they had to give:

We counted everything and they had $6.52 to give!  I told them we would take it to the bank to deposit the coins and then we could tell the computer how to give the money to Japan.  (Hey, explaining online donations to a 2 and 5 year old is hard!) 😉

I’m so proud of Belle and her ability to trust God, her parents and her heart to help some other kids somewhere.  Little does she know that we don’t need her and Johnny to save up any more money for the trampoline.  We are quite pleased with how much they have contribuited.  And hopefully with a few more savings from Jason and I over these next few months, we are hoping (don’t tell the kids!) that we can make that purchase this summer for them.  Super exciting on all fronts.

I’m am praying that through our prayers and us leading by example that our kids will grow in their character of giving generously with cheerful hearts.



These were our Valentines we gave the whole fam…. 🙂

And… while I’m at it, here are a few more fav’s of my littlest Valentine from this last week. 🙂

Nothin’ like that toothless grin to make this momma’s heart go pitter-patter! 🙂

Photo Credit

I’m not sure if it is the impending blizzard or just the fact that it is February and I have two little kids with oodles and gobs of energy with me all day every day.  But I’m running out of ideas of things for them to do.  In fact, we are down to “build with duplos” or “read the library books….again.”  Thankfully I’m learning that the number of books we check out needs to increase during the winter so we have a little more variety. 🙂  I have let Belle and Johnny go out and play in the snow a few times by themselves in the backyard- but those times are few and far between since they are not quite old enough for that yet.  Perhaps next year they will be ready and be able to handle snow in the face without a major meltdown in the backyard. 😉

Anyhow, I happened upon this site today and was inspired with some new ideas for the kids.  I especially liked the dry bean and the “bring the pool” inside ideas.  Belle and Johnny both LOVE their squirt bottles and I never thought to put down a towel or two and let them go to town in the kitchen squirting into some bowls.  Perfect!  I now know what our afternoon is going to look like.  I also intend to try some of that homemade play dough soon- the stuff we have is all dried out and crumbly!

You have any tried and true ideas of how to pass the time indoors with little ones?  Remember anything from when you were a kid?