Summer Fun...

Thursday, May 30, 2013
I remember one summer my mom was working so I ran a "summer camp" for my sister.  I have to laugh because I should have known right then and there I was destined to teach.  I planned each day's activities and lunch.  I even remember being super organized - I don't forget ANY thing (right Raquel and Scott?).  (Side note - I also had a monthly organizer in high school so I wouldn't repeat an outfit - true story, ha!  Okay I digress....)

I love summer but we generally have NO set schedule like we do during the school year.  The only constant we have is my bible study on Tuesday mornings but even that is more relaxed.  I will still work out (see yesterday's post) but other than that we are free and flexible...SO I have been pinteresting some fun summer activities to do with little ones.  If I don't print it out and post it, I won't think of them and our days will be full of more TV and randomness than I would care to admit.  My goal is to cross all the do-able ones (not planning on #5 or 55) off the list by the time Solon goes to school in the fall.  Maybe I will even post about them...

Here is the list I found...

You can find it in original form HERE

And here is one more...

Find the original post HERE

Okay so I am off to print and post them on the fridge, we will keep you posted on our summer adventures!  What are you planning this summer?

Why I work out?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Random post. maybe.

After my post about our weekly/daily schedule, I got to thinking I never really explained WHY I worked out.  I know most people work out for the health benefit and I do to, but working out is more than just 45 minutes  of cardio.

I have struggled my whole adolescent and adult life with depression.  It has perseverated itself in different ways but mostly with bulimia and anorexia and self-deprecating thoughts.  It has been 10 years since I last binge ate or force puked.  I have always felt there was a strong stigma associated with mental disorders, if that is what you wish to call them.  People who don't struggle in this area might say, "you should be able to just overcome it".   In my experience, doctors really don't know how to "cure" or "fix" it besides asking you to take some sort of medication or talk you through your feelings.  Now I am NO medical doctor, but I  have learned I know my body best. I have to be my own advocate.

The first way I started to overcome my "disorder" was to discover God's gracious love for me and develop a personal relationship with Him.  For so much of my life, I didn't love who God had made.  I hated what I saw in the mirror.  This effected every part of my life including relationships with friends and family.  In my journey with God, He has revealed to me His great love for me and that He made me in His image.  Who was I to destroy what He so delicately and lovingly strung together.  I was beautiful in His image.  Thank you Jesus for revealing that to me.

Psalm 139:13-16 

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

And with God's help, I have had a more clear ability to know what I need to be healthy....So back to the title of the post...why do I work out?  I have found that with my "stuff" that if I regularly workout, those good "endorphins" really help me to even out.  I always think of that  quote from "Legally Blonde" - "endorphins make you happy"!  Medicine didn't work for me (I am not opposed to it, it just didn't work).  SO I have found that if I work out 3-4 times a week that I am a better mom, wife and friend.

I was reminded just this spring when working out took a backseat, I was a mess.  I need that time.  I think as women we are inclined to think a little time to take care of YOU is not okay.  We judge each other too often (but that is another post).  I am so blessed that my husband knows I struggle in this way and knows a gym membership is more of a necessity than a luxury.  Working out is not about a number on the scale or necessarily a physical health goal.  Working out is an emotional boost and calms my soul.  I don't always want to do it but I know I need it.

Mental illness in this country is strongly overlooked and so little research is done when you have it.  Unlike other illnesses, I never had tests done to dig in and find the root cause.  Whether it be a hormone imbalance, chemical imbalance or something else.  I am not totally crunchy granola but if there is something I can do balance my mood naturally, I am all for it.  I am still learning how to overcome this condition but like Paul, God doesn't always take away our afflictions.  He calls us to use them for His glory so I hope by sharing a little piece of my story, I encourage someone else in their battle.

So there you have it, now when you see me in my gym will know why.

**Note I have nothing against medicine and I take vitamins in addition to working out and use the essential oil peace & calming as well as accupuncture.  I understand working out alone will not cure depression and I understand there are many different forms and they reveal themselves in many ways....remember this was just a self-confession - take it with a grain of salt ;)

Storm Season...

Saturday, May 25, 2013
We should have known when the weathermen on TV touted no tornadoes in 359 days that mother nature had something up her sleeve - how about 2 tornado warnings in 48 hours (and much worse to the south, we are praying for Oklahoma!).  We were at church for the 1st warning but thanks to modern technology and smart phones, we knew the funnel cloud was located in Grimes and had about 20 minutes until it hit our house.  We scurried home with about 5 minutes to spare before a downright nasty storm opened up...reports of rotation were reported within 1/2 mile of our house.  YIKES!  Then the next night, the storms popped out of nowhere, downstairs we went.  Solon thought it was a fun game but now anytime he hears any sort of alarm, he yells, "tornado!".
The only casualty was there was SO much rain in a short period of time it sheered back the sod in our next door neighbors yard and headed into our yard pulling back sod as it went with such force.  Scott thinks they could have graded it a little better and hopefully with the redo they will fix that!  Nothing that can't be fixed.  The rest of the yard was well-watered!
As I mentioned before since we live on a cornfield, we can watch it come for miles around us...and the horizon makes for some amazing sights.  The below picture was taken about 3 minutes before the tornado warning was issued - these clouds were turning in 2 directions....sure enough a funnel cloud was spotted about a mile east of us...
Not 30 minutes later, a rainbow appeared and the western horizon was clear...crazy spring weather!

Solon's Swimming Report...

Friday, May 24, 2013
We finished up our last session of swimming for the year.  I cannot believe he has been taking lessons since the beginning of September (Remember this Post).  But we survived and Solon thrived!  He has finally mastered all the skills in preschool (pike) level 1 and in the fall will be moving to Level 2.  He can float on his back, front, swim to the flags independently, and swim with a noodle from one end to the other.  His favorites remain diving for rings and jumping in (most of the time as a belly flop).  We will continue to work on turning his head to the side to breathe while swimming this summer.  We are so proud of his hard work.  His teacher called him a fish and he thought that was a funny thing to say.  But we explained that just like a fish loves to swim, so does he....and he totally agreed.  We have ourselves a FISH!

Sporting his goggles...and diving for rings video (he is so light and the pool is about 4.5 feet deep, his teacher has to help him a tad to get all the way to the bottom).

Solon and his teacher, Miss Kelly!  She was there from the beginning to the end of the year and we so appreciate her sticking with Solon in the beginning. We are so thankful for her faithful work with Solon this year!
We will be back to regular weekly swimming lessons in the fall (they don't offer them in the summer) and this time Solon will be an Eel....

and you might ask what Little Miss does during lessons...well look at this mischievous look...
She starts her mommy n'me lessons in June!

Preschool Open House...

Thursday, May 23, 2013
Hold on while I grab a hanky.... how is my baby boy old enough for school.  It feels like yesterday I found out I was pregnant and held him in my arms for the 1st time.  Oh how he stole my heart and made me a mom.  And now I have to release a little bit of him into the world and trust that God will protect him when I am not there.  Equal parts fear of will he know how to button his own shorts, wash his hands, say excuse me when he burps or toots and will he be a kind friend, polite student and will he be treated well by his peers and teacher.  I won't be there so I have to trust that God will keep a close eye on him!  He will always be my baby but he is getting so big and he is SO ready for this next chapter to begin.  I am cherishing these last few weeks with no school in our lives.  I have had almost 4 years and yet it vanished in a flash.  How.does.that.happen.  The quote, "the days may be long but the years go by fast" comes to mind.

So now that I made it sound like he was going to boarding school, my little buddy will only be gone for 2.5 hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Breathe Erin, breathe.

We went to his open house the other night and just like his mama did when she was little (payback mom), he ran the opposite way from the door upon arriving.  He was overwhelmed and nervous.  But just like his mama once we showed him his preschool classroom complete with toys, puzzles, books, animals, REAL fish in a fishtank, blocks, and a piano -- he was ready to come back for school the next day!  He doesn't start until September 6th so we have plenty of time to pick the perfect 1st day outfit and backpack (because you know me :).

And here is the picture evidence of our trip to school!  I know he will do great...and daddy and mommy sure are proud of our little guy!

On the way out - all smiles!  My boy 
(But Solon just a reminder to kiss me daily and I will too, because my baby forever you shall be)

Planting at the Port Farm...

Only in Iowa (or the midwest) can you live on a cornfield and not farm it yourself :).  We so enjoyed living next to a field in our last home.  Although, we were not looking for it in this home (it definitely wasn't on "the list").  The kiddos sure do love it!  This field is in the back as opposed to the side.  The upside is we have a whole lot of privacy (aka no blinds on the back of the house) and we can see the sun set on the horizon...who can say that?  We have some gorgeous sunsets too!  Someday it will be an addition to our development when the price is right (money talks) so until then we have beans as neighbors!  With this wacky spring weather, we waited a LONG time for the farmer to tend to it.  Just the other night (an hour prior to the treacherous storm) he tilled and planted it.  We enjoyed a front row seat!
Checking out the tiny soybean seeds...had to figure out what he planted of course!
and watching him go around the field...while Daddy explained the process. I do have to say I love exposing our kiddos to agriculture.  Memories I am sure they will keep!  Now we wait and watch the little beans grow!

Outdoor Fun...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Golly it seems that I have been lacking in the picture department lately - my apologies.  We have been enjoying the great outdoors now that spring has officially sprung.  My kiddos could be outside 24/7!  Here is a little mish mash of some of our outdoor antics...

Solon got a big boy bike and so the trike was handed down...Vera was determined to try it out!

Solon has been practicing daily on his new (garage sale find!) bike....
We also have enjoyed a few picnics and even met Daddy one day for lunch during the week...

We got grass FINALLY and have been watering it like crazy...Solon has been loving all the sprinkler and squishy, wet, muddy grass time!
Another favorite spot is the front porch rocking chair...they look like a little old married couple.  They love to share apples while rocking...
The other night we took a long bike ride around North Ankeny.  We stopped by to check out the local pool and they were excited to see it was filled and almost ready to open (countdown is on).  They can't wait to use the season passes we bought!
We are loving the fact that the trail system in North Ankeny connects lots of recreation areas within walking/biking distance.  We are trying new parks weekly.
We hope to get our own swing set up soon once the grass starts to take root!  We have had some down-right nasty storms (2 tornado warnings within 48 hours) so the yard is nice and watered BUT some of it washed away...all fixable and thankful to be safe!

Multitude Monday...

Monday, May 20, 2013
I have to admit, I have not been focusing on my blessings lately and have been kind of just in a crummy mood, you know the kind that comes around once a month...I throw myself a pity party for 1.  But God has placed the word "Thankfulness" on my heart lately.  It seems whenever I tell Solon to be thankful for what he HAS been given rather than focusing on what we does not have and EVERY.TIME I say that, I get a tug in my own heart...God is telling ME to be thankful for all that I have to.  I so often forget (like the Isrealites) how God has been merciful, faithful and bountiful in his love for me.  SO with that said, I hope I don't stop counting my blessings...and act out what I desire to see in my own kids.  After all, modeling is the one of the best forms of teaching...

945.  protection during a downright awful storm
946.  family bike rides and capping it off with a stop for frozen yogurt
947.  Date days as a family
948.  Time spent with friends (even if it was for a garage sale)
949.  good deals
950.  So many parks within walking/biking distance...
951.  Solon is becoming such a good swimmer, an important life skill
952.  Rocking Vera to sleep and cuddle time
953.  My kiddos' imagination and how well they play together (most of the time ;)
954.  Watching Solon learn to ride a big boy bike (still has training wheels)
955.  back-up sump pump installed (no more water worries)
956.  Good talks with the hubby
957.  recovering from nasty colds
958.  Hubby helping with kitchen duty this weekend - it was blissful (2 days no dishwasher duty)
959.  planning a ladies breakfast and making it special for them
960.  meeting new neighbors who are building that have kiddos our age - wahoo!
961.  summer weather and lots of time outside
962.  daily walks around the neighborhood
963.  baking with Solon
964.  storytime with the kiddos (they love to chat it up during this time)
965.getting the basement put back together
966.  Answered prayer for help with bible study in the fall

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Matthew 7:7

I am not one to ask for help and I feel like I let down God when I say "no" but it seems lately whenever I ask for help, God has a person ready to bear the load.  I am so thankful He knows my capacity and is ready to call in the reinforcements, I just have to be brave enough to ask! Thank you Lord for caring so much for little ol' me....I am humbled and grateful!

A day in the life of us...

Thursday, May 16, 2013
I have been seeing some posts fly around on blogs with this idea of what our day looks like...Ours is never quite the same but there are some similarities and I thought it would be fun to document so we can look back  in future years on what a day in our life looked like with 2 munchkins aged 1 and 3!

6:45 AM Scott's alarm goes off - he normally shuffles downstairs to do quiet time and I roll over for 10 more minutes of sleep.  If we put the kids to bed late the night before Vera will generally be talking or whining in her bed.  If she is up, I generally go get her or Scott does and one of us does our devotion time with her.  I spend about 5-10 minutes in devotions (right now I am doing "Jesus Calling" and I use the bible app on my phone to look up the correlating verses).

7:20AM Scott is generally showered and it is my turn...he takes one or both of the kiddos downstairs and starts breakfast.  Our kids are big cereal eaters JUST LIKE THEIR DAD.  This breakfast routine started when I still worked and had to be gone by 7:15 and it has just stuck, it is special daddy and kiddo time.  It gives me about 15 minutes to shower and get ready for the day...

7:40AM I go downstairs dressed but with wet hair to make Scott's lunch (normally leftovers) and make a pot of coffee and I take over breakfast duty while he finishes getting ready.

7:45AM-7:50AM Scott is out the door and I clean up breakfast and kiddos watch a little PBS (generally Cat in the Hat)

8AM - if it is a workout day (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday) I run up and get their clothes and do my hair/make-up while they are occupied and then get them dressed in the living room.  They like to get dressed downstairs - who knows how that started.

8:15AM - If it is a workout day we are out the door and on our way to the gym, on Tuesdays we are home until about 8:45 and Fridays is always different (the 2nd and 4th Friday of the month we leave home around 9:15 to go to MOPS).  We are go-to kind of people and so we always go someplace everyday, it may be weird to some people, but it works for us.

8:30AM - 9:15AM Mommy works out at the gym

9:30-11:00AM We may run errands, go to the grocery store (Monday) go to the library (Thursday), do swimming lessons (Wednesday) or go to MOPS (2nd and 4th Friday). The other days we go home and clean and play.

11:30AM The natives are restless for lunch so I either make PB & J, mac n'cheese, leftovers or some other hodge podge meal of the day!  Sometimes we have friends over for lunch, that is always equal parts crazy and fun.  We try to either meet daddy or he comes home for lunch 1-2 times a week.  Picnics are always fun in the summer too!

12:00PM Kiddos play while I clean up lunch, we read books, have dance parties, color (Vera loves to color), do whatever the day calls us too...

1PM Vera goes down for her nap

1:15-1:30PM Solon has mommy-Solon time, we either play games, watch a little tv (Clifford is on), or play cars, trains,  or do a craft.  It is different everyday and never planned ahead ;)

1:30-2PM Solon and mommy read together in his bed and have a little chat time

2PM-3:30PM Vera and Solon both rest.  Solon doesn't always take naps but he has special rest time/big boy only toys for that time (lincoln logs, legos, angry bird toys, books and lots of stuffed animals).  He remains quietly entertained.  I work on bible study stuff, clean, blog, read blogs, waste time on facebook, rest/nap, or cook etc.

3:30-4:30PM we play some more, I try to let them play independently while I do some laundry or whatever other chores we need done.  They do a nice job together.  On nice days we go to the park or play in the backyard - those are our favorite pastimes.  We also like to go on walks/Solon bike rides.

4:30-5PM I start dinner.  I do meal plan so whatever is on tap, I make! Sometimes the kiddos continue to play or if they have had enough of each other I let them watch a little TV (normally on netflix).  They generally watch 1 hour or less per day unless it is snowing for the 10th day in a row or they are sick ;).

5:15PMish Scott arrives home usually and he takes the kiddo and changes while I get dinner on the table

5:30PM we sit down to a family meal (these bring fond memories for both of us from our childhood so this time is special to us)

6PM I clean up while Daddy wears the kiddos out...and then I join them when I am done

7:15PM We start getting Vera ready for bed and do stories and prayers with her, she is in bed by 7:30PM.

8PM Solon heads up to bed and we do prayers and story time with him and he is in bed by 8:30PM.

8:30PM - 10PM we finish up stuff around the house, put our feet up, watch TV, chat and peruse the internet and try to not look like zombies before falling into bed around 10:30-11PM.

I am sure that was extremely interesting but it is kind of interesting to reflect back and know what other people's days are like.  We all have our own little routines, don't we.  Our weekends are always different but equal parts low key and go-go.  I am a go-to kind of body and Scott is more of a home-body so we balance each other out well, I think!

What does your day look like....

It's May Day...

This post is a tad late but I am still in the month of May so we are good since the holiday is titled "May Day"!    It is one of those holidays I love but totally don't remember until someone knocks on our door...luckily this year our 1st basket arrived in the morning so I had time to scurry to our pantry and dig up some "treats".  We actually had 1 bag of microwave popcorn, raisins, spring m&m's and some fruit leathers...We had enough to make family baskets for 5 families.  Solon and I whipped up some labels on my silhouette machine and made the baskets together.  He loves doing special projects while little sister is sleeping.  When she woke up, I taught him the phrase, "Ding dong ditch" and he caught on QUICK!  We had to drive to all of the places since we don't have any immediate neighbors yet (next year!!).  We even got ding dong ditched too which he thought was great....

I love doing this holiday with my kiddos because I have fond memories of hiding in bushes and running like crazy from house to house with my little baskets.  I am so glad people around here carry on this tradition, one to keep for sure!!!  We do write our names so people know the food is "safe" - keeping it 21st century here and we had to text a few so that they would check their door :)!

Happy May Day!

Multitude Wednesday...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Better late then never...while laying our sod they cut our internet connection...oops!  But we are fixed and now I can share my thankfulness....:)

924.  Survived the prep and colonoscopy with clear and good results - Praise God
925.  So many people texting and sharing they prayed for me -I am more than humbled
926.  Encouraging scripture (look up Philippians 4:13, Psalm 34:4)
927.  a patient hubby - I asked the same questions while in sedation about 100 times and I remember him being super sweet and kind
928.  Sweet nurses
929.  Hearing testimonies of God's work in the women of our bible study - WOW, He is doing amazing things!
930.  Wrapping up a great semester of teaching on the Fruit of the Spirit - a powerful study and loved working with my dear friend Mandey...
931.  A lunch date with the family at CJ's and sitting OUTSIDE
932.  New sod
933.  Solon wanting to be out 24/7 playing in said grass
934.  Beautiful weather
935.  Good nights sleep
936.  great mother's day
937.  sitting in the sun
938.  a back-up sump pump installed - no water in the basement issues
939.  New friends
940. prayers answered
941.  bare feet and shorts
942.  a made bed
943.  a hard working husband
944. 2 healthy happy kiddos :)

Next week I will be rounding out my 1000 blessings, I know I have repeated some and forgotten many more but God is so gracious with us, slow to anger, easily forgives and carefully challenges us.  Lately, He has really been tugging on my heat to mother more like Him.  Did you know the word "discipline" has the word "disciple" in it and that means to "train up" not punish.  It has really made me stop and think about how I "discipline" my children.  Am I saying "don't do as I do, do as I say" or am I living the life I want my children to model?  Ouch.  Would they call me gentle?  Do I apologize when I blow a gasket?  Do I tell them when I make a mistake?  Do I let them know I spend time with God alone?  The last few mornings I have had a kiddo with me as I finish my devotion, Solon even asked me to read it to him....I know I will never be perfect, that is impractical and impossible but I feel God nudging me to be a little more graceful, gentle and a little more purposeful in my role...I will get back to you on how that is going, it is going to require a whole lot more of Jesus and a whole lot less of me.  Until then tune in for one more week of formal gratitude and then who knows what will be next - "Teach me Tuesdays"?

A gentle word turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1

....but rather the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth to the Lord.
1 Peter 3:4

Mother's Day...

Saturday, May 11, 2013
Well who schedules a colonoscopy for Monday after Mother's day (this gal) and yes I am probably sharing too much but you know me, I am an open why am I sharing well the worst part (I have been told) about said procedure is the prep which begins tomorrow eating for the next 36 hours and then said laxatives begin later on in the day...oy vey!  SO, we celebrated early.  I am hoping everything goes "smoothly" and the results are good!  Your prayers are always appreciated because if you read this blog, you probably know, that I am a hypochondriac and have already come up with every worst case scenario DESPITE my blood work all coming back normal.  Due to some family history, the doctor is just covering her bases - I probably just stress poop to be perfectly honest (okay we have reached beyond TMI) but someone out there gets it...I will be sure to update you after the loopy drugs wear off...I dont' want to embarrass myself (oh wait too late...)

So now that we have established what I will be doing tomorrow let's get to the reason of the title of this post..."Mother's Day"...

I have to just give a few shout outs to some fabulous women in my life who have shaped me into the evolving mother I am today.  I am a work in progress but I strive to be better everyday for my kiddos!  I really am so very blessed to have Solon and Vera as my children.  God knew what He was doing when He gave me them.  I seriously don't know that I could express in written word the way I feel about them....celebrating motherhood helps ME to reflect on how blessed I am to get to be a mom!  I have always wanted to be and although it is the most challenging work of my life, it is the BEST and it has shot out of the park - exceeded my expectations.

I want to thank my mom.  There were times in my young life, I would critique her "lack of career" only to swallow pride pudding upon staying at home.  Thanks mom for being there everyday to wipe away our tears, listen to our stories, cheer us on, and more.  You taught me to have empathy for others, be polite, studious, thoughtful, caring and so much more.  And you are an excellent grandma to my munchkins - thank you!

Thanks to my mother-in-law Marty for raising an amazing son I am blessed to call my husband.  He is caring, humble, kind, polite and such a doting, loving father and husband.  Thanks for teaching him the way he should go!  You and I have really bonded over some things this year and I thank you for helping us when we were "homeless" and always willing to get your hands dirty including painting my kitchen cabinets.  I am blessed to learn from you!

 My amazing sister-in-law and Titus 2 Woman in my life.  If there is ever a question about parenting I generally call Raquel.  She has been there and done that and her kids are amazing!  She always lends a listening ear and is quick to tell me I am "normal" and this too shall pass.  She will pray with me and for me.  I really just think the world of her!  She is an ah-mazing woman of Christ and I just love being a part of her life!

My sweet friends - God has really blessed me with some amazing ladies to come along side me.  We encourage one another, pray for one another, laugh and cry (yep normally me crying) together.  Motherhood is not meant to be done in isolation and I am so thankful I have a support system I can turn to with the joys and trials of life.

So there you have it....Enjoy Mother's Day...I told Solon that on Mother's day, moms can have as many kisses and snuggles as they you know what I will be doing before the laxatives kick in (oh yeah had to finish with a bang)....

Her children arise and call her blessed

Proverbs 31:28

A few more random house updates...

Friday, May 10, 2013
Our house is still very much a work in progress...Scott laughs I will suddenly have an idea and get to work and then it will be another week or two before I decide on something else.  BUT I have time...and the weather is nice so besides chores, I haven't done much else since we have been so starved for sunshine...
Our house was finally painted.  The morning they came, I was SO nervous.  I had picked it out on a 1x1 paint sample and pinterest-ed to see what it looked like and hoped for the best.  I was wanting dark grey with high contrast white turned out just like I thought it would.  We went 2 shades darker on the front door for now...really wanted to do yellow but couldn't decide on a color and yellow is a hard one! And I really like the dark door with red accents on the porch!  We chose anonymous by SW for body color, urbane bronze for door color and shoji white for trim...
I finally put something in our foyer...I have a piece of art from Australia I need to get framed that will go on the wall...It is square so it will go nicely there.

In landscaping news, I asked our graders if they would move a monsterous walk to our "rock pit" aka landscaping beginning and they said YES!  I was so excited, I tipped the guy!  It is heavy, Scott and I rolled into the exact place and there she rests...I hate asking for things like that but the guy said "sure" right away and said if I ordered one of those from a landscaper it would be over $100 bucks which is crazy since they get them for FREE when they excavate the lots to point is Scott said the worst thing they could have said is NO and I could have run inside embarrassed ;).
I finally got some curtains hung in the office and for $14.99 a panel at Target I could NOT have made them for cheaper.  I wanted to do something color wise that tied into the rest of the down stairs but in a fun print and when I found these I went out of my comfort zone and so glad I did...the playroom and office has been awesome.  Everything has a place and the kiddos have space to play on the main creeps into the family room and then at the end of the day it all goes back away!

And our bedroom finally got the art and mirror hung...
I still need to get some pictures of Vera and Solon's room but when I remember they are generally napping...we are still in the planning stages of Solon's headboard but Vera's room is 99% done, you know there is always something to do...I am still stumped on artwork downstairs but I am waiting until the loveseat comes to rearrange and decide...

A Date at the Zoo...

Thursday, May 9, 2013
Before spring turned back to winter, we headed out to enjoy the weather and good friends.  We met our friends from Adel (a good meeting point)!  The boys and E had a great time bumming around together.  Solon still talks about all the fun they had.  We did the normal train and and carousel rides as well play at the large playset they had before our tummies started growling and we headed out for a fun picnic lunch.  Thanks to Karie for providing the leftovers and party favors!  We always have a blast together and say we can't wait so long to meet up again...
The boys being silly...

....and Vera chilling!

A Downtown Date with Nana and Papa...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Nana and Papa came for a visit for Nana's birthday so we had a fun day planned!  We headed downtown to the Science Center, we had never taken the kiddos before.  Although we think it is a tad overpriced, it was a fun morning out.  We went right when it opened on one of the 1st sunny Saturdays SO it wasn't swamped until right when we left.
They have a couple of different exhibits, the first one we stopped at was specifically for our kiddos age group.  They had a bubble area, market area and then all these neat ball activities...the kiddos had fun with this one.
Next up, we went to see Sue the T-Rex.  The "real" Sue is at the Field Museum in Chicago but this die cast travels the country and is in Des Moines until June.  She was very large and they had several little activities to do...
One of the kiddos' favorites was digging for fossils...

Our last stop was the exhibit below and by far this was the adults favorite...we only lost the kiddos twice (wink).  They had some really cool activities including the one below that Scott and his dad stayed at longer after the kiddos moved yonder...they were trying to get as much hydraulic power going as possible using dams, etc.
Another favorite I forgot to photograph was this huge ball wall that shot balls using different tubes and levers (this is where we lost the kiddos), all eyes were glued to the wall.  The kiddos loved it too, you had to try to get the balls through the different tubes and come out certain openings (poor explanation but really cool!).
Another fan favorite was make your own paper rocket and launch it.  This was a cool exhibit as well.  Ours was quite successful too...
After the science center we headed to the downtown sculptural park.  We had packed a yummy lunch and had a nice picnic.  There is just something about eating outside!  The kiddos loved it, who we are kidding, I think the adults did too :)!  After lunch we tried to fly kites but despite me running around like a mad woman, they never took flight.  It was just NOT a windy day.  After giving up that fact, I taught Solon how to roll down the big hills and we toured the sculptural garden while Vera passed out on Papa's shoulder.
It was a BEAUTIFUL way to spend a spring Saturday!  So thankful for the beautiful weather and great company.

Multitude Monday...

Monday, May 6, 2013
My heart is heavy...really heavy today.  Despite the beauty outside, my heart aches for a friend who is in pre-term labor.  No one should ever have to face what she is going through and yet we live in a fallen world with so much sadness.  My hope is eternal and although I don't always understand God's plan, I know He is faithful and loving.  After all, He watched His own son die for me...he knows our pain.  Jesus felt it on this Earth and as a loving father, I know He feels it with us now.  Whenever we face trials, there is always a promise in scripture to claim...these are the scriptures I am claiming today.

he Lord is close to the brokenhearted

    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18

 I think of it constantly, and my spirit is depressed.

Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing:
The Lord's unfailing love and mercy still continue,

 Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.
The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope.
The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him,

So it is best for us to wait in patience—to wait for him to save us—

Lamentations 3:20-26

And because of God's steadfast love and promise, We can rest in the eternal hope...His love never fails us....

With that I have so MUCH to be thankful for...

904.  The bible - the scriptures which promise and hope
905.  My Titus bible study - they are prayer warriors, I am so thankful to know them and be a part of a group that prays faithfully for one another (Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2)
906.  Our basement is cleaned and repairmen came promptly to fix whatever is going on with our faulty sump pump
907. Working as a team with my hubby to clean up the 2 inches of water (see above)
908.  great marriage study we are going through in our small group
909.  Wrapping up a great series on the Fruit of the Spirit and reflecting back on all God has revealed to me - I am a work in progress...
910.  Confronting in love - sometimes God calls us to reveal to others what they dare not see in themselves (but he cautions us to do it love, because at some point we will be the ones confronted) I stink at confrontation but He is helping me...
911.  The power of God that He can make it snow in May - and the return of sunshine today
912.  We finally remembered to put our trash out on the right day 
913.  Our house is painted and graded
914.  Laundry machines (families generate a LOAD of laundry ;)
915.  making cookies with my little man
916.  Vera playing duck, duck, goose by herself and cracking herself up
917.  garage sale deals and fun as a family looking for them
918.  Spending time as a family just laughing and being silly
919.  playing at the park
920.  hanging out with friends and praying together
921. a good workout (finally doing strength training again after taking time off with my neck)
922.  food on the table and family meals
923.  Solon's "Solon-isms" - kids say the darndest things!  (When I am a grown-up I am going to have gold in my teeth too! and when I am a grown-up I am going to play grown-up games like daddy...what's that game he plays all day long? yes I am going to play the game) **Note Scott rarely plays game but the game Solon is referring to is Settlers of Catan that we play when family is visiting, he thinks it looks fun with all the little pieces ;)

An Unexpected Rug..

Saturday, May 4, 2013
My mom came down for that mom-dot date and we went to Homemaker's planning to look - famous last words.  A loveseat and 2 rugs later we left!  So unlike me mind you...

But this is how I shop for my house, I have been looking for over a year for a reasonably-priced rug for the dining room.  Many that I liked were over $250.  You might say a good rug is worth that price BUT with 2 toddlers who constantly spill, I wanted to not feel guilty if it was ruined.  One I had been eyeing at Target went on sale for $125 but upon closer inspection little particles of food could have crept way in and been a PAIN to clean - so it did not come home with me.  It traveled in the cart for half the store while I debated though...typical me!  I am picky, I normally blame it on Scott, because he is not one to just go out and replace things if it still works but I have kind of gotten on that bandwagon too.  I want to love the things I bring into my home...SO...I looked and looked and looked.  I decided an indoor/outdoor rug would be the BEST solution because if it could weather the outdoors, surely 2 toddlers would fare well with it...The only problem is many places don't carry decorative indoor/outdoor rugs.  They are normally just one color with a border which is what we already had.  I wanted to add some color to an otherwise color-lacking space!
Dining room rug before...
...and now!

I got this 5.5x7.8 rug for $99.  SOLD!  I am one of those shopper that when I see it, generally I know.  AND I knew plus my mom and Scott also agreed...I wanted something less geometric and a little more floral...and I think this is a good cross.  And for $99, I don't have to be committed forever.  I got a matching rug for the front door since I have a real love for grey, navy blue and yellow right now!  Oh I  do heart navy...I am working that in too.  I was a tad worried about the curtains clashing but seems to be okay since there is so much plain-ness in that area!  And good news a few spills and a smushed blue something and it all came out.  Sounds like it will stand the test of time and the low pile makes it easy to vacuum daily! (yes daily, I really miss our old vacuum, her name was CY) 

We are inching closer to making this house our spill and clean-up at a time!

Updated Mantle...

Friday, May 3, 2013
So you know me, I am a perfectionist and so I will stew on something til I get it just right.  So when I styled the fireplace when we moved in and took this picture about a month ago, I will still not in love with what I had come up with.  We have not cut a hole in the wall yet to hide the wires, mostly because that TV is  monster and we were just so thankful to get it up there...the thought of pulling it back down was not appealing right now.  And I don't mind a design challenge of hiding said wires!
So here was my more "traditional" looking mantle before...
...and now!  
(Note that we watch a lot of cartoons around here - 10 points if you can name both cartoons!).  

I am not super into decorating for seasons besides Christmas but I thought a little spring hydrangea would perk us up on these snowy spring days!  Who knows what I will do this summer but luckily the waeather hasn't looked summery so my mantle can remain springy!  (you can double click to enlarge). Stay tuned for more house updates, Raquel mentioned I had been lacking in pictoral updates!  That is mostly because I have not.done.too.much!  But rug, entryway and Vera room updates to come soon!

It is snowing...

Thursday, May 2, 2013
Just wanted to document it on the blog so in 30 years I can say, "Wow, there was measurable snow on May 2nd".  Yep, we were in shorts 48 hours ago and now I have the fireplace going and watching the snow fly....

As a kid I always thought it would be fun to have like all the seasons combined, say 80 degrees one day followed by a snowy day....well today my wish came true and well....reality is not as expected.  I think God planned the 4 seasons just right and I am hoping spring returns soon, until then, I am searching for my boots and praying it doesn't pile up because we emptied the gas out of the snow blower last weekend (oh the irony!).

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