Tuesday, June 28, 2011

sub-ur-ban: a vehicle used to carry people or cargo

Today marked a major milestone in my life. We bought a vehicle today! It's sad to say, but I have never had to buy a vehicle before. I feel very fortunate and blessed that I have been surrounded by generous family. So here is the story...

I have been dragging my feet at the thought of purchasing a new vehicle. I have loved that we have had no car payments for a very long time, but "DD" (my 2000 Dodge Durango) is on it's way out. It has gotten to the point where I don't trust to drive it out of town. I have dreamed of owning a suburban, but every time we look it's always out of our price range. We have definitely out grown the Durango and Josh's truck.

We found a different Durango for sale and we're interested in buying it, but Josh did a little research and found out that the engine wasn't good for the year that it was made. He then decided to check out Alexandria Motors. Little did he know that he would find me a suburban; within our price range, plus all of the bells and whistles for the inside. I have a thing for moon roofs-- it'll probably be the closest thing I get to a convertible-- I love to feel the sun beat down on me as I drive off into the distance. I also dreamed of leather seats that are heated-- to help comfort my freezing body in the winter. Now since we are parents of two we really wanted a DVD player for longer road trips (ex. 8 hr road trip to Canada in July) and bucket seats with a third row bench for convenience and later on to strategically place the kids where they can fight the least amount. I thought a navigation system would be pretty awesome too, especially since I'm horrible with directions. This diamond in the rough has it all!

I was sad to say good-bye to "DD," it had been my wheels since Josh and I got married (almost 7 years!). I had worn it well. It provided me with transportation for numerous daycare outings and I grew to love the rust spots over the wheel wells. The rust soon became my trademark when friends were trying to identify which Durango was mine. However, I'm ready to start the next chapter with this vehicle. As I drove it tonight I suddenly felt like a 'real' mom. A van or a large SUV is such a mom vehicle. It enables us to haul all of our precious cargo around. I can't help but to give God all the credit on this awesome find. I have been praying about our next vehicle and he answered my prayer to a "T."

My husband is simply adorable! He has literally spent the entire night in the garage with our new buy. He has tested out almost every feature on the vehicle to make sure it works properly. He adjusted the tennis ball so I know where to stop when pulling into the garage. He made sure that there is enough room in the front to still open the fridge door and enough room in the back to throw garbage away. He saved my seat adjustment (and his too), tested the headphones to the DVD, made sure the CD player works, windshield wipers work (front and back) and so on and so on. I love that he is so detail oriented. I just get caught up in the moment and forget about the little stuff. He is such a great provider and protector.

Now that I have blogged about my new experience, it's official--We own a Suburban!

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Four Letter Word...

My son Logan has really grown to love baseball. This past winter he discovered the movie, "The Sandlot" after his dad brought it home. It was one of Josh's favorite movies growing up. This movie has been around for a long time. I hadn't watched it in years and didn't think twice about letting my three year old watch it. ( I remembered it was about a group of buddies that played baseball all summer and were afraid of the dog that lived behind the fence.) "The Sandlot" soon became his favorite movie. He loved the huge dog, the "Big Bambino," and all of the baseball action. On the weekends he watched it, on long road trips he watched it, while making dinner he watched and the list goes on.

After it was already too late, I became aware of some of the language that was used in the movie. A couple of times the phrase, "Oh S***!" was used and I think H***. I was not impressed. I didn't think it was a good idea for Logan to be watching a movie with that kind of language. Now, not to throw my hubby under the bus, but he didn't think it was a big deal. He really didn't believe that Logan would pick up on the words since he doesn't hear it at home. Well, this weekend that theory was proved incorrect.

On Sunday when I got home from being away since Friday, Josh brought to my attention that while Logan was watching "The Sandlot" he repeated the "Oh, S***!" phrase after hearing it on the screen. He immediately told him that he wasn't allowed to use that word and that if he or I heard it again there would be a harsher punishment.

This evening we were saying good-bye to some friends at the front door and I realized that Logan hadn't put our science experiment away, (we put water in a bag and recorded the water level, and then froze it to see if the level changed). The ice was starting to melt and leaking all over the table. I handed it to him and asked him to put it in the sink. As he took the bag from me, he quietly said, "Oh S***, that's cold!" At first, I didn't want to believe what I just heard come out of his mouth, but Josh had heard it too. My first reaction was to laugh (of course, not so he could see) and then realized that "The Sandlot" will have to be put away until my son knows better. After our friends left, we had a "teaching moment" and let him know that he won't be able to watch the movie anymore because of the phrase that he had learned. We told him that not even adults should say those words and that our words need to honor Jesus. He was really sad, and once again gave me those big brown puppy dog eyes. He apologized and followed up with some kisses and hugs.

There are a couple of lessons here: 1) Always pre-screen the "oldie, but goodie" movies before you let your 3 year old watch it. 2) Go with your mommy intuition and after hearing about naughty words on a movie, don't continue letting your child watch it. 3) Brace yourself for many more "teaching" moments to come!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

So WE Think We Can Dance...

It's another gloomy day in the fantastic state of Minnesota! Yesterday was the first official day of summer which was spent indoors do to the rain clouds hovering over our state. With all of the rain coming down it's put a damper in my running schedule. I have been so thankful that the past two days I have made it to classes at the YMCA. I have had to be very strategical about getting there. You see, my daycare parent's have until 5:20PM to pick up their little darlings. "Pick Up" is quite vague, it just means that the parent needs to be in my doorway by that time; not out of my house. I really enjoy talking with my parents about life, their kiddos, latest shopping deals, special plans for the weekend, etc. so I had to be careful not to get carried away in conversation. I made sure to be dressed in work out attire, have my purse all set, kids fed/changed and strapped in their seats by 5:15PM. Class starts at 5:35 and I live at least ten minutes away from the Y. God-willingly, I have been out the door each night at exactly 5:20PM.

Tonight it was just the little boys and me. Josh is at a golf event for Sertoma. When the hubby is away I have zero ambition to cook a meal (OK, lets just be honest, by the end of almost every day I have zero ambition to cook, at least when he's gone it's a legit excuse.) so Subway was sounding pre-t-t-y good. Logan got to decide which sub we'd be sharing; ham & cheese, toasted. He told me, "Me want a big one, me no share with you." We did share, but he still got a big one--a 6 in. When we got to the counter and turned the "tube" on, low and behold "So You Think You Can Dance" is on!! I heart dancing and I heart this show. During each performance Logan would jump off his stool and bust a move. He thinks he can dance! He has quite the moves. One minute he's a break dancer the next he's a ballerina. He asked if he could stay up just a little bit later to watch a little more dancing; of course I let him.

When it was time to put him to bed, we waltzed (literally) into his room and I ever so gracefully threw him on his bed. He then proceeded to tell me that we were getting married and that I had to dance with him...NOW! So we whirled and we twirled and then we twirled some more. We danced cheek to cheek and even had a little free style time. I tried to hum a tune so we at least had a beat and Logan even joined in. After two different dance's it was time to go to sleep. After our prayers (he prayed for his "little mom" tonight) and asked if I would lay with him for couple minutes. I can't say no to those big brown eyes. As I laid there watching him hide under the covers and telling me when to close my eyes, I took in the moment. I won't get to do this with my little boy forever and I'll never be able to turn back the hands of time. I want to seize as many moments as I can. I am SO thankful to the Lord that he has blessed with two amazing boys. They just melt my heart. I love that no matter what Logan does Shane thinks he is hysterical. Logan is Shane's world. I constantly catch him watching his brother and trying to be like him. Logan simply adores Shane and loves all of the positive reinforcement that he gets from Shane. I've been praying since I was pregnant with Shane that the two boys would just love each other. Thus far, my prayer has come true. There truly is nothing more fulfilling then being a mom. This is what I was created to do.

I challenge you to seize more moments in life. Life doesn't always have to be exactly by the rules. Let your kids stay up a few minutes past bedtime and dance with them, snuggle with them, laugh with them and tell them how much you love them and how much they mean to you.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I heart Saturday's!

This past Saturday felt like a dream--it was too good to be true!
I felt amazingly refreshed when my precious little boys woke us up at 7:15AM. Breakfast consisted of cake doughnuts with white frosting, scrambled eggs with cheese & fresh fruit--strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and bananas. (This combination was inspired by Kourtney & Adam, they eat this every Saturday.) I met my mother-in-law at the local Farmer's Market and purchased some "killer" monster cookies from Chrissy and grabbed a coffee at Caribou. My sister-in-law, Erika, and her two boys, Ben & Jake, joined us. (Logan did not want to come with, he wanted daddy time--"No girls allowed!") We ended up at Herberger's who was...you guessed it, having a sale and bought some amazing shoes/sandals. I have decided to turn over a new leaf. Instead of going for quantity, I am going to go for quality. I have way too many shoes (some still from high school) and it's time to weed some out.

When I got home I had lunch with my boys and then headed to the golf course. Josh and Logan golfed and I pushed Shane in the stroller. It was perfect weather--blue sky, sun shining and a slight wind to keep us cool. After we got the kids down for a nap, I headed out for a four mile run on County Road 85. I feel like I am on a vacation when hit it's pavement. The road runs along Lake Le Homme Dieu, beautiful trees dance over the road, dream homes line the shore, wildlife is abundant & the smell of lake lingers in the air. Motorcyclist, bicyclist, hot rods, walkers and runners occupy the road. Pandora on my iPhone makes for a great pace setter.

For dinner we tried a new recipe--grilled quesadillas with portobello mushrooms and pepper jack cheese with corn and avocado salad on the side. It was amazing! It was then time for our annual "Little Black Dress" party. I wore my scrunchy, sweet heart neckline dress. I decided to go a little more funky so I could wear my new Rocket Dog heels. The heel is wrapped in a twine and the rest of the shoe is a floral design in bold red, blue, black, yellow, green. We began at Kayla's house for some photos by Lake Carlos and then ventured to Sixth Avenue Wine & Ale. We did make a brief appearance at Bug-a-Boo in hopes for a dance, but instead we people watched.

All in all it was perfect. I was with some of my most favorite people, I got to enjoy the outdoors and put a pair of heels and a dress. I can't wait for many more simply amazing Saturday's!

Summer is now in session...

Today marks the first official week of "Summer Vacation!" I'm in full force with the daycare kids and am really excited for the next couple of months. This summer I have decided to do some themed weeks and also go through the "fruit of the spirt." On Tuesday and Wednseday's I will be having a helper and am really excited about having adult interaction throughout the day!

This week kicks off "All About Me" week and 'Love,' which is one of the fruits of the spirit. The kids were to fill out a questionnaire about themselves and bring a picture of their family and their favorite object in a bag attached with three clues so there friends can guess what it is. This will help them build confidence talking in front of the peers & let their peers learn a little bit more about them. My hubby and I built a three foot tree out of felt that will help the kids practice love (and the rest of the fruits of the spirit.) Any time I catch them showing love to someone they get to add a piece of fruit to the tree. Then at the end of the week they get to bring it home to show their parents.

This summer my school agers are having a "responsibility wheel." Each week they will be assigned a task (water flowers, help kids wash hands, etc) to do. I used the back of a paper plate divided it into four squares and will rotate their names each week on the wheel. Also, during nap time the school-agers will be journaling and going through a devotional. Since I have four (two boys & two girls) kids I am separating them. I am being that paranoid daycare provider that has thought about the worst case scenario. The girls will either get to watch a movie first or work on their chore, devotions, journal and reading. This will just give me peace of mind since I am not downstairs the whole time to supervise.

I also have implemented an incentive program for good behavior. Throughout the day the kids need to be Obedient, Kind/Loving, Truthful, Thankful/Cheerful & practice Giving/Sharing. If the preschoolers (2-5 years old) display these traits, at the end of the day they get to put a star under the appropriate box. Once all five boxes are filled they get to pick a prize out of the "Reward Box." My school-agers have to work as a group. I have a glass jar and each day they fulfill all of those qualities they get a scoop of popcorn, if they don't a scoop gets taken out. Once the jar is filled I will take them on a special outing--Casey's Amusement Park, Bowling, Movie, etc.

My other themed weeks will be the 5 Senses, Wacky World of Water, Camping, Community Service, Farm & Bugs. I am also going to squeeze in another tea party and possibly a field trip to the police and fire station. If you have any fun ideas for those themes let me know!

I am dreaming of many trips to the beach, picnic lunches in the park, water games in the back yard, nature walks, story hour at the library and watching the kiddos grow in the LORD. I feel so blessed to get to do what I do.

P.S. Picture frames & mirror are hung, I just need the photos to put in them. We already had to take down the curtains because the kids pulled the brackets out of the wall--tear, tear. That was most likely caused from them pulling on the curtains, wrapping them selves in the curtains...you get the idea. Since the studs are weak, I can no longer hang them high. So I will post pictures as soon as I get the frames filled.