Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween 2015!

I was looking through old photos of Halloween's past and could not believe that this was Levi's SEVENTH Halloween.  How is that possible?! I love that I've documented each year thoroughly, so it's time to document this year!

It was awesome having my family back over for our annual Halloween party. The little munchkins all had a blast and it was super sweet to celebrate another year together.


Here are a few pics of the spread - the festive table full of goodies for the kids and of course, the food!  I forgot to snap pictures of a few of the menu items, but we dined on: stew, cornbread, jalapeƱo poppers, pita and dip, ham and swiss sliders, frito corn salad, pork chop sliders by my brother, caramel apple cake and oatmeal chocolate chip bars.  Phew.  We were STUFFED!


Now let's get to the good stuff.  The costumes!

Levi was dead set on being a ninja, so we found the coolest one we could find.  He looked SO cute in it (errrr, I mean scary), and he absolutely loved it.



Ezra was dead set on what he wanted to be, too, and NOTHING was going to change his mind.  The only problem was that they don't make that costume ANYWHERE on planet Earth, so we had to make our own.

Introducing George, from Peppa Pig.



Hilarious and SO SO adorable!  I love that he knew what he wanted and we just kind of created it as best we could.  He loved it so much!


My precious babies, ages 6 and 3.

Here is a pic of the whole crew!



We hit up the busiest neighborhood in town and they all came home with a load of candy! I will say there wasn't one Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in the whole mix.  I am not okay with that.


Such sweet memories of another wonderful Halloween!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Testimony of the Tooth.


I prayed that I would be present when Levi lost his first tooth.

When it didn't come out over the weekend as I expected, I shuttered to think of him losing it at school and not being there for it.  I remember the day that exact tooth came in.  He was 8 months old to the day, and he was the rosiest, baldest, loveliest baby in the entire world. And his little tooth poking out through his gums was simply perfect.  I was there for it.  And I wanted to be there when it came out.

As I whispered my prayer about Levi's tooth, I didn't laugh.  It may seem silly to some, but to me it wasn't.  It was something that meant a lot to me.  A first.  I've been there for all of his firsts and this first was every bit as special as the rest of them.

The night before, Levi's tooth was dangling by a thread it seemed.  My husband gave it a good ole tug, but it stayed put.  We didn't push it - Levi was fine to let it twist and wiggle to the very end.  I had my video camera out ready to capture the moment, but no - it wasn't time.  It was all for naught.

When I sent Levi off to school the next morning, I saw his tooth and figured he would lose it sometime that day.  I didn't see how he couldn't.  He is in an "etiquette club" at school once a month, and it just so happened to be the day for it.  He would be at the school until 4:30, so by the time I saw him he would probably have a precious little gappy smile for me.  My stomach sank just thinking about it.

Four-thirty rolled around and typically he walks out on the dot and comes to the car, but today he didn't.  I grabbed Ezra out of his seat and we walked in to see that the class was running over by a few minutes.  The teacher was gathering up their things and lining them up for a photo.  I chatted with her as she lined up these sweet little boys and smiled as I watched Levi proudly holding his little kite he had made.  As I watched him get ready for the photo, I saw him reach into his mouth ever so gently and when his fingers came out they were holding a tooth!  He smiled so big and held it up over his head, eyes locked on me - showing me that it came out!

I had to laugh and choke the tears back.  I was beaming for my baby who had lost his first tooth, but fighting the tears because my God, who cares ever so deeply about my each and every concern, went before this day and let me be there for this special moment. That's ALL I could think about in that moment and I was overwhelmed with a feeling of .... comfort, is the only way I know how to describe it.  Had I not decided to walk in the school and see how things were going - I would have missed it.  If I would have had his Daddy pick him up - I would have missed it.  If I would have waited outside of the classroom instead of going in, I would have missed it! If. If. If.

There are no if's with God.  He knew exactly the time and place Levi would lose his little tooth, and by His sweet grace, He let me be there.  He knew it was important to me.  He knew it meant a lot.  He knew, and He went before us.  I was blown away!


Shortly after we left, we ran to the dollar store to pick up some dry pasta I needed for supper.  Levi was proudly carrying his little tooth throughout the store and as I rounded an aisle in front of him, I heard a WAIL.  I did not know what had happened!  I popped my head around the corner and saw him in a panic, staring at the ground ... Levi dropped his tooth.

The poor child was in tears.  I kept calm and hit the floor, promising him we would find it.  Levi jumped to his feet, clasped his hands, and began to pray.  "Jesus, please let us find my tooth. Please, Jesus," he pleaded.

The floor was green and white checked, with specks of white (of course) splattered throughout each tile.  The probability of us finding this tooth was slim at best.  Couple that with the fact that there had been a dry rice spill on the same isle, and all odds were against us.

"God, please let us find this special tooth."

I was on the floor, Levi was on the floor, Ezra was on the floor.  We were looking everywhere.  I texted my Mom to pray as we continued our search. (I couldn't text Husby because Levi wanted it to be a surprise.) After about 10 minutes of solid searching, just when I was about to call it quits and devise an alternate plan for the Tooth Fairy, I spotted that white little baby tooth and screamed for all of Dollar General to hear.  Levi tightened his little eyes and said,  "Thank you, Jesus."

Something so neat about this entire circumstance is that God didn't just let me experience His goodness through this tooth, but Levi, too.  He went before both of our requests about this tiny little tooth, and showed Himself as Comforter to me and Helper to Levi.  Wow!

You may be thinking I've straight up lost my mind to put so much thought and energy into this tooth.  But, this adjustment to not being with Levi 24/7 has been one of my most difficult struggles.  I miss him.  Deeply.  And being there for the big moments of his childhood is extremely important to me, and I know it will be for him, too, looking back as he grows. I want Levi to always remember his childhood moments with me there.  Present, encouraging, loving, there.

And I want him to always know that our God, lover of his little soul, cares about his each and every worry, concern, need, desire - no matter how big or small!  And forever and always, even more so than Mommy, He is there.

So, I don't have a video of tooth falling out, no photo of his face the moment it came out between his little fingers ... but I do have a story of God's care and His love.  One that I'll remember forever.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

That Time I Couponed.

One time I started watching all those TLC shows about couponing and thought I would try my hand at it.  Nevermind the fact that I'm horrible with math and don't understand all the new fangled lingo that comes with the hot trend (doubling? stacking? huh?), I was set out to do it.

First things first - I went to Target at bought the cutest coupon holder folder I could find.  That was my favorite part.  I got the biggest, most elaborate folder out there.  If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right.

(Probably my first red flag.  Not sure professional couponers would spend $18 on a folder.)

Then I bought a newspaper and got my scissors ready.  Wait. Where are all these people on all the shows finding all the coupons?! I was expecting 200 coupons... cut about 8.

Coffee mate creamer? CUT IT OUT!!!! (We don't use creamer.)
Ramen noodles? CUT IT OUT!!!!! (Can hardly stomach the smell, let alone the taste.)
Mentos? CUT IT OUT!!!!! (Haven't had one in 4 years, but why the heck not?!)
Canada Dry? CUT IT OUT!!!!! (Sure, we only drink it when we're sick, but I think my stomach kinda hurts. Maybe.)

8 out of the 8 coupons cut were things I never purchase.

I stuffed my precious coupons in my adorable folder and went to the grocery store.  I parked myself on the snack aisle, whipped out my fancy folder, and began searching for the assorted peanuts jar to match my coupon.  Just as I was reaching for my peanuts that I'll never eat, a man stopped me and said, "Wow. Look at you with your folder and your coupons!"

I stood up tall, held my chin high, cleared my throat and replied with, "yeah... I know, it's really something isn't it?" (Please don't ask me any questions, because I have no idea what I'm doing.)

"So, do you save like a ton of money? You're like .... a pro."

"Ha ha, *nervous laugh* yeah, ha ha, it's pretty fun!"

"Well, I'm impressed! I've never seen anyone in real life with their big folder and everything!"

"Yeah, I'm pretty crazy like that!" (nervously shoves 6 jars of peanuts in my cart and scurries away.)

Phew, that was a close one.  I'm glad he didn't ask me about my stockpile.

After snatching a few more items, I headed over to the office supplies to load up on a lifetime supply of paper fasteners and my shopping trip was complete.

I spent $68 dollars worth of items I'll likely never use, but by golly I SAVED $7.72!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When Husby got home, I proudly whipped out my receipt, boasting of my excellent savings.

"That's awesome," he said. "What's for supper?"

"Um... I don't know. I need to go to the grocery store."

"But, didn't you just ......"

And that, my friends, was the first and last time I have ever tried my hand at couponing.  Pretty sure I'm the only in life capable of wasting money to save money.

Eh, who has the room to stock 847 rolls of toilet paper anyway?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

How School Changed My Prayer Life.

From the moment I saw a + on my pregnancy test with Levi, my prayer life jumped to a new level.  I remember rubbing my stomach with both pregnancies, constantly praying health and wellness over my children. I knew that no matter what I did, their lives were in the hand of God - and I prayed daily that He would bring them to me whole and happy.

And then they were born and my prayer life changed again.  I was constantly worried about their health and well being.  I prayed over them constantly - with each nap (and newborns sleep a lot!) and nights sleep, begging God for safety and security.  I thanked Him for them.  For their breath.  For their heart beat.  For their life. 

As they grew out of the delicate stages of infancy, my prayers became less intense and more … regular, I guess you could say.  Less desperate and more “I got this - but please keep us safe.” The more I grew in confidence in mothering, the less I found myself relying on the Lord to get me through each day.  In my mind, though I never voiced it or really even admitted it to myself until recently, I felt that if my babies were with me, they were safe.  I never worried about them, because they never left me.  What they needed, I provided, and I found myself taking too much pride in that and less in the fact that while I felt I was sustaining them, it was God sustaining us all.  The more at ease I felt with mothering, the more my prayer life took a hit.

Danger Zone.

Last year, in Erie, my prayer life grew exponentially in many areas, but in this category, I was still at a plateau. While certain aspects of our lives looked like a giant question mark, I felt I had a good grasp on all things motherhood. My prayers were focused on our future - for His provision, and still the whole kid thing felt safe.  My marriage and my motherhood were my identity and my security in a year of unknowns.

Well friends, God took me down a few notches ever since Levi started school.  He took me out of my comfort zone of our little bubble - mommy with her babies - and I’m no longer the one in charge, protecting my secure little nest.  I’m not there to keep Levi safe from harm, to shield him from hurt, to comfort him when he falls.

But guys.  You guys.

Someone is.  

My God has promised to take my Levi and guard him and guide him. What is better than that? Certainly not me!  I am slammed back to the days of pregnancy and early motherhood nearly every day as I find myself desperately approaching the throne over and over again on behalf of my little one at school and navigating the newness of having only Ezra at home.  God has brought me back to the place of “no matter what I do, their lives are in the hand of God.”  As hard as that is for my flesh, I know that it’s the best place to be. Total dependency on God IS the safest spot I could ever hide away in. This life change has been not only big for Levi, but probably more so for me and my place of need for God when it comes to my children.

So many great things are coming of this life change already - I have morning prayer over Levi every day and it's our special time together. The other morning we were in a rush and he came running to me and said, "don't forget my leaving prayer, Mommy!" I've also rallied some friends to start a prayer group with starting soon, which I know will be a place of refuge and encouragement as we cover our babies in prayer as they navigate this big ole world ahead of them. 

But you know what? The best part of this whole thing is the grace I feel covering me as I humbly crawl back to the Father, knowing I should have never left the state of dependency with which I entered into motherhood.  He’s not there condemning me, He’s not there shaking His head at me telling me it’s too late … He’s covering me with His love and He’s steadfastly carrying me through each and every concern of my heart.  And overwhelming me with peace while He’s at it!

The Christian life isn’t an easy one.  I am daily reminded of my sin nature and my desperate need for Jesus.  The parenting life sure isn’t an easy one as well - I’ve told multiple people over the past month that babies are a breeze - it’s the growing up part that makes parenting so hard!  But how grateful I am that my husband and I aren’t in this parenting thing alone.  And neither are you.  Jesus Christ wants to be fully integrated into each aspect of your life, even when you think you’ve got it.  And when you let Him … life is anchored and grace abounds.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:6-7

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Big Day.

Well folks, we survived the first day of school!  I guess I should say "I" instead of "we", because Levi was super stoked about the whole thing.  I never let him know I was so torn up about it all, running and hiding with each melt down so that he wouldn't see.  He has such a tender heart I knew that if he thought I was upset, then he would be upset.  Thankfully, I was able to pull it together around him and have my moments in private. Oh, why is parenting so gut wrenching?!

He had a wonderful time, and was eager to go back the next day.  I documented the day and turned it into a video, so if you want an inside look to our first day of school experience, here you go! :)

I can hardly believe my baby is a first grader and out in the big wide world!  He is such a light, and I pray he shines radiantly and brings many people to the feet of Jesus. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Get ready for a novelette! 

When Levi was a newborn, I remember seeing Back-to-School commercials, holding him in my arms, and bawling. The thought of him leaving me one day was almost too much to bear! Crazy, I know, but I'm irrational like that. You should know this about me by now. 

Six beautiful years have passed and the time has finally come. Tomorrow, Levi is headed off to first grade without me. My stomach hurts, my heart feels broken, and if you knew how many tears I've shed you'd bake me a cake. (I like chocolate and strawberry and .... who are we kidding? It's cake. I like it all.) 

So....why not continue homeschool? 

Homeschooling the little years (Pre-K & Kinder) is something God laid on my heart a long time ago and I'm forever grateful for those 2 precious school years at home with Levi. We both took away SO MUCH from it and now my passion for that call God has on me for my children is even greater - I could chat about it for hours! But alas, there is a time for everything. Even a time for leaving Mommy. And for Levi, a child who thrives on relationship and craves social settings, it's time. 

I will say that homeschool is never off the table for us. I'll also say that I've struggled more with this decision than any other part of parenting, going back and forth again and again...and again. But, after so much prayer, we feel it's important to explore both options and see where the most flourishing takes place (spiritually, academically, socially) and what works best for our family dynamic. I am excited to see what this school year looks like for us and we are confident that the Lord has Levi exactly where he needs to be. 

Sweet boy can not wait! That makes it a tad bit easier .... I think? Maybe? Prayers for Levi greatly appreciated. Prayers for Mommy desperately needed! 

Oh, and any words of encouragement are seriously desired since my plan for the day tomorrow is to hide in a corner cramming cheesecake down my throat, crying into Levi's favorite blanket, and obsessing over any words of wisdom you dear people may impart upon me. Oh, and stalker-circling the school until 3:15. Duh. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Let's Talk TV!

It's that weird time of year again where television summer series are ending and there's a gap between the ones that will start up this fall. 


Are there any "must watch" series or movies on Netflix that you would recommend to me and Husby to watch each night as we wind down after the kiddos are in bed?

We have trouble finding ones we like together.  I love stuff like Dawson's Creek and he loves stuff like Blacklist.  We need a happy medium or something totally different that will spark both of our interests!

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