Saturday, January 30, 2010

Geography .101

visited 22 states (44%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

A couple years ago, Alan and I set a goal for our family. A pretty big one! Crazy as it sounds, we think it would be cool if we could take the kids to all 50 states by the time they graduate from college. Wouldn't that be so fun!?!? And such a cool memory for all of us. And OH MY GOODNESS... the things we will learn!!

When I was making the final decision to home school again, Alan would remind me how if we were home schooling, we could take a week or two and travel around the country... first studying the various states and land marks, and then getting to travel there together. Sounds like a blast, huh!

I posted on the U.S. map shown above all the States I have visited in my lifetime. I must admit, several of the states that I've been to were really just "drive-throughs" to get to another destination state, ie. Mississippi and Tennessee. Even Nebraska was just on-the-way to South Dakota. In reality, I would hardly say I visited some of these states, and even more, that I really know much about those states at all.

So, we are on a quest. For the next 12-15 years. The kids are already off to a decent start due visiting family in other states, and vacationing. Their map is shown below. I plan to go back over the states they have been to and all of us can learn more about those states first, starting with Alabama. We will be heading there in a couple weeks to visit Adam, Theresa, and the boys. I hope I'll have some interesting fun reports of our travels to blog about.

visited 14 states (28%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

Friday, January 29, 2010

What Makes Me Happy

I'm awarding this Happiness Blog Award to a few of my favorite bloggers!

But first, I have to list 10 things that make me HAPPY!

1~ My kiddos

2~ My Home-Sweet-Home

3~ An icy glass of Coke or Sweet Tea

4~ Vacationing

5~ Time with Alan, sitting on the couch watching a movie or NFL

6~ Seeing my kids learn about the Lord, about life, and when I see those "ah HAH moments! (which is just starting, really)

7~ Spending a warm day with my kids, either on the drive-way watching them play, or at the zoo!

8~ A day at the lake on a boat ~ skiing, fishing, etc. Love to be on the water!

9~ Holiday Traditions ~ especially 4th of July.

10~ Talking on the phone to my BFF (makes my day, every day!)

Now I award a few friends the Happiness Award ~ so you have to list 10 things that make you happy!

legos, light sabors, and jones soda
our cup runneth over
the draper house
dawn's diversions
6 happy hearts

Snowymen for a Snowy Day

Here we are with another Oklahoma snow storm.

Today the kids and I made the cutest little snowyman craft!

Alan got off work early and stopped at the Market on the way home. We called him and told him we needed 9 candy bars for our SNoW DaY craft!

Luckily, Bryson and Charis were in the middle of their pain meds, so they were feeling pretty good, and they stuck it out and made these cute little guys (I'm pretty sure mine is a girl~ ha!)

Now... to go clean up the mess.

So fun!

My favorite part: Alan coming in the kitchen and asking the kids if they needed some hot chocolate after spending the afternoon making snowymen. They're all downstairs at the moment enjoying their warm cup of MORE chocolate!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Perfect Pairing

On Sunday, pair a picture with a certain verse from the Bible

"A Friend Loves at All Times, and a Brother is Born for Adversity" Proverbs 17:17

Ha! Ha! Ha! I'm afraid I taught them the "Knurple" trick all those years ago. Hey!?!? It was one of my best defense mechanisms against them!
I had forgotten all about it until this Christmas ~ lol!
Thanks for reminding me, James!
ps. I love the look on Matt's face!

I do love my Brothers! Always have... always will. Wish Daniel could have been here with us.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Happy Birthday to Mii

Bryson had a Wii party this year. I made his invitations, creating his Mii and putting it on the front. We invited his soccer team and a couple other good friends over to play Wii. We had 2 Wii's hooked up so all 8 boys could play together at the same time. The boys arrived, took of their shoes, ran upstairs, and we didn't see or hear from them until cake time. His cake was an AWESOME Mario cake decorated by Ruby. I told her over the phone exactly what I wanted, and I was overly please with how fabulous it turned out! Great party! He loved it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pizza, Presents, and a few favorite People

We had a birthday celebration at Mazzios for Bryson and a few of our favorite people. We invited some family, some neighbors, and a few friends. We had a little pizza, some presents, a little football in the background, and a lotta fun!

Grandmas and Grandpas couldn't make it to the pizza party, but I posted a pic of his care package from G-pa Gene and G-ma Lou Lou. Papa brought over a b-day card with $20 in it from him and Janice.
He had a great 6th birthday celebration!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Happy B-day Buddy-Boo

Our son turns 6 today! Why are his birthdays so much harder on me than the others? I just love him at every age (as I do the girls too, of course). But there's something about him ~ about each year and stage of life ~ that is so fun! He's ALL BOY, that's for sure, but also sensitive and can hang with us 3 girls all day long.
He will cook, do crafts, and even sit through a Barbie movie or two. ;-) (someday he'll kill me for posting that one).
I say having 2 sisters and a mom to hang-out with will just make him a really good husband some day. Even more, he's one of the lucky kids who has a Daddy who adores him, and wants more than anything to be his "Buddy." Bryson is his Daddy's "Buddy" and he's my "Buddy Boo."

These are a few of his favorite things:

~playing outside
~playing poker
~playing Wii/Playstaion/Nintendo DS
~playing soccer, football, basketball, and any other fun outdoor sport with balls
~playing games
~playing cards

~riding the neighbor's new little motorcycle
~running/racing (when we pull into the neighborhood, he asks me to drop him off and let him run home. Which I often do). At soccer practice, when they run drills, he is always looking to see if he's ahead, and if so, just how far ahead
~being competitive
~the zoo
~Magic Treehouse books
~watching NFL football
~when his cousin Aaron comes and stays for part of the summer
~being dressed only in his underwear (doesn't like clothes- at all)
~did I mention playing poker?
~going to Grandma's house
~earning and saving money
~Daddy dates
~to show off a little bit
~and most of all, he likes to WIN!

He's a very cool kid. Competitive. Thoughtful. Content with life. Brilliant. Driven. Loving and kind. A little shy sometimes. Athletic. Stubborn. He's always willing to share. He will share his food/candy/money. He will offer to use his money to buy things his sisters want or to give away to church or people in need. I love that about him. He is always up for some fun, yet cautious. Most of all he's happy. And that's enough for a little boy. And that's enough for his Mommy too.

Love him!
Happy Birthday!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Blog Blog Blog... round 3

I'm going on my 3rd year of blogging. I made a few updates... changed our family photo and changed the blog design again. I also updated my "about me" section out to the right-hand side of my blog.

Funny thing, all of my "favorite things" are still the same, with the couple new things to add to the list. Watching my girls at their dance recitals takes my breath away every time, and that has become something I find myself looking forward to all year long. Also, watching Bryson and Selah play sports. I'm a soccer-mom at heart. Love to watch them play, love to cheer them on, I even like to watch them at practice each week. Charis starts soccer this spring, and she can't wait. They make me proud.

I did, however, add a few new things to my "to-do" list. A few of which are along the lines of the 2010 changes I'm making for my life. The others are just some personal goals and fun things to do.

Friday, January 1, 2010

It's A New Year... It's A New... Almost Everything.

Wow. I don't know about New Year's Resolutions, but I do know there's a whole lotta changes goin' on with this girl!

Changes on the inside. Changes on the outside. Changes on the kid-side. Changes on the $-side. Changes on the "how I'm feeling about it all"-side.

First of all, let me just say "Oh My Gosh I'm turning into my Mother!?!?!?" What in the heck is wrong with me? Lately all I want is to do is live in the country on a little-bit-a land, focus on my kids, grow a garden, eat as naturally as possible, have some chickens, and spend time with family. And you know what I just realized? She was my age when they moved to Oologah. And Selah is now almost the age I was when we moved. OKAY! Okay. Deep breath. Must be a "phase of life" thing.

I'm bringin' it back around. I am trimming the excess. My purpose on earth is to live a life that glorifies God. That~ in itself ~will filter out and help me do all the things I should be doing to make my life worth living.

I know, and have always known, that I was born to be a wife and a mom. Period. However, I am also a woman (duh... I know... don't judge me... this is me talking out loud... yes, it's usually this random) (and I do talk out loud to myself quite frequently, thank you very much!)
With this whole deal of being a woman, God blessed me with the ability to be creative. I am driven. I seek approval. I like to be successful. I take on more than I can handle, but I somehow still "handle" it. But not as good as I could if I would trim the excess.

The past few years I have started my own business and watched it boom! I have loved the success and fulfillment that it has brought me, personally. I love it each time I deliver a platter back to someone's Mom or Grandma. I love it when I see pictures on Facebook and my platters are in the background, or when I meet someone and they say "Oh! You're the Plate Lady!?!?" I love it that I have paid for the kids to attend private school, and that I've been able to buy the things I wanted to fix up our house, or that I've been able to give to people in need.
I am cutting back though. In the midst of this success, I have grown from it in several ways, but I also need to trim away. It is an "excess" in my life, and it served a great purpose. I will still be doing some of it, but not the magnitude that I have the last few years. I still want the opportunity to be creative and to give this gift of preserving kids hand/foot prints. But I will be cutting way back on my production. Possibly only doing a couple parties for the entire year, rather than 10-15 parties a year. I will still welcome people to come to my home for business. Alan and I are also working on a plan to grow the business, but in another direction. So, me painting less, but growing it in a different way. (stay tuned for more details).
One HUGE way my business venture has been good for me: I now understand and can relate to a "career woman" as I call her. I have always been so domesticated and 110% stay-at-home-mom-and-wife, that I almost felt disappointed for the families or kids of a mom that chose to work. I hate to admit that, but it's true. Now... after feeling and understanding the drive for success and the fulfillment that comes with that, I sort-a "get it" now. I know it feels good. While for me, it's still not #1, I can at least relate. In that way this business venture of mine has been a good thing.

I believe it's also been good for my kids to see me work and pursue something I love. Art. Creativity. Good business. After all, this is part of what we read about in Proverbs 31.
However... I'm not sure the Proverbs 31 woman had 3 little kids at the time of all her successful business ventures, community efforts, etc. For ME... this "born to be a Mommy and Wifey" kind of girl... I am turning my heart back towards home.
I have spent too many hours the past 3 years with my mind set on other things... not relating to home. And that has been eating away at who I am. Eating away at what I have to give to Alan, the kids, my family, my neighbors, my church. I love to cook, but can't find the time or energy. I love "teachable" moments with my kids, but can't seem to find the time or the patience. I would love to be able to relax, sew, make things, etc. but of course, can't find any time left for that! Serving and helping in church has become a "should do" rather than a "want to do."
So... I can't do it all. And what I love most, deserves my best!
So, less on the business side, more on the home front.

Things I Value Most:
~my faith
~my family - being a Mom, wife, sister, daughter, niece, granddaughter, cousin
~my secure relationship with my husband, and the choices we made from before we even knew each other, that have put us where we are today
~a comfy "spot"
~certain things with family ties (ie. heirlooms, especially handmade)

I've been feeling this since last summer. It takes me a long while to make major changes. I will admit ~ it hit me the hardest this busy fall/Christmas season. I only had 1 week before Christmas to make/do Christmas crafts, baking, and other festivities. I also would hear myself saying "I'm so jealous!" when my cousin, or my Aunt, or my friends would talk about sitting in the recliner... reading or sewing or watching TV or anything relaxing. I would say "that sounds so dreamy!" After awhile, I began to ask myself why I have set up such a busy life for myself that I have crowded out any room for that sort of leisure. Don't get me wrong. I don't want to sit on my butt all day and be lazy. But going non-stop all day ~ even eating my meals standing on my feet~ then putting the kids to bed, kissing Alan goodnight as he goes to bed by himself, and then staying up 'til 2am to paint just isn't even in the realm of leisure.

More than anything. I'm too grouchy. I'm not as loving as I should be. I'm not as sweet and concerned for others. In a way I feel like if I turn my focus toward the kids... towards people again... towards God and what I can do for Him... then everything will kind-of fall into place.
I've taken on too much. And it's time for a good "trim."

So. Here it is in a nutshell.

~ enjoy life
~ savour the day
~ set my heart on things above, not on earthly things
~ not only love my husband, but really like him again
~ cook at home more, eat out much less
~ organize and get things in order around here
~ smile and laugh more
~ spend less money
~ do more fun stuff with the people that mean the most to me ~ it's going by quick

And most of all ~ instead of expending so much energy to provide/create/bring about a wonderful life ~ I'm just going to [try] to sit back and enjoy this wonderful life that is right here in front of me.

Happy 2010!

ps. and this is only part of the changes...