Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Meal Planning

In the past few months I have been doing a lot more meal planning. I have found that it makes my job much easier, no scrambling for something to make for dinner, you don't "run for pizza" as much, and you manage to save money as well. It doesn't take long to sit down, come up with a list of meals, and then set them to the days you think they will work the best.

What I have been doing is first, looking at what is on sale at the grocery store. I refuse to buy things like Hamburger Helper, rice sides, box potatoes, etc. . They are unhealthy, and don't taste as well either. I try to think of things that will freeze well also, that way I can just double the recipe or more, and freeze it for dinners later to make things even quicker. Once I see what is on sale, then I make a list of dinners that I can with those ingredients, and then make a list of things I know to be inexpensive, and that will go a long way, and also try to throw in one "treat" meal, something that may be a little more costly to make (not a lot) but that is a favorite. Say, like Sesame Chicken, Steaks, whatever a favorite may be at your house.

Then I put my list together, and make sure everything is on it. Go through the cupboards, etc and make sure that you have all ingredients you need to make the dish. The less you go to the store the less you spend. If you are out of something for the dish that doesn't really matter, then don't bother stopping at the store for it. You will most likely walk out with other things that you don't really need. Then, it does help (though I don't always do it) if you cut, sort, and bag into portions that you are going to use the ingredients for. Say you want to make Fajitas. If you buy chicken that is fresh or beef, cut it into the strips ahead of time, then bag and label it, and freeze it. I have been buying the colored peppers at Costco, because they are such a good price. So tonight I cut them into strips with the onions as well, bagged them in quart bags, and put them in the freezer. I bought a Chuck roast that was on sale, and cut that into strips for the meat, labeled it fajita meat, and froze it. (You can also go ahead and put your seasonings in at this time if you want to) then you can get everything out in the morning, thaw it, and cook it that evening, with minimal time needed, since you won't need to cut it. Wala, you have a quick meal, even quicker than pizza, and it's healthier to boot! :) I serve ours with rice, as the kids don't usually eat it with tortillas, so they just mix it with rice, cheese, and sour cream, and eat it that way.
I plan to make a Minnestrone soup recipe that my mother in law gave me a while back. It is amazing!! I am so glad she shared it with me. It freezes really well, and makes quite a bit. Broccoli soup freezes well, you can even make up your own breaded chicken strips ahead of time and freeze them, then thaw and bake when you want them! By the way, if you want any of these recipes, I'm happy to share, just let me know and I will post them asap. Lasagna is a great one to make and freeze! Personally I think it is cheaper to make 2 at one time, and then freeze the second one before you cook it. Get it out first thing the morning you want to eat it, and then bake it that evening, and you don't even have to prep it at all, and less dishes! I also make double my Cheese and Spinach Manicotti, Chili, Veggie soup ( keep in mind if you make your with potatoes that they do not freeze well, so I would leave the potatoes out if you plan to freeze it). I like to make ahead and freeze Cabbage Stoup, and many more as well!
After I get the meal plan, the shopping, etc done, I also make sure that I have put meals to the days for that week or two weeks, whatever you have chosen. Sometimes I have one or two extra meals planned, just in case I decide to change one, etc. . I have found that I am more likely to stick with my meal plan if I know what is going to be for dinner that day, even though you can flip flop them if you'd like. If I know ahead of time that we have evening plans (say like on Monday's Gabe has wrestling now) I will make that day something easy like tacos, a one dish casserole, or even a crock pot meal so that we can still sit down and have a family dinner without being rushed, and make it to wrestling on time.

That's my 2 cents for the day! :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October Halloween Thoughts

*sigh* It's that time of year again, when halloween comes around. Normally I don't think about it too much. However, this year, Gabe is in kindergarten, and Gini is in preschool, and many of the projects they are doing, revolve around halloween. We personally, as you know (if you know us), e do not believe that as a Christian/Follower of Christ, we should celebrate Halloween. Why? Not because I think that dressing in costumes is bad, or even going and collecting candy in and of itself is bad. The origins of the holiday, and where the customs originated from are what makes this holiday, in our opinion, not fit to celebrate.

There are bible verses that tell us things that God absolutely will not stand for, that are absolutely evil. Witchcraft, divination, enchanter, an observer of the times.

  1. The art or act of foretelling future events or revealing occult knowledge by means of augury or an alleged supernatural agency.
  2. An inspired guess or presentiment.
  3. Something that has been divined.
Fortune telling, ouiji boards, crystal ball, tarot cards, tea leaf reading, psychics
  1. One that delights or fascinates.
  2. A sorcerer or magician
  3. one who casts spells or bewitches
When a person claims they have spoken with the dead, it is not the dead they are contacting but evil demonic spirits who pretend to be the deceased.

Observer of the Times is another form of divination. It is a person who looks at the stars for guidance. (Isaiah 47:12-15, Jeremiah 10:2, Daniel 1:20, 5:7, 11, and 15) We even need to beware of horoscopes , astrology, numerology, palm readers, and other things such as these. They are practiced by people who believe in astrology or stargazing, which the bible says is wrong.

Witch- a person who practices magic, deals with demonic spirits. They practice black or white magic. Both are from Satan

Deuteronomy 18:10 KJV
There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.

In Exodus 11:18 it says "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

In Acts 16:16 KJV "And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her master much gain by soothsaying"

The Bible says divination is actually a spirit!

I bring up these verses because the very first celebration of what we now call Halloween, was created by the ancient Druids who were Celtic priests, teachers, diviners, and magicians.

" Originally the holiday was called Samhain (sow-in) Eve. The ancients believed that spirits walked the Earth as they traveled to the afterlife. They also believed that fairies, demons and other creatures were present." They believed that this was a very magical time (the time between seasons) when the dead could walk among the living and veils between past, present and future may be lifted in prophecy and divination. We saw the Bible talked about this in Acts, and Deuteronomy. Both are wrong according to the Bible.
On this night before the Celtic new year, costumes were a part of the celebration. This is where the costume part comes in. They wore costumes to confuse spirits and avoid being possessed. Most often the costumes were animal skins/heads, sometimes they wore masks, and blackened their faces, and even impersonated the dead. They were trying to ward of roaming ghosts. The ancients would also build huge bonfires, and make animal and plant sacrifices to the dead.

In the mid 1800's taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, which eventually turned into today's trick or treat tradition. Young women believed that, on Halloween, they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings, or mirrors. Again, divination.

The traditions of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain time, and frightening. Food often ran low. On Halloween, (Hallow's Even, which came from All Hallow's Eve from the Roman's) to keep ghosts from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.

Many of these things in and of themselves, dressing up in cute costumes, going around and collecting candy don't sound all that bad. However, the Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 to "Abstain from all appearance of evil"

The things we do today for Halloween may not seem all that evil, but the origins of them are. Today, still, for those that practice witchcraft and sorcery Halloween is the most evil time of the year, one which the Wiccan believe still is the best time for speaking with the dead. The dead can not be contacted, instead, these people are contacting evil spirits who pretend to be the dead.

So for our family to abstain from ALL appearances of evil, we do not celebrate this holiday that began with demonic origins. I say demonic, because the practices that the Druids and people did, were considered evil and demonic, by God, and still are. His word never changes.

Appearances of evil to us are even businesses nearby that advertise things like Valley Scare and the Trail of scare that are near us. Even the advertisements should be enough to warn you to stay away from these places, and not join in the celebration. However, each of us must make our own choices. I hope that you take this information, and read the Bible, and really ask God if this is for you.

Have we as churches and people become part of the world in this, just so we don't stand out? As churches we have supposed "Harvest Parties" that you come dressed in costumes and collecting candy. Isn't this still a Halloween celebration with a good twist? Yet the Bible says to abstain from ALL appearances of evil. We are just offering them a safe place to celebrate this holiday. Compromising. So we don't stand out. Yet the Bible says to set yourself apart from the world. To be in the world, but not of the world.
We are far from perfect, God is still working on us, until the end of the world. I hope to teach my children, though, to stand up for what they believe, and to abstain from all appearances of evil, to stand out even if they are not liked. Because this is what God has asked of us. To follow Him, not the world.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summertime 2

I posted a little about the last couple of weeks in my last post, but this picture is for a contest. I am no photographer, but I love capturing things on camera!
I love watching out babies sleep, and capturing their cute sleep positions on camera. too bad I missed the one of him standing on the floor leaning over the bed sleeping on his toddler bed that he is now in! lol


Summer is so much fun!!! We have been so very busy here! Planting a little garden (no room for a big one. We used to have a 60x60 garden). I got rid of all the flowers that were in the beds here at our rental house, and planted some tomatoes, chives, basil, thai hot peppers, bell peppers, green beans, cucumbers, and zuccini. I do believe we may have enough zuccini to feed Jodan AND Shakopee!!!

Last week I took all 4 children, and picked 10 ice cream buckets of Strawberries in Monticello, and The Strawberry Basket. Amazing berries, so much fun! The kids were sooo good. The lady at the patch kept saying that (we were there for 3 hours) and I didn't even realize, she was telling the other people at the patch as well! That made my day. Especially since it was about 90 degrees out, and full sun, and they had nothing to do! So we have some berries in the freezer, some jam in jars. I made homemade yogurt, and we have been having smoothies. Yummy!

It can be so tiring!

But oh, so worth it!

60 lbs

of bright red and purple berries.

On a different note, I was talking to Steve while he was at work the other night and saw something move on the floor. I looked over, and this salamander walked by!!!! I yelped, Oh my gosh, what is that!??!!!?? Steve is trying to figure out what is going on, while I'm freaking out on the phone. hehe All the neighbors were sleeping, so that left me to get it out of the house, or risk stepping on it (or worse finding it in my bed if that's possible) if I had to get up in the middle of the night for the babies or bathroom. Needless to say, once I got it out (which I did by using a belt and gently guiding it the way I wanted it to go) it took a while to get to sleep that night! :)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Three Yellows and a pair of wet pants

All three students passed their yellow belt tests. Now the house has three yellow belt Shotokan-Do Karate students. Watch out bad guy, they will kick your @$$. Life is great when the children accomplish tasks that are instrumental in their development as adults. Hopefully this karate class will help them maintain focus throughout all tasks that they are presented. Also the self confidence that these classes bring to them will pay off dividends later in life. No one will walk all over my children unless they let them. Oh yeah the wet pants....LELE did it. Thought this phase was over for her, but if Gini is a gauge of the girls, this may go on for a few years. Hopefully this will not come to pass. Smell smoke......Pizza is done....Time to eat.

Daddy's Turn

The last three days have been my turn to be Mr. Mom. I do not see what is so hard about this job. Women get all outta whack because they are not organized. They rely too much on their own strengths to get the jobs done. The children know how to clean up after themselves and get dressed. Letting them do the work that they are supposed to do helps eliminate the stress level. Oh yeah another tip, cook outside in the summer. NO pans to wash and dry!!
We recently were blessed with a washer and dryer from our karate instructor. Thank you Adam and Christy. Laundry has taken half of the time and is cleaner. Nessa is happy and it will help to make her job easier. It already is but you have to give her a chance to sound off. Nessa has been working at the horse ranch for a couple of days and it has been great spending time with the children. Lele has more energy than the sun. Michael thinks everything is funny. Gabe and Gini are themselves of course. Riding bikes and running all over the neighborhood is a normal day for them.
Today is the belt test for Gabe, Gini, and Dad. Testing for the Yellow Belt in Shotokan-Do Karate is easy for the children, they do not have to do all the steps that I have to do. Well it is good that they are in Karate. Gabe's focus is sharp and pays attention in class. When the other students are goofing around he is like a pillar in the class. Gini has pretty good focus, although she does start to goof off, she sees Gabe not doing it. This really helps her to re-focus on the class. She has come close to hitting one of the goofing off kids for getting in her face. She has controlled her anger pretty well and stopped before she leveled him.
Watching all the children playing together is magical. They all get along, and sometimes have their spats with each other. At the end of the day they pray and give each other hugs and kisses for bed. It is interesting to see them outside of their environment and how they react to uncomfortable situations.
I am glad that I have two boys to protect....Not the girls but the boys that the girls might have problems with. The girls have no problem taking care of themselves and I am sure that the boys will also join in the defense of their sisters. Maybe the girls can help the boys in their time of need.
Well I have to go and do school work. 25% done with school this summer and can not wait until I finish the degree. I am hoping that this will open more job opportunities in the future. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Summer Time!

Wow! We have had so much going on these last few weeks. The children are growing like weeds! of course they're way cuter than weeds. Gabe is already looking forward to going to school, although Steve and I have mixed feelings. It's bittersweet, for sure. He is so curious as always, of learning how things work. He is getting much more mature, and is so much of a help! He loves to watch Transformers (the old hand drawn cartoon) with his dad. Very soon we need to get him his own small tool set and an old lawn mower engine or something that he can take apart and put back together and see how it works.
Gini is trying to be older, and recently got to go to a princess birthday party for her friend Natalie. I curled her hair and painted her nails, and put on her princess dress up dress. She had such a blast! She wants to go to school as well, so we may possibly let her go to pre-school. I struggle with wanting to protect them from some of the things that they will learn too early at school, but will continue to pray about it, and just follow whatever God leads us to do. She is very musical, loves to sing and dance and play with Lego's , her babies, etc. She loves Transformers just as much as her daddy and big brother. She is a good helper, and we recently when through a phase with her whining more than normal, but the last week has been amazing!
Elyana is learning so much! It's amazing, and I do see why they see children are like sponges! She can say her ABC's, she likes to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and she can count to 20. She is fully potty trained. We put diapers on at night til she starts waking up dry, but it is so nice! She wanted to potty train at 18 months and I put it off, kind of dreading it. However, a few weeks before she turned 2 she started going in there on her own and trying, so I had a choice. Either I help her, or clean up messes! So I used underwear and wool diaper covers that I had knit for my cloth diapers, and she trained so fast, with minimum accidents!
Michael is now saying bye, hi, all done, I got it, and some other things we don't understand!! lol He's very vocal and tries to do karate like the older kids. He likes to go in and try to sit on the toilet, so I am hoping that he wants to potty train early as well. He knows what he wants, and is all boy . He loves to watch his dad work, and is very interested in tools, trucks, wrestling, trains, etc...

I interviewed for a job at the local horse ranch to be a trail guide, and I got it! I'm very excited, and praying that lots of people come ride on my weekends, as I get paid by the person. We found out on Mother's Day that we were going to have another baby. Unfortunately, this past weekend, I had a miscarriage. I am dealing with it. I won't lie and say it's easy, because it's so much harder than I ever thought it could be. Gabe put letters in a row on the refrigerator and said "I spelled the baby's name" ( don't know what it spelled) and I lost it. I sat down to finish knitting Gabe's hat and lost it again. It brought to mind the little hat and booties, etc that I was going to knit for the little one. God has a plan though, and I will rest in that. He is in control. I will trust in Him! I will hold on to Jeremiah 29:11. A song that really touches me all the time, but especially today part of the lyrics are " I will praise you in this storm, and I will lift my hands, for You are who You are, no matter where I am, Every tear I cry, You hold in Your hands, You never left my side, and though my heart is torn....I will praise you in this storm." It's by Casting Crowns. It's amazing, and if you get a chance, you can listen to it on You Tube.
We are going to try to turn the car in, in June. We found out through Honda that if the car appraises at or above what the pay off would be (wholesale value) you can turn it in (a lease) and be free and clear of it. You have to have it appraised by a private appraiser, and turn it in within 30 days of the written appraisal. We are so very close, and believe it will work in June. Then we will pay cash for either a mini van or suburban, and save over $400 a month!!! We are so excited that God has given us this opportunity!! Then we have a plan to pay off the student loan in 18-24 months if possible. God is so good. We are so happy to have had the opportunity to take Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course, and learned so much, not just about getting out of debt, but about insurance, investing, college saving.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mother's Day Extravaganza: The New 16 GB Apple iPad

Mother's Day Extravaganza: The New 16 GB Apple iPad

I entered to win an Ipad at The Thrifty Mama! Go on over and check it out! It would make for an awesome mothers day gift!!! :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Reflection...and a Yellow Stripe

I'm sitting here watching Castle. It's a very fun show. It's drama, and comedy at the same time. Heavy, and yet light. I wanted to watch it one night when Steve was home, and now it "our show" that we watch together when he's home. I look forward to it every week!
There has been so many things that have happened in the last year alone! We have moved 4 times in the last 2 years! Our children have been real troopers for sure, and my family has tried so hard (succeeding ) to support us, all the while missing us desperately as we do them.
We had the privilege to have my sister Elyse come visit us for a week. Oh what fun we had with her. We didn't go do a lot of stuff. We wanted to be able to take the time to have a good visit. We did go to the gym and work out a couple of times, and managed to go to the zoo. It was nice to have her help for the younger three children's doctor appts! I managed to not cry when I dropped her off at the train station, but it was so hard. My little sisters and brothers are growing up so fast. Sometimes I regret not being as close to the youngest two, and that is mainly because we haven't been able to spend as much time with them. However, now that they are getting a little older, and more comfortable with going places on their own, we can work this out!
We have been taking Gabryel and Virginia to karate classes that are free, being offered by a 2nd degree blackbelt instructor, who is also the pastor at the local 7th day Adventist church. He sets up a mat in the church, and then has three classes. The children are having so much fun! So, Gabe has been practicing with Steve, and tested for his yellow stripe! He got it! He was so excited, and he showed everyone in the room (there were only 3 other people), gave them high fives, and came to me to show me again. I was going to give him a high five, and he stepped in and gave me hug. Man I feel loved, and special! Gabe is so special. All my children are. But you know how they are all special in their own way? I look at one and think "he/she's so cute! I just can't handle it " then look at the others the same way! Steve and I are just so blessed to have our children. I read a quote from an online friends husband about birth control. " the only reason I wouldn't want more children would be selfishly motivated, I want more time for myself, for me and my wife, more money to spend on me, a quite house, etc. etc... When I personally was convicted about it though was when I realized how often my prayers would include asking for the Lords blessings and then you get smacked in the face with Gods word that says children are His greatest blessing to us, it just seemed silly to deny myself what God had intended to Give me. (The complete conversation is here.
It really made me think though. So many times we pray for God's blessings, and when He tries to give them to us, we turn away, because it's not what we thought that we wanted. Does that make sense?
I love just having one baby in diapers as well! Ahhh it feels like such a break! lol funny right? Michael is also only nursing about 2-3 times a day, sometimes turning it down fora drink out of a cup, or even a different snack. So, that's a morning feeding, nap time, and bed time. He is such a good baby and so fun, with such a good attitude. He is starting to realize though that he can try to be naughty and get away with things, such as running away when I tell him to come to me, deliberately ripping stuff off of shelves, or throwing food on the floor. The we get the "oohh" what a silly boy. :)
Virginia woke up today and said her neck and back really hurt. I called our chiropractor, made an appointment for her for tomorrow (she's never been) and asked what I could do for her. Ice? Heat? Both? She said ice, so Gini laid on the couch watching movies with the ice pack. She said it does feel a little better, but I told her this morning it was probably because she slept wrong. So tonight she was throwing a FIT about going to bed, and finally said (or wailed) "but I don't wanna go to bed! If I go to bed I might sleep wrong and wake up hurting!!!!" So I gave her a hug, and put my hands on either side of her face, and said " Jesus is going to take care of you. In the morning if you're still hurting, we're going to see Dr Jodi and she will help fix your back and neck so it won't hurt." She said okay and was able to then go to bed. I've realized that lately she is getting better at saying why she feels the way she feels instead of just saying " I don't know"! There are days, lots of them in fact, that she severely tries my patience, but I think that I am making progress with her. This past week has been rough but a few weeks before that, were better than normal.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Busy Days

Shew! We have been staying way to busy! We joined the gym here, and daycare is including, and our whole family loves it! The children (especially Gabe) tell me "I don't have any energy I need to go work out". It's so dang cute. So, we work out about 5 times a week, on Steve's day's off we all go together, when he's on nights he stops by after work, and when he's on days, sometimes we meet him there after work.
Gabe woke up this morning with his very first loose tooth. I went in to change Michael and Gabe popped right up, and said "mom, my tooth is loose". I didn't believe him at first ( I didn't let him know) I just said, "It is? Let me see." It was! hah! He's so stoked, it's hilarious, endearing, and cute. He's been playing with it all day in hopes that it will fall out faster.
Gini is our little scholar I think. All of our children are well beyond smart (I could be a little biased) but she just begs to do extra pages in her workbook, and has a memory like you wouldn't believe. Now, I realize that children have a great memory, but Gini never ceases to astound us with hers! I have started giving her piano lessons, and she loves it. Both her and Gabe are doing a free karate class offered at the Seventh Day Adventist church near us. So fun!
Elyana has potty trained herself . She has been wearing underwear from the getgo. Her butt is so skinny that her clothes don't fit! they don't make underwear her size! She is so big. She knows pretty much all of her ABC's (she loves to repeat the song over and over and over and..well, you get the picture) and her potty training lasted under three weeks! She just turned two on Sat. Only one in diapers now! Woohoo!
Michael is our little love. He's so stinking cute (like the rest of 'em). He started walking a couple of months ago, and just turned one. He can say no and go.. and can sign please, all done, and thank you, more, and eat.. He usually sleeps through the night, and is our little door nazi. hehe he goes around with Elyana and closes all the doors!
Tuesdays' Steve and I started doing the kickboxing class at the gym, and we love it!! She works us hard, makes it fun, and it's non-choreographed, so we use the gloves and pads and such. Very cool.
We just got done doing a series out our church on sex God's way. You can find the messages here, and they are video messages, so you get to see all the expressions, etc!~

Monday, February 22, 2010

Not me Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

This week I did not urinate in a cup first thing in the morning intending to take a pregnancy test. I did not then leave it behind the toilet on the shelf partially hidden because I needed to get a test from the store. I didn't then forget about it only to have my 5 yr old come up to me later and say "Mom, why was that yucky juice on the back of the toilet?" I.was.mortified!! I said " that wasn't juice it was pee!" All he said was "oh". Oh my word how horrible!

We also did not tease MckMama on a trip to her house telling her we had already left and were almost there while she had other guests that had stayed overnight, and and a photo-op that day as well, when we hadn't even left the house! Sorry MckMama! :) (We did however let her know that we were just joking and we wouldn't be there til later in the afternoon. )

Friday, January 15, 2010

Things That Come To Mind

I haven't blogged in a while. I'm not a writer, so I often have to really think about this and lately, after I get done doing everything I have to do in a day, and not getting everything done, the last thing I want to do is think. I just want to sit. Do nothing. Just stare blankly. Sounds fun doesn't it?
We've been busy. We joined a gym so we've been able to work out! There is a pool, rock climbing wall, hot tub. Steam rooms, sauna (both are non-coed), free weights, newer weight machines, racket ball, batting cages, basket ball, aerobics, yoga, Pilate's, bowling alley, ice skating, day care is included!! ahhhh Loving this very much. It's a great break. Sometimes I do classes, and other days, I'll do the elliptical while Steve does free weights, and we'll shoot some hoops together. I'm no good, but he's teaching me, and it's fun. One of these days, we're going to use the pool.
The children are growing so much. I've been doing a little schooling with Gabe and Gini. We got an easel from some good friends of ours, and that has brought our schooling to a better level. Gabe loves do use it for school, while he's not into the work book. Gini loves both. She begs to keep doing school most days. We don't have a schedule for school, just whatever works.
Gabe got hockey gear from a family at church, and I took him and Gini ice skating at the skating rink yesterday, and we had such a blast! They've never been, and it's been at least 13 years or more since I've been!
Gabe and Gini are great helpers, and both of them love Michael and Elyana. Gini got some tap shoes from Once Upon a Child, and tutus, and some dress up clothes, and she loves it. She and Elyana love to put the tap shoes on and walk around the house on the laminate to make noise.
Elyana is really excelling in her speech and sentences. She loves to try to "help" Michael, and most days they play really well together. She has stopped taking naps, but goes to bed better at night. We moved her toddler bed back in with Gabe and Gini, and while some nights are spent with all of them switching beds and playing, other nights they go right to sleep. Elyana has started sleeping through the night a lot more though, which is awesome! She is also the last couple of days, telling me that she has to go potty, and GOING!! Woohooo!!! Very soon we may only have one baby in diapers.
Michael has been able to take a few steps on his own since a little before Christmas, but is really showing a lot more interest in doing it more and more now . Last night he got to a standing position with no aid for the first time! This morning he took 15 steps in a row. He's getting to be such a big boy. He is only about 1/2 to 1 inch shorter than Elyana and about 1 lb lighter than her. He has a blanket he loves. He gets very mad when Elyana has his blanket. He loves his daddy. Steve just had to go clean shaven for a face mask fit at work. Michael kept looking at him weird. :)
I love seeing them all race for the door yelling "Daddy's home! Daddy's home!" Watching Elyana just freak out!!!! She just starts racing around the house after wrapping her little (strong) arm's around Steve's neck just as hard as she can.
We're also working on being content where we are. I must say since we moved to this smaller place, there is not a place for everything. The washer and dryer do not work well, which keeps me from being caught up on laundry. Before we moved, I finally had gotten a good system down, and was actually being able to keep up. Not so here. Being here I must say, has brought out a lot of tension in Steve and I for sure. Not being able to go out on dates, to actually sit down and have talks about us, our marriage, raising the children, praying together, discipline tactics, etc. God is showing me all the nasty little things about myself that I need to change. It's not fun. It's hard. Dying to self, realizing just how selfish I can be. It doesn't help that right now I am on birth control, and it really messes with my hormones. It always has. We decided to try this last one. It's keeping us from getting pregnant, but making me react to things that I wouldn't react to before. I'm praying about what we should do from here.
We're missing our family and friends. Thankful that God has us together as a family, when the devil and the world, would have us torn apart. Thankful for friends that pray for us. Thankful that we have vehicles to drive, a roof over our heads. Heat, food, a job...etc. We have healthy children, when so many don't. We have health ourselves when so many don't. I have a friend that has had an ongoing headache for the past few years. I'm not sure how she copes. Please pray for her. Our God is a God of miracles, of healing, of love and mercy and grace.
God bless you as you go about your day.

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