Monday, March 31, 2014

Do you know the ice cream man? He lives on Trison Lane...:)

This year, our baby girl turned 2! And, our biggest boy turned 8!   Boohoo!,  and hooray at the same time!

We decided to do a combination party,(since our oldest and youngest birthdays are TWO DAYS apart!), coming up with the theme:  "It's Saturday, let's have a sundae and celebrate Luke and Sophie!" 

We love traditions around here, what about you?  Traditions are a way to teach your kids what you value.  We value each other and are so grateful that God allows us raise these kids.  So, we want to celebrate their birthdays in special ways.  This doesn't mean going out and spending a lot;  it's the little things that count and make things special. 

Jacob, our youngest boy, commented to his cousin Wyatt, "We ALWAYS use this birfday banner".  And, we do!  That makes it memorable. 
We also always write their name and what birthday it is for them on our chalkboard wall REALLY BIG. :)
The kids helped me pick topping ideas and I bought those little waffle bowls for them to use to build their sundaes. 

They came up with some interesting combinations!
OF COURSE we had an ice cream man!  Daddy so graciously went along with the plan and dressed up!  He was the "scooper", then the kids could pick the toppings they wanted. 
Sophie LOVED her ice cream!  And, by the way, her little shirt came from Wal-Mart!  I just bought a solid yellow shirt and found and iron-on number 2 at Hobby Lobby for a dollar!  Super easy and cute!
Luke needed a number shirt too!  So, I found him an "8" at Hobby Lobby and just ironed it right on!
FUN was had by ALL!



Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy birthday sweet Sophie!

Today, we celebrated Sophie's 1st birthday!  This was quite the homemade party(for me), so it was a lot of fun.  From decorating her hat to making her special dress and cake, I had exuded about all the creative energy I need to for awhile!
This is her "ribbon cake".  I had my first go at cake decorating and it was so fun!

A garland of my favorite pictures and little baby things of hers.  I still can't believe a year has gone by so quickly!  She was a day old in that pic.
I found these cute little numbers for cupcakes at my all-time fav store HL! :)
I saved a favorite bib monogrammed by a special lady just for her party.  :)

The kids were all really proud of baby sister.  I made she and Ella matching pillowcase dresses for her special day.
If every baby were like Sophie, we would all want a dozen of them!  She is so sweet and cuddly and happy.  She is a blessing to all of us.  We love our Sophie Joy to the moon and back and again.  :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Back to school!

I'm excited to say that Oden Academy has kicked off a new school year with a first grader, a Pre-K big 4 year old, and a preschool smartie. 

Our too cool 1st grader

Our big boy Pre-K 4 year old
And, our sweet and sassy preschooler.
And let's not forget our student in waiting, our sweet Sophie Joy. 
People ask me all the time how I do it, but really, I wonder how they do it!  Homeschooling has been a walk of faith and a natural process for our family and it just works.  One of the joys of homeschooling for me has been the flexibility.  I love getting an idea to go somewhere or do something that we're learning about and just doing it!  And, let's not forget the perk of doing school in your pjs!
I also love being able to teach my kids Godly principles while they're still at home.  It brings me so much joy to do this.  This morning, I lead them into a discussion about the bible.  We read this from the Jesus Storybook:
"The Heavens are singing about how great God is;  and the skies are shouting it out, "See what God has made!'  Day after day...Night after night...They are speaking to us."  Psalm 19:1-2 (paraphrased).  We talked about how God gave us this book to tell about Himself and it's a story of Him.  It's also a story of a great hero that comes to save the people he loves.  We will be reading through their bible this year and this thrills me!
And, yes, we'll be learning the basic subjects too.  I was so impressed at how much even little Ella is already starting to learn in reading.  Luke's favorite subject is math.  And, Jacob started learning the letter "A" today.  Sophie cooed and gooed and made us laugh through it all.  :)
I hope you'll follow along on our adventures of homeschool, crafting, and more.  By the way, a little table is calling my name out in the garage. 
Hmmm....what color should I paint it?  Ideas??  :) 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Having it all together

"There is an illusion out there that some women have it all together-but really, it is only women who trust God to have it all together, that will ever have the hope that their labor of love will ever amount to anything."  Sally Clarkson

I read this today as I've been pondering over some things.  Isn't it funny and ridiculous how we often compare ourselves with one another as women, as moms?  We look at beautiful pictures of smiling moms and dads and somehow think that is reality.  No, friends that is a pretty picture.  Reality is that life is hard, kids whine and throw fits, and sometimes we feel like losing it.  So, how on earth can we "hold it together" in this world we live it?  We can trust God to do it for us, that's our only hope.  Because really, we can't, no matter how hard we try, hold it all together and make it work perfectly.  Children will come undone, houses will come undone, and sometimes moms come unglued.  But, thankfully, we have a Lord who is our glue, who says, "Be still" to the waves in our lives.  We can rest in Him. 

As I've been praying for more gentleness as a mom and a woman, I've been tested in more ways that I can count.  Last night, I decided to take some pictures of the kids with their daddy for Father's Day.  I had great hopes of what these pictures would look like, you know, maybe like a good Kodak commercial.  Daddy is smiling, children are all smiling and posing perfectly.  It would be a dream.  Wait, that is a dream.  And, yes, mama got snappy and had to ask for forgiveness from the boys for being so.  But, we did get some good laughs and a few good pics.  Thank Heavens for daddies!  I'm glad to have a good man, who is a great father to our four children and patient with me. 

I hope you get some smiles from these.  I did. :)

Take one! 

Take two!
Take three!
And four!

(Sisters were NOT happy):)

Last one, won't make you move any more daddy, I promise. ;)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rub a dub dub, a word about gentleness

Yesterday was a fun filled wonderful day.  I prepared all morning to see some of my dearest friends from college.  As we crammed 5 girls and 13, yes 13 children, 4 of which are new babies, into my little home, life was good.  We ate and talked and played with each others babies and picked up right where we left off, just like always.  It was a great time, but at the end of the day, I was feeling pretty exhausted.  Lance and I had spent the weekend finishing a huge project that had been brewing for almost a year, our picket fence.  I had painted over 150 fence pickets and my body was feeling it.  The day before was spent with another group of dear friends from church, shopping, eating, and celebrating Sophie's birth.  My heart was feeling full, but my body was feeling tired. 

That night, Lance and I decided to get away for a bit after dinner. Our "getting away" includes our 4 small children.  So we drove by, picked up some yogurt, and headed to the church playground for a change of scenery.  We ate our yogurt at the kiddie picnic table and realized the sprinklers at church were going.  This called for a triple dog dare to run through those sprinklers, I couldn't pass that up.  So, I watched the boys run through sprinklers, laughing and soaking their clothes through.  Being 6 and 3 means laughter will quickly preceed tears as their little soaked bodies are freezing with cold.  So we stripped off the wet clothes and loaded everyone in the van to head home.  My little 3 year old wasn't handling the cold well.  He was crying, actually wailing, as we headed for the LONG 15 minute drive home.  I was so tired and thought, why is he crying?  He's dry, he's in a warm car, we're headed home.  But, he continued to cry.  Lance and I both continued to grow impatient.  I wanted to snap at him and tell him to hush.  But, by God's grace, I remembered something.  A word.  Gentleness. 

Over the past several weeks, God has been etching this in my mind.  I've read and remembered how gently Jesus treated his disciples, even when they didn't deserve it.  I know He was tired, exhausted, weary.  But, he continued to model gentleness with them.  "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls".  Matthew 11:29.  Isn't that interesting?  We crave rest and our Lord will give us rest and gently lead us as we lead our children with gentleness.  So, through gritted teeth, I approached my son with gentleness.  I talked with him about that warm bubble bath that awaited him at home, while I spoke in a soothing voice.  And, I saw something remarkable.  He began to calm, his tears stopped, his body relaxed, and he started to become excited about that bath.  The wailing child had calmed down, not from a snappy mom, but a gentle one.  I learned something huge from my little boy about gentleness.  I will pray for more of this and by God's grace, display it to my children, because it's awesome and amazing. 

  "Your beauty...should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." 1 Peter 3: 3-4

Friday, April 6, 2012

The story of Sophie's birth

Well, I've been thinking about writing this story for awhile, but I've been a little busy, heehee.  The crazy thing is I could've counted the hours down to when Sophie was born, then poof, she's almost two weeks old already.  Time flies when you're adjusting and loving on a newborn.  We have had some precious moments these past few weeks that I'll remember forever. 

So, rewind to about a month before Sophie Joy was born.  I'd been having thoughts, crazy thoughts.  I was thinking about having this baby totally naturally, drug-free, no epidural, nothing.  =)...This is something I've always wanted to do, but never knew I could do it.  I was the child that faked a choking incident when I was 5 to avoid my kindergarten shots.  I do not like pain.  Of course, no one does, unless you have a really good reason.  My reason was to give my baby the best birth I possibly could.  So, I started doing my research, reading some books, and talking to friends who had done this before.  And, I prayed a lot.  I prayed and asked God to guide us on this.  Some things really needed to line up.  I was scheduled to have Sophie at a hospital that isn't known for being pro-natural births, so I needed the okay from my specialist to transfer back to Baptist Hospital, which is a fabulous place to have a natural birth.  God lined everything up.  My specialist gave me the okay and I transferred back to the Cornerstone Clinic at Baptist.  My doctor there was such a naturalist that it almost drove me crazy.  After one of my doctor visits, Lance asked me what "the plan" was.  Um, the plan is whenever the baby decides to come, we'll have her.  =)...So, we just waited.  I was getting nervous.  I have a history of big babies.  And, a big baby and a natural birth just sounded scary to me.  But, this was a great time for me to just trust in the Lord.  So, I waited and trusted and prayed some more. 

Thursday, March 22nd, I really thought Sophie was coming.  I'd been having regular contractions for over 2 hours.  We made it to the hospital, walked and walked and walked some more, but it only made me exhausted and dilated to a 4, contractions fizzling out.  I cried on the way home because I really wanted to see this baby.  Lance and I made a trip to the Waffle House at midnight and still laugh about the workers joking with us about having the baby there. 

So, here I was, dilated to a 4 and nothing happening.  This was depressing.  I was so ready.  But, God kept reminding me about His perfect timing for Sophie.  I waited and walked and walked and tried to rest too.  Saturday, March 24th, I could not sleep.  I tossed and turned and had the same contractions I'd had a million times before that didn't turn into labor, so I ignored them...for awhile anyway.  By early Sunday morning, I couldn't sleep anymore, I knew I was in labor. 

When we finally made it to the hospital, I was dilated to a 5 and in labor!  Yay! =)...I was a little nervous, but God had provided me with a wonderful nurse and doula, and of course my great coach of a hubby.  Lance was extremely attentive and great through the whole thing.  My body knew exactly what to do and honestly, it wasn't that bad!  Even with the hardest contractions, God gives us rest in between.  It was neat to see the difference in a natural birth and a medicated one.  Sophie was calm at birth and I could see a difference in how she reacted verses my three other kiddos.  Not to mention, it was easier on my body because I could move around verses being numb from waist down.  Finally, it was a great feeling of accomplishment.  Maybe this is how a marathon runner feels at the end of a race.  =)...God's way is always the best way.  This isn't to say that some women don't have health issues that prevent them from having a natural birth.  I know what that's like.  I have health issues that prevent me from breastfeeding.  And, I'm okay with that.  But, if you can do it, think about it, because it's really awesome! 

Finally, I just want to thank God for answering prayers and bringing Sophie here safely.  What a wonderful answered prayer she is to me.  Every time I think of her name, Sophie (meaning wisdom) and Joy (for the indescribable peace God gave me during this pregnancy), I rejoice and am thankful to God. 

"For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever".  Psalm 100:5

Monday, March 19, 2012

While I wait...

I'm almost 38 weeks pregnant and tonight I felt God gave me a reality check.  Yes, I'm more than ready to be holding little Sophie in my arms, but I can't forget what I have to do now, while I wait.

Today, I went in to the doctor for swelling, not just the normal kind, but for some reason I've developed quite a bit of swelling the last few days.  So, you can imagine how I was feeling.  I was tired from being up the past night, didn't sleep well, I woke with numbness in my hand from swelling.  My feet looked more like elephant's feet than human's feet.  I just felt tired and pretty cranky.  I got up to three sweet faces greeting me, just like they do every morning, very sweetly.  I smiled, but didn't feel like it.  I just didn't feel good.  After I talked to the nurse and she suggested bedrest for the day, I thought are you kidding me?!  I have three small kids;  I can't just lay around today.  Plus, I have a mountain of laundry to do.  All of these things kept stacking up to equal a very cranky momma. 

In the afternoon, the nurse decided I should come on in because my blood pressure was reading pretty high for me on the machine that Lance had brought home.  We all loaded up and headed to the doctor.  Thankfully, my blood pressure was down and the baby is doing great.  The checkup went great, but my spirit was still down.  I think I was hoping to be in labor or have something go on to finally feel better.  But, I walked out of the office, still very pregnant, swollen and miserable.  On the way home, Lance had promised to get the boys icecream, so we pulled into sonic.  The thought of cleaning up icecream cones from the back seat just didn't set well with me,  so I said no, let's do something else.  This caused major upset, especially with Luke, our oldest.  He began crying and I was very harsh with him about it.  I yelled, told him to stop, he was getting a slush and that was final.  Shouldn't he have been happy with that?  Besides, I just wanted to get home;  I was feeling awful.

Tonight, I was feeling pretty guilty about being so harsh and talked with Luke, asking for his forgiveness.  He said momma you weren't feeling good, it's okay.  Well, that made me feel worse!  I told him how even when we're not feeling well, we still need to be kind, that's what God wants us to do.  Later on as I was reading my book, "The Mission of Motherhood", I was reminded again to be a servant to my children, even when I don't feel like it.  As I wait for Sophie's arrival, I still have a task at hand, to take care of these precious gifts that I've been given and to do it well.  I'm so thankful that tomorrow is a new day and God gives so much grace for each day.  I'm thankful that I don't have to do it on my own.  I might wake up with elephant feet, but I can pray to be filled with the spirit of graciousness, kindness and love toward my children and husband.  God didn't say be filled with the spirit, "unless you're pregnant and feel bad".  He just said be filled.  I pray for a servant heart tomorrow.  I know that giving birth is a large task at hand.  It's downright scary at times.  But, I think of Jesus' task at hand and how he handled the last supper.  He knew what would happen to Him, yet he chose to serve his disciples by ministering to them, washing their feet,  and feeding them.   What a wonderful example he gave. 

Are you struggling with waiting today?  I hope that you are encouraged to know that God gives us grace for each day and each day is new if/when we mess up and are impatient and grumbly.  As you wait, don't forget what He has called you to do now, in this moment. 

"It's the way I respond to my children in everyday moments that gives me the best chance of winning their hearts.  If I have integrity and patience in the small moments of life that are so important to my children, and if I approach them with a servant's heart, then I have a far better chance of influencing them in the larger and more critical issues of life."  Sally Clarkson, "The Mission of Motherhood"