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Friday, July 31, 2009

Rick Rocks ~ Because He Got Me Another One of These

Two years ago for Mother's Day, Rick and the kids got me a porch swing. I loved my porch swing. Kyndal and one of her friends crashed in it a short time after that. Rick fixed it and rehung it. Then at Brynne's birthday party that year, it fell when someone sat on it. Rick fixed it and rehung it again.

And then, this happened, ironically on Father's Day!

So the swing was finally laid to rest.

This week, Rick went and bought me another one. What a relaxing way to spend some time this afternoon. Thanks, babe!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Trip to the Dentist

Today was Brynne's first visit to the dentist for a cleaning. I knew she'd do great! She was mad last time we were there because she didn't get to have her teeth cleaned.

As you can see from the photos, she did quite well.

Eli had his teeth cleaned, too.

No cavities, super-clean teeth. Perfect!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ritzy Misfit Giveaway ~ Bachelorette Style

On Jillian's date with Ed in Hawaii she was wearing an adorable initial pendant made by Ritzy Misfit. Well she (Ritzy Misfit, not Jillian) is giving away one of these pendants! I'd love an aqua "N". 

You can go here to enter to win. But hurry, the contest ends tomorrow night at midnight!

Shop It To Me

I am good at finding good deals at stores, when I'm there. But what happens when a good deal slips through my fingers because I didn't know about it?? The blogging community is great for keeping me informed of great deals, but only if I follow the right blogs.

In my Woman's Day magazine this month I came across a website that helps with notifying me when my favorite stores have sales for specific items in which I am interested.

The website is called Shop It To Me. You can register for free, chose the stores/brands you like, choose the sizes you need, and they will e-mail you when they find items that fit your criteria. Brilliant! Check it out!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


If you are a woman, you struggle with it .. Balance!

And if you're a Christian woman, you probably struggle with it more. Why? Because you overeducate yourself about all that you should be doing as a Christian woman, you try to do it all, and you burn out and get more out of balance than ever!

You take a study on being a good wife, a good mother, a good steward of your money, a devoted homemaker, a giving person, one who prays for the needs of others. Then you work at being frugal, exercising, having hobbies so you don't burn out. And then, you burn out.


It can all be so complicated, can't it? How is it that we can have a lack of balance when we are trying so hard to have balance? Frustrating!!!

I want to be a good wife, a good mother, a good friend, a good daughter, a frugal and effective homemaker while also leaving some time for myself. In all of this I want God to be glorified. But I also want those in my earthly life to feel like they have gotten the best part of me that I have to offer them. I don't want to neglect my children while giving to my husband or neglect my husband while taking care of myself. It doesn't do my marriage any good to work at all of the other things in my life all day long, then be so wiped out at the end of the day that my husband gets what's left .. which isn't much!

I love to be in some kind of Bible study. And in the summer when activities increase, my study of the Bible decreases. Then I get really out of sorts! My next scheduled Bible study doesn't start until September 10th!

So, I have an invitation for you. I have just ordered the Bible study book entitled "Living a Life of Balance". It's by the Women of Faith gals. Although it's a 12-week study, I've read reviews that it's fairly light, so I am planning on turning it into a 6-week study to do between now and September 10th.

I have had a couple of you ask for advice about Bible studies that I do. Would you like to join me? Here's a link to where you can purchase the book. (Click on the word "link" and it will take you there.) My thought is that we will do two chapters a week, starting on Monday, and one day at the end of the week we can discuss it through e-mail or some other way. I'm planning to start my day with the study, getting up 30 minutes earlier than my normal time to fit it in.

If you want to join me, it requires you to get the book and fast! I'd really like to start next Monday, August 2nd, if possible. So, go to your Christian bookstore, or Barnes and Noble, or Borders or order it at the provided link asap! Comment if you plan to join me. I hope you will.

Remember, though ladies, that we really are trying to find some balance in our lives. Don't throw your life off balance by doing this study. Make sure it will work for you in your life.

Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today  ~  July 29, 2009

Outside my window... it's cloudy and appears that it's going to rain AND we're having unseasonably cooler temps (yea!!!).

I am thinking... about balance and priorities.

I am thankful ...  for brighter days.

From the learning rooms... we are learning about honoring your mother and father. And that doesn't just mean children under the age of 18. At our Family Team Meeting we discussed Ephesians 6:1-3 and are each answering questions to a small study of it before our next meeting next Sunday.

From the kitchen... we are having some yummy dinners this week, and I made a double batch of laundry detergent (which will last me 6 months at a cost of about $2.50) and fabric softener.

I am wearing... my p.j.'s.

I am creating... plans for Brynne's birthday party.

I am praying ... for my mother-in-law and ease of her cancer treatments.

I am going... to enjoy the last 3 1/2 weeks of summer we have left, which includes doing some fun things but having the right balance of relaxation.

I am reading... "Broken Children, Grownup Pain" by Paul Hegstrom, PhD, and "No One You Know" by Michelle Richmond

I am hoping... that we have a relaxing but enjoyable remainder of our summer and that school is an easy transition for all 4 of the kiddos.

I am hearing... "Mickey Mouse" on the television, Brynne crunching Doritos (for breakfast) and my coffee pot hissing as it finishes its cycle.

Around the house... I have plenty to do, but no real stress to do it. Laundry will get finished and put away today, but does a super clean and picked up house really matter?

One of my favorite things... (and I've said this before) is reality television. Yes, I'm a junkie of sorts. And I am so glad my favorite was finally chosen on the Bachelorette and that she didn't choose the obvious loser (although this time I don't really think there was an obvious loser)!!

A few plans for the rest of the week... Yesterday we went and saw a free showing of "Hotel for Dogs" at the Riverwalk theatre (cute movie!!) then went to Steph's to swim. Today I am taking Kyndal to get a passport because she is going on a cruise with my mom and sister in November. Then we might go to the big playround. On Friday night we are going to the Driller's baseball game for our Family Fun Night. Saturday is my birthday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing..

Such a sign of the times. First Brynne was just laying in her floor listening to her portable dvd player. (Believe me, it would be an ipod or mp3 player if she could convince us to buy her little three year old self one.) Then Kyndal joined in. Notice they each have an earplug in and Kyndal is texting at the same time.

Get to know other Daybookers at the Simple Woman's Daybook.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Ah, back to some normalcy. Here's what we're having to eat this week.

Monday ~ Boneless crockpot pork ribs and Party potatoes
Tuesday ~ Ham and swiss stromboli
Wednesday ~ FFY (Fend for Yourself)
Thursday ~ Baked salisbury steak and Homemade macaroni and cheese
Friday ~ BBQ pork sandwiches and chips
Saturday ~ My birthday .. am I cooking????
Sunday ~ Easy chicken cordon bleu 

Getting that "end of the summer meal planning" funk? Head over to The Org Junkie for more menu ideas.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Family Fun Night and Movie Review

Rick is out of town this weekend at a Nascar race in Indianapolis with his company. So, the kids and I were on our own for Family Fun Night. This week was kind of all about what Eli wanted to do. 

For some reason he gets really excited when he sees a Burger King sign, and has been wanting to eat there forever. So, I took the kids into Tulsa to eat at Burger King and then we headed to the drive-in movie. The last time we went to see a movie there was when "Cars" was out. Eli was 2 1/2 and Brynne was a baby.

This time we went to see G-Force. We had a good spot at the drive-in and the weather was perfect. We loaded the car up with snacks and drinks and got ready for the movie. We should have just eaten our snacks and gone home. It was horrible! It was boring, the plot was a little complicated at first for little kids, and really didn't make much sense in the end. There were no funny parts at all, not even some hidden adult humor. Brynne, who can sit through back-to-back Chronicles of Narnia movies at the age of 3, was so bored that she didn't pay attention for more than a couple of minutes at a time. Eli said he enjoyed it, but really just enjoys getting his stuffed animals together to play G-Force.

My advice .. save your money for a higher quality movie, like "Space Buddies". Oh wait, that movie was horrible, too. Well, at least it had tooting scenes that made the little kids laugh.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Me. Kyndal. October 30th. There.

Creative Writing

I love to write. I've been told throughout my life that I should do it more, maybe try to write short stories to get published, etc.

Writing soothes me and gives me an outlet for my feelings. But sometimes I have a hard time coming up with something to write about.

I found a neat website the other day with writing prompts. It's called There are 329 different creative writing ideas, things just to get you started writing. They are completely random, but completely fun!

So, I bought a new spiral notebook and got started. It's one of those things that I don't have to do everyday. But, when I am wanting to write, the prompts are there for my use.

There is also a link on the site called Journal Sparks that you can click on, if you're just a journaler but have a dry day now and then.

Check it out if you want.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Rick Rocks ~ But Needs Some Help Along the Way!

Okay, this may turn out to be a long one! ... wait, I'm going to grab a cup of coffee first ...

I'm back.

Katy Lin has a My Husband Rocks inspiration today. A lot of weeks we're just on our own to come up with our post topic, but sometimes she has something she'd like us to touch on.

She referred to a blog that was discussing the Tour de France. Apparently Lance Armstrong has made a comeback this year in the race. But, this time it's not as his team's lead man. Instead, he is one of the support cyclists called a domestique. It is his job, and the job of the other domestiques to do whatever it takes to make sure their lead cyclist makes it to the end of the race victorious.

Lance Armstrong was quoted as saying,  “As far as I’m concerned, I’m happy to be a domestique (support rider). … This is a team sport. I think now is the time for me to put my chances aside and focus on the team.”

Then the author of that blog had this to say, "If you had to name your Team, the one group with which you most identify, would it be family, friends, schoolmates, work associates, church members, ministry partners? When was the last time you served them as a domestique?"

So this is the inspiration for today's My Husband Rocks post.

This is a hard one! I'm going to be honest, I think Rick is usually the domestique in our marriage. He is the one who is always seeking ways to help me through the day, making sacrifices just for me to make sure I get accomplished what I want to accomplish, etc. I do take the time to ask him what I could do for him today to be helpful. But, truthfully, I'm pretty selfish when it comes to giving up what I want in a day to make sure what he wants is accomplished.

So, I thought about it all last night, and slept on it. I kept thinking of physical things I could do, like making sure he always has his favorite pot of tea, or fixing his favorite meals, or trying to mow the yard for him (that would be a disaster, actually), or something else of that nature. But this morning, while catching up on the blogs I follow, it came to me. The same theme kept popping up in the blogs, and with some revelations I received yesterday about myself, it became clear what I could do for him.

The best thing I can do for him as a support member of his team is to take care of myself.

If you follow my blog you have read about the rough few months I have had and how it has caused me to experience some depression. It upsets my kids to see me so down, and I know it is hard on Rick to see me unmotivated and sullen all the time. I try to put on a good front, but come on, they know. They are used to me being the rock, the heartbeat, of our family. And I just haven't been. I haven't had the excitement for summer break this summer, like I usually do. Really, I've just been grateful to get done what needs to be done in a day so I can go to bed.

Another blog I follow, Adding Zest to Your Nest, had this to say this morning, and it is what finally gave me the "aha" about what I can do for Rick as his domestique. 

"So, dear married friends, as much as it is up to us, let’s pray together that the Lord would settle us on the firm foundation of His plan for our part in a God-honoring union—not for the norm in this “crooked and depraved generation.” Stay in the Word and pray Pray PRAY, and it will guide you how to live and love less selfishly, more deeply, less casually and more fully…may we never settle for less!"

So, that's it for me. The best way that I can be a domestique for Rick is to be grounded in the Lord, living as full out as I can live. This only requires that I get back to the basics ... staying in the Word, praying, and allowing God to guide me through the day. I have forgotten that, despite my troubles, God is sovereign and in control. He has known all of this was going to happen. He has known every hurtful word I was going to say and every inappropriate way I was going to react to things. And, He loves me anyway and has a plan for making it okay. He just wants me to return to him and give myself to Him.

I used to pray every day for Rick out of the book "The Power of  a Praying Wife." Rick used to tell me how he could feel my prayers. I haven't done that for years (gulp!). I have always been one who has gotten up early to exercise, then come home and done a devotion, read my Bible, journaled, prayed, been active in raising my children in the Word (using it in their discipline and as an example for proper behavior), giving to others where I saw a need. 

I'll be totally honest here and tell you that I haven't done any of those things for many months. That's not only damaging to me, but it hurts Rick as well. It hurts our marriage. It takes away his ability to fully do the things he needs to do, because he is constantly worried about my state of mind. And it has hurt my relationships with many other people, as well, which also hurts our marriage. It causes an unnecessary distraction. 

So, I choose, today, to take away that concern on this race he is on. That's just one less bump in the road he will have to worry about. This is the one thing I can do to help assure that he will be victorious in his race.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

True Friendship

I didn't plan on posting anything else today. Obviously I have changed my mind.

I have a friend who lives life the way I want to live it.

The Word says, "Then they [older women] can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."  Titus 2:4-5.

My friend is older than me. And she is wise, so wise. These are some of the things that she models to me.

1. God is first in her life. She doesn't shove it in your face, but she lives it in her life at all times!

2. Her husband is absolutely first in her earthly life, after God, above all else! If people don't understand that or believe in it, she just closes in deeper with him. They are the example of marriage I want to follow. They are not perfect, but they support and love each other. He runs her a bath at night, she packs him a sack lunch when he's going to be out for the day. It's the simple things, the daily ways of caring for each other, that make their marriage strong.

3. She is an excellent, imperfect mother, and now a grandmother. And the children aren't even hers.

4. She is an encourager. She just makes you feel that you are loved, no matter what you think you have or have not done. And she always has just the right words to say.

I haven't contacted her about the things I've been going through, but she read it on this blog. She sent me an e-mail today, out of the blue, and here is a portion of it ...

I can't IMAGINE roughing it with four of your own children and three of someone elses without experiencing some "serial killer moments".  I was impressed by your attitude when planning the trip as well as the description of the awesome sights you saw.  We took the same trip several years ago and as beautiful and breathtaking as it was, it was pretty tough trip and we stayed in a motel every night.  You did good!  I think I would have been humped up (one of my Granny's sayings) not talking to anybody after the first three hours or so.
You've got a pretty full plate with just day to day obligations and it's hard to keep in balance.  There's not a clone that walks around with you that tells you to deal with a problem.....count a with a problem....count  a blessing.... It's probably just as well cause you'd most likely smack the clone (as I would).
My point in this rambling is simply this, no matter the expectations we put on ourselves, life occurs as it's supposed to and all we can do is react in the best manner we know how and we're better at that some days than others.

I have been beating myself up so badly lately about everything I am doing. I feel like a disappointment, a failure, even though I have worked to live every day doing the "right" things. I do that for the benefit of my husband and my children, primarily. If I reap benefits from it, then that's just bonus. Although many have tried to be supportive, I haven't really felt supported. I just feel more expectations. I've felt very alone even though I am surrounded by people. It has made me retreat even further into my home and into myself. It has caused me to have an extremely bad attitude about people.

I hate this feeling. I hate this person I feel like I am right now.

But, my friend, in just that e-mail, provided a lighted way for me to come out of it. Just hearing that I'm allowed to make mistakes without judgment has given me a renewed desire and tenacity to get back after it, to get back to fighting my depressed feelings. I never said all of my feelings were rational .. but being overwhelmed will do that to you. 

I get to choose how I feel. No one else is responsible for that. So, I choose to pick up the Word, review God's promises to me, accept the support of my husband and friends and family who are willing to give it to me, cut myself some slack, and get back to living. 

Life is not perfect, and neither am I.

Thank you, my friend, for giving me the courage to step out of this darkness. I know you are there for me when I need you. And I will need you more, I am sure!!

Thoughts on Thursday ~ Food

Because of my feelings of being scrutinized for everything I say or do right now (and I have lots I'd really like to say), I've decided to keep my post light today and just talk about food.

For 3 weeks we haven't had a home-cooked meal here at our house. We were at my parents' for a week and ate their home-cooked meals. Then we just ate pantry finds the next week in preparation for our vacation. Then during our vacation we ate nothing but sandwiches and hotdogs and snacks, it seems. So, I've been in the mood to cook!

On Monday we were out of groceries so just had ramen. On Tuesday night we had tacos .. and they were good with fresh veggies! Of course Wednesdays are FFY (Fend for Yourself), so everybody ate their favorite easy foods. But tonight, I'm cooking! I'm getting ready to put the round steak in the crock pot for beef stroganoff. Yum, that just sounds so good to me! Tomorrow night we're having hot turkey and swiss sandwiches with the yummiest Hickory Pepper Turkey Breast I got at our local Reasor's deli (I snuck some into a sandwich yesterday!) Rick will be gone this weekend on a business trip, so the kids and I will keep it easy. But then the good meals start up again on Monday. I'll post my regular Menu Plan Monday then.

Hope you are all eating well!

Oh, and don't forget to stop by McAlister's for your free tea today!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Free Tea at McAlister's tomorrow!!

I don't know what size you'll get, but hey, it's free!!

Simple Women's Daybook

For Today  ~  July 22, 2009

Outside my window... it's sunny.

I am thinking... about how I need to get up and get busy!

I am thankful ...  for no more travel for the rest of the summer.

From the learning rooms... got nothin'.

From the kitchen... I am finally planning some meals.

I am wearing... my pjs, and it's almost 11 a.m.

I am creating... again, got nothin'.

I am praying ... that I can find a way to battle through the depression I am experiencing right now.

I am going... to put away the rest of the stuff from our vacation, including the 12 or so loads of folded laundry.

I am reading... "Broken Children, Grownup Pain" by Paul Hegstrom, PhD, and "No One You Know" by Michelle Richmond

I am hoping... for a break in the blahs.

I am hearing... a lawn mower in the distance and Eli playing Spiderman on his xbox.

Around the house... so much needs to be done.

One of my favorite things... is sleeping.

A few plans for the rest of the week... Tonight Kyndal is going to a baseball game. I'm hoping to sit down and watch some television. I might take the kids to the waterpark on Friday. Rick will be out of town on business Saturday and Sunday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing..

This captures the way I've been feeling lately .. like bubbling pot of mud.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Final Vacay Thoughts

Well, now you are all caught up. We got up on Day 8 and drove 11 hours to Denver, spent the night in a hotel and finished the trip on Day 9 with another 11 hour driving stretch. We got home, found our cat locked upstairs, and started unpacking. I'm hoping to get our stinky laundry done today and the rest of the stuff put away. Rick spent about 2 hours last night detailing our Suburban. Yikes!

Here are some last photos of how we spent our time in the car ...

Sunflower seeds and his iPhone

Countless hours on his DS

Playing with his Ice Age toys (I think we watched Ice Age, seriously, about 8 times on this trip)

Sucking on her key and hanging out with Kyndal. They drew pictures, listened to music and giggled.

Twisting her hair.

Just a joke, folks!!! Like I could sleep in a car with 4 kids!

And here are my final thoughts ...

1. We aren't campers and I am so proud of us for pulling it off! We really did rough it, and I'm proud of us for making it.

2. I'm sad we had a family blowup in the middle of vacation, but am glad that some hidden feelings came out so we can work on them as a family. We'll be discussing all of this with our LifeCoach soon.

3. I am amazed that our children were able to hang out in a car for the better part of 60 hours in a week without any meltdowns! Seriously, there wasn't even one!

4. Every person should go see Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore once in their life! Yellowstone was a little slow for me, but it contains so many natural wonders that it is worth seeing! Every person should make a point to go to the Grand Tetons, even if you stay in a resort. It was breathtaking!

5. We drove through 7 states in 9 days, logging almost 4,000 miles. Wow!

6. Despite our extremely different personalities, which cause occasional conflict, I love my family so much and wouldn't have wanted to experience these sights with any other people in the world. I know we will look back on this vacation with good memories .. and may even laugh at the bad ones.

7. The Thomasons are outstanding people. With a blown transmission, major detour, 4 total flat tires, a goof with the second truck, a messed up bike rack, riding with a complete stranger for 2 hours to get their second truck, and countless other mishaps, they managed to have the time of their lives .. a lesson we can all learn from.

8. I am now looking forward to our luxurious cruise to Hawaii that Rick and I are going on next summer! And, I know we will have a blast in Oklahoma City with the kids for a long weekend at the end of next summer staying in a hotel and only driving 2 hours to get there.

Vacay Day 7 ~ The Grand Tetons (cont)

This was Friday and was to be the day we started the trip home. But, as soon as we arrived on Day 6 we just knew that we wanted to stay one more night.

Here's why ....

These are the official Grand Tetons. Do you know what "Tetons" stands for? I'll give you a hint ... I just had surgery to create some ... Funny, huh?

On this last day in the Tetons we decided to make the hour drive to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and around to the Teton Village (ski area) to ride the aerial tramway, Big Red, up to Rendezvous Point.

I fell in love with Jackson Hole. In fact, I told Rick that I would really like to (and I'm not kidding) sell our house, buy a cheaper one and work toward getting a vacation home there that we could retire to someday. It is a stunning place! And the town is adorable! So many cool shops down on the square. They have everything you can think of. There's an airport within 30 miles. There's a golf course. And, the skiing. I don't like to ski, but Rick does. And, I love winter so the harsh winters wouldn't bother me a bit .. not in the middle of that beauty!

We rode Big Red and the kids loved it! Eli especially loved it!

Once we got to the top (it was so windy and cold), we went into the little cafe area and ate our picnic lunch. We took a couple of photos and rode back down.

Then the kids did what was probably their favorite thing all trip .. they jumped on the bungee trampoline. 

On the way back we stopped at String Lake so the kids could swim. The water was freezing but that didn't stop them!

Here we are with the Thomasons ...

We decided to call it an early day because the Thomasons were heading back to Yellowstone for a couple of days and wanted to get there before dark. We hugged them goodbye and went back to our campsite for spaghetti and an early night to bed. We were getting up the next day to start the 22 hour trip home.