Our Blessed Chaos

My hubby + a 1st grader + twins in kindergarten + 4 critters..... Yeah it is chaos, but we are blessed!

Today's Verse

Have you ever come across a post that was so good you wish that everyone would read it (and secretly wish you were creative enough to have written it).

Today I found one of those posts written by Traci. Please go read it, it is funny, thought provoking, and convicting!

Katy Lin hosts My Husband Rocks!.

It has been awhile since I have done a My Husband Rocks post, but this week I have been more reflective about him and thought I would sit down and write. I have been more reflective for a couple reasons. Of course because me and the kids are here at my parents and he is at our home and I simply miss him. But secondly because I just started to read the book "The Power of a Praying Wife".

I have always felt incredibly blessed to have the husband I have. Certainly no question or hesitation about that. I am barely into the first chapter and I am realizing this blessing is so much more deep. Within the first few pages (pg 14) she says "A husband can hurt your feelings, be inconsiderate, uncaring, abusive, irritating, or negligent."

Only within my own self-pity does he ever hurt my feelings. Once I get over myself I realize that I have over reacted and was wrong.

Only in my own selfishness is he inconsiderate. No, this is not my hubby - in fact he is often way more considerate than I am. Many days I am wallowing in my own selfishness, waiting for him to get home so I can get a break. Meanwhile I forget that he has commuted 120+ miles, worked all day and then has to come home to me wanting to escape, and yet he happily sends me to our room for a break!

The word uncaring is the complete opposite of my hubby. As a young child his mother had surgery and he took care of her. All he could do was bring her a bowl of cereal but that is what he did - he took care of her and made sure she ate. If I am not feeling well he always brings me what I need, food, a drink, medicine, ice packs or whatever. I won't even get into how much he cares for our children other than to say that sometimes he mothers them more than I do. This man was born with a caring soul.

Abusive? Umm no, I can't even think of a humorous analogy.

Irritating - yeah well who isn't irritating to their spouses in some ways. Okay, yes, there are things that irritate me: it drives me insane when he takes something out of the fridge but does not put it back in the same spot, he never wipes his toothpaste smear out of the sink, he never picks up his dirty clothes or puts away clean ones when I ask him too, and his 'spaces' like the attic and the shed are so insanely disorganized that I can not stand to even be near them! I am organzied and it aggravates me to have a messy house - he is disorganized and messy doesn't bother him. So of course I am always the one that is irritated with these things!

Negligent - yes, he never brings me flowers - oh wait, that's because I told him not to. No, he does not neglect - he gives me everything I want and more. I am not sure that he has ever told me 'no'. I cannot even imagine how crazy of an idea I would have to come up with before he would stop me! Let's see - how about I run away from home for nearly four weeks and the way to get there is to spend over $2,000 to fly out of the country with 2 year old twins and a 3 year old by myself. Yeah that is a pretty crazy idea but he didn't flinch, and told us to have a great time. His biggest worry was me, how would I manage on the plane and in the airport!

I am so blessed to have this man as my husband! I complain, I moan and groan - he never does! I get upset and lose my mind every other day - he never does, he is so even tempered that even when he does get upset it can be humorous. My mom & I still can laugh until we cry when we remember him throwing the stool out the back door after he stubbed his toe on it for the millionth time! That is seriously the only time in 6 years I remember him losing his temper!

A little further into the beginning of "The Power of a Praying Wife" book she even discusses women who don't even like their husbands! My hubby is my best friend.

I am only through half of the first chapter but this first chapter is about changing yourself first. Yeah, there is definately alot of stuff I need to work on, including praying more for my husband!

Ben is probably the hardest on the pets. If one of the cats scratches or one of the dogs growls it is almost always at Ben. So why do you suppose they prefer to nap with him?

More Wordless Wednesdays at 5minutesformom

Gratituesday is hosted by Laura at Heavenly Homemakers

This last week has been very busy, as you can read in the last several posts. But I think a theme throughout the week is the positive influence of being around family. Just being around grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins is so precious.

When I was growing up there was always lots of family around and lots of get togethers. I don't think I fully appreciated it until my kids did not have it. Now, any time that they get to spend with extended family is so much more cherished and appreciated!

Our first week at Papa & Mimi's house...
Monday we travelled, Tuesday with family, Wednesday at the lake, Thursday shopping, Friday sick in bed, Saturday at the beach...

Sunday I decided that even though my mom was away I was still going to take the kids to church. I knew that there would be no Sunday School and I would have to try to keep them still and quiet for the entire service. Something we have just started to do and certainly not something I have done by myself! It went sort of okay, they were generally quiet but did not sit very still. We have a lot of work to do!

After church we packed up the van then went to pick up GG for lunch. After lunch we drove to yet another lake to my aunt & uncles cabin. We had a wonderful day. The weather was perfect, I got to hold my newest baby cousin and visit with more family. The kids had a blast playing with their cousin and they discovered how much fun a hammock can be!

Of course, one of the highlights was to have a picture of Grandma with her great-grandchildren, well not quite half of them, she has 12! When we were young we did the same thing - had pictures taken with our Great-Grandmas. How precious to be able to continue that tradition!!! But even more precious to hear her laugh at how silly they were when we were trying to get a picture!

Our first week at Papa & Mimi's house...
Monday we travelled, Tuesday was a family supper, Wednesday at the lake...

Thursday I went shopping to stock up on kid friendly stuff like Pullups, Wipes, juice boxes, snacks and cereal. Have I mentioned that I am never ever buying cereal again - well at least not for a long time. Check back a couple posts to find out why...

Very early Friday morning my parents left for the weekend to a wedding. I woke up feeling just horrible. I gave the kids breakfast and got them dressed then I had something to eat. Then I turned on the electronic babysitter and layed down. Soon I was making a path back and forth from the bed to the bathroom. ugggg I have not been that sick for a very long time.

I guess one good thing about the cereal is that it made for an easily prepared lunch for the kids. They were actually pretty good all day and managed to entertain themselves between TV and playing with toys. Thankfully most of the toys and TV shows are still new enough to keep their attention. Then for the first time in ages they all laid down with me and had a two hour nap!

My wonderful cousin Bernadine came late in the afternoon to help out with the kids for awhile. She walked into the living room and started to laugh - they had dumped a bunch of cereal on the floor. No this is not the same mess as the previous post, this was a completely different cereal mess - just not as big as yesterdays. Anyway, she was an angel to clean up the house, make the kids sandwiches for supper and play with the boys outside. Later her son came and played with them too. Meanwhile I stayed in bed then had a long hot bath to try to revive myself. It didn't work, I went to bed when the kids did.

Saturday I woke up and felt better, I was just tired and weary from being in bed for so long. I decided that it was too beautiful of a day to waste in the house. I packed up and we went to a lake about 90 miles away. It is a different beach than my parents lake, but I remembered that it had a nice beach with a long shallow swimming area - great for kids. They had a great time and I got to sit and recover and enjoy them having fun!

The drive home was so peaceful because they all slept the whole way home! When we got back to town we stopped to have ice cream for supper. They thought this was incredibly hilarous and they thouroughly enjoyed their ice cream. Sam and Carlee have learned how to eat a cone without too much mess - Ben not so much... I laugh out loud everytime I see him in this video!

Our first week at Mimi & Papa's house...
Monday we travelled, Tuesday was with family. Wednesday was a beautiful day so we decided to go to the lake. Mimi wanted to water her plants and Papa wanted to fill the bird and chipmunk feeders. The kids of course wanted to go to the beach. So we packed up and went.

First the plants got watered, then there was little fishing going on before we hit the beach

Here are the boys waiting to go to the beach, and then we splashed around in the lake.

But the best part came when Papa made us campfire hotdogs and then I roasted marshmallows YUM YUM YUM. Then I remembered just how gooey and sticky roasted marshmallows are!!! HAHA it was so funny. Check out Sam's cheeks in this first one, he has his whole mouth stuffed full of marshmallows!

Carlee was actually saying sticky when I took this one haha

And I saved the best photo for last. Can't you just hear him saying mmmmmmm!!!

Now that I have calmed down from the cereal disaster I can get back to posting about some of the fun things we have done during our first week at Mimi & Papa's house.

Last Monday of course was our travel day.

Tuesday morning we walked to my Grandma's, who we now call GG. After a nice visit we went back to Mimi & Papa's to get ready for the afternoon and supper with family. There was Uncle Al & Auntie Florence, Uncle Edgar & Auntie Angie, my cousin Bernadine and two of her kids Kirsten & Colton. It was so nice to have a family get together and catch up. But more importantly it is so special to me for my kids to experience this.

Growing up we had these kind of family get togethers often. Besides holidays there were lots of birthdays to celebrate. Our little gathering on Tuesday was much smaller than those gatherings I remember. Lots of people and people eating everywhere. In fact, Bernadine was pretty lucky to be able to sit at the "big table". LOL She was married and had kids when she finally asked how old you had to be before you could sit at the big table! We usually had to eat in the living room or downstairs because there was always more older people that got the prime seats at the big table.

I found a great site Mama's Losin It that hosts a weekly Writer's Workshop. One of the prompts this week is "Who made you red hot this week?" I posted this on Monday, but of course it is still fresh in my mind and probably will be forever!!! This story certainly qualifies for this prompt - I have not been that upset with my kids in a very long time!!! Here's why....

Most mornings for a couple months now, the kids get up and help themselves to some cereal. Sometimes they make a bit of a mess but nothing like this. I heard a bit more cereal bag noise than usual and thought "hmmm I should go check that out". This is what they did in less than 10 minutes! First in the kitchen...

And this was what I found in the living room. I managed to salvage one box of Cheerios that they had not opened the bag yet. Sam is upset because "it is too hard to clean it up" I guess Carlee is picking up her breakfast.

And Ben, well Ben looks like he is mad that he got caught.

This is not exactly what I had in mind when I told them to pick it up! But it did make me wonder what else old IMC hardhats have been used for

My first reaction (after the initial shock wore off) was to try to salvage some of the cereal and get them to pick it up and put it back into the bags. Well for some reason they decided that they were not going to listen to a thing I was saying today. I turned off the TV, took away all the toys, grounded them to the bedroom and then on the couches, and even brought out the hot sauce. Nothing worked to get them to pick up the cereal! It was incredibly frustrating!

Finally, after about 3 hours of fighting with them I gave up the cause of trying to salvage any cereal and brought out the vacuum. This worked for a little while. Well at least until the novelty of Grammy's central-vac wore off and it started to seem like work again. Then I couldn't get them to take turns with the vacuum, so for another 2 hours I fought with them between taking turns with the vacuum and being grounded to the couches.

Eventually Carlee actually fell asleep on the couch and I decided it was time for a break. I made the boys lay down for a rest and thankfully they both fell asleep, and so did I! I did have to finish the cleanup job by myself because my sister-inlaw and nieces were coming to visit for supper. Then later when my mom and dad got back from the wedding the kids had to explain what happened and apologize for making a really big mess in their house.

I have decided that I am not buying anymore cereal for a very long time! And when we get home Daddy & I really need to come up with a better strategy to get them to do what they are told when they are told to do it. It was a horrible day!

Here is how our day of travel played out...

Monday morning started out an hour earlier than intended. Ben decided to throw a fit at 3am and that left me sitting up with him for an hour. At 4am I had to put him in front of the electronic babysitter so that I could start getting ready. He soon realized what I was doing and quickly changed his attitude. He became a pleasant and helpful little guy.

I got him dressed and settled into his carseat with his water cup and a breakfast bar. I then went to get Carlee. As soon as I got downstairs with her she popped awake and asked if we were going to the airport. So I got her dressed too and she happily settled into her carseat with water and breakfast. I brought Sam down next and it was the same thing, he knew what we were doing and he was happy and willing to get into the carseat with his water and breakfast.

My plan was to be on the road by 5am, we were close to that as we drove out of our yard at 5:08! So far so good. The kids chatted excitedly for awhile and were quite fascinated with various things in the dark - they are not often out when it is that dark so it was new to them. Soon though they were all asleep and woke up close to the airport.

In the airport parking lot we had to get them out of their carseats so that the carseats could go into the carseat bags (which by the way are one of the best things I ever purchased for travel!). These bags held not only the carseats but I was able to also pack their clothes, a blanket, two stuffed sleeping buddies, wipes packages and pullups - and I could have easily packed more into them! Anyway, it took some time to get all three carseats and the extra stuff all packed into the bags. We ended up with two airport luggage carts piled with the three carseat bags, my big suitcase and our carry-on bags. It was alot of stuff!

Of course I had to take the customary photo of all three kids. This is so that if someone gets lost I will not have to remember what they were wearing, all I have to do is show the photo!
We finally got into the airport and found the check in desk, which was very busy and took a long time for us to get through there. By then it was time for us to go through security which meant we had to say bye-bye to Daddy. Our kids have never been tearful with goodbyes and so when we said it was time to say bye-bye to Daddy, they casually said "Bye-bye Daddy" and were going to continue on. Of course we had to stop them for a longer good-bye and a quick prayer time. But they we so excited to get to the airplane! We had actually laughed about this a few days earlier when we saw a couple having a tearful goodbye because we knew that this would not be how our goodbyes are.

Then came the challenge of getting through security. One of the requirements is to remove all shoes. What an incredible pain in the butt that is! Then I have to walk through the metal detector by myself and then each of the kids one at a time. Yeah right! It seemed to take us forever to get through the whole process! Then we had to walk quite a long ways to get to our gate - all the way to the very end of the concourse! Of course by myself this would not have seemed far at all, but with a rolling suitcase and three kids in tow it was far enough!

At the gate we only had to wait about 10 minutes before we were able to board. It was a long 10 minutes with hyper excited kids, and I was thankful that it wasn't any longer. We boarded the plane and made our way to the very back - yep we were in Row 42, the very last row! I knew that when we got to our seats we would have a problem. The plane had three seats on the left and three seats on the right, so we had three and one. Someone was going to have to sit beside a stranger because I would need to sit in where I could reach everyone easily. I was a bit worried about who would be the one to sit in the fourth seat across the aisle from me.

Then we met an angel! The person that was in the next seat truly was an answer to prayers! In fact, some of the people from our church had told us they were going to pray that we would be seated next to a kindergarten teacher! Well, Mr. Jonathan may not have been a teacher but he does have 4 children and 7 grandchildren. He took care of Sam just as if he was one of his own grandchildren. They quickly became great buddies and my worries were easily eliminated, especially when we realized that we have the same Christian parenting values! Like I said, Jonathan was truly an answer to prayer.

One of my concerns was what their reaction would be to the noise of the plane and taking off. We had long discussions that there was no crying allowed on airplanes and that if someone was scared then they were to hold hands with the person next to them. When the plane started to move and the noise increased Sam immediately reached across the aisle to hold my hand, but he was soon fine. Ben was in the window seat and he was literally bouncing in his seat because he was so excited by seeing all the other planes and airport vehicles. Carlee was beside me and when we taxied down the runway she was giggling her little head off gleefully saying weeeeee-weeeeee.

The flight was not exactly a breeze, it was not long before Ben had figured out how to unbuckle his seatbelt. At one point I was talking with Sam and when I turned around Ben was sitting on the tray table! That child sure knows how to find his own trouble!

After we landed we were taken care of again by Jonathan and his brother when they made sure that we knew what gate our connecting flight was. Even though I now have their email address I don't think I will ever be able to let them know just how much of a blessing they were to us that day!

We had to get through 4 concourses in less than 20 minutes for the boarding of our next flight! There was no way we would have time to stop for lunch so I was grateful that I had packed lots of snacks. I was starting to wonder if we would even be able to make it - afterall we were walking about as fast as turtles. I was so grateful to find a shuttle stop that took us to our gate! We got to the gate and I decided we had enough time for a quick restroom break. When we got back to the gate they were already boarding - we did not have any time to spare!!!

This plane had two seats on either side of the aisle so we took up a whole row. We got settled into our seats. Well, I got them into seatbelts but by this time they were on a sugar rush from all the candies, cookies and straight juice they had had on the previous flight. I was grateful that they could be bribed to stay in the seatbelts if I gave them a snack of cereal and granola bars. Whew! It was a crazy few minutes and I was worried that it would be a very very long 2 hours.

I was wrong, within minutes of taking off I noticed that Carlee and Ben were getting sleepy. I took out their jackets to use as pillows and tried to make them comfortable. When I was finished I turned around to see that Sam had also fallen asleep! He only slept for about 15-20 minutes, but it was enough for him to be refreshed. We had a nice time just the two of us.

Meanwhile Ben & Carlee continued to sleep and were still sleeping when we landed! It was a delightfully peaceful flight - the best of all possible scenarios.

We were the last ones off the plane and we stopped at the restroom before getting into the line for Customs. While we were in the line we had to make a trip back to the bathroom, but being last in line we did not lose our place when we returned! We made it through customs with no problems and then I had to collect all of our bags. At this point there was only a Customs officer in the baggage claim area and she was kind enough to offer to help us out of the secured area and through the doors to finally meet up with Mimi and Papa. We also had the nice surprise of seeing my aunt and uncle too!

When I think of how many things could have went wrong or badly I am that much more aware of the answered prayers that day. I am so incredibly grateful to all those who covered our travels in prayer! This day could have been an absolute nightmare but it wasn't because we had the grace and love of God to guide us through it.

Gratituesday is hosted by Laura at Heavenly Homemakers

About the time I moved from Canada to California was when WestJet started to fly there as well. WestJet always had great seat sales that seemed to always be better than any other airline. Their changes and cancellation policy was great too, no need for insurance, they would simply give you a same dollar credit to be used within a year.

In addition to that, WestJet has a casual corporate atmosphere that always seemed to make flying with them pleasant, and even enjoyable as they always have funny jokes to tell.

Then we moved to North Carolina and no where near to any place WestJet flies. Flights were now quite alot more expensive for people to come visit us, I was disappointed.

Now we are in Maryland, not much further than North Carolina and expected flights to be much the same. Although I did happen to find a seat sale with Northwest so that I can take the kids home to Canada this summer, the prices were still not that great. I did not expect prices to be all that wonderful this fall or winter for when others might want to come visit us.

That was until a few days ago when I got an email from WestJet stating that they will start flying to Atlantic City in the fall!! Interesting that I never took my email address off the WestJet list. Anyway, now we have the option of using WestJet again because Atlantic City is only a couple hour drive from our house, not a whole lot further than the nearest airport in Baltimore!

Hooray for WestJet !!

I have been silent for several days. What have been doing? I have no idea, I have not accomplished anything worthwhile. Nope, no major attack on rooms that are still not completely unpacked or organized. I have done some laundry, but it is not put away, rather it is sitting in baskets getting all wrinkled - but at least I can blame the wrinkles on being in suitcases! I have not spent any quality time in planning for when we start home preschool even though I have received all the books. I guess the huge mess in the school room is kind of a turn off. And no, I have not cleaned that either.

So what the heck have I been doing? Being a big ole grump that's what! (this is where any guys reading might want to stop and continue on to something else). Big enough to have to blog about it - that is huge! But maybe someone else who reads this might have the same problems and can work through this with me.

So what is it all about? Simple really - PMS. Since I had children my PMS symptoms have completely changed. I generally was only a cramp sufferer, I never had emotional symptoms caused by PMS. Then I had kids, now it is all different - hubby has even said that there are days when he really doesn't know what he will face when he walks in the door. Yikes!

Well, awhile ago I won a book on a blog giveaway called SOS for PMS written by Mary M. Byers. Here is a link to her website .

I read the first few chapters and realized that I was not going crazy, it was simply PMS. Simply PMS?? Yes!!! AND the good news is that it can be manageable. When I first picked it up I read a list of behavioral and emotional symptoms. I hope I am not violating any copyright laws here, but this list is from pages 13-14 of her book. She also lists physical symptoms, I may have some of them but I really don't suffer from any of those. Here are the behavioral and emotional symptoms:

  • anger
  • anxiety
  • decreased alertness
  • depression, sadness, hopelessness
  • forgetfulness
  • inability to concentrate
  • indecision
  • irritability
  • loneliness
  • loss of control
  • mood swings
  • nightmares
  • panic attacks
  • paranoia
  • suicidal thoughts
  • unexplained crying
  • withdrawal from family and friends

With the exception of paranoia and suicidal thoughts I can relate, in varying degrees to the rest of this list. I now know that these are PMS symptoms because I only experience these symptoms for a few days every four weeks. Okay, so maybe I have forgetfulness all the time - but I blame 2 full years of sleep deprivation on that. I literally could not remember how old I was today - I even asked hubby. Pitiful!!!

Okay so back to the book. Soon after I got the book I read the first few chapters but never finished it. Those few chapters did give me some coping tools that were very helpful. I learned to understand the first warning signs so that I could rearrange my days and avoid situations that would unleash the PMS rage. For several months it was working pretty well. Until a few days ago. It was a pretty bad week, bad enough that yesterday afternoon I had to go find the PMS book. I knew what was happening, I just could not cope with it - it was too extreme.

I didn't have much time, but I did scan enough of the book to learn this - stress can exaggerate the symptoms of PMS. Great! So not only have we just moved and I am still overwhelmed with the chaos of unpacking and getting organized, but now I am flying to Canada with 3 very young kids. Stressful? Maybe a bit! Flying with a 3 year old and 2 year old twins will certainly be challenging. The following timeline actually serves a dual purpose. First to acknowledge the stress - I have been brushing it off a bit! But also to figure out a timeline so that I leave enough time for everything. As I lay this out I will be changing times too.

4:00 Get up, shower, pack remaining items in van - hopefully I will have most of it already in the van the night before (yeah that would be tomorrow night and I haven't packed anything yet - stress!)

4:30 Get kids into the van - I am planning on letting them sleep in the clothes they will wear for flying that day. I also need to make up breakfast bowls that they can have in the van or in the airport (nope haven't done that yet either - stress)

5:00 Drive to airport

6:30 Arrive and park. Hubby goes to get a couple airport luggage cart thingies (yes, that is the technical term) while I get kids out of their carseats, put all three carseats into a travel bag along with the items will travel with the carseat. (Nope haven't decided that yet, nor have I even unpacked the travel bags from the amazon box to test if the carseats will even fit into the bags - stress). It will be vey cramped quarters for awhile!

7:00 check in with airline and say bye to Daddy (major stress).

I will now be on my own until I see my Mom! I am not overly concerned about being in the airports with them, they are used to being out with me and are good about holding hands and staying close. I am more concerned that for the first flight we do not have assigned seats yet (stress). I am hopeful we will have four seats in a row as I want to be able to see all of them and more importantly, for them to be able to see me whenever they need to. This is an unknown and even though they are excited they have also talked about it being scary. We have had long chats about the rules - no yelling on the plane, no crying on the plane, seatbelts on at all times, and if you are scared you need to hold hands with someone. I will have a goody bag for each of them with snacks and sticker, crayons, coloring books that should be a good distraction. (Nope, have not packed those yet either - stress).

I have about an hour and a half layover before the connecting flight. Should be long enough to grab a quick lunch. I am not too concerned about this part either. How we do on the next flight will be determined by how the first flight goes, I have no idea what that will be like so...(stress).

When we get to Canada I have to go through customs. I am stressed about customs, I have done it several times before, and even twice with Sam. I already have hubby's notarized letter giving me "permission" to travel outside of the country with our children. What stresses me is that I have to get all our luggage and all three carseats before going through customs. I need to watch my kids and gather all our stuff. No doubt about it, I will have to rely on the kindness of airline staff to help me.

1pm (lose 2 hours to time zones so it will actually be 3pm here) FINALLY we will see Mimi and Papa!!! Lunch, then a 2 hour drive to their house. Very, very long day!

One point to make about the trip back - I have to go through customs after the first flight and only have a little less than 2 hours to do it! (STRESS)

So there you have it, the major causes of stress that contributed to hell week. Although I am incredibly grateful that PMS hit me this week and I am now feeling much more normal.

Now that I have you up to date, I really should be packing!

Here is another nifty little prayer button that I made at free125cards.com.

This button is to remind me to pray for the Ezelle family. Last week we met Cohen at our new church's midweek bible study. We were so impressed with him and his passion for missions. Very soon he and his wife, Amie, along with their 4 children will be heading to Belize. Can you imagine moving to Belize? Now think about living in Belize with 4 children ages 5, 3, 2, and 2 months!!! It is simply fantastic and I am in awe of their passion to follow God's will for their lives.

I think that the work they are planning is very exciting and very necessary. To learn more about this amazing family, please visit their website and Cohen's blog at goezelle.com or Amie's blog . I hope that you will join me in praying for them and their missions work in Belize.

I also found out that they are not paid for their work, and in meeting Cohen I know that he would never ask. They are faithful and simply pray that God provides for their needs! All of their funding comes from people who support them financially through donations. If you are led to support them as well, you can find out how to give to them on their website.

I pray that this family and their mission will touch you as deeply it has me and our family!

Sam was blowing on his arm so I asked him what he was doing. He said "I am blowing the cold air out of my tummy, that is how we get the cold in the air."

Who needs air conditioning!

Gratituesday is hosted by Laura at Heavenly Homemakers

This past weekend we went back to North Carolina to check on our house and also to attend the baptism of one of our young friends. The trip is about 250 miles, so it is a good day's drive.

About two hours into the trip back to Maryland we started to see lightning flashes straight ahead of us. Soon we were even able to hear the thunder! It has to thunder pretty loudly to be able to hear it in a vehicle travelling 65 MPH!!!! We quickly said a family prayer asking for God's hand of protection.

We had to drive through some heavy rain, but probably within 20 minutes the skies cleared and we were back to great roads. It was almost like we drove through the very edge of a pretty bad storm. Both of us have drive those roads in severe conditions so we were very grateful to have missed another storm. God protected us and moved that storm right out of our path!

Then sometime close to the end our trip back to Maryland, Sam stated that he had to go to the bathroom. This generally means that we need to stop very soon. I told him to hold on and that Daddy would stop very soon - this basically means that we would stop as soon as he found a place to safely pullover. We thankfully did not have to drive very far as within a mile or so there was a gas station and convenience store. Perfect timing!!

Sam & I went in to use the restrooms, then Daddy went in and got us drinks and snacks. We really needed the distraction at that point!! We got everyone settled back into carseats with their sugary snacks (Daddy got them!) and continued on our way.

Almost as soon as we pulled out of the parking lot we saw flashing lights and soon came up to what appeared to be quite a serious accident. As we passed hubby commented that one of the vehicles involved in the accident was a vehicle that we had been sharing the road with for quite some time, at least until we stopped! We immediately realized that if we had not stopped we would have likely been involved in the accident.

We want to praise God for His blessed hand of protection he placed over us during our trip.

Joanne at The Simple Wife hosts Memory Monday. It is all about hiding God's Word in our hearts!!!

This week I was to memorize the 2nd step of the Roman Road. I have not been very good at trying this week - I think I need to find a new spot for my verse cards, they literally got buried on my desk under my home preschool planning! But I have been thinking about it today so let's see..

Roman 5:8
But God loved us so much that he sent Jesus showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Yikes! My mind must have been in a different translation, I guess I got the meaning though - God loves us so he sent Jesus. It really is that simple!

This week I am doing the third step in the Roman Road - Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

I was washing dishes when Sam said "Hey Mama! How do I look?"

I knew that they had been playing with dressup clothes so I braced myself to not giggle as I turned around. But there was nothing different about him and I was slightly confused. The best response I could come up with was "You look nice"

He then said. "No Mama! I don't look nice I look coooool! I was in the bathroom and was combing my hair with this comb (a pink princess comb) and now I'm cooool with cooool combed hair!"

Here is a common conversation at our house - we still have two in pullups and are trying to get them to tell us when they are wet or otherwise. But this time it had an answer that Daddy did not expect and one that he wishes he did not have to hear! LOL

Daddy Carlee, are you poopy?
Carlee ummmm Yes
Daddy Did you tell Mama or Daddy that you are poopy?
Carlee No
Daddy Are you supposed to tell Mama or Daddy that you are poopy?
Carlee yes
Daddy What happens if you don't tell?
Carlee I will get big boobies
Daddy (horrified) NOOO, you will get big Boo-Boos!!!

I walked into the den to find the kids playing with the blind cords. They were pulling them and throwing them at each other. In about one moment I had two thoughts. 1. It actually looks like they are having fun and 2. OMG they have those cords all knotted up! Well, the second thought won and this was what was said...

Mama Hey! You guys are getting that all messed up!
Sam Why?
Mama Because when you play with these they get all knotted up
Ben (with grapes in his mouth mumbles something I didn't quite catch)
Mama Pardon? I didn't hear you.
Ben (looking remorseful) We didn't mean to
Carlee We didn't mean to
Ben We didn't mean to

At this point I focused my attention on unknotting the cords because I was trying not to grin . Their faces all looked so pitiful knowing that they are in trouble. But I was also trying to decide how to handle this new comment "We didn't mean to". I am not sure that I have heard that one from them before. But before I could say anything, this is what they said...
Carlee Sorry Mama
Ben Sorry Mama
Sam Sorry Mama
Mama That's ok, just don't play with these cords anymore.

To which my little trio answered in perfect happy unison "Okay Mama" followed by big smiles from everybody.

What I love about this story, besides the fact that their little faces were so pitiful, is that I think it is the first time that they all apologized without me first saying "What should you say to Mama?" Hooray it is sinking in!!!

Carlee is sittng in the recliner. Sam walks up to her and says ever so sweetly "Hi Carlee! Can I sit with you? I promise not to hurt you or bite you!"

I have always dreamed of a Tahiti vacation, so when I was looking for a new blog background this travel one with Tahiti huts over the ocean was perfect. A perfect retreat for those moments when the chaos is overwhelming and I can escape to blogging - at least until the next distraction!

Well, we are going on an actual vacation. No, it is not an escape to Tahiti. If fact hubby is not even going on this vacation. Nope, I am packing up the chaos and going to visit my family. I have booked four flights to Canada and will be heading to my parents for nearly 4 weeks.

Somehow as I am writing this it all seems kinda backwards. I think that it will be hubby that is getting the true vacation - he will have peace and quiet and plenty of time to finish unpacking all those boxes that we never got around to unpacking from our last move! Meanwhile I will be taking most of the chaos with me - upsetting carefully scripted routines and perfectly executed bedtimes. Oh wait - that is part of Tahiti dream world. I'm sure that routines and bedtimes will be just as chaotic at my parents house as they are here. The only difference is that here it is either just me or just me & hubby. At my parents we at least have even numbers most of the time - one kid per adult!

I grew up living within a few miles of both sets of my grandparents as well as many aunt, uncles and cousins. It is still hard for me to be so far away from all of them, especially now that we have kids. I often feel like our kids are missing out on precious family time and experiences. However when we live so far away, it is very expensive to get all of us where we want to go but I have always wanted to be able to take them to Canada at least once a year to visit with my family and also to take them to Phoenix at least once a year to visit with hubby's family.

I know what Canada is like in the winter - been there done that! I also know what Phoenix is like in the summer - been there done that and done that while pregnant YUCK! So I figure summer vacation in Canada and winter vacation in Phoenix is about as perfect as we can get considering circumstances!

Last year we moved from California to North Carolina so we already had to drive across the country. I took my mom with me and we took an extended detour through Phoenix and Canada and so I was able to get the kids to both places! This year I was starting to debate driving, but this time it would just be me. I wasn't sure if I was ready for 5 or 6 days in the car with no help! That was when I looked into flying. The day I looked was the final day of the seat sale. I booked!

I could never picture flying before now, it was just too scary to think of being in an airport with only me to watch out for three toddlers!! For a very long time they literally had me running in three different directions. I still took them places but it was always somewhat controlled - generally by putting them all in a shopping cart! I knew that I had to keep taking them out or they would never get used to how they were supposed to behave in public. I see other mothers completely frazzled by their kids and I was determined to not be that mother.

I have been lucky, often an outing to the grocery store and/or Wal-mart is fun for the kids and they tend to behave much better in public than at home - if I don't push it too long. In the last few months we have started to see a real change in the kids, I thing mostly due to taking them out alot. They are pretty used to being out with just me, they know to stay close and to hold hands. They even know when to let go so that I can open doors, and they know to step through the door and wait until everyone gets through so we can hold hands again.

We can go shopping and do well once we figure out whose turn it is for the seat in the cart. We can go into a restaurant and get through a meal without too much noise or mess! We can even go to the library and do okay - we are still working on quiet voices and sitting still for more than 30 seconds. So yes, now I can actually picture myself flying with them. Although I will be desperately praying for helpful people, especially to help me through customs with three kids, suitcases and carseats!

Somehow this became a much longer post than I intended! I really just wanted to let my Canadian friends and family who haven't heard, know that I was coming home next week! See you soon!

I plan to continue blogging while at home, other than the days we go camping at the lake!

Genesis 4
Verses 4b-7
The Lord accepted Abel and his offering, 5 but he did not accept Cain and his offering. This made Cain very angry and dejected. 6 "Why are you so angry?" the Lord asked him. "Why do you look so dejected? 7 You will be accepted if you respond in the right way. But if you refuse to respond correctly, then watch out! Sin is waiting to attack and destroy you, and you must subdue it."

I cannot remember who the pastor was that said this but he said that that the term "dejected" in this passage is better translated that Cain was out of control with fury.

There was nothing wrong with Cain's offering, rather it was his attitude that was wrong. He had issues within himself and this was shown with his fury which caused him to sin.

Although all of our sins are forgiven though Jesus, we still need to continually grow spirtuatlly. If we are reacting to anything with anger or fury we really should be looking deeper into ourselves to determine the issue. With God's help and the power of the Holy Spirit we can overcome anything standing in our way of spiritual growth.

Lord, please help me to deal with those moments of anger. Please give me the patience I need and the wisdom to create better situations. In Jesus Name. Amen!

I am on the computer, Ben is sitting on the floor beside me quietly eating a snack. He suddenly jumps up and says very seriously...

Amblinces are trucks and go to amblinces stores.
Fire trucks are red and go to fire truck stations.
We go to van stores.

Then he sat down as quickly as he stood up and continued to eat his snack. I guess he was just letting me know what he was thinking about.

Let's read a story to the kitty...

More Wordless Wednesday at 5minutesformom.com

Genesis 3
Verse 6 The woman was convinced. The fruit looked so fresh and delicious, and it would make her so wise! So she ate some of the fruit. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her. Then he ate it, too.

It is the temptation game. The temptation was easy because Eve saw something she wanted. It is so easy to be convinced that some other way is better than God's way. Eve was easily convinced to sin because it seemed good, she easily rationalized that it was okay.

Adam loved Eve so much that he also sinned, he chose to disobey God as well. God loved us so much that He gave us Jesus to free us from the sin.

We are too often faced with temptations that are pleasant or desirable. We need to prepare ourselves for all sorts of temptations so that we may resist and not sin against God. The easiest way to do this is to use God's Word.

Lord, we are faced with temptations everyday. We even give into temptations and sin when we don't know we are sinning. Please give us the wisdom to know your will and to understand your Word so that we may live our lives in a way that pleases you. In Jesus Name. Amen!

Gratituesday is hosted by Laura at Heavenly Homemakers

Today I sat down to do some blog reading as I was still pondering what to write about for Gratituesday - I was hoping for some inspiration. The very first post that I read was written by Tammie who has 4 year old triplets. It is often easy to relate to families with triplets because ours are nearly that close in age! I keep reading Tammie's blog because she has fantastic photos, she always makes me laugh with her stories and she often opens my eyes as to what I have to look forward to in a year or so!! So today when I saw this post, I thought how fun to think back and post a bunch of photos from when they were 18 months old.

Then I realized why she did it, and why her heart was breaking, she linked to the Martino's blog where Jodi tells about the sudden death of their precious little boy, 18 month old Matteo. It touches me very closely because Matteo has a twin brother and they have a slightly older sister. They had twins very soon after they had their first baby - just like us!

But they are now facing such incredible pain and loss that I simply do not have the words to express my sadness - I just have tears and prayers. Prayers particularly for his Mom Jodi who is 13 weeks pregnant. I felt compelled to create another prayer button...

It wasn't that long ago that I found out about Jon & Ali . Their story touched me deeply and I created a simple prayer button to remind me to pray for them. Although I haven't needed the button, I think of them often. It still breaks my heart, however, as I have been following their blogs I am blessed and awed by their incredible strength and faith. They are now starting the adoption process, which being adopted myself is a very important subject to me! I will continue to pray for Jon & Ali.

So today in the midst of my tears I realized that I am grateful for being able to create simple prayer buttons and post them on my blog. They give me the ability to share with those that read my blog the stories that have touched me deeply. It is my hope and prayer in creating these buttons that many will use them on their blogs and join me in praying for these families.

Oh and in case you think I am a button making expert, I have to correct you on that impression. I simply found a website free125cards.com where it is easy to make them!