Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bath Time @ 3:00 PM?

Yes, call me totally crazy, but I had this brilliant idea that getting up early, taking the dog for a jog and swim in the cool 75 degree weather would somehow cut off the inches AND give me more energy. So, here I sit at 3:00 PM, I've played and read and cooked and taught all my sore and weary body will endure. The kids are in the bath with about 2 inches of water having the time of their lives while I lay on the bathroom floor trying to get a 10 minute nap! Energy, please come soon!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

3 1/2 Year Olds

Drew said the cutest thing yesterday, I asked him why he was sad and crying. His reply, "I'm not crying, my eyes are raining!" So cute!

This week we have been learning a little Geography. We found some wonderful world & state maps and stuck two of them up in the kitchen area. We then placed ladybug tacks in the places where family live. Drew is so proud to show where his Grandma Patti will be living for 9 months - the country of China! Drew has learned the the map locations of: Oregon, Washington, Texas & Oklahoma. We also worked today on writing the letter "D." We're going to need to work on those fine motor skills!

We're also muddling our way through the book "Big Truths For Little Kids." I say muddling because every time I get the book out he tells me, "Mommy later, lets read that later." Evidently learning the Catechism's is boring to our 3 year old! Drew is getting a ton of good truth and despite his complaints, he is using the statements in everyday conversations. Often, Drew will come up to me and say, "Mom, who made you" with that cute grin on his face. Then he spends a few minutes teaching mommy the truths!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Parenting is Heart Work

What a Sunday! John left right after church to work at HD. He is anxiously awaiting the completion of his teaching certification - 8/1 is his last day.

Drew and I had a wonderfully terrible day. Right after lunch Drew and I had the biggest battle ever. He had done something worthy of a spanking and we went through our routine:

M: "Drew, what did mommy ask you to do?"
D: " I didn't obey"
M:" I know you didn't obey, what happens when you don't obey?"
D: "I get a spanking..."

About that same time he was saying the final word, he ran under his bed. Normally he isn't too bad about getting my spankings - Daddy is a whole other story! We battled for about 10 minutes while he screamed uncontrollable, kicked, and kept trying to get away. I prayed one of those "help me, give me wisdom" prayers and God showed up. I left Drew in his room and told him to come get me when he was ready to submit and take the spanking. I knew he would fall asleep in the process, which, he did. When he awoke 2 hours later, he called for me and said he had to go potty. Then I sent him back to his bed, reminded him of what we had discussed and asked him to call me when he was ready. To my shock, he said "I'm ready mommy." He took the spanking perfectly! Then he gave me a big hug and said "thank you mommy" - not sure why? We talked about what he had done, what positive choice he could choose in the future and then prayed to Jesus for forgiveness. He was so darn cute, he talked to Jesus and then jumped up and said, "I all better mommy, sin all gone, I'm happy now." He then gave me a hug and asked if he could go play.

Drew is such a sensitive little man, he hates to be in trouble and loves the freedom that comes from being disciplined and forgiven. Drew knew his actions were totally unacceptable and the joy he had once the discipline was over encouraged my heart - he cried way more about getting a spanking that he did receiving one.

I am always in awe at how much I learn about God's love from my children. We discipline Drew so he knows that in life there are consequences, many times he also receives grace which is what the Lord too offers. John and I know that if our children can't obey our words, then they won't be able to obey God's Word. Learning to obey at a young age sets our kids up with the tools they need for battling through this life.

The rest of the evening Drew was wonderful, he even said "I love you mommy!" - I think that was a first! We ended the night by making and painting caterpillars out of egg cartons. While we were painting he looked at me and said, "Mommy, do you have a baby in your tummy?" I promptly responded, "No, no babies in mommy's tummy right now." He then asked if I was going to the hospital to have the baby, then he asked if he could go to the hospital and have a baby too. After explaining that mommy's have babies, not daddy's, I then asked him if he wanted another baby and he replied, "Yes, Yes I do!" He'll have to wait a while for that request!

The evening ended so nicely, he was in such a joyful mood, it felt nice to forget about the lunchtime debacle. Drew listened, obeyed, played nicely with his brother and even ate all his dinner! As I relax tonight, I'm humbled. I just experienced a brief glimpse of what God must feel each day for broken world. The Lord desperately desires to free us from our sins. I was so glad when Drew submitted and accepted my discipline, I was anxious to forgive him and enjoy the blessings that a forgiven spirit produces - joy filled hearts, unity, laughter, peace, and the spirit of willing obedience. My most frequent utterance to God is that my boys would come to realize that they individually need a personal relationship with Jesus - its not something they inherit, its something that they must freely offer to the Lord - He is eagerly awaiting their repentant hearts that long to grow closer to their Saviour!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Look What Gabe Can Do!

8 Month Comparison Pictures: Gabe (Left) Drew (Right)
Today Gabe discovered he can climb up on things! Now, he wants to stand up in the bathtub, along the couch, in his crib, and up against the walls. Too bad he hasn't figured out how to sit back down. Today he was standing at the toy chest and took away one hand so he was standing straight up with only one hand supporting him!

* You can also check out the video page for a video of Gabe's new skills!

A Fun Week

(Our Little Prayer Warrior!)

This week Grandma Patti came for a visit. It was a very relaxing time - we visited the Fort Worth Zoo, went to church on Sunday, and then Grandma Patti & Drew went to a fun little children's water day at our church for a few hours. Drew is totally in love with his grandma - she brought him Richard Scarry books from 20+ years ago. He has been reading them constantly. Its cute, we'll be chatting after dinner or talking to Gabe and wonder where Drew went. We normally find him sitting on the couch looking at his books. She also brought him Tiger Jammie's from China which he loves wearing around the house growling like a Tiger! Grandma Patti left on Tuesday night and all I heard about Wednesday & Thursday was how he "needed to see her" and then he tried to convince me to fly to Oregon so we could find Grandma Patti. Poor Drew, he really misses his Grandma!

Gabe is cranky again.... still teething yet no teeth to show for it! He is scooting across the living room now, eager to get into whatever Drew is playing with. Gabe is also starting to show his temper! I remember Drew would squirm when I was changing his diaper and all I had to say was "no" in a deep voice and he would cry. Gabe and I had a 5 minute battle this morning just trying to get him undressed and into a clean diaper. He desperately wanted to sit up and roll over while I was dressing him. No amount of "no" would entice him to sit still. I even "tapped" his leg a few times and that didn't work. I eventually won the battle, but we'll see how he does tomorrow! His temper and red face were very apparent today!

John has only 1 more week of his training! We can't wait! Our fast is going well, I'm on target for my groceries (200.00 for the month) but our medical budget made up for the grocery savings - 4 trips to the doctor equals 80.00 in co-pays! Yikes!

I've been enjoying the deals - today I ended up getting 15.95 worth of items at CVS and I actually made 1.01 after taxes! I also bought 60.87 worth of products at Walgreens for $21.27. The Walgreen's trip stocked Drew up on pull ups for the next 2 months. It also included: razors, shaving cream, a large J&J baby lotion, an alarm clock, deodorant, & an IPOD charger. I've been having way too much fun saving money! Tomorrow I'm over to Albertson's to stock up on cereal - 10 boxes of cereal for 10.00!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

An Evening with Steven....

Last night I was blessed to attend a benefit concert for the MidCities Pregnancy Center. The concert was a evening with Steven Curtis Chapman. What a wonderful time we had celebrating life. It was such a humbling experience. Many of you know that Steven lost his youngest daughter Maria in an auto accident a few months back. The evening was spent going back over Steven's songs and contemplating the deeper meanings. Unfortunately, he and his family have entered the group of people who know what it is like to lose someone close. I think every person in that room was asking the same question, "If God were to take my child from this earth, would I still believe that God is God and worship Him?" It was a humble experience being with someone grieving and mourning the loss, yet through his own mourning allowed the audience to see into his heart. What we all saw was a man, questioning, yet steadfast and committed to his Savior. Through his pain, he can already see the good that has come through this tragedy. His grief allowed us all to experience God. I experience God each day, but for just a few hours I was able to see through God and into His heart - God's heart that mourns with is all. God's heart that loved us all so much that he made a way through Christ that allows us to experience completeness. As Christian's in America, we rarely desire to go to heaven unless we are suffering. But when tough life circumstances happen it takes us to a place where we desire to move past this life and into a perfect, complete, and God centered world -free of pain where we can just drink in our God's presence. Too often I don't go to that place, I like my little world where my children are well fed and we have a nice clean home with nice clean lives. Those things aren't bad in and of themselves, but there are millions of people who don't have that luxury. They are hurting, dyeing, struggling, and they desire a life with Jesus! How my life would be different if I focused more on the needs of others instead of my little world. The evening certainly opened the door for the Lord to work on my heart.

Friday, July 18, 2008

8 Month Comparison

Here are Gabe, Drew, and Titi - both boys were around 8 month of age.

Gabe currently weighs 19 pounds 2 ounces

Drew weighed 18 Pounds 6 ounces

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I am thankful...

351. 3.98 diapers & wipes from Target, the second time they were free
352. Sweet husband working so hard to find a teaching job
353. Time, a peaceful evening to read and refresh in God’s word
354. Evening stroll with Kitty, watching her chase a frog
355. Joy… Lord may my children be filled with the joy given to You through the Holy Spirit
356. Fevered head cuddling and falling asleep on this humble mommy
357. Medicine to bring down Gabe’s 104 degree fever
358. The doctors, and mother, who diagnosed Drew’s balding head as ringworm… Yuck!
359. Reflection,
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely our grief’s He Himself bore, and our sorrow He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God and afflicted. He was but pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. Isaiah 53:2-5

Lord, everyday I have only joy covering my life. You paid it all for me… who am I to be so humble a servant? By your wounds I am healed. May others see their wounds and trade their sins for Your kingdom work, there is no greater gift than life abundantly.

360. Growing Chaste Tree, the bright purple flowers are “new every morning” just like my day.
361. Drew’s Mothers Day sunflowers, they are growing past the height of the fence, proclaiming to the world that there is a Creator! Just as I water and care for the flowers I marvel at Your creation, there is a master designer that created all things.
362. Reading a book written about Rick Husband, reflecting on creation from the eyes of space, he wrote
“God’s presence in creation is just as much evidence here on earth as it is two hundred miles above the earth…after seeing our kids being born and realizing what a miracle each and every human being is… I do not believe it all happened by chance."
363. The precious gift of freedom: as many are martyred for their faith I am thankful
that I have freedom to write and speak freely about the One True God. Reading the stories of so many, it makes me humble and ashamed that I don’t use my freedoms to share Christ more often.

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.
~W.T. Purkiser

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Williams Money Saving Tips

Here are a few of the money saving tips I've learned from others or by trial & error:
  • Own a deep freezer, it allows you to buy in bulk with things are on sale!
  • Formula is a major expense with little ones, I signed up with Similac, Nestle's, & Enfamil when the boys were first born. I put on the survery that I was breadtfeeding (they'll send you more checks because they haven't got you hooked yet). I collected the checks and when formula went on sale or the packaging was discontinued I'd use all my checks to buy the large fulmula containers. Tom Thumb will let you use multiple checks on one item, Target and WalMart won't. I collected tons of formula before Gabe was even born! Then when the boys hit 8 or so months and were in need of formula I didn't have to spend 25+ dollars a week on cans of formula. Drew actually just stopped drinking formula at 3 years old, I had such an abundance for so long I would give him formula instead of milk.
  • Don't be a brand loyalist, buy whatever is on sale and that you have coupons for.
  • Shop Tom Thumb/Safeway for their "managers" specials or mark down meat.This is where the freezer is huge! I probably have 6+ months of meat in my freezer. When I find it marked down then I buy it. The best days for meat is Thursday's, though everyday the meat is marked down I've found marked down meat in abundance on Thursday's at Tom Thumb. Possible they want their meat counter cleaned out for the "weekend" buyers. Tom Thumb has a "Clearance" meat section that I frequent often. When ground beef is marked down and then has a 50% off lowest price (when meat is expiring the next day they put a 50% sticker to get it out the door) I get it for next to nothing. We probably have 6+ months of ground beef/ground turkey in our freezer alone.I also check the deli section for hot dogs, lunch meat, etc. I also shop there the day after major holiday's. The day after Easter I bought two 40.00 hams for 5.00 each!
  • We buy off brand pull-up for Drew to sleep in at night. They are 50% less than the name brand and I normally have a coupon so I can get a 1 month supply for 8.00 (mom2mom is the generic brand at Tom Thumb and they are always 50% off).
  • Frequent the day old bread store. They put 30% off coupons and free bread coupons in the papers. I go to the bread store every other month and buy 10+ loaves of bread and freeze them. 10 loaves probably costs me 7-10 dollars, maybe less. Plus every 3+ loaves of bread you get one free. The closest bread store to us is Mrs. Bairds . I also buy buns, Texas toast, and other bread type items there at a fraction of the market price.
  • Find a local Farmers Market to buy fresh produce. We were able to drop 10.00 a week by purchasing produce & bulk items at Sprouts. They have super cheap produce but sell other organic items which is where they make their profit. I spend between 10-12 dollars every other week on fresh produce. I've compared prices and Tom Thumb is 2-3 times more expensive on their produce, Target is twice as expensive, and I don't really like Walmart produce so I didn't compare theirs.
  • Frequent and, both point you to on-line coupons. Up until a few weeks ago I didn't even know online coupons existed. Both website will do all the research and tell you what's out there for free or next to free. This week I bought free wipes, diapers, shampoo, photo books, toothpaste, & other supplies with the help of these sites. They are similar to the grocery game but are free!
  • Drink water - it is free. We rarely buy soda or juice because its so expensive. I sometimes get juice for .99 which I consider a good deal. The boys (John & Drew) do go through tons of milk, 2 gallons a week, so I'm stuck paying 6.00 at Tom Thumb for two gallons. Sometimes Tom Thumb marks down their expired organic milk and I'll stock up and freeze the remaining milk we won't drink before the expiration. We can't taste a difference. We eat a lot of eggs and the cheapest place is normally Costco. I get 3 dozen or so a month (.99 cents for 12 on sale at TT or 1.79 at Costco for 18) and we keep eggs well past their expiration date. So far no one has gotten sick!
  • Buy bisquick and make homemade rolls. Our family, or Drew and I, are in love with biscuits or bread type items with dinner. I use to buy the rolls found in the frozen or cheese sections but they are up to 3.00-4.00, that totally throws off my daily cost per meal. So we started making biscuits from scratch - all you add is water or milk and an egg. They are way cheaper, a little messier, and taste better. Drew is in love with putting honey on things (Sprouts fresh clover honey, costs 4.00 and it should last about 6 months).
  • We love cereal (hot & cold) for breakfast, we buy the bulk kind at Sprouts of with coupons and sales spend no more than 2.00 per box of cereal. We don't buy the cheap sugary cereal so its sometimes hard to find it on sale, but I've learned to stock up when I can.
  • It sounds like a lot of running around, but with a freezer I can stock up and only go to Costco & Mrs. Baird's every 2-3 months. I manage to go to Costco more often but that is more for pleasure or to use their coupons on an item that is only on sale that week.I go to Tom Thumb on Thursday's and if I'm around that area the rest of the week will stop in and check their clearance meat's. Our grocery budget can be 150-200 a month if I don't stock up on anything. I add about 50.00 a month for stocking up on meat & bread when I can. I'd say right now we could last 6-9 months without buying any meat. Oh, we love chicken and the cheapest frozen, skinless, boneless chicken breasts are at Costco, this week they're is a coupon so I can get 3.00 off 6.5 pounds which ends up coming to .65 cents a pound for chicken - unless chicken prices have gone up since two months ago?
  • Lastly, use a meal plan. Only buy what you need for the week unless its freezable. I only plan 5 dinners & lunches a week because we leave room for leftovers. When I started cooking smaller amounts of food and freezing the rest it cut out a lot of waste that was being thrown away. I'm not a huge leftover fan so I'd rather only cook what we'll eat for dinner and maybe lunch the next day, the rest goes into the freezer. I have a cookbook I put together that has all my favorite foods listed, so when I'm at a loss for meals to prepare I just look at my list and see what we haven't had for a while. The list was helpful because I never could think of dinner ideas.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Home Chillin'

We are home relaxing! Gabe is still sick with the flu - just a mild fever and diarrhea remain. Drew proudly displays his balding head for all to see. My mother, sweet mother, searched the Internet trying to find what plagued our 3 1/2 years old head. She didn't believe that he randomly cut a perfect circle in the middle of his scalp, to her horror she diagnosed him with Ring worm. The doctors confirmed her diagnosis this morning. He is now on anti-fungal medicine 2x per day for the next 6 weeks. Joy! One more thing for my tired head to remember.

I don't think I mentioned but our bi-annual fast was moved from August due to the Olympics. So we're fasting from TV, media, and spending money from: 7/7-8/7. I started trying to coupon this month because my goal is to only spend 150.00 for the entire month on groceries. Last fast I spent 200.00 but felt I could have been more frugal. This month we are well on our way, I've only spent 70.00 on groceries! We are taking the money we save and prepaying down John's student loan. I can't wait to get rid of that thing!

Speaking of students... John is in class this month studying for his THEA exam, which is necessary for his teaching license. He has class M-F, until 8/1. John's been hastily applying for teaching positions and we're praying hard for interviews.

I'm enjoying our fasting month by trying to finish two books, sprucing up my garden, and being lazy! I'm finding it hard to get motivated since I spent a few days sick in bed. I'm also clipping coupons for bargains! Today, with the help of some friends who already snagged the deal, I went to Target and bought a package of jumbo diapers and 216 count wipes. I went through twice and in the end got $31.96 of diapers/wipes for 8.98 plus a 5.00 gift card - total cost 3.98, a savings of 88%! I'm headed back this weekend for another pack!

Grandma Patti is coming for a quick 4 day visit. She is anxious to see Drew all potty trained and all of Gabe's new fat rolls!

Monday, July 14, 2008

CVS Savings

So my friends finally got me hooked on CVS and their awesome deals. Here is what I purchased tonight:

Photo Book 6x8
Photo Book 6x8
Photo Book 4x6
Ensure 6 pack
2 Colgate Toothpaste
2 Colgate Toothpaste
Diapers - Huggies Size 4, 34 Pack
Face Wipes

Total Retail was: 67.76

I paid out of pocket: 13.68 and I will receive a rebate check from Ensure for 6.99. So, really I paid 6.69 - that's a savings of 90%! It took me 1 hour at CVS to make my photo books and 1 hour at home organizing coupons. That's a really awesome deal. To learn how, and other great deals at various stores go to Money Saving Mom and look under CVS. I could have had some even better deals, but I haven't been collecting the Sunday paper's coupons so I was missing a few coupons from prior weeks. All of what I purchased above was with coupons from the money saving mom website and a few toothpaste coupons from this past Sunday.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

We're Still Here

We are still around, just sick with the flu. Who knew you could get the icky flu in July?

We spent a very fun weekend with my sister and brother in law! The boys loved being spoiled by their TiTi and Tio! We went swimming a few times and had our first trip to the FW Zoo. Drew's favorite part of the Zoo was..... the 2 minute train ride! Gabe had a great time "staring" at his Titi. For some reason, he would follow her with his eyes and stare at her with the most serious look on his face. Too funny!

Gabe current weight: 19.2 pounds

Drew current weight: 29.0 pounds

Mommy is currently 4+ pounds lighter than a week ago. Its nice loosing weight and not being hungry. Well, that's trying to be optimistic!

Thank you Aunt Sherri for the inflatable Killer Whale! Drew loved playing with it. The whale's outcome is posted on the picture page!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

To Do List

Today's List looks like this:
  • Laundry

  • Dishes

  • Vacuum floors

  • Make beds

  • Prepare Breakfast, lunch, & dinner

  • Clean linen closet

  • Finish Bible Posts

The important things aren't on the list:

  • Cuddle with little boys

  • Play flubber with Drew

  • Read kids tons of books, ask probing question, remember funny answers

  • Work on a few lines from the Catechism's

  • Sing songs with Drew, dance & be silly

  • Relax & pray while watering the garden

  • Pray for my husband as he takes a long exam and then works till 11:00pm

  • Encourage Gabe at his crawling endeavors

  • Take the neighbors cookies

  • Blessed each person who I come into contact with

I tend to finish my to do list before remembering the important things aren't listed. Life has a way of always providing ample things to keep me occupied .... Lord may I choose to do those things which are far more important and kingdom focused that those that serve myself and my agenda.

Friday, July 4, 2008

More Gifts...

329. A new vision of submission, a happier home, and a healthier marriage
330. A plentiful month with extra to give to those in need
331. Crayola Markers that are for coloring on windows! They’re so artsy and fun for young & old
332. Smiling child, perfect lighting, summer vinca in full bloom, and the snap of the perfect picture
333. Time, remembering to slow down and enjoy this moment
334. Smiles of brothers playing together
335. Drew’s sleepy smile that awoke at 12:00am for a drive to the airport to bring his Nana home
336. Lowering the crib mattress – growing baby whose looking less like a baby each day
337. Gabe’s accomplished smile as he awkwardly moves from a tummy to sitting
338. Peaceful day with my youngest, just the two of us, giggles, peek-a-boo, & smiles
339. A night away from home to visit with friend, brag on husbands, share about children, dream about the future
340. Time… for a good book
341. A patient spirit, just listening through the silence to hear what sweet husband was sharing
342. Perspective – a new perspective on leadership and the peace that comforts my soul.
343. Evening devotion focused on serving the other… how I needed to hear
344. A surprise backrub during the middle of the day when shoulders slump and eyes begin to squint
345. Rest – a new neck pillow!
346. John’s surprise air filter (borrowed from a friend…thanks!) for our room and better HEPPA filters for the vents. Allergies doing much better!
347. Sweet husband who let me sleep in this 4th of July!
348. Drew’s promptings for the catechism’s and the gentle way he repeats “phather, son and Hwey Spirit”
349. Watching the dog’s excitement as I take her to the pond and play fetch
350. Pictures that turn out beautifully

The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings! ~Henry Ward Beecher

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


He is so darn cute, I took these this evening and had to share. I tried to get some cute pictures of Drew but he refused. Now I know why the Pro's stick to babies, they are much easier to photograph......