Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Whole30 Week One

I decided that I want to blog about my Whole30 experience while I'm doing it. When I did my cleanse last year, I figured that I would blog about it after the fact. But come to find out, when I was done with it, I was OVER it. I didn't want to talk about it anymore after living and breathing it for 3 weeks. Ha! But I think it's fun to have these kinds of things documented, so I'm going to blog as I go this time.

First of all, I should start by saying that I haven't decided if I'm going to do this hardcore for the full 30 days. The reason for that is that I have a fairly "clean" diet anyway, and I don't have any intentions of eating Paleo forever. I'm viewing the Whole30 basically as hitting the "reset" button on clean eating. Over the summer, I got into a bad habit of eating way too much sugar. I knew that in order to break that, I was going to need to eliminate sugar entirely for a while in order to fully get it out of my system. I also think that doing something like this just makes you SUPER aware of what you're eating, and you pretty much have to analyze everything that you put into your mouth. I just think that's a good mindset - not over-analyzing to the point where you can't enjoy life and just EAT, but also not eating mindlessly. At this point though, I don't feel like it's bad for me to eat whole grains and good, organic dairy in moderation, so that's why I don't plan to maintain this type of diet long-term. I might do the Whole30 for 30 days, and just allow myself a few "cheats" when I'm further into it. Or I might do it hardcore the whole time. We'll just see how it goes :)

So, week one wasn't bad. My biggest complaint was that I was usually hungry not long after meals. I've just noticed that I need to snack more to stay full. I've been eating a lot of raw almonds and cherries between meals. I did crave sugar a good bit. I was DYING for some sweet tea all week. That's abated a bit, and I'm not craving sweets as much anymore. Here's a little run-down of what I ate last week:

(I didn't include snacks because, honestly, I can't remember all of that. But I had snacks everyday. They usually consisted of cherries and/or almonds. A few times I had a bowl of unsweetened applesauce with cinnamon. I also made some unsweet tea that I drank when I felt like munching but knew I wasn't really hungry. I don't love it at all, but it's tasting better and better the more I drink it.)

Monday: I started off the day with coffee with coconut milk (canned coconut milk because the stuff in the carton has carrageenan which isn't allowed on Whole30). Yuck! It was seriously disgusting to me. I couldn't even finish it. I usually have coffee with a little bit of maple syrup and half and half, and I was definitely missing it that morning. I'm not a big breakfast eater, so I didn't eat anything. For lunch I ate an avocado and tomato salad with olive oil and balsamic and some leftover chicken. Dinner that night was good. We grilled chicken breasts, roasted broccoli, and mashed sweet potatoes.
Good dinner even whether you're doing Whole30 or not!

Tuesday: So, I tried my coffee black this day. It was gross. But better than the day before with the coconut milk. Hands down. I had a salad with leftover grilled chicken for lunch. That night for dinner, I baked some fish and ate it with a salad with avocado and blueberries.
Wednesday: Black coffee again. It got a little better each day. I finished the whole cup and didn't hate every sip ;) I knew I'd probably be eating lunch late that day, so I ate a banana for breakfast. Lunch was salad again. We had small group that night, so I ate a lovely dinner of leftover sweet potatoes and hard boiled eggs beforehand. This meal was kind of a bummer, to be honest.
I also noticed that when I eat a lot of eggs, I don't feel my best afterwards, so I'm kind of laying off the eggs a bit.

Thursday: More of the same. Black coffee for breakfast. For lunch, I had a salad with bacon. It was nice to add the bacon, but I realized after the fact that the bacon had sugar. It was uncured bacon, so I thought it was ok and didn't check the ingredients (dumb) until after I ate it. (By the way, the next time I was at Whole Foods, I looked at EVERY brand of bacon they had, and it ALL had sugar. Boo! Another reminder that it's so important to check ingredients. Sugar is in SO much of the food we eat.) We ate out that night for my dad's birthday. I did the best I could at the restaurant. I ate a steak, steamed broccoli, and salad with oil and vinegar. I did forget to order the salad without cheese and croutons, so I had to pick all of that off. I resisted the delicious smelling bread, though!

Friday: Black coffee again that morning. We were running pretty low on food for lunch, so I got a pound of ground beef out of the freezer and cooked that. I also roasted some beets with olive oil and salt and pepper. Pretty tasty! We ate dinner at Jason's Deli that night. I ordered a salmon salad and had to get basically everything taken off. Literally, when they brought it to our table, it was a plate of lettuce with a piece of salmon on top along with a couple of beets. I requested some tomatoes to go with it. Ha! I had oil and vinegar for the dressing.

Saturday: I had a meeting at Aubrey's school and knew I'd be eating lunch late, so I made myself a smoothie that morning out of frozen pineapple, a banana, and coconut water. It was good! I had to grab a quick lunch out, so I got a salad at Beagle Bagel. Come to find out, they don't have oil and vinegar, so I had to get their balsamic vinaigrette. Chances are VERY high that a premade vinaigrette like that had sugar and other undesirable ingredients in it. I did the best I could under the circumstances, and I tried to use it sparingly. That night, we went over to my grandmother's for dinner, and I packed my own food. (Everyone else was eating pizza.) I had a chicken and apple sausage link (it was a Whole30 approved brand) and I made some pico de gallo that I ate with it. I also had cherries on the side. It was a pretty good meal. It wasn't pizza, though ;)

Sunday: I made myself a delicious breakfast that morning of sweet potato and onion hash with a fried egg on top cooked in ghee.
Seriously, it was SO GOOD. For lunch, I cooked nachos for my family (corn chips with taco meat, cheddar, green onions, olives, and avocado.) For myself, I did the same thing, only instead of corn chips, I used bell peppers as the base and I left off the cheese. I also added pico to the top of mine. Instead of using a taco seasoning packet, I just used chili powder, cumin, salt, garlic, and a little oregano. That's how I always make our taco meat now. I just sprinkle the seasonings in until it tastes like a taco! That night, we ate dinner at Whole Foods. This was probably my hardest meal on the Whole30 so far. I got another salad with oil and vinegar, and I was just SICK of that meal by Sunday night. I really do enjoy salad, but when you eat salads ALL week with basically the same vegetables and the same dressing, it just gets monotonous. I was watching Aubrey eat a quesadilla with homemade tortilla chips, and my mouth was literally watering. It was weird becasause I was starving, but I didn't even finish my salad because I just could not force down one more mouthful of lettuce at that point. That was kind of a low, but thankfully the next day turned out to be much better. You'll just have to stay tuned for that.... ;) Ha!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Weekly Highlights

Last week was really fun because I made an effort to get out and do a few fun things with the kids. At the beginning of the summer, it was my plan to get us out to do stuff outside more often, but we just get busy with our "everyday" tasks, and it doesn't always happen. With summer drawing to a close pretty soon, I'm more motivated to get us out before we have to start school. Last week was a little hard in the parenting department, though. I just feel like a couple of my kids are going through tough stages right now, and when they're all melting down and throwing temper tantrums at the same time, sometimes I just want to join them. I'm just praying for wisdom as I deal with them and attempt to point them to Jesus, and I'm praying that these stages pass quickly! ;)

We had a normal morning at church on Sunday. When we got home, I cooked Shepard's pie for lunch. We napped that afternoon and went back to church that evening. After church, we ate dinner at Jason's Deli. I got an email that night reminding me about a parents' meeting at Aubrey and Jude's school the next morning. I had forgotten all about it and hadn't lined up childcare. Oops!

We got ready for the meeting on Monday morning. I knew it wouldn't work for me to take all three kids with me, so David said he could handle Alaina if I would take the other two. I dropped Alaina off with David, and Aubrey, Jude, and I headed to their school. The meeting was really good, and Aubrey and Jude did surprisingly well. Especially considering that it was right in the middle of their lunchtime. I was proud of them. I drove through Chick Fil A and got them some lunch on the way home. (I had started the Whole30 that day and was about ready to chew off my arm by the time we got home. Smelling those French fries and chicken nuggets didn't help.) David met us at home with Alaina, and we went back to work. I got the kids down for naps, and then I did some cleaning and some reading. That evening, David took Jude and Alaina to buy a new lawn mower while Aubrey and I stayed home and cooked dinner. We had a Whole30 friendly dinner. I went for a walk that night after dinner while David bathed the kids.

We went to Bible study on Tuesday morning.
Jude put these shoes and socks on himself. Some battles aren't worth fighting.
When we got home, we ate lunch and played until naptime. I got on the internet while the kids rested. David came home from work that afternoon long enough for me to cook dinner (baked fish and salad for me and leftovers for everyone else), and then he had to go to a deacon's meeting. The kids and I left the house the same time that he did, and we went to a splash pad at an outdoor mall. The kids had fun playing! After they got tired of the water, we dried off and changed their clothes, and then we went to Barnes and Noble so that they could play with the train table. We ran in Fresh Market before heading home. I started getting all of the kids to bed as soon as we got home. Jude was sitting on the stairs having an epic meltdown over some unknown thing when David got home. Whew! I let him take over at that point :)

On Wednesday morning, we got ready and I packed lunches for us. We went to Target and got some essentials, and then we ran by our old house. After that, we went to a little park in our old neighborhood, and we had a picnic lunch. The kids had fun playing until it was time head home.
A little Lara Bar snack in the car. Mmm.
My big girl!
We stopped at Kroger to get some fruit, and then we came home for rest time. While the kids napped, I cleaned up the house for small group. David got home, and I cooked a pizza for the kids. I took them to the nursery at church, and then I came back home for small group. We had a bigger group this time, and it was good! When it was over, David picked up the kids and we put them to bed.

We went to tutoring on Thursday morning, and then the kids and I played on the playground for a while. After that, we went to McAlister's for free tea day :)
The kids ate lunch there, and then I put them down for naps when we got home. And then I ate my lunch. We had a low-key afternoon, and David came home that evening. We got ready and met my family and my grandparents for dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse. My dad's birthday was Saturday, so we were celebrating early :) We had fun! We bathed the kids and put them down for bed when we got home.

I had planned to stay home and have a low-key day on Friday, and then our downstairs air conditioner went out. Of course. We had been on the go everyday, and then the one day we were staying home, it was hot. It was bearable because our upstairs air was still working, so we spent a lot of time up there. I needed a day at home to get some stuff done. By the time David got home from work, I was ready to get OUT, though. We ate dinner at Jason's Deli, and then we went to several stores and just browsed. We came home and got the kids to bed, and then David and I watched the second Bourne movie.

I had another meeting at the kids' school on Saturday morning, so I had to get up earlier than I prefer :-/ The meeting was good, but SO LONG. I had to leave before it was over at around 12:15 because I was starving and I had to meet David somewhere at 1. I went to Beagle Bagel and got a salad for lunch, and then David and I met with our realtor to discuss some options for our old house. David then went home to relieve my mom and grandmother who were keeping the kids, and I went to Kroger and Whole Foods. When I got home, I unloaded groceries and got the kids dressed for dinner. My grandmother had ordered pizza, and we went over to her house to celebrate my dad's birthday. We had a lot of fun!
We came home and bathed the kids and put them to bed.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thoughts on a Thursday

Just some random thoughts today:

-I'm toying with the idea of potty training Alaina in the near future. Or attempting to potty train her, I should say. After my experience potty training her brother, I definitely learned that potty training isn't always something that you just "decide" to do. :-/ (He is potty trained now, of course. Just wanted to clarify. ;) All glory to God alone for that!) Anyway, Alaina won't be 2 1/2 until September, and that's when potty training really clicked for Aubrey, so in my head, that's kind of the magic age. But I started thinking that it might be best to go ahead and try now while it's still warm and we don't have to deal with tights and lots of layers. (Not that we have to deal with layers here in Mississippi in September.) We'll see. I dread the process. And I have mixed feeling about having no kids in diapers. I mostly don't like that idea. It's baby time FOR REAL when Alaina is no longer wearing diapers! ;)

-I started the Whole30 on Monday. A friend of mine is doing it too, which makes it more fun. It's nice to be able to commiserate with someone ;) Mostly, I've just been eating lots of salad for lunch and cooking meat and vegetables for dinner. It's not too bad. Except that I'm sick of salad already. I really am a big salad fan, but it's all about the dressing for me. I like creamy dressings like ranch, honey mustard, caesar, and comeback. I'm sick of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I just need to put some more effort into my meals. Last weekend, I didn't have a lot of time to meal plan, so I basically just went to the grocery store and threw a bunch of salad stuff into my cart. I think planning is KEY to being successful when it comes to something like this. I was SO proud of myself today, though. As you may know, it's free tea day at McAlister's. And folks, sweet tea is my thing. That's probably the main thing that would hold me back from ever giving up sugar entirely. I love it that much. I gave up cokes like it was no big deal, but I can't part with my sweet tea. Anyway, today the kids and I went to McAlister's and I got my free UNsweet tea. :( I've gotta be honest, it wasn't very appealing at all. I'm hoping to develop a taste for it over the next month. I even sat and watched my kids eat lunch while sipping on my tea and listening to my stomach growl. When we got home, I ate... wait for it... a salad. ;)

-We've decided that we're definitely going to put Jude in the 3 year old class when he starts school in September (as opposed to the 4 year old class). Since he has a summer birthday, this is something that David and I have talked about since he was born. We knew that we might want to hold him back so that he would be a little older and hopefully more mature when he graduates from highschool and goes to college. We just weren't sure if we would start him "late" from the beginning or put him in the 4 year old class this year and let him repeat at some point. David and I were strongly leaning towards just starting him in the 3 year old class, so that he would stay with the same group of kids all the way through, but we wanted to get an opinion from the school. We had evaluations last week, and they thought that he would do great in the 3 year old class, so I was happy that we were all on the same page and the decision was made. I hope that there are some other kids in his class with late summer birthdays who are older. I would be a little sad if he's a full year older than almost everyone else in his class. Although, that's pretty much the case for Aubrey (her birthday is in September), and she's done great being one of the older ones in her class. Aubrey takes on the "leader" role in our family most of the time since she's the oldest child, so I'm thinking that it might actually be really good for Jude to be able to be in an environment where he is one of the older children. Anyway, it's tough making these parenting decisions! I'm excited that our next child has a MARCH birthday, so we won't have to have this discussion about her! ;)

-I am itching to decorate Jude's bedroom and our master bedroom. I'm basically just waiting for our old house to sell (we're trying not to spend a lot of unnecessary money so long as we have two houses). In a way, it's good that I've had to be patient and wait because it's given me more time to think about what I really want to do in those rooms. But, I'm ready to get started! Jude's room still has towels on the windows, so that tells you that we really haven't done anything in there! He has four windows in his room, so I want to make sure I REALLY like what I'm getting before we buy anything. But that's on the top of my list of things to do in his room. We also need curtains in our bedroom. We have plantation shutters in our windows, so we don't need anything for privacy, but it gets so bright in there in the mornings! (We have three windows in our room.) I really want white curtains, and I like the IKEA Ritva panels for the price. But I'm worried that they're going to be too sheer. I really wish that we had an IKEA close by so that I could just pop in and check them out for myself!

So, there you have it. Some Thursday randomness. :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Weekly Highlights

Last week was great! We had some fun stuff going on outside of our usual routine like an anniversary date, a birthday, a birthday party, and a wedding!

Aubrey had croup in the middle of the night and Alaina was coughing a lot too, so I stayed home from church with them on Sunday morning. David and Jude went without us.
We enjoyed our girl time :)
We had a nice morning at home, and I cooked lunch. We ate when the boys got home. That afternoon, we took naps. Jude and I went to church that evening, and then we ate dinner at McAlister's. I loved my one on one time with him. We then went to Whole Food and ordered his birthday cake :)

We just hung around our house on Monday. The girls were still recovering, so we had a low-key day. My mom came over that evening, because David and I were going on a date! It had been 10 years since our fist date, so of course we had to celebrate! :)
We went to dinner at Bonefish, and then we saw Edge of Tomorrow. It was good! I always LOVE our date nights! The kids were asleep when we got home and had had fun with Gramzie :)

I was debating on whether I should go to Bible study on Tuesday (the girls were still coughing some), but then our realtor texted us to say that we were having three showings at our old house that day. We desperately needed to do some yard work, so we went over there. David took the morning off from work, and we got a lot done. It was too wet to mow, but we edged and did a ton of weeding. We came home for lunch, and David got ready and went to work. The rest of our afternoon was uneventful. David came home that evening, and I cooked tacos. He then had to go to church for a meeting. The kids and I watched a movie, and then I bathed them and put them to bed. David got home right as I was putting Aubrey to bed, and we talked for a while and went to bed ourselves.

Wednesday was Jude's fourth birthday! As it turns out, he doesn't really like to have his birthday acknowledged, and he really HATES it if you sing happy birthday to him. This led to a major fit that morning :-/ We were going to lunch for his birthday, and I had to let everyone know in advance not to mention the "b" word. OMG. We went to Beagle Bagel (his choice) and David and our moms met us there.
After lunch, we went to Whole Foods for a cupcake. Jude was definitely ok with that! ;) We came home for naps. That evening, we had small group. It was a VERY small group, but we enjoyed it! We picked the kids up from the nursery and came home and put everyone to bed.

We went to tutoring on Thursday morning, and then Megan and I took our kids to the playground and let them play while we chatted :) We had some unseasonably BEAUTIFUL weather. It was in the low 80's, no humidity, and a cool breeze. Unheard of for July in MS, but it was SOOO nice! David had picked Aubrey up while I was tutoring and taken her to the dentist. He brought her to the playground when they finished (no cavities - yay!) and then we had to go to the grocery store. I was taking a meal to a family that night and had to get ingredients. We went to Whole Foods so that the kids could get pizza for lunch. We ran into my mom having coffee with a friend! We crashed their party and sat at their table ;) My mom had to leave to go to the eye doctor, but her friend (who is actually my friend, too ;)) stayed with the kids and me until we finished lunch. We then did our grocery shopping. My mom finished her eye appointment and saw that our car was still in the parking lot, so she came back in and found us (I was so glad she did a few minutes later). We finally got checked out and went to get in the car. Umm, I had locked my keys in the car. AHHHH! It was naptime, and I had a buggy full of groceries. I called David and he was eating lunch with his dad at Cracker Barrel. I had to leave my mom at the grocery store with my kids (and groceries) and drive her car to Cracker Barrel to get David's keys so that I could get into our house to get the spare keys for my car. GOOD.NESS. So annoying. I'm just thankful that we live close to where David is now. And I'm super thankful that my mom was there! We FINALLY got home, and I put the kids down for naps. And then sat on the couch and recovered. Except not. I cooked a meal for a sweet family who just had a baby. David came home and cut the grass, and I left the kids with him while I delivered the food. I got to hold a SWEET little newborn girl. And I got an hour in the car by myself. Not too shabby :) We ate dinner when I got home, and then I went on a walk and David bathed the kids. Busy day!

Friday was a gloomy, rainy day. I wanted to get out of the house, though, so the kids and I went to the library. We got a stack of books and then came home and read them :) We ate lunch, and I put the kids down for their naps. I did some cleaning around the house since we were having Jude's birthday party the next day. When David got home, we went to Newk's for dinner, and then we went and got some balloons from Party City. I then ran in Kroger while David and the kids sat in the car. We got home and put the kids to bed. David and I watched the first Bourne movie and went to bed.

David took the kids to breakfast and to pick up Jude's cake on Saturday morning. I got ready and finished getting the house ready, and then our families came over to celebrate Jude's birthday! Jude had INSISTED on only inviting family. He didn't want any "children" at his party. Hahaha! That made it simple for me, so I didn't protest too much ;) We grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, opened presents, and then ate cake and ice cream.
It was a fun day! After everyone left, I went to the grocery store, and then I got ready for a wedding. David's mom came over to babysit, and then David and I went to the wedding. It was beautiful! It was also really fun because so many of our friends from church were there. I love a good wedding :) That night, I started prepping our lunch for the next day and then went to bed.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What I've Read Lately...

I've read some good books over the past several months! I thought I'd share some of them here. If you have any recommendations please share! I'm always looking for new books. I really like books that are pager turners. I want to be hooked from the first few pages. But I also like books with some depth. I definitely read my fair share of "fluff" but I also like to have to use my mind when I'm reading. I don't necessarily like ALL of the books I read to be written on a highschool level, ya know? ;) So, without further ado, here are some books that I've enjoyed recently:

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
This book was really different than the typical books that I read. It was funny in a really quirky way. But I found myself laughing out loud a few times, so that's a success in my book. It was hard for me to figure out of I should take this book seriously or just laugh it off. So I ended up doing both. Definitely an entertaining read.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
I read another book by this same author (The Husband's Secret) that I didn't enjoy as much. I did like Moriarty's writing style, though, so I gave her another chance. What Alice Forgot was very interesting to me. It was a page turner like I enjoy, but it was very thought provoking. It's about a lady who falls and hits her head in a spin class. When she wakes up, she can't remember anything about her life from the past 10 years. Nothing is as she remembers when she wakes up, and she realizes that she's changed so much over the past 10 years that she doesn't even recognize herself. The changes aren't necessarily good ones, either. Anyway, it was just interesting to look back and try to remember myself 10 years ago. If I couldn't remember the last 10 years of my life, would I like who I am today and be happy with the decisions I've made?

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This was one of those books that I loved because it was beautifully written. It took me a little while to fully get into it (it's a LONG book) but I kept picking it back up because I enjoyed the writing so much. It was just a pleasure to read because of the writing style. There was also amazing character development. It tells the story of a young girl who is blind and lives in France during World War II. At the same time, it also follows a young German boy. Their paths eventually collide at the end of the book, and it's just a beautiful, heart wrenching story. I definitely recommend this one.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
I LOVED this book. I couldn't put it down and read it so quickly. It's about a girl who spends her childhood in the foster system. She's in and out of different foster homes and has some terrible experiences. She becomes a very hard, difficult child. She has one last chance to be adopted before she's labeled "unadoptable." A single lady takes her in and finally breaks through her tough exterior. Everything is going well until something happens to mess up the whole situation. The book flashes back and forth between current day and the main character's experiences as an adult and her experiences with her foster mom as a child. I cared about her so much as an adult and I wanted to read about that to find out if she is finally able to accept love and find her "happily ever after", but I also wanted to breeze through those chapters so that I could read the flashbacks to find out what happened with her foster mother. To me, that's good story telling right there - when the reader is equally invested in a character's past and present. Loved this book!

The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle
This one was hilarious to me. I love Big Mama's blog, and I've loved both of her books, too. Her books make me laugh out loud like no other books I've ever read. I guess I just really appreciate her sense of humor. This was her memoire of her marriage, and I really enjoyed it.

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
I wanted a book that would be easy to read and a page turner, so I decided to go the Kate Morton route. I do enjoy her writing style, but I thought this book was a bit hard to follow at times. She doesn't tell stories chronologically, which keeps things interesting, but for some reason, this one seemed a bit all over the place to me. I did enjoy the story, though, and it was a page turner like I hoped!

I know I've read more, but those are the ones that are immediately coming to mind. I've misplaced my Kindle (I refuse to say I've lost it - IT WILL TURN UP!) so I can't just grab it to see what else I've read. But those are apparently the ones that have stood out the most since they're the ones I'm remembering. ;) So, what should I read next??

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Happy 4th Birthday, Jude!!

Four years ago, at 5:23pm, after a whirlwind labor and delivery, I met my little boy for the first time. When I was pregnant with Jude, I often wondered what it would feel like to be a mother to two children. Would I love my second child as much as my first? Was it even possible to love two babies with my whole heart? Well, as any mother of more than one child knows, those fears vanished the moment this tiny little baby boy was placed in my arms. It was love at first sight, and immediately - before I even knew him - my whole heart was his because he was mine.
Over the past four years, I have fallen more in love with this wild little guy every singe day. I didn't think it was possible to love him any more than I did on July 16th 2010, but somehow, I do.

Jude is pure joy. He's full of life. He's mischievous at times. He's into everything. He's always climbing on something. It truly blows my mind and puts fear in my heart the heights he can scale sometimes. He's all boy. He's rough, he's loud, and he can destroy just about anything in no time flat.
But he's also the most loving, affectionate, sweet child that I've ever been around. He tells me that he "wuves me a wot, a wot, a wot, a wot, a wot...." (loves me a lot) all the time, and he is oh-so-generous with kisses and hugs. He often shares without being asked, and he tries to cheer Alaina up when she's crying. He has a smile that lights up my whole day.
Being a mom to my little boy has been one of the most wonderful, fulfilling, joy educing things I've ever done. I have such a sweet bond with my son, and I'm so so incredibly thankful that God chose me to be Jude Anderson Howie's mom. The past 4 years have been so wonderful, and I cannot wait to see what God has planned for Jude's life. My prayer for him is that he is a strong man of God who leads and loves like Christ.
Happy 4th Birthday, Jude. We love you so very much!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Weekly Highlights

Last week was fun! It was fairly busy, but it was all fun stuff :)

Sunday was unusually busy. We went to church and Sunday school like normal, and then we ate lunch at home. We took short naps, and then we got the kids up to go to a cookout at my great aunt's house. We had some relatives in town, and the cookout was so that people could see them. We enjoyed it, and we left in time to make it to night church. After church, we met David's family at Newk's. His mom had asked us to meet them for dinner and said they had a "surprise guest" in town. It turned out to be David's sister who lives in Saudi Arabia. We were very surprised to see her! We had a great visit, and then we came home to get the kids to bed after a full day.

In contrast to Sunday, Monday was a very chill, laid back day. The kids and I just stayed home and I did a lot of house work. I was glad to get so much accomplished. That evening, David came home from work and I ran to Kroger to get some food for Bible study the next day. When I got home, I baked a coffee cake and cooked quiche for dinner. We ate, and I took the dog for a walk after dinner. When I got home, David and I got the kids to bed and then had an uneventful evening.

Megan and I were in charge of snacks for Circle this month, so we had to leave home a little early on Tuesday morning. The kids and I dropped off our food at the house where we meet for Circle, and then I took the kids to the nursery at church. I went to Circle, and it went well! After it was over, I picked up the kids, and we came home for lunch and naps. That evening, I cooked dinner for David and the kids, and then I left for "UnBunco." I picked up Megan and a new friend on the way, and we headed to my mom's house. We had a small group that night, but we still had a lot of fun! We dropped our new friend off, and she invited us in to see her house (we had said we wanted to see it). I then dropped Megan off and went home. David and I talked for a little while and went to bed.

We were going to be hosting small group on Wednesday night, so most of the day was spent getting the house ready for that. I got in the zone and really cleaned the house thoroughly. I knew no one would be going upstairs for small group, but having people over just got me super motivated and I got the kids' rooms really clean too. It's always nice to have a clean house, even though it NEVER lasts longer than a day. ;) That evening, the kids ate pizza, and then I took them to the church since that's where our babysitting happens for small group. When I got back home, everyone was here, so we got started. David led our Bible study, and I really enjoyed it! We had good discussions. When it was over, David picked the kids up from church, and we put them right to bed.

We got up and went to church early on Thursday for tutoring. That went well. When it was over, though, Aubrey was having a meltdown. My brothers watch my kids while I tutor, and she was just falling apart (throwing a fit). It took me forever to deal with that, and when David got to church to teach karate, I let him finish talking to Aubrey. She finally calmed down, and we left church and went to Kroger. I was cooking dinner for a friend that night, so I had to get everything I needed for that. I fixed the kids lunch when we got home, and then I put them down for naps. I worked on dinner while they slept. My sweet friend Anna recently had her 5th precious baby, so I was cooking for her family. She texted me that afternoon and said that they would love for us to stay and eat with them and play when we dropped dinner off. Gotta love a mom of 5! :) So, I cooked some extra, and we did just that! We went over to their house that evening after David got home, and we had so much fun with them! I loved holding that sweet newborn baby :) We came home at bedtime, and I got a quick walk in before it got too dark.

We had evaluations for Aubrey and Jude at their school on Friday morning. David helped me get everyone ready, and we actually made it out the door on time! Jude had his evaluation first. I wasn't in there for it, but they just ask them to do different things like draw, cut, sort, listen to a story, hop, skip, etc. and observe them to see where they are. During Jude's evaluation, Aubrey and Alaina and I just played and visited with other moms and kids. We went out on the playground, too, and then it was time for Aubrey's evaluation. After they were both done, we were going to lunch at Corner Bakery. Another sweet mama, Morgan, and her three kiddos decided to join us. I'm so glad they did! We had a great time visiting and catching up. And considering the fact that we have 6 kids between us, I thought lunch went very well ;)
We came home for naps, and I had a low-key afternoon. David came home a little early that afternoon, and we just hung out at home for a while and moved some furniture around a bit. That evening, we went to dinner at Mellow Mushroom. We hadn't been since we moved, and we were missing it!
After dinner, I ran in TJ Maxx, Home Goods, and Hobby Lobby. We then went by our old house and got some paint and other random stuff. We came home and got the kids to bed, and then I got on the internet until bedtime.

Saturday was another busy day! David and the kids went to the Farmer's Market that morning, and I did my meal planning and grocery list. Then I took a shower and got ready. My grandfather's 80th birthday was Thursday, so we were having a surprise birthday party for him on Saturday afternoon. It was taking place during Alaina's naptime, so David stayed home with her and just brought her when she woke up. I went little early to help set up, and I took Aubrey and Jude with me.
The party was at our church, and we had told my grandfather that the children's choir was performing that afternoon. I'm afraid he figured out what was up, but he was surprised to see how many people were there! A lot of family had come in from out of town. It was a fun afternoon!
After the party, we got everything cleaned up. My family and my grandparents came over to our house that afternoon to kill a little time before we went out to dinner. We always go out to eat at a hibachi restaurant at some point every July to celebrate all of the July birthdays in our family, and we were going that night. A lot of our out of town family joined us, so we had a bigger group than usual. It was fun! Alaina was hilarious. She got kind of nervous while they were cooking and grabbed my hand and held it over her eyes. She would pull my hand down and peek out every once in a while, and then pull it right back up over her eyes. Ha!
After dinner, we went home so that David could bathe the kids and get them to bed, and I went to the grocery store. Fun day!