The purpose of this blog is to capture some of the high lights and low lights of just normal day to day life. Our life is loud, busy, and fast, but we love it!


Goodnight Nimrod

"Goodnight Nimrod."

There's a phrase I never thought you would hear in my house.  Along with:

"Wash yourself Nimrod."

"Get dressed Nimrod."

"Brush your teeth Nimrod."

Bad parenting?  Nope.  Creative and imaginative child.

The girls recently watched Mr. Popper's Penguins.  A Jim Carrey flick that I enjoyed too.  Cute.  Good message.  Down of the 6 penguins was named Nimrod- due in part to him doing things like walking into walls.

Leah especially enjoyed this movie.  She first loved Loudy-I think because she could yell without punishment.  However, Nimrod seems to be her penguin of choice to play make-believe.  I love how her imagination is so big!  She takes on a role and does a voice, actions, and goes so far to tell me that penguins don't wear took a lot of convincing to get her pajamas on after her bath.

Hilarious.  That's Leah.  Three years old and she just gets humor.

I had tucked my little penguin in, went to my room, and from across the house I hear David say, "Goodnight Nimrod" and close her door.  I just about busted a gut laughing.


Getting Organized-Thank You Pinterest!

Pinterest.  So many great things about that site.  I have found myself back on lately-I just did not have time to get on for so long.

My neighbor and I found a great project to get our meal plans organized.  A Menu Board!  The original idea on Pinterest was a frame and just the menu as seen on my cork side.  I decided to buy the half cork half white board for even more organization! 

To be clear, it is not a "to do" list on the white board - those are too much pressure.  Instead this is a reminder list.  Some things I know need to get done right away and others are there until I get to them.  With four kids in the house there are just so many things to remember.  It is also great because my husband and I can remind the other of things.  The day of the week is on there because across the hall is Accountable Kids and they can just look over to see the day of the week.

We are on our third week using the board and I love it.  I am rotating meals - based on the meats purchased at Sam's Club that we Food Save!  I will ask the family for any requests, which they love.  This way I am pulling meat out to defrost ahead of time and it makes shopping (for side dishes, ingredients, etc) so much easier.

All in All a great idea!
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An Anniversary Celebration-A Year Overdue

Last year David and I celebrated being married for 10 years-you can read about it HERE.  It was dinner out with my parents and our four girls....our youngest being just 20 days old.  It was low key; as expected when you have a baby in the same month as your anniversary. 

So, one year later we are making up for not being able to go big on our 10th anniversary.  Mom and Dad (aka Nanny and Grampy) are taking all four kids while we head off to dinner....ALONE.  Yes, ALONE!  No kids.  No infants.  No breast feeding at the table.  It's not that I did not love ALL of that and more, it's just David and I are about to enter an unknown that does not include any more babies.  Strange. 

So, I organized getting the kids watched and other things (shhhhhh) and I asked David to pick the restaurant.  After being married 11 years we both still love to surprise one another.  We both purchased gifts for each other and the anticipation of that is helping build the night up.  I can't write all the details yet, but I know we are going to have a wonderful evening!

After 10 years of being married you start to figure some things out - one thing being that you have NOT figured it all out!  However, when I started thinking about all the things that we have learned I thought it would be great to get them down.  I asked David to participate too.  So we made our lists, separate from one another. Yes, my list is MUCH longer than his, but wow is he insightful, thoughtful, and hit the mark.  He IS an amazing husband.  A man who I am so grateful to share my life with.  We would both admit that in 10 + 1 years of marriage it has not been all roses and sunshine, but there is no one else we would rather be on this journey with.

Here is my list, followed by David's.  He has not seen my list, but because he is an amazing husband I know he will read this blog and I hope he enjoys it as much as I enjoyed his. 

Things I’ve Learned After 11 Years of Marriage
Talk.  Talk about everything.  You need to stay connected in one another's lives.

Listen more than you talk.  I suck at this, but I am working on it.

Take time to learn about something he/she is interested in.  it does not mean you have to participate or even like it, but it feeds the relationship.

Fight.  Yes, argue…even yell sometimes.  It means you care.  Plus, make-up sex rocks.

Send love notes.  There really is no excuse in this data-driven age.  Send a text, and email, tweet about your love.  Anything that says, ‘I was thinking about you.’

Walk away from anything that is destructive to your marriage.  Yes, that sometimes means people, but we put our marriage as first priority.  

Let your spouse be sad, angry, frustrated….do not tell them how to feel or what they should be feeling.  Give them space to work through their emotions.  

Have sex.  (Yes, a wife is writing this!)  Have more than you think you should or “need”.

Make out on the couch during commercials!

Be a cheerleader for your spouse.  

Let your spouse have time to be alone.

Hold hands (when they are not holding lots of little hands).  

Stay up late talking in bed every-now-and-then. 

Reminisce.  Remember why you are together and how you fell in love. Celebrate your "story"
Say “Thank You.”

Do NOT compare; your spouse, your marriage, or your life together.   

What I have learned about being a husband in the last 10+1 years of marriage:

1.   I’m selfish; it is hard not to be.

2.   Marriage is not the sum of two parts. You do not bring 50% and your spouse the other 50%. You must bring 100%, and be prepared to carry your spouse, when they can’t bring their full 100%.

3.   You can’t change other people, you can only change yourself and how you think about others.

4.   Perspective is everything; two people can see the exact same thing take place and have different recollections of the events that unfolded. Open your mind to how others see and experience things and don’t be stubborn and think that your perspective is always the right point of view.

5.   Based on my observation, true happiness is experienced by loving others and being loved.

Here's to forever times three baby!  


Chiara Donates to Locks of Love

My oldest daughter has always had an empathetic heart-one beyond her years. She cries for the wounded and the hurting and she prays for those in need.  She has been especially touched by a sweet young girl she met at church named Kate.  You can read Kate's story here (an I encourage you to join us in praying for her).  Meeting Kate was no accident, but we believe God has his perfect order working.....a little background:

Almost two years ago we decided to leave the church we were attending.  We were not sure where we were going to go, but I had a few recommendations from a friend.  We knew we wanted a large church and did not have any desire to attend here in Casa Grande.  So, off we went to Cornerstone Church in Chandler.  The first service we attended was about relationships/sex so we were already excited!  LOL!  When we picked up Chiara from the Kindergarten room she was all excited about this girl she made friends with.  That first week she did not remember the girl's name, but she said she had a broken leg (well, Chiara thought she did).  I was happy meeting someone made Chiara feel at home in this new church.   At the Women of Faith conference I attended I had heard about a little girl named Kate that had brain cancer, that attended Cornerstone.  Her father was a pastor on staff.  We had heard him speak and his teaching was right on.  Everyone seemed to be settling into this new church, but I was not.  I asked the Lord to give me peace that this is where we were supposed to be.  Another Sunday, we sat.  A beautiful woman sat next to me and said hello.  She introduced herself as Holly and said her husband was a pastor on staff.....of course I asked if it was Aaron McRae and sure enough it was.  Now this small encounter on the surface seems like a kind person welcoming someone new.  I knew it was more than that.  I had read about her daughter and told her how I had heard of Kate.  I quietly thanked the Lord for sending me this peace.....of course he was not done with me yet.  I went into the LONG kindergarten line to pick up Chiara and she comes racing to the door with another girl holding her hand.  "Mom, mom, this is my friend I was telling you about!  This is Kate."  I turned around to see Holly standing in line behind me to pick Kate up as well.  Tears filled my eyes....of course the Lord would have Chiara meet Kate.  Quietly I thanked Him again for knowing me, knowing my daughter, and sending us to this place of worship.

Fast forward a bit.....Chiara did not get to see Kate much.  Kate began to battle cancer for the second time.  I can't remember a night going by without Chiara praying for her.  She constantly asked if her mom had updated anything (on her blog).  We would all rejoice with good news and weep when it was not.  I am amazed at my young girl.  When they found the brain cancer had returned Chiara and I discussed donating her hair for Kate.  We found out that Kate would not be purchasing a real hair wig so for the time we let it go.  As time went on it was talked about here and there between Chiara and I.  I asked her again if she would like to donate her hair.  She knew it would not be for Kate, yet in her heart it was going to be for Kate.

There was so much joy when it was cut off.  I am amazed at this 7 year old.  She knows that whoever gets this gorgeous hair will be blessed because of it.  For our family this was more than just a donation, but an outward expression of our faith-knowing God set us in a certain place of worship at a certain time.  We continue to pray for Kate and I can say that every time I look at Chiara's new short hair I am reminded that He is God.  Always faithful and always true.

Chiara, Age 7-beautiful inside and out
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Emma's First Birthday Photo's (Part 1)

We were able to get a few pictures of Emma Lynne this morning. She is not feeling so great today and I did not want to push it. We will try again.....the benefit of being your kids personal photographer.
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Happy 1st Birthday Emma Lynne

One year. ZOOM! Has it really been one year since Emma Lynne came into this family? Yes. Undeniably, yes. I think celebrating your baby's first birthday is more for you (the parent) than it is for them.  David and I congratulate one another on making it through the first year-which with Emma has not been easy.  It was a small gathering of only the important people to Emma's life this past year....her parents, of course her sisters, Nanny and Grampy, Great Nana and Grampy, our dear friends Andy and Kimberly Hutchins with Emma's buddy Ronan (who will be 1 in a few weeks!), and the McRae's-Mommy gets to have her 'bestie' here too!

I made a number 1 cake for us all to share and one for Emma to have all to herself. 

Nanny bought her this cute shirt.  She has just started reaching for Nanny when she sees her-about time!  They all become "Nanny's Sunshines".

Our dear friend Andy took my camera to snap some great shots for us! 

Emma has no idea what is going on, but she was ready to grab.

This one says, "Why do I get the small number 1?" 

Oh, a little finger scoop.....didn't last long....

Mayah was egging her on....

One of the best shots Andy got! Love in a picture!

Mmmmm, cake.

The big kids....eating neatly....

Emma, truly enjoying her cake!

Look at my cake.....

The money shot! 

Let's just say we had to use several washes to get it all off.  FUN!

Opening some gifts...this one is from Mommy, Daddy, and sisters

The McRae's got her this gyro bowl..she was fascinated with it

I love the excitement of this picture...she knew exactly what the Hutchins got her....since she had just played with this ball shooting toy at their house.  She CRACKS UP with it every time!

I am looking forward to taking her one year pictures. 

Having your first baby you experience love like no other.  You have no idea just how much more love you are capable of.....I can truly say I am head over heels for this little girl.  I love her with every ounce of my being-just as I do her three sisters.

Here are her 1 year stats, which I will probably write about again in her picture blog post.
Weight  17 lbs, 3 oz   Below 5th percentile! LOL!
Height  28 1/4 inches  10-25th percentile
Crawling, standing on own, uses walker to walk, says "mom", "dada", "hi", "ara" or aya" for sisters
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Recital Pictures-Behind the Scenes and At the Show

One of my favorite parts of the dance recital is volunteering back stage. Yes, I am watching other people's daughters for 2 hours. Yes, some are "high maintenance". Yes, I am exhausted when I leave. However, I love that this little act shows my daughters just how much I love and support them. I also love watching them from the side of stage and being right there for the end of the night curtain call.  High energy and fun.   Someday they will be all grown up and won't 'need' me back there...for now I love sharing in this with them.

Mayah using her stencils and keeping busy.

Chiara and her ballerina friends chatting, playing with Barbie's and just being together.

Chiara and her friend Savannah

Nanny and Grampy before the show. 

Proud parents.

Miss Rebecca came to support the girls and even brought them roses.  Daddy and Mommy gave them flowers too.

Nanny and Grampy got the girls trophies with their names and date on them.  Mayah loved it....but was really tired by 9:30pm when this was taken.

Mayah, Cristina (our neighbor and friend), and Chiara
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Dance Recital 2012 Pictures (by Mommy)

Another year of dance done. I am so very proud of my two oldest girls for all their hard work and dedication to their dance classes. Not once this year did I hear them say they did not want to go to class. They both have a fantastic memory when it came to their performances. Big smiles. Fun. That's what it is about.

This was Mayah's first year and she ended it by saying, "When can I start Ballet I?" Love it! Chiara has shown such progress and is really developing as a ballerina. Grace. Beautiful lines.

I love having girls! Girly girls! I will be uploading and posting their dress rehearsal videos.

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