10 Reasons Why We Don’t Have a Dog

When we were moving from California to Georgia last year, I actually entertained the idea. That was mostly because Daniel kept asking if each prospective house “had room for his dog.” It started to melt my cold, cold, hard dog-disliking heart for a bit there.

But Alan quickly came to the rescue with a firm, “No, Daniel, we aren’t getting a dog. We don’t have room, time, or desire enough for a dog. We move too much, and when we go on vacation, what would we do about the dog? No, it just doesn’t work. It’s not time for a dog yet.”

The dogs in these photos are both types of poodles. If we ever got a dog, which we won’t, we’d get a poodle, I guess.

We don’t do dogs. The boys’ grandparents just got a new dog, and the way that it has taken over their lives is actually a prime example of why we don’t have one. ha!

This dog belongs to our friends.

10 Reasons Why We Don't have a Dog

#1–And this is the biggest and most truthful reason—No one is really even asking us for a dog. No one has begged or pleaded at all, no one is drawing pictures of dogs, buying stuffed animal dogs, or mentioning them in their prayers. Not a single boy actually seems to care that we don’t have one. So phew! No pressure is reason numero uno.

 

#2. They poop.

a lot. And people expect you to clean it up, and that’s just gross. Touching poop is gross. I’m so done with that phase of life.

#3. They pee.

…and sometimes they do that in your house, and again, you have to clean it up. I am finally at a place where all of my little humans are toilet trained, so why would I go back to that?

#4. I’m sorry, but unless they look like a puppy their whole life, like the one in the photo below, they aren’t even cute.

Sorry, I know half of you hate me now, but I’m just saying. Dogs aren’t cute to me.

Okay, granted, that one is cute, but most of them aren’t.

#5. We move every 2-3 years, which is much more difficult to do with a pet along.

Hotels, car trips, planes, waiting, house hunting. This is not a dog-friendly life style.

#6. The 1st year we live in a place, we are basically friendless, so we don’t even have anyone to dog sit for us on vacations.

Okay, yes, there are kennels. I know that, but this article is about why not, not about being positive and finding a way. hehehe

#7. They stink.

Well, they do!

#8. They lick me, and I don’t like that.

#9. Unless they are trained, they jump on you with their muddy yucky paws. 

And I certainly do not have time to train some smelly dog.

#10. And in spite of all of it, if they ever put out a concerted effort to beg us to get a dog, I’d get them one, okay. 

See, I do have a heart, but it’s coupled with a great deal of practicality, and dogs are simply not practical. They don’t even provide a service. At least cats do eat mice and things. Well, some cats do. No, we don’t have a cat either. For good reason. That would be a rather similar list. Just add allergies and ‘litter box’ to this one.

 

This may be one of those posts that makes me more enemies than friends. But, y’all!!! I have to remind myself of ALLLLLL these reasons when I see how cute my little boys are when they play with these puppies. I will re-read this post every time the boys visit Bella (the cute puppy in the photos), to remind myself why we don’t have one!!

 

 

 

Exciting Things to Come on Stories of Our Boys

Every Monday: a new installment of The Real Army Wives blog series on storiesofourboys.com
the real army wives series

Noooo…it’s not a puppy. Did you think it was a puppy? This is Nonna’s new dog, Bella. 

***This post does contain affiliate links, so I collect ad fees if you buy from my links.***

There’s a book I have been wanting to write for a while now, but I didn’t want to let the blog go either, and there’s no way I could do both.

 
Then I bought this ebook by Crystal Paine (she’s like my unofficial life coach). It’s called 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life. 

I started reading it a couple of days ago, and in the book she encourages you to write down the mega project you are not doing because it looks too hard. Then make a plan.

So I have been planning and praying about that mega project that has been on hold, and the answer came to me. Break it into chapters. Run it as a series on the blog. I may not run all of it. There may be some chapters that you will have to wait for the book.

So from now on, my friends and readers, I’m going to attempt the first scheduled thing this blog has ever done.

The Real Army Wives of the War on Terrorism series.

I am going to tell my own personal story of being a military spouse through the War on Terrorism. And if any of you would like me to run some of your stories too, send me a submission! I may have to edit it, but I will be happy to do so and see if I can work it in.

These are not war stories (sorry to disappoint some of you). These are stories of what the family experienced.

I’m also not overly wild about how lengthy my title for this series is. If any of you have a shorter title idea, I will consider it, for sure!

Just The Real Army Wives, maybe? What do you think?

Can’t wait! So when do we start?

Every Monday. Every Monday there will be a new installment of this series, and we will begin with my story of 9/11/2001 because that’s the day the course of the Army wives’ lives was changed.

The 9/11 story will be up on Monday, May 15, 2017. Before you even get your coffee, it will be in your inbox.

Pssst! Once I’ve completed the series, I’m going to put it all together in an ebook for my boys and grandchildren to read someday.

I feel like they should hear the story of what happened from a first-hand account. Wouldn’t you love to have something like that from your ancestors about their time period?

One More Big Event Coming Up

Sat., May 13, 2017, my contribution to 30 Days of Tween Parenting Encouragement will be on Like Minded Musings. If you have a child ages 8-12, head on over there and check out the other articles. 30 days of relevant articles for parents of tweens! I love this!

Eleven articles are already up, and there are 19 more to come!

Want to make sure you don’t miss my new series about real Army wives?

Subscribe to my Army wives series. Now, if you are already subscribed to my blog posts, as in you get every single post I write in your inbox, don’t subscribe to this one.

But if you do not receive my blog posts and would like to only subscribe to the Army wives series, fill out the form below.

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I am so excited and nervous about this at the same time. Can’t wait to begin! See you Monday over here and Saturday at Like Minded Musings!

 

 

Hobbies

hobbies

I love hobbies, and I love seeing how each of my children have different hobbies that they enjoy.

We do a lot of different things around here. Work pays the bills and can be very satisfying, but there’s something about a hobby that inspires people. Sometimes you are lucky enough to find a hobby that becomes your work, but even if you don’t, you still need a good hobby.

Hobbies are the spice of life. We have a wide variety, and I’ve noticed everyone has been very active with their hobbies around here lately.

 

3 hobbies in one pic: badminton, hanging out with friends, and RVing. I love it all.

Okay, no, actually, I think I’d be incredibly nervous on an RV. They look fun, but I don’t know. I’ve never done it.

He dressed up as a Star Wars character. I told him, “You might want to change because you have to go inside with me to pick up John David, and there will be lots of kids there. But you can wear that if you want to.”

“Yes! Yes! I want to wear this!”

….And then we pulled into the parking lot, and he chickened out. I had to stand and wait for him to pull the costume off. He had his regular clothes on underneath.

This is the same kid that went to a basketball game in full Batman costume, so I didn’t put it past him to wear the storm trooper outfit.

There’s something special about baking cookies with your mom. This was an activity my brother and I did a lot when we were growing up, and I’m so thankful we did because I was well prepared to spend my life in the kitchen feeding all these boys!

I found this shirt at the local farmer’s market. Does shopping count as a hobby? Well, supporting my favorite baseball player does, and I don’t mean Bryce Harper. I do mean my Daniel.

This is a hobby I was completely unfamiliar with until Caleb came along. I don’t even care to learn really, though I’m sure eventually I will, for Caleb and Daniel’s sakes. Amy was a good sport and played with the kids.

Reading has always been one of my personal favorite hobbies.

Testing phase of his parachute. No, he didn’t jump with it. He didn’t make it for a person, he made it to send down small things.

Caleb is my inventor. Does your family have an inventor in your ranks? He never ceases to amuse me with the things he creates with paper, tape, and staples.

When they put a suction cup on a toothbrush, this is obviously what that’s for.

When I see this, I know that my inventor is busy at work, and I’m also thankful that he hasn’t lost my tape yet. I can never find my tape. You see why.

My stapler was also missing for like 2 months.

Dynamite

They are so different from me. I have never invented a single thing in my life. When Joshua came home with that diorama book report assignment, I wanted to cry. April doesn’t make things, at least not inedible things.

50 worms. All made by him

We had an agreement. He can play Playdoh as much as he wants as long as I don’t have to make things. He makes the things.

Chalking Woody

Drawing on his toys is his passion in life. I kid you not.

Now this is a hobby I WILL be joining them on this summer. Yes, I can’t wait. Totally serious.

a Caleb creation. This wasn’t even a set. He designed this himself. He is a Lego and video game genius, in my humble, motherly opinion. Haha!!  

And oh, how I love to sit or walk and marvel at the beauty of God’s creation. Stand in awe of God. Creation restores my faith when I am down. 

That photo was taken at Yosemite. Every nature lover needs to eventually make it to California.

What about you? What are your hobbies? Any other slip-and-sliders out there? 

 

 

5 Ways We Teach Our Children About God

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Our number one priority is that we set our children off on the right track spiritually.

We aren’t training them to live to please just their parents, society, or a set of rules.  Once you’re an adult, those things all become mushy anyway.

We’d rather they have a relationship with God. It’s not about religion; it’s about knowing how to pray, knowing why they believe, having faith, and making these choices on their own. It’s about feeling responsible to a being higher than ourselves.

We want them to know that through any crisis in life, and the good times too, they can cry to Jesus, to our Heavenly Father. Alan and I will eventually die. Their brothers will too, so they need someone who will always be there. That’s what they can find in their relationship with God.

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Here are 5 super simple ways we foster their relationship with God:

 

#1. We teach them to pray.

From the time they are babies, we pray with each child individually before they go to bed at night. Sometimes it’s just Alan or me, but usually it’s both of us with each boy. When they are babies, I say all the words.

By the time they are talking, I let them say their own prayers, and I give them ideas for what to say by having them repeat after me. I change it up, not saying the same old thing every night.

For example:

“Thank you for this day. Thank you for my mommy, my daddy, my brothers, and (whoever else comes to mind). Thank you for my toys. Thank you for my house. Thank you for my food. Please help (insert sick relative) get better. Amen.”

By the time they are 3, they rarely repeat after me. They say whatever is on their mind, and sometimes it is adorable, and sometimes it is downright hilarious.

One of my boys used to say, “Thank you for

my mom and dad. Thank you for polar bears. Please help the polar bears. Thank you for badgers, raccoons, sun bears, grizzly bears, dolphins, beluga whales…” and he’d go on and on and on naming every animal he knew. So precious.

As they get older, we add in teaching them about praying for forgiveness when they’ve hurt their brother or disobeyed.

 

 

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Daniel, proudly displaying an award he earned at church.

#2. We take them to church.

It’s so much work when they are little to get them all cleaned up and dressed and to the church on time, but it’s so incredibly worth it. Hearing these Bible stories from another adult, hearing about how God loves them, and getting another Christian’s perspective on walking with the Lord is powerful. 

It backs up everything they are learning at home, encourages them in their faith, and exposes them to other leaders and kids like them. I have had so many mentors over the years that were my Sunday school teachers and other Christians who enhanced my understanding with their unique experiences.

 

5 Ways we teach our children about God

 

#3. Talking about what the Bible says

I should actually do this more. I tend to remember when I discipline the boys. I tell them, “Hey, Mom doesn’t like to punish you, but it’s my job. God tells me to. The Bible says an undisciplined son is a shame to his parents.” And well, we all know that’s true.

I try to remember to use Biblical examples when I’m coaching them on how to handle difficult people or situations or jobs.

#4. Modeling good habits

Feel free to laugh at me here because I guarantee you I’ve taught about as many bad habits as I have good…ahem…

But that’s okay. Kids need to know that people aren’t perfect, and we have to love and accept all sorts of people and be very forgiving.

We all know “more is caught than taught.” I want my children to see me reading my Bible, see me praying, see me helping the poor, and know that I am a kind, loving person who truly believes what I’m teaching.

For example….

I remember when I was home-schooling. Caleb and I were both going through a phase where we were having trouble with our out-of-control emotions. His was probably the result of my BAD modeling because I was going through a difficult time, but at least I was able to coach him on how to control his own emotions, by learning from my own mistakes.

I said, “Caleb, you may not ever be able to master your feelings on your own. When you feel that anger start to rage, and you want to give in to it, immediately stop and pray. Pray for God to help you keep it together.”

So one day, one of my boys came in, all upset and indignant, to tell on Caleb.

“Mom! Mom! I accidentally (did whatever), and Caleb got mad, and he HIT me, and then he just got down on his knees and started PRAYING!” said the flabbergasted and deeply offended brother.

I was so happy I could have soared with the birds.

“Oh, wow! That’s wonderful!” I joyfully answered.

“What! Wonderful?? What! He HIT me!!”

“Don’t you see? It would’ve been much worse for you if he hadn’t stopped and prayed. He stopped and prayed to keep from hitting you any more. Be thankful!”

 

$9.94 on Amazon. The Story Traveler’s Bible by Tracey Madder

#5. Using illustrated children’s Bibles to teach them God’s Word.

Reading the Bible to the boys goes over a whole lot better when we use a book with mesmerizing pictures, like this one. You should’ve heard the weeping and gnashing of teeth we used to hear when Alan would make our 7, 6, and 2 year olds listen to an entire chapter of the KJV Bible straight up.

Bible time should not be torture. We’ve come a long way since then.

Allow me to introduce you to a fabulous new children’s Bible that our family is currently enjoying reading:

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Includes 85 Bible stories

I love the details of the Bible stories that it includes.  Plus, it’s so helpful how she includes these memory verses in the margins!

5 Ways we teach our children about God 5 Ways we teach our children about God

The boys love the brightly colored illustrations by Tim Crecelius.

5 Ways we teach our children about God

In fact, for a week I could not find the book, and I thought I’d looked everywhere. It finally turned up in my nine-year-old’s room, in his little reading corner.

Now that’s good silent reading material!

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Look at these beautiful pages:

5 Ways we teach our children about God

In this book, 3 modern boys and girls travel through time and visit all of these old Bible stories and places.

5 Ways we teach our children about God

the Samson story

Can you guess why I’m showing you so many details about this children’s Bible? Well…..if you guessed “because it’s our newest giveaway,” and I want you to see how awesome it is, you are correct!!

Don’t you just LOVE a giveaway? This giveaway is sponsored by Tracey Madder, the author of The Story Traveler’s Bible.

5 Ways we teach our children about God

 

As usual, this one is easy to enter. Just log in below, and choose one an entry option listed here.

Best of luck! I’ll announce the winner in 1 week: May 2nd! I always email the winner well within 24 hours of the end of the giveaway.

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You can also order it here, for $9.94 from Amazon.

I hope you got some ideas or found some of this helpful. If you have any ideas to add or questions to ask, comment below.  Good luck on the giveaway!!

 

 

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

You know it was a happy spring break when it takes you 3 weeks (ish) and 4 separate blog posts to finish writing about it.  This was that sort of year, and if you missed the first few parts, you can catch up here:

Part I– The Shirt War

Part II– The Funny Stuff

Part III– Legoland Discovery Center

 

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

We now live in Georgia, so we decided it was time to re-visit Callaway Gardens. It has been 15 years since we were there before. 15 years ago to the day we re-visited, almost. Alan proposed to me on March 25, 2002, on the lake beach there. We returned on March 26, 2017. Pretty cool, huh?

Us, 2002, Callaway Butterfly Gardens. He proposed on the beach there.

We enjoyed re-enacting it for the boys. Caleb took pictures for you, but I didn’t like how I looked,so those will be on the blog never…

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Daniel, taking off for that beach.

The boys were all supremely disappointed that they didn’t have their swimsuits with them, but it was a touch chilly for swimming still, and we wanted to scope out the whole place that day. We can go back to swim anytime.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Ever since we left California, and my beloved Point Lobos, I have had no place here to go and just revel in the beauty of nature. Actually, my back yard is pretty awesome because I do see red cardinals and an occasional snake (*shudder*), and I find little brown balls that lead me to believe that deer are occasionally jumping our fence, but Callaway goes beyond that.

Here at Callaway, our little family was all at peace and excitement, as we hiked the trails, visited the butterflies, and even got to see a captive falcon with a wingspan as big as me!

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Caleb will tell you. Everyone in our family knows it. It is not possible to take Caleb anywhere that there is water of any kind and bring him home dry. He will always be beckoned in so far that he will always leave soggy. We love that about him.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

This was a half-mile trail, but in the southern heat, it feels like more. Thankfully, some of it is shaded. I loved it. Absolutely loved it. It felt like home to me.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Me, feeling like I’d found my new Pt. Lobos.

There is something about being outdoors that is nourishing not only to your body but to the depths of your soul.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Friends, come visit us. We will take you on this trail.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

There is something splendid about a boardwalk over water, and yes, there were turtles and fish to gaze at.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

I was also reminded why, by the time I was a teenager, I thought I didn’t love being outside. When you grow up in the South, MOSQUITOS reign! Yeah, wear bug repellent if you do anything like what we were doing here. And sweat, of course, sweat. Mosquitos and sweat. Still worth it though.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

I don’t think a person can look at a bed of tulips without feeling a little better.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

A small dogwood tree! How I’ve missed dogwoods!!

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

outside the butterfly center

Normally, tons of azaleas would have been in bloom, but a week prior a cold front had come through and killed all the azaleas at my house that were blooming or budding, so there were none. I also read that azaleas bloomed early at Callaway this year. That would have been such a beautiful sight to behold, but alas, we missed it. A week later the late azaleas did finally show off in our area, so that was some comfort.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

The 4 of us squeezed onto a swing. They have a dozen of these swings outside the butterfly center. Now you know I love me a good swing.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

inside the butterfly center

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

The butterflies were of course all over, and we were all excited to be a part of it…..except John David. JD sort of whimpered the whole time and got all sorts of freaked out if a butterfly flew anywhere near him, and so our time in the Butterfly Center was cut short.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

After a butterfly actually landed on my hand for a few minutes, the boys took to trying extra hard to get one to land on them.

But alas, it never happened. Sorry boys.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

JD, in panic mode…Butterflies are apparently terrifying.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

watching an educational film on butterflies

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

The boys all took turns carrying each other on their backs, and how sweet are these 2?

Daniel kept picking John David up and carrying him, and JD only weighs 10 pounds less than Dan, so we started referring to Daniel as the ant man.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

My camera phone died before I got to photograph the giant bridge with the water, over by the Discovery Center, which is one of the most beautiful parts. Next time! Because you know there will be a next time!!

 

“A cheerful heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”  Psalm 17:22

 

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”        Psalm 19:1

And now it’s back to work. I hope you all manage to squeeze in a little sunshine time today.

********Don’t forget to enter the Bottle Flip Game giveaway! It ends Tuesday night at 11:59pm!!**********

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