Spring Break Day 1: The Shirt War, Full House, Jesus, and The Vote

 

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As we speak, Joshua and Caleb are playing basketball in the driveway while John David and Daniel are rolling around on the trampoline together. Alan is eating supper, and I am updating my blog for the first time in a week. Slacker.

I’ve been working on photo albums through Snapfish lately. Y’all, photo books are 70% off this month (March), so I am making as many photo books as I possibly can. I have about a hundred I could make since the last time I was caught up on photo printing was 2013…

One of my newly created albums came in the mail today, of photos from 2 years ago. One of the boys was a little embarrassed to realize that in this album was an adorable photo of the 4 boys reading together in a chair, and he was in his underwear. Just his underwear. I might have jokingly threatened to share said photo album with future dates. He might have retorted back that the page will definitely be torn out long before that. Sigh. Oh well.

The photo is safe for now, and the picture is so cute. I’d show you, but well, I am at least nicer than that.

I’m trying to hold the boys to just family parties this year. Well, family parties + just 1 or 2 friends.

I took a vote this morning, asking everyone here if they’d rather go hiking today or stay home. Everyone but Daniel voted to stay home, so here we are.

I tried to go walking, but it started raining on me so I cut that short. I passed Joshua on my way inside. Apparently, rain drops don’t phase him. He came in with soaking wet hair.

Y’all don’t want to know how many squabbles I have refereed today. Ugh. This should definitely count as a special skill on my resume. I am extremely experienced at sending everyone to different rooms.

We did have an epic game of driveway birdie tonight, though…wait. No, that’s not what they called it…badminton! I had to ask them what the game was called. Ha! But it was super fun!

Remember that Mother’s Day that they bought me a Badminton set, and so we played that for Mother’s Day? Only now, the boys are actually way better at it than I am!

Joshua, Alan, and I were sitting in the living room today getting quite a show from a new sport taking place on our trampoline. Daniel and John David were out there together, and we watched them take their shirts off and have a shirt war.

Joshua observed, “John David sure is good at whipping Daniel with his shirt!” They had a better view than I did, and they kept saying, “Ohhhh Owww  Whoa! Ho! hahahaha! Is he okay…..yeah.”

For some reason this game made Daniel and JD quite happy, so we didn’t intervene. Perhaps we should all try it…. ha!

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I came home a couple of weeks ago with the complete DVD set of the original Full House. Why? Because I’m the world’s worst person at sticking to any sort of budget…..also because we have already watched Fuller House, so I felt like the boys had to see the first series to understand it better.

Alan took so long at Walmart this afternoon, on a trip to buy Daniel’s birthday present and Tostitos, that we watched 4 episodes of Full House while he was gone. Our family is all about it right now, so don’t be surprised if you hear the boys say “How rude!” or “Have mercy!”

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I heard 2 funny quotes this week that I wanted to share.

1.”Who is I love Lucy? Were they zombies?”

2. A leprechaun visited John David’s school. He left them Skittles and a messy classroom of confetti and such. I asked J.D. who the leprechaun was. He didn’t miss a beat, “Jesus.”

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I came across some encouraging Bible verses in my reading today:

“Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.”   John 6: 15

I’ve been thinking lately about how apolitical Jesus was. He was never interested in power or rule or talking politics. He wanted to teach about God, love, and healing people. I feel like as Christians we need to persist in getting our message of love out to the world. Things of this world are temporary, but our souls are eternal. Love is eternal.

“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”    John 6: 27-29

 

Believe. Faith. Hope. Love. Against such things there is no law.

And now on to the rest of Spring Break. 1 day down, 8 days to go. I’m excited. I still have a  great deal of refereeing ahead of me, but it’s worth it because I also have days of Badminton and shirt-whipping.

I’d upload photos for you to have a peek into our adventures, but my computer is so full it won’t let me upload anything new. Issues. I can only give you pictures that I can steal from Facebook. Triple sigh. You know that’s driving me crazy. But don’t worry. I will not rest until I fix this problem!

Okay, one more hilarious quote from tonight:

“Hey, Mom, I am five, and you are thirteen. No! 14. You are 14.”

hehehe Nope. I didn’t correct him. Is that wrong? I say no.

Have a great Spring Break, y’all!

 

 

 

 

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36 Reasons I Love Being 36

This month I turned 36 years old. That sounds so weird to me, so I took a good hour to sit down and think about things I like about being 36 and also things I have learned.

Some of these are memories I love that I have, some are lessons that I’ve learned, and some are just good sense. And I can combine that many different things because after all, it is my list.

Mom and me. Due to the fire, I only have a handful of photos from my childhood. I found this one in a box in my living room. Thankfully, Mom had made us a box of old photos a few years ago.

 

1. I was there for the 80s…granted I was too young to understand it, but by golly I was there.

2. Free range childhood. No one used the word play date back then.

3. Swinging from vines in the forest.….That was part of the free range childhood.

4. 3 major bicycle injuries under my belt….Okay 1 was roller skates…There was the time my failed bike-stunt attempt resulted in me riding my bicycle up the front door, the time I flew downhill straight into a fence, and then the time I thought I could do some Nancy Kerrigan jumps in roller skates. Yeah. Lots of bleeding.

5. I’ve learned that People DO change with their life circumstances. For example, alphabetizing and re-alphabetizing, categorizing and re-categorizing my book collection…….That used to be me. Now I just shove them onto shelves. I can’t find any of my books at all, but the older I get the more responsibilities I have, and there is not time for perfecting. Priorities change.

6. The older I get, the less I care about what anyone thinks of me. (Mostly, no one’s thinking about me anyway!) If you are going to have a blog, you have to let go of that mess.

7. I’ve given birth 4 times, but actually that didn’t make me invincible or super-tough. It just means I’ve experienced a lot of things that can go wrong with child-birth, and I now know that all that matters in the end is delivering the baby safely. That’s right. Your birth plan does not impress me. Your living baby impresses me.

8. I finally know how to tame my own hair. 

First, I use a shampoo + conditioner twice. THEN I use conditioner. Whatever I do after that doesn’t matter so long as I use a straightening iron. If the air is cold and dry enough, I can skip the straightening.

9. I’ve learned that a degree or a trade of some kind is definitely worth having because life throws unexpected curves, and at some point you are going to need to make some money.

10. Mama Bear syndrome totally applies to humans. Do not mess with my kids. Do not mess with anyone’s children. In fact, there’s a Bible verse about that.

And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me. 6But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7Woe to the world for the causes of sin. These stumbling blocks must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!…       Matthew 18:6-7

11. Having 1 child was a big adjustment. Having 2 children is much more difficult than having 1. Having 3 is way more work than having 2. Having 4 children almost killed me (the stress!), and having 5 children is something I will never be able to tell you about because I hit my medical, emotional, physical, and everything else limit at 4. But I love it. I love every single one of them more than anything in this world, and as far as I am concerned they are perfect. They are my happiest moments and thoughts.

12. I’ve been through depression before, a couple of times, and I now know what works for me to come out of it. The only way I know how to come out of it is to focus on serving other people, open all your blinds/curtains everyday, play upbeat music, pray on your face for help, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. And if it gets bad enough, you may have to take antidepressants.  I’ve taken them before, although for me it was actually for anxiety.

sharing my love of sea mammals, boats, and the Pacific Ocean with my children. They loved it.

13. It took me 24 years to realize that what I really wanted to be when I grew up was a mom. Anything else was just a bonus.

14. I’ve sent a husband off to war 3 times, and I know that if I have to, I can do it again. But man, I hope I never have to!

15. No one tells me how young I look anymore, but I’ve made my peace with that.

16. I’m not poor-skinny like I was at 20, but that’s fine. Poor-skinny is when you are underweight, and it’s because you actually are having to save money by eating less food. That’s what I did in college.  Happy people are not poor-skinny because happy people aren’t hungry.

17. I have tried about 5 different kinds of jobs that I didn’t like, but that doesn’t mean I’m flaky. It just means those weren’t my callings. Why live miserable? Move on and try something new.

Caleb and me on the flight out to California 3 years ago.

18. Living all over the country was the hardest thing bout the past 15 years, and yet it was the thing I LOVED most about the past 15 years. Living in a place takes traveling to another level. It gives you understanding of other places and cultures, and the amount that you learn is just mind-boggling.

19. I killed a snake. Sure, it was a tiny snake, but still. I, April, who is terrified of all creepy crawly things, killed a snake because I thought it was necessary to protect my offspring. See, I told you #10 is a very real thing!!

Caleb, creating snow angels in Virginia. He was 6.

20. Virginia got in my blood. Someday I want to go back. I felt like I was with my people there. I can’t explain it.

21. I don’t have to do nursery duty anymore, and that is so freeing for me. I don’t have to spend my entire week dreading Sunday because I know I have nursery duty. My arthritis saved me from signing up for this task that I never liked. I love babies, but nursery duty KILLS me. I am unable to sit in the floor, bend over tedious activities, and the younger the babies the more it hurts my back, my shoulders, my neck, my legs, EVERYTHING to hold them. It used to take me a couple of days just to recover from holding them.

22. My children possess completely different talents than I do, and I’ve learned to appreciate everyone’s different gifts. We learn so much from our children!

23. I love that Jesus saved my whole entire family, and now I’m watching each of my children, one at a time, become believers too.

photo courtesy of Stephanie DuBose

24. I fully embrace celebrations! I love good ol’ American holidays. So what if they’re “commercial”? Have some fun already. Life is short. The only one I have a hard time always embracing is Christmas because it’s so much work, and plane tickets are expensive, but I do it anyway.

I believe you should never be too righteous for fun. Did you know that most of the feasts and holidays set up in the Old Testament were actually invented by God? Celebrate!

25. I’m focusing more on listening to women who are older than me and have already done what I am doing. I have many mentors, and sometimes those mentors have no idea that I think of them as a mentor, but there is so much wisdom to be gained from people who have already done what we’re doing.

26. You can’t beat a mini-van for a family of 6. Sure, giant SUVs are hip, but they guzzle the gas, their doors don’t open with a button, and nothing is as practical or affordable as a mini-van.

27. I stop for garage sales. One should never pay full price for kids’ bicycle helmets, tennis rackets, bunk beds, or board games.

28. Peanut/cashew allergies are terrifying. Sometimes I wonder how he will survive, but then I remember that that’s what Emergency Rooms are for.

29. You know how some people feel about Windex? That it can fix everything? That’s how I feel about Benadryl. Miracle drug.

30. I have now been to Disney World twice and Universal Studios twice. This makes the little girl inside of me beyond happy.

31. Eventually skinny jeans will go out of style. Thank goodness because they are not flattering for me. I rarely wear them.

32. Home schooling: I came, I tried, and I can honestly say that it’s simply not for everyone. 

33. I love that I got to live in California for 2 years and see the incredible beauty that is Big Sur, the Pacific Ocean, Monterey, San Francisco, and sea mammals! I will always cherish my memories of seeing a whale feeding 10 feet off the shore. Splendor.

34. I have 4 boys. That’s definitely not something I’d have never dreamed of in my 20s!!! I can’t tell you the wonder and adventures we are having. I love it. Love, love, love it. And to think, I only had girl names picked out. Ha!

 

35. My marriage. I’m so thankful we both stuck it out together because our marriage is so much greater now, in our late 30s, than it was in our 20s or our early 30s.

36. I love the things about me that are still young. That’s something to be THANKFUL for. I don’t have to color my hair yet. Menopause is still 10 years off. My freckles help me look young, and I still have my morning energy. Gradually, these things will change, but today they are still mine.

 

We might as well enjoy life, right? It all goes by so quickly.

We might as well be happy with what we have because it is what we have. The grass may always be greener on the other side. Whatever. That probably just means they spend way too much money on fertilizer, which smells bad anyway!!! So it’s all good.

 
Oh yeah!!!! And in case you missed my most recent Facebook live video, about trying to learn how to use essential oils. Here it is!

Thanks for reading, y’all! Thank you for being a part of my first 36 years! Love y’all!

 

 

 

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Why You NEED MOPS/Mom’s Next

Why you Need MOPS

You may be thinking, “Yes! MOPS! I love MOPS!!”

Or you may be thinking, “What the heck is MOPS?”

Well, either way, come check out my article today at Monterey Premier’s Engaging WorkLife, and find out why moms need MOPS/ Mom’s Next. Just click here or on the photo above.

 

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What do I wear to the wedding?

I have a wedding to go to tomorrow. Oh, and Alan won’t be here to help me get the boys ready. He had a prior commitment, so I gotta figure out what we  are all going to wear by tomorrow.

Plus, I’m paying for THREE private school tuitions, so do not even say the words “shop” to me. There will be no shopping.

Here are my options. The wedding is outdoors. I am told the groomsmen will not be wearing ties, and it all takes place at 4pm.

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my personal fave. But I do realize it looks pretty casual.

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Don’t you think it’s too much black?

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I like it, but Alan says it looks like a Halloween dress (because it’s black and orange). Sigh.

That’s it, y’all. That’s all I have!

By the way, can I just say how excited I am for this bride???  I won’t spoil her privacy by posting her name or photo. (But if she gives me permission, I’ll show you pictures on Sunday!!)

So, okay, 2 things, no, really 4:

  1. Please tell me which dress you think I should wear in the comments, or Facebook comment.
  2. Do know that I’m probably going to disregard what everyone says and where what I want anyway….Why? Why do I even ask then??
  3. In answer to #2, I don’t know. It’s a sickness.
  4. Pray for me to stay sane and not lose it with any sweet little men this weekend because there’s going to be a lot of forcing them to wear nice clothes and sit still, and well, we’ve discussed that before!!! There are four of them. Take what two little boys are like, times it by two, and that’s what we’re talking about here…..at a wedding!!!  (But don’t get me wrong. My children are of course perfect angels from Heaven and would never so much as sneeze as this wedding, I’m sure. Especially the three-year-old, I am absolutely sure he won’t start crying because he bumped his finger and not stop until the whole wedding is over…) Oh, what am I even worrying about? I’ll spend the whole event half a mile away from it to keep everyone from being “distracting” anyway.

 

But I should look good while hiding, so tell me which one to wear. Thanks!!!

 

 

 

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“Are you so happy, Mom?”

Are you so happy, Mom?

So happy: My friend Amy sent me this Anna/Mickey Mouse ornament, as a souvenir of our Disney trip. Love this!

John David asks me one question every single day.

“Mom, are you so happy? I just want you be happy, Mom.”

If I cry, he can’t take it. “No, Mom! I just want you be happy!”

If I get stressed and start rushing around, “Mom, I just want you be happy!”

If he’s in trouble for something, well, if John David gets in trouble for something he does that thing that little kids do that will melt your heart. He sticks out that bottom lip, his face scrunches up, and he cries, and then he says, “I just want you be happy!”

Apparently, it is exceedingly important to this sweet baby that I be happy…..ALL the time.….And that, of course, is pretty much impossible. But I try my best.

Even when JD goes to the potty, I have to be happy. I’m back there wiping his bottom, and he says, “You so happy, Mom? You so happy??”

Ha! Well, that’s what we get for throwing such a party every time he went potty.

But what a great reminder. What a great reminder to take joy even in the time of small things. What a reminder! Be joyful even when you’re wiping up poo…

Are you so happy, Mom?

I don’t look so joyful at cross country meets. There are gnats y’all, and on this particular day it was 104 degrees. Not even exaggerating.  I just stand there with my kids, looking like this. Inviting, huh?

 

That’s the thing about joy. Being encouraged by other people is so uplifting, but when you walk around looking annoyed, who wants to talk to you? Well, usually nobody.

So we must somehow find a source for joy that does not depend on other people. It’s great to derive joy from your friends, but until you have friends, joy has to be found elsewhere.

I’ve been searching the scriptures for joyful ideas.

 

faith

This was a recent yard sale find that I was excited about. YES, GOD WILL!

 

We can take joy in the promises, provisions, and love of God.

Maybe find a place to sit outside or by a window and read God’s promises. Turn to the New Testament or Psalms when you are feeling down.

“I rejoice in your promise like one who finds great spoil.”   –Psalm 119:162

“Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.”   –Isaiah 49:13

 

Are you so happy, Mom?

Nonna, enjoying time with her grandsons

“Announce this with shouts of joy and proclaim it. Send it out to the ends of the earth; say,”The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob.” They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and water gushed out.  “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”   –Isaiah 48:20-22

Remembering what God has already done keeps your faith and your joy strong.

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.  With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”  –Isaiah 12:2-3

“In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony. He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their season; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”  –Acts 14:16-17

 

 

Are you so happy?

I can assure you that basketball brings Joshua great joy.

I wish I could send you all a clone of John David, my daily reminder to “just want you to be happy.” He’s so precious. It is hard to stay down when you share your day with one like him, but not all of you are up to taking care of a three-year-old right now. Take heart.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.  –John 16:33

It’s true. There was Jesus, who they killed for our transgressions, and by his wounds we are  healed. We are forgiven, if we only ask to be. We are loved. He wants to take care of us.

“A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity…. I say that a stillborn child is better off than he.”            –Ecclesiastes 6:3

Some people may roll their eyes at the need for comfort and happiness, but I think that it’s important to try. As John David says, “I just want you be happy!!”

 

Are you so happy, Mom?

It did make me “so happy” to see JD make a friend at a cross country meet.

Are you so happy, Mom?

JD’s happy place. Do you have a happy place?

Thank you all so much for following my blog. It is a great encouragement to know that I have people, no matter how many times I move, I have people right here. Thank you!! You are a blessing to me. Have a joy-filled week!

 

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