30 July, 2013

July in Pictures (Part 2)

(These are from the last 2 weeks of this month.)
 "Moon Sand"
8 parts flour to 1 part oil.
Perfect for sandbox-less children who want to go to the beach.

Hey, look! No concrete! 
We are so close to getting the patio finished. What a good feeling!

Olivia is loved and adored.

Lucy was in trouble for emptying the clothing drawers, and informed that she was to sleep, not play.
I think this was her act of having her way a little, and yet obeying about sleeping.
What a girl. She keeps me on my toes all the time!

Just keep those cheeks and big blue eyes with you. Happy thoughts for your day.

July in Pictures

(These are from the first 2 weeks of the month.)

Olivia would probably live outside if I let her. 
She cries when she has to come inside.

Olivia found her tongue!

Lucy loves to help put away groceries.

Princess Meow-Meow and Ballerina Hiccup:

Ava's very favorite lunch:
Jelly sandwich, summer sausage, colby-jack cheese, ham, pickles, and applesauce.

Lucy's hair is long enough for a ponytail! She looks so grown up. Be still my mommy heart!

Happy summer from the Three Princesses!

08 July, 2013

Five Things Marriage has Taught Me

1. Love extends far beyond what I feel in an impulse or a moment. 

Dating is romantic. He wants to make her the happiest girl on earth, and (let's be honest) she wants to be the most gorgeous girl for him. Twitterpated, they overlook all flaws and float around with stars in their eyes!
 Engagement is sweet. She shows off her ring, and he good-naturedly entertains jokes about "the ole' ball and chain". They make life plans, still with stars in their eyes and roses on the breeze. Marriage counselors try to get the lovebirds to seriously think through challenges and changes that come with tying the knot; some of that advice will actually stick and be remembered in later years.
Then comes marriage! Real life kicks in, and character flaws (once cute or only vaguely annoying) are now glaringly evident in the spotlight of constantly living with someone. It is work to take advantage of those early butterflies-to recall often what it is that you love about your spouse. Being honest is vital, and constant commitment necessary. Devotion and honor are vital, and they build an ever-deeper love that is sustained by a mutual belief in God as Head.

2. Secrets can be good things.

I love, love, love that Mr. Wonderful and I have inside jokes. Our senses of humor are so similar! I LOVE THAT. A simple wink, nudge, or single word can have us chuckling together. It's pretty great, I have to say. So, the good secrets are the special ones we have that no one else will ever understand or care to know.

3. "Best Friends" goes far deeper than I could imagine.

I call him Mr. Wonderful because he truly is. Whether he is being daddy or husband or...you guessed it...best friend, all those roles fit together. When I need a shoulder to cry on, or an honest opinion, or a deep discussion, or a kind word of correction, or someone to laugh with me when I make a fool of myself, or someone to be just as embarrassed as I am when I stick my foot in my mouth-that's my husband. That's my best friend. He cares about the things I do, and doesn't belittle my feelings. He is so patient when I'm grumpy, and backs me up as a Mom.
I'm not afraid to tell him he's being ridiculous, and I love the silly jokes he cracks. I love handing him his coffee and giving that goodbye kiss as he heads for work. I love when he baby talks to Olivia, cuddles Miss Lucy, and cheers on Miss Ava's efforts to be a big girl. I love the feeling when I know exactly where something is he's looking for-and it makes him so excited! It crushes me when I disappoint him.
He was strong when I miscarried 3 years ago. He wept with me for the child we've never met. He has been my partner and my coach for the births of our 3 girls. He is strong when I am not, and he always sweeps me off my feet with his love for me.
I love how he'll put his arm around me in public. I love that he's not embarrassed to kiss me, wherever we may be. I love that he is excited to introduce me to people he knows, and I love hearing how much his friends love him. I am thankful for the mutual respect we have, and that, at the end of the day, he is the one I sleep next to.

4. That beauty is really a tiny part of attraction.

Okay, so this part may be a little bit horrible. Ready? Brace yourself. (I'm embarrassed to admit this.)
I used to think that ugly women had bad marriages, and that beautiful women had the best marriages. (Blame Hollywood, maybe?) This misconception carried way past my teens, and I still struggle with my self image.
I know Mr. Wonderful is handsome and studly, and I want to be the gorgeous, young wife on his arm. I don't want him to be embarrassed to be seen with me, and I want to dress in an attractive way that pleases him.
 Now, let's get real. Most days I wear stretchy pants and big t-shirts because children are messy and babies poop and spit up and all that jazz. There are days I actually forget to shower, and my hair is greasy and I probably don't smell great and yet he still hugs me and tells me I'm beautiful. And really means it. That floors me.
Three children have taken a toll. I'm definitely not in my 18-year-old body any more! He tells me I'm beautiful and means it. Wow. That blows me away.
There are days I yell at the kids and apologize for it probably 28.6 times at least. And he walks in the door and tells me I'm a great mom. And means it.
There are days the house is messy. I've had chances to clean while the children are playing nicely, but instead I've probably been on Facebook or Pinterest and cleaned the bare necessities-like the kitchen counter. And he walks in the door and compliments me on the 2 clean spots in the whole house, and loves me, and it amazes me.
There are days I'm at my wits' end with the children, and he walks in the door and I'm not actually mad at him, but since I have to keep in together and set a good example for the children (lest they be ruined, right?), he gets the brunt of my frazzled-ness and my clipped tone, and my aggravation...and he stays, and he settles the home, and he is kind to me. I can't believe how good he is to me!
So you see why I adore this man, right?

5. It's God's way or the highway.

I can be a very hard-headed person. I can be argumentative. I didn't always show proper respect to my parents, and definitely forced my own way more than once. And society only encourages this, whether it's movies depicting parents as complete nincompoops or husbands as blathering idiots who know diddly-squat about being a parent or even a husband. And the longer I'm married the more intentional I have to be to honor my husband. Society is relentless, and my natural tendencies, born of years of begrudging my authority, rear their ugly heads.
I'd say this is the most important thing I've learned from marriage: that if you choose to obey God, to follow the Bible, and to just DO what the Word says, it solves a lot of problems.
"She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness." Proverbs 31:26
"Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." Ephesians 5:33

And by the grace of God, my marriage is wonderful.


03 July, 2013

The Patio (Part One)

 Welcome to the patio.
Sad, cracked, sunken, and just plain blah.

In fact, this entire area was in pretty bad shape. 
We kept getting water seepage in our family room. 
(Partly because of the poor drainage, and partly because of an inordinate amount of rain!)

After months of thinking, planning, talking, scheming, and dreaming,
we went to a great big store that sells a lot of great stuff.
(It starts with M and the end sounds like yards.)
Everything we ordered was on sale. Huge blessing!

Then pallets of supplies were delivered to our yard:

Then we started demo.
(And by "we" I mean studly Mr. Wonderful.)

My dad and brother came and helped demo as well.

And more progress has been made since Sunday:

This is today (July 3rd), and the progress of the new wall:
I'll keep you posted...
we still have to finish demoing the patio, and install the pavers for our new one.
I'm so excited for this update to our house!