Monthly Archives: March 2013

indeed.

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Christ is Risen.

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He is Risen Indeed!

Beyond the blessings of the sunrise service, the yummy breakfast, the energy of worshiping together, the cutest little boys and girls in their Easter best running after and hunting Easter eggs…beyond the awesome display of balloons rising and sailing off to a place unknown to us all, and beyond the message of Jesus’ wonderful PROMISES, there was one very specific moment that blessed the shells off my Easter eggs…

One little boy had gathered his eggs, emptied them, and had probably eaten a few too many pieces of chocolate, and asked me~~“Steph, look at this Easter egg!! It has NOTHING in it!!” I thought— oh no. I left all of the extra candy at my house and had nothing to put in that empty egg. I for a moment felt badly that he kind of got “jipped” out of a filled Easter egg. I instead, asked him “What does that empty Easter egg mean to you?” To which he replied…

“It’s empty because Jesus has Risen!!”

Praying you all were as blessed as I was this Easter.

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have you been “egged” today?

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Dearest Pinterest…you have stolen many, many hours of my day.  You have made me feel like a failure.  You have given me a to-do list a mile long.  And then?  Every once in awhile, you just completely ROCK something out.  I have a love/hate relationship, oh yes I do.  But here’s a little love for you, dear Pinterest, for today.  Ideas for children’s ministry as related to Easter are awesome.  I wish I could take the credit for them.  Nope—I will give all the credit to YOU!!

First of all, I sat in a meeting a few weeks ago with church leadership where they carved out 30 minutes devoted to how to reach people at Easter.  To have a group of leaders make reaching others so important and take intentional time to brainstorm different ways of accomplishing this goal is just amazing to me.  This is so what church is all about!!

Easter ideas are all the rage when it comes to children’s ministry too.  There isn’t anything more fun than searching for ways of helping kids to connect to these stories of the Bible.  And none more important than the story of Easter!!  My pinterest “Easter” board is giddy with excitement for another idea I didn’t get done this year.  So it’s on the list for next.  But take a look at what we did get done this year…

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Have you heard of Resurrection Rolls?  {Click HERE} to see explicit instructions.  So simple and easy!  Our kids did all of the work (except for the oven baking part).  And they worked!!  I love it when that happens.  The idea is that the crescent roll is the tomb, the marshmallow is Jesus, the cinnamon, sugar, and butter the spices they anointed his body with…and when they are done?  The tomb is empty.  This one turned out perfect~~~I’d like to make this recipe a tradition because they are YUMMO!!

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And finally, our biggest intentional outreach our Journey Kids are doing this Easter is the “You’ve Been Egged!!!” event.  This idea has been flying around pinterest the last couple of months and across all three campuses of Journey the idea took hold.  Too cool.  {Click HERE for the free printable} 
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In both of these activities, the common theme is AN EMPTY TOMB!!!  Can’t wait to celebrate all of what that means on Sunday morning.  You never know…will you have a yard full of Easter eggs with an invite to our services on Sunday?  Either way, we would love to see you at Journey@ McPherson for our morning of Easter celebrations!
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some great words.

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I am THE very last person who likes to talk politics.  In fact, I will shy away from any conversation having to do with politics and this thought versus that thought.  I have people whom I love dearly on both ends of the spectrum on so many different issues.  I’ve seen much flowing around facebook and nothing captured me like this…

LOVE this.

Here you go my precious children.  This is what I want you to know.  This is what I want you to hear and believe.  There are no better words to describe my feelings on so many different issues and so many different levels.  Thank you, Rick Warren.

insights.

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Of all of the things I save of my kids’ school work, their stories they write in writing have got to be it.  It starts out in Kindergarten as they are just beginning to figure out letters.  Then in first grade, they actually begin to make sentences.  I absolutely love what our teachers have done.  They do NOT correct the spelling, but one teacher in particular, will comment using the mispelled word, but spelled correctly.  (was that hard to follow?–ha!)  But, I think that is BRILLIANT!!! 
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Now, I know when it comes to our kids, we all love to see what is in their minds and on their hearts.  Not always do we see that.  But the writing from school always gives me just a glimpse of this.  I cherish it!  So, when these writings come home, I make myself a big cup of coffee, take a load off, and enjoy a good 10 minute read.  In this morning’s read I find out that Landon believes my parents live in Idaho.  Ok, seriously.  My Dad does not live in Idaho, but IOWA.  Gave me a great chuckle.  Sorry, Dad.  And, get this?  And I quote…”My Grandma spoils me with food.  My Grandpa thinks he is so strong and he is 63.  He doesn’t have a chance. Our grandpa and grandma are really nice.  Their names are Bonita and Don”  Ok, first of all I knew all of my kids get spoiled there with food.  Confirmation.

Sometimes I find out things I can NOT  believe they are writing for their teachers to see….honestly.  For today, I have found out that my little Landon has a BIG HERO. 

(hope you don’t mind I stole some of your pics  Trey!!)

Here is one of Landon’s paragraphs in his “book”…

I love to play basketball.  I practice every day besides Sunday.  Actully I do  because I have basketball practice on Sunday sometimes.  One time well to days ago I made 110 free throws (seriously, Landon?!—hmmm.)  They were not in a row.  Oh boy, I would have to be as good as Tray.  Basketball is my passion!

 

You know what I love the most about it?  His misspellings.  Judging from this writing, Trey is somewhat of a HERO, you think?  Even though he doesn’t know how to spell his name…  {smile}And after seeing that he made 110 free throws I was about ready to sign him up to help KU out here this weekend.  Obviously there is a BIT of fiction going on here too.  So sweet.

 

My point to this entire post comes down to something our cheer coach said to the girls prior to tryouts.  “So many little kids look up to you, so who you are and what you do has to be taken very seriously and be a good role model”.  Maybe not in those exact words?  But somewhere in there.  I love that challenge for my older girls as they entering junior high and high school. 

 

How fortunate we are to have good role models for our kids. And for you older kids?  You never know who is looking up to you.

embracing the new, Easter style.

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Easter has always been my favorite.  There is just something about the promise of new life.  The happiness and freshness of spring.  The celebration of our salvation through Christ’s resurrection!  I love each and every part of it.  Growing up, I loved getting up while it was still dark—grabbing our winter coats and blankets and heading to a field for the sunrise service early Easter morning.  To me, even at a young age, it was more exciting than waking up Christmas morning.  Yes, my parents did the Easter basket thing.  My very favorite Easter was finding brand new white roller skates, each hidden throughout our living room.  Shopping for Easter dresses and brand new shiny white patent shoes with white laced socks.  A breakfast at church with vases of flowers.  A message of hope and promise of what our Savior did for us and the miracle of being risen from the dead.  It was, somewhat, magical. (Probably not a politically correct word, but can’t find another word fitting)  As a young child growing up, to think that someone could come back from the dead was intriguing and hard to believe.  But, you DO believe.  Because as a child, that is what faith is all about.  A child-like faith…there is nothing like it.

As Steve and I began our family, Easter has continued to be a magical time of year.  If you knew me in the past as I raised my littles, I would coordinate most of their outfits (the girls, especially) and I took GREAT pride in having coordinated Sunday best for the entire family.  I will never forget when I got Landon a pink shirt and I thought Steve would croak.  But he was precious and helped to coin the phrase “real men wear pink!”.  Oh my goodness, I miss those days so, so much.  We even went as far as coordinating with our precious girl cousins a couple of years.  I am sure we were a sight to see walking into church.  But, it was fun and memories I will not forget, ever. 

Can you believe that my children will not be wearing matching dresses for Easter this year?  And I doubt we will even coordinate!  In fact, we may not even be wearing dresses this year.   In making a huge church change in the past few months, things we have grown accustomed to, traditions and such have taken on a new life of their own.  Gone is what we knew and expected.  Things are different now—new traditions to be made.  We experienced it at Christmas and now again during this Easter season.  To say that I am making this transition with ease would not be true.  It has been hard.  Another first doing something totally new.  We feel strongly called in this new change?  YES!  Are we going to mourn just a bit of the loss of what we have always known?  Yes.

I read this post from Tonya whom I have referred you to many times regarding recipes the last few weeks.  I couldn’t help but cry reading this.  Powerful, powerful words about Christ’s crucifixion.  {click HERE to read}  Please read and share.  It is worth it.  I am excited to share with my kids tonight.  I want them to feel what I felt while reading it.  To know what an amazing thing our Jesus did for them, for all of us.

With that brings a huge shout of PERSPECTIVE.  Easter is not about traditions.  Easter is all about Jesus and His love for us all.  His saving grace, His gift of salvation to you and me.  Again we realize the MESSAGE IS STILL THE SAME.  He LIVES!!  He lives for you and me!!  He lives and it doesn’t matter where or how you celebrate this promise of new life.  I know that waking up Easter morning it is going to feel magical just like every other Easter that I can remember.  I am going to embrace Easter with the excitement I always have with my kids.  We are going to get up and go to a Sunrise service with our coats, hats, gloves, and blankets.  We are going to eat breakfast with our church family and others.  And we are going to embrace the beauty of all Easter has to offer us.  Maybe in a new way this year. 

If you are looking for a place to worship on Easter morning, we would LOVE to have you join us at Journey@McPherson!!

check ’em off.

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Walked into my home this morning to a quiet house.  Much unlike the last number of days where there has been a bustling of activity from the minute the kids woke up until they went to bed late at nightI had to re-orient myself to normal daily routine and a work routine after taking time off to be with the kiddos during their Spring Break.   Routine is so welcome today after a thankfully easy night back to work.  I look around and I am content.  We made some memories and we checked some off the to do list.  A win/win!!

Not without challenges, we DID get some things done this week.  Unfortunately and not unlike us, it kind of kicked into gear the last few hours of our break.  Our biggest goal completed?

The GREAT ROOM SWITCH BACK!!!

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It’s done people!  It was hard and took daaaayyyyyssss.  But, the girls are back to their own rooms.  I haven’t yet talked to Steve to see how the bedtime routine went with this new transition.  I am guessing, Kourtney struggled.  She loved the comfort in knowing her sister was sleeping in a bed next to her.  AND, I’m guessing Kassidy was doing a h.a.p.p.y. d.a.n.c.e.!!! 

 

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The harsh realization that we will indeed be doing  another garage sale reared it’s ugly head.  Each year I proclaim that this is the LAST garage sale we’ll ever do.  And each year we have a garage sale.  This year looks to be no different.  Hey…Dave Ramsey thinks we should. 

 

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Winter decor got put away just in time for a winter storm that even canceled church on Sunday!  CRAAAAZZZZAAAYYY.  Outside it’s winter…but come in and SPRING HAS SPRUNG!!  This is the season that lasts the longest as I leave up the Spring/Summer decor until Labor Day.  That is 6 months away!!!  No more ladders or dusting tops of cabinets until then.  Woo hoo!!!!  (I am sure I’ll find some thing to change between then…)
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And finally, Steve made my day yesterday.  He drilled in the Merry Heart Spools from Blessings Unlimited.  I just LOVE them for my scarves.  They are perfect!
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My jewelry shipment came in.  I am going to be dressing up so I can wear jewelry each and every day.  And soon…I will have a Blessings Unlimited Jewelry Launch Party!!!  The catalogs are in too!!  I’ll let you know.  And if you want to be one of the first to host a gathering with the new jewelry?  April is OPEN! 

judas!

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If you live anywhere near the area that our family does, the word “judas!” is used quite frequently in every day language.  Like “Judas, I can’t believe it’s snowing in March”.  Or, “Judas–I thought it was supposed to be spring.”  Or “Judas!  How long is spring break?”  Or “Judas, do we have to clean the house again.”  Or something like this…”I have done 12 loads of laundry this week, and Judas…there are 3 more waiting”.  Get the idea?  See how we use “judas” in a sentence? 

I have NO idea how the name of one of Jesus’ disciples has become everyday common language use for our community.  My children were saying “Judas” like second to “mommy” and “daddy”.  Of all disciples to refer to often, JUDAS is not the one I would pick.  I kind of like “John–it’s a winter snow storm on March 23rd.”  Nope.  It just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

This month’s virtue at Journey Kids is HONESTY.  And quite honestly I am excited for this week’s lesson on, you guess it…Judas.  I’m excited because I think the majority of our kids here his name frequently, like I said.  I can’t wait for them to meet the real Judas everyone is talking about.  How HONESTY and JUDAS are like oil and water.  They just don’t mix. 

Preparing for this story, I can’t help but feel so sorry for Judas.  If you know how the story goes, Judas was a very dishonest person right from the get go.  His greed of $$ cost him absolutely everything.  Overwhelmed by the guilt of leading the soldiers to Jesus and ultimately to Jesus’ death on the cross, Judas took his own life.  Which tells me, he was distraught and anguished over what he did.  How many times have each of us been in a situation where guilt has taken over?  Obviously, for most of us, not to the extent and extreme of death–thankfully.  There are times it is easier to lie, or so it seems.  To keep things going smoothly, or keep yourself out of trouble.  Or even more so when you get or reap rewards from being dishonest.  Doesn’t always feel that great though, does it?  I mean really.  And the words I tell my kids each and every time?  There is ALWAYS someone who knows if you are lying.  Always.  And when others find out?  And you are not a trustworthy person?  What is there left for you at that time?  Building trust and keeping trust is a HARD job.  Especially, when you have lost it in the first place.

 

This virtue of honesty has been so relevant for what our kids deal with each day.  I bet there are more times than we can count where kids and adults alike get to put the virtue of honesty into practice.  It is real.  It was real when Jesus was leading his disciples.  And it’s real today. 

 

The next time I hear, “Judas, it’s too early to get up for church” I wonder if they are going to think about who Judas really was and remember our bible story for this week. 

 

JUDAS, that’s my goal.

I just had a feeling.

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Somehow, I knew that today’s devotion was going to guide my writing.  Some still small voice took me to March 22nd in Jesus Calling.  So appropriate this spring break as Steve and I had much time to dream and plan.  We love to plan.  I love my planner. {click to see how to get your own!}  Most people know that I can not go anywhere without it.  It has my life ironed out to the minute of each day.  Sick, I know.  But it is so fun and energizing to me to see what is in store for us as a family.  All of the different avenues and paths our life takes be it school, church, work, Blessings Unlimited (notice, I still can’t consider Blessings my work!), extra activities the kids are involved in, and so much more.  Somehow by writing everything down, I think it feels like I have a bit of control–when in reality, life can take a very sharp turn at any moment.  So control?  That is such a misperception. 

Spring break has provided “getting stuff done” and definitely “having some fun”.  As we have established, sometimes the best laid plans…well, you know how that saying goes.  I think everyone including our furry family member has had moments of misery throughout the week.  Just look at her.  So sorry this sweet thing had such matted areas in her fur that she is now pretty much naked.  Her new spring look as the winter storm rolls in…
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Landon was thinking life was (and I quote) “absolutely unfair” yesterday.  The girls took an opportunity to go get facials at Grandma’s shop and spend a few hours with her.  Now seriously, Landon~~is that really how you wanted to spend your day?  I would say and I quote “absolutely NOT!”.  And I guarantee Grandma was thankful he spent his afternoon with me.  After some mental preparation, he put on his big boy pants and helped me take down all of our winter decor.  It involved a ladder, so maybe that did it?  He was pretty proud.  This earned him a “mommy” date to Sonic for mozzarella sticks and a cherry limeade during happy hour.  Pretty good deal he thought!
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We have yet to cross everything off our “get ‘er done” list, but I’m holding out hope through the weekend.  We have managed to cross a few things off the “fun” list too.  And you won’t believe that I have not been to the grocery store once this week—my personal goal to get things eaten and cleaned out of the freezer and fridge.  That will change today, I know.  But we’ve been creative.  And sometime “fun” comes in your mouth, like this recipe my Mom posted.  Everyone loved it!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 3/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
… 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1 cup (6 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 large egg, beaten
1 (14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 cup Creamy Peanut ButterHEAT oven to 350°F. Combine oats, brown sugar, flour, baking powder and baking soda in large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in peanuts.
RESERVE 1 1/2 cups crumb mixture. Stir egg into remaining crumb mixture. Press onto bottom of 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
BAKE 15 minutes.
STIR together sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter in small bowl until well combined. Pour evenly over partially baked crust.
STIR together reserved crumb mixture and chocolate chips. Sprinkle evenly over peanut butter layer.
BAKE an additional 15 minutes. Cool. Cut into bars. —
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And you know why I chose this recipe?  Because I didn’t have to get out my mixer.  Seriously, how lazy am I?  Don’t answer that.
 
 
What a great week, really.  Even though my vocal chords are a bit sore from, um, speaking loudly to my children during the clean out your room process. 
 
From Jesus Calling today, we are to REJOICE and be THANKFUL!  “I do My greatest works through people with grateful, trusting hearts.  Rather than planning and evaluating, practice trusting and thanking ME continually.  This is a pradigm shift that will revolutionize your life.” 
 
I love that!  To Revolutionize our Lives.  I am ready.

new appreciation.

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Rewind our lives to about 15 months ago.  News of cancer.  Almost everyone can relate to hearing that word as a diagnosis of a person you love or know personally.  It is not uncommon, by any means.  And even as common as it is, when it hits home to someone you love, it still tumbles you off your feet, leaving you grasping for answers while swimming in a sea of anxiety.  No matter what.  Percentages of treatability, curability (is that a word?), and good outcomes do. not. matter.  Because you could always be in that small percentage, right? 

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In December of 2011, my Dad underwent a very scary surgery after the probable diagnosis of thymus cancer.   So, you’re talking to a labor and delivery nurse here.  What the heck is a thymus (I’ve heard the word in school, but that’s about it) and how do you get cancer of it?  Why do you get cancer of it?  And to find out there really is no purpose of said thymus gland in your body?  Well, I hate that gland. 

Steve and I made the trip to Omaha.  Usually, I am giddy at the thought of a road trip with Steve.  The kids were taken care of by my mom and doing their normal daily school routine.  We should have been pumped to get a couple of days away.  But in reality?  It was the very last thing I wanted to do.  Drive to Omaha together while the looming surgery was upon us.  Needless to say, Omaha got a bad rap from Steve and I. And I’m pretty sure my brothers felt the same exact way.  A family “reunion” of sorts.  In a hospital pre-op waiting room.  Not much to look forward to….

As most of you know, we were OVER-ABUNDANTLY blessed!!!  Hugely.  Drop me to my knees in thankfulness, gratefulness, hope, and love for the outcome of my Dad’s surgery and diagnosis.  I will NEVER forget that call.  On Christmas Eve—they got all of it.  The cancer was contained.  The best…and I mean BEST Christmas gift that year, making Christmas 2011 unforgettable.
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Everyone is given second chances right?  And second chances apply to the dear city of Omaha.  We’re gonna try this once again.  This time with our four hooligans in tow.  A road trip to meet up for a family “reunion” of sorts.  Where the majority of the family was waiting in Omaha with the hopes of an Omaha Redemption.  Omaha stepped up to the plate.  I have new appreciation for the city. 
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This weekend was a Christmas gift from my parents.  It was so awesome.  Oh my goodness.  We are still reeling in the refreshing and rejuvenating time we had last weekend.  We met the majority of the family for dinner and then a shuttle ride to the Orpheum for The Lion King.  What an amazing performance!  I am a bit of a broadway show junkie anyway.  If I were drowning in $$$ I would be at a show weekly.  I am not kidding.  My very first experience being Wicked (my all time favorite—seen it twice), and then Mary Poppins (in NYC), and then just a few weeks ago—Jersey Boys.  But I will say, I was amazed by The Lion King.  The costumes, the cast, the music—everything was beautiful.  And I could have watched it every day I was there.  But then again…I am NOT drowning in $$$!!! 
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Late night hotel swimming and pizza delivery was to follow (although I popped a bag of popcorn and fell asleep in my room).  A special package for each person to don “green” for St. Patrick’s the next day and of course with a KU twist after winning the tournament!  Wahoo!!  (Sorry, K-staters!)  The green came in handy—we could keep the crew together—EXCEPT for the fact, most everyone else was in green that day too.  Ha! 
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The Henry Doorly Zoo was as awesome as always.  We got to see 5 baby tiger cubs playing and loving on their mamas.  I could have stayed there all day and watched.  Precious, I tell you.
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But perhaps, what ruled the majority of the rest of the mini-vacay was the insistent persistence (how do you like that?) of my Natalie in getting a “Harlem Shake” video recorded.  I don’t know how many places at the zoo got to see us shake it.  Thankfully, she backed off once we got to the restaurant.  But the minute we got back to the hotel, we were shaking it.  In the lobby.  With people staring at us.  And you know what?  It was a blast!  And after some editing, Nat has a video that documents the culture of 2013 as the Schmidt family embraced it.  So sorry Nick, Linsey, and Kyle missed out on the experience.  (I’m sure they feel the same way—ha!)
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The redemption of Omaha continued as we marked a HUGE task off our list in finding Natalie’s 8th grade recognition dress before the ride home.  Yay!  I was getting a bit concerned…

Omaha has new memories.  We all have new appreciation for the city.  As I was thinking about writing and documenting this precious family time, all thoughts flooded to our prior experience in Omaha.  What a sweet, sweet redemption.  New appreciation.  Which was gained in so many ways the last few months.
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I find it so ironic the weekend as we celebrated St. Pat’s day and the luck of the Irish.  My sweet friend and leader in Blessings Unlimited posted this picture that day.  And I think the Schmidt’s can agree.  We are blessed.

I’ve already caved…

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It’s always a little bit of a downer coming off an awesome weekend, especially when you’ve been on a little weekend get-a-way.  And back to reality–work, laundry, cooking.  I could get used to no cooking, no laundry, and intensive family time.  So much fun, and I can’t wait to document it all.  Let’s just say…there was A LOT of “Harlem Shaking” going on thanks to my persistent oldest child.  She is going to wish she had not done that when that video shows up some day (such as maybe her 8th grade recognition party) for all to see!  Except that I don’t want anyone to see me shaking it either.  HA!!  And I fell in love with this little nephew of mine….Ahhh, what a precious baby!

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Yep, this is real folks.  Me at breakfast with NO makeup.  Natural born beauty!!!  NOT!

For the kids, coming back home was just an extension of a sweet Spring Break!  No school, no homework, no responsibility…but WAIT!  These next few days at home are scaring me a little.  Four kids at home means lunches I usually do not have to make.  More fighting I usually do not have to referee.  More things are out of place.  You know what Spring Break means to me?  It’s a taste of summer.  A taste of what is to come in just a few short weeks.  Hard to wrap my mind around that.  I feel like we just started school.  I’m getting excited!

I want this to be a week that we all enjoy.  So, I had to come up with a slogan, a mantra, or theme we could all take hold of.  Now, before I tell you what it is, you must know, there was MUCH eye rolling happening.  Not from Kourtney or Landon.  No, they grabbed our theme for the week and made the commitment.  Even through the eye rolling of the big girls, when asked to repeat the theme over and over—I did manage to get them to laugh.  And smile.  As much as they didn’t want to, they couldn’t help it.  Because the THEME ROCKS!!!  Ready to hear it?  You may want to adopt it as your own too?  Go ahead.  And let me know how it goes over in YOUR family.

Get something done, then have some fun!

Do you love it as much as I do?  Do you think your family will love it as much as mine did?  SMILE!  It’s going to save my sanity.  I just know it.  That is, until I caved.  A sweet little friend showed her bright sunny face at the door and I had to let Kourtney go play for just a little bit.  Getting something done would happen after lunch.  And then, after lunch, the big girls got some texts about hanging with their friends and playing basketball.  And you know what?  I caved again.  Getting something done could happen when they got home.  But guess what?  A non-mandatory track practice was taking place.  The getting it done was not happening exactly how I thought.  It’s our first day at home.  There’s 5 days left.  Plenty of time for gettin’ it done and havin’ some fun!! 

And we did get the vehicles cleaned out…cross it off the list.

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Think my kids love looking at our dry erase board?  Don’t ask them.  Please. Notice Dave Ramsey is on my “get it done” list  and Dave Ramsey is on Steve’s “fun” list.  Does that tell you anything about our life?