Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Weekend

We spent Memorial Day weekend doing well, not much.  It was great!  Saturday we did a little garage sale-ing and a little road tripping to see a little more of Texas.  It was really our way to have the kids take naps.  We grilled out and then went to church.  An all around nice day.

Sunday was lots of fun.  There was a car show and BBQ lunch at church.  We took the kids in the 90+ degree weather and prepared ourselves for a short, but fun trip.  To our surprise, they lasted a little over an hour!  We were drinking lots of water and staying in the shade as much as possible, but if you know my boys, you know they have lots of energy and only travel one way, running.  They were sticky, sweaty, dirty and grinning from ear to ear by the time we left.  Here are a few pictures from the BBQ.


Jeremiah is walking up the stairs, while Benj is turning around at the bottom. 

'Train' ride.  VERY thankful for the canopy!

Jump!!!  Benj could have stayed in here all afternoon.

I love my boys!
We ended the day grilling chicken fajitas and enjoying our little inflatable pool.  

Memorial Day, Monday, was spent playing, shopping, reading and playing some more.  We are so thankful for the men and women who serve and have served our country for the sake of freedom.  We have much to be thankful for!

Blessings!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Early Morning Blessings

Being a mother of three, one being an infant, I tend to get less sleep than I'd like to.  It is partly my own fault because I stay up too late, but I enjoy my quiet time after they go to bed.  I will stay up usually until 11:30 or midnight, and then wake up around 6 or 6:30 to feed Laura.  Then, I go back to bed until the kids wake up.  I have been telling myself for a while that I need to start waking up earlier.  I am more of a morning person and had been in the routine of waking up early to workout and do devotions, especially after getting in a routine once Benjamin was born.  I have been slow to getting back in the morning routine since Laura came along.  I've been keeping up with my workouts and devotions, just not as uninterrupted as I'd like.  I'm usually trying to do push ups or lunges while 2 boys think I'm a tunnel and a little girl tries to climb up.  Let's just say my workout was not a stress reliever!

I've finally started waking up early again.  It is truly rejuvenating.  Beginning a day in God's presence, gets my attitude jump started in the right direction.  Everything seems to fall into place and everyday chores don't seem as tedious.  It is fun to watch the boys' expressions when they find out that I've already worked out, read and had breakfast before they got up.  It really shouldn't be that big of a surprise!

I want to start a good habit, one that leaves an impression on my children.  I want to instill the importance of reading God's word.  If I can also show them that exercising can be fun and keeps them healthy, all the better.  Jeremiah already asks if certain foods are healthy; he knows healthy food makes him grow big and strong.  And all little boys want to be bigger! 

It is such a blessing to be a mother, wife, daughter, sister...but the best blessing is that I am a child of God.  I live each day to glorify Him.  I want to exude Christ in everything I do.  There is nothing sweeter than His love!  

Monday, May 21, 2012

Slowing Down

I am definitely a "Let's get this project going and get it done" type of person.  Lately, that's all we've been doing; little projects.  Between unpacking the last few boxes that have been set aside for an unknown reason, organizing rooms and home school materials, finally cleaning out the garage so Nate could park his car inside, and the everyday hustle and bustle, I had been feeling exhausted.  It's a lot of work!  I realized I wasn't taking time for me - physically or spiritually.  I quickly got that fixed.

Jillian Michaels, welcome to my world (again).  That's all I'm going to say about that!!  :)

We have started attending a new church and really enjoy it.  We are getting connected with a newcomers class and meeting new people.  God really does have His hand in every aspect of our lives.  We have trusted Him every step of the way on our move and are discovering more and more about Him and ourselves.  It is fulfilling and wonderful.  Taking time to slow down, read His word, wonder at His creation and worship Him has been uplifting.  All the stress, work and exhaustion begin to dwindle and I question why I wasn't keeping up with my personal time!!  How often do I need to get something done only to find out it really wasn't that important.  I need to worship God and praise Jesus for his gift of salvation!  Everything else falls into place.  I can do all my working, organizing, cleaning, etc once I take care of my heart first.

Praise God for His mercy, grace and everlasting love!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Home School - Crazy Fun!

Oh what fun!  I have been teaching preschool this past year to my 2 boys.  Jeremiah, my 5 year old, loves it.  He is very bright, but gets frustrated easily.  He is a perfectionist and has to do it right the first time.  We practice writing his name, letters, numbers, shapes, etc. and it is a challenge sometimes to get him to keep practicing. It usually involves a little chat before he will try it again.  He is able to sit for the entire lesson of about 25 minutes, but gets distracted when Benjamin starts playing.  Benjamin is only 2, so it is a frequent occurrence.  I'm still learning new ways to keep them focused and finding new tricks to get them to sit still.  Art, dancing, singing, acting out the stories and "racing" during lessons are always winners.  There is never a dull moment during school time!!

I have been researching different curricula for kindergarten.  I'm trying to find something that will work well for my kids.  They have a lot of energy and like to have hands-on, interactive activities.  I want them to have a good biblical foundation as well.  My first year teaching preschool, two years ago, I designed my own curriculum.  I came up with a list of different themed units and got on the computer ever Sunday night to find activities and stories.  It was a lot of fun, but quite a bit of work.  I ended up buying a laminating machine.  It is one of my favorite purchases!  I printed off alphabet flash cards, letter writing worksheets, number flashcards, matching games, mazes, etc.  I found them all free on the Internet, along with other games I created myself.  I laminated them all and bought dry erase markers.  The boys can use the sheets over and over again without having to waste reams of paper.  It is great!
  
This past year I purchased a preschool curriculum teacher's guide that is Bible based.  It has been very easy to teach from and the boys enjoy it.  It just isn't exactly what I'm looking for.  So the hunt is on to find something else!  I think I've found it.  It has been in the back of my mind for a while.  Prayer, research and God's nudging have led us to what we need.  It will be exciting to continue on our home school journey.  It is always an exciting adventure at our house!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Norwegians in Texas!!

Nate and I both have Scandinavian heritages, Norwegian to be more precise.  I think it is fair to say that Norwegians are hard headed and don't show a lot of emotions.  It is apparent up North.  (So strange to say up North and not mean the lakes or Fargo!) When you go to a store in Minnesota or North Dakota, I can easily walk through the store and not say a word to anyone until I get to the checkout counter.  Nate concurred.  I don't find it odd or rude, it is just kind of the way it is.  Nate said, "Nine months out of the year, people are always looking down to make sure they don't slip on ice."  Funny, insightful man.  When you come down South, I can honestly say that I have NEVER talked to as many people that I did not know in stores as I have since we moved down here.  And we've only been in the South for 20 days!  It is totally out of my comfort zone, but I am loving it!  I need to be challenged to step out of my box more and I am definitely getting it here.  People are extremely friendly and will stop to talk about anything, though mainly it's to tell me a story about their kids and then tell me how cute my family is.  :)  God has embraced us and shown us His love through so many random interactions.  He has heard the prayers of many and answered them!  Yee-haw!!  (Too soon??)

Seeing Glimpses

This morning was one of revelation for me.  As I was washing dishes, gazing out my kitchen window at the birds in the back yard, I realized that God's plan was unfolding before my eyes and I was beginning to see it in its entirety.  In Minnesota, we knew Nate had to find a new job.  We needed a job that could fully support our family without the worry of what was to come in the future.  Nate searched for over a year before finally getting offered a job.  It was a big decision to make.  We sacrificed everything that was comfortable and familiar to us to follow the doors God had opened for us.  Now that we are here, it is amazing to see how God prepared us for Texas.  We are blessed to be living in a nice neighborhood, driving a new car, and having a few new technology toys.  We were without a working home computer for over 4 years, so having a computer now is very foreign!  Also, we both got new phones.  If you had seen our previous phones, you would say "It's about time!"  Nate's phone was over 6 years old, didn't vibrate, wouldn't take pictures, and had a few keys that didn't always work; texting on that phone was near impossible.  My flip phone was only a couple of years old, but it is now severed at the hinge.  We are not taking anything for granted.  We are now able to support ourselves without any worries.  God really prepared our hearts for this transition and has given us compassion for others in our former shoes.

I know that God has big plans and seeing these small glimpses into the bigger picture are so amazing!  Seeing all of our hardships turn into fruition for His will are reassuring, uplifting and awesome!  God is so good and I trust and love Him more and more as each day passes, through the good and the bad.  He is our rock and I am never alone.  Praise God!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Pics

Just a few!!



Texas!

Well, we made it to Texas!  As most of you know, Nate got a new job as a software consultant for the college.  He accepted the job sometime in March and we immediately got to work getting our house in Fridley ready to put on the market.  It took about 2 weeks, but we got everything done and put it on the market on Thursday April 5 and we had 2 offers by Saturday the 7th!  We had to leave Fargo earlier than planned on Easter Sunday to get back that night to accept one of the offers.  We knew that this move was part of God's plan.  Everything was falling into place and fast.

The moving company packed us up on April 16 and we left for Fargo again for a few days.  The moving truck wouldn't get to Texarkana until Sunday the 22, which meant we had extra time to spend with family before we left.  Thursday morning was our departure.  I got to drive the Alero all by myself, while Nate drove in the van with the kids.  We made it to Council Bluffs, IA for the night.  Friday we stayed in Springdale, AR.  Missouri and Arkansas are beautiful states to drive through.  Saturday is when we arrived in Texarkana.  I drove by myself the entire time!  It was kind of great.

Our duplex is in a really nice, quiet neighborhood.  The place was not quite ready for us to move in.  The floors were being tiled and were not done.  There was no fridge or washer and dryer either.  We moved in anyways and lived in construction for a little over a week!  It was a bit stressful.  There were a lot of things that needed fixing as well: running toilet, leaky faucets, plugged dishwasher, you get the idea.  It is really a nice place, just had a lot of the normal maintenance that should have been done before we got here.  Now that we are in and getting settled, it is starting to feel like home.  

Another unexpected blip that occurred is that my flip phone broke in half.  I was having to snap it back together to make phone calls and text, but it kept on ticking for 4 more days.  It had had enough and finally went to a completely white screen.  Nate and I lasted 2 more days with one phone until we both gave in and each got a new smart phone.  Nate's phone was older than Jeremiah, wouldn't take pictures and certain buttons were "sticky", as in they would decide when they wanted to work.  It was time for new phones.

We are so thankful for the many blessings God has given us.  It is difficult to leave our family and friends, but we know that we are following His will for us.  I believe that God has big plans for us.  We have been patient and prayerful through Nathan's job search and now our transition to Texas.  We are excited for what the future holds for us!

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