The Day the House Won

The Day the House Won

Do you like to rearrange rooms in your house?  It’s kind of an annual thing around here.  We get an itch to move the kids into different bedrooms and clean everything while getting rid of junk.  The problem here is that my kids do this totally rude thing of growing up and developing new interests and needing space for their new equipment or work, so we have to find ways to accommodate their growth.

In this case, in addition to growing needs, a room became available.  Our oldest daughter, after spending the summer in Dallas, decided to stay there for a little longer.  So she came home for a couple of weeks and we spent time getting her room packed up.  I also got to do some fun shopping with her because the temps are significantly colder where she will be and she needed to warm up her wardrobe.

OK, that’s not completely true.  I would have taken her shopping anyway.

I would have taken her shopping even if the temps were the same.  I wanted to help her set up for success and my way of doing that is though clothing and closet organizers.  We had a great time together!

On Saturday morning she left with her packed-to-the-gills car and the other kids and I got started cleaning the room out and prepping it for the new tenants.  It’s a 2 room combo so my 2 daughters still at home decided to move into it and share the large space.  While some of the kids moved stuff from where the girls were before, 2 boys and I scrubbed and arranged and cleaned while it was emptyish.

Messy house funny

I can not express how good it feels to know that every inch of that space is super clean.  I expect it to last no more than 3 days.

By about 4:00 Saturday afternoon I was so tired you would have thought I had moved one of the pyramids in Egypt one enormous brick at a time.  I was literally falling over.  I told the kids I needed an hour to rest and I closed my bedroom door.  I may have even slammed it a little…. not out of frustration but from being too exhausted to take the one step necessary to close it gently.

I napped so hard that my face had marks in it and I had no idea where I was when I woke up.

Later that evening I did manage, with the help of the boys, to put away the junk that had exploded its way into my living room.  That’s how room rearranging goes.  You pick up something and don’t know where to put it so you dump it in the living room.  My house was a disaster area.  A friend asked for pictures to prove my house was mess, which I did not take for fear of seeing them later and having nightmares.  Just imagine an episode of hoarders and you will have a pretty good idea of what my house looked like.

messy house funny

I am going to have an intervention on myself pretty soon.  I keep WAY too much STUFF!

We did manage to get the living space of our home pretty well picked up, ordered pizza and all went to bed too tired to even think about the next day.  Thankfully I had prepped our Sunday clothes earlier in the week.  If I hadn’t, we would probably have had to go with a toga theme for church.

messy house funny

Our pastor started a new series this weekend about loving one another, which I am super excited about.  Love and forgiveness sounds so easy in theory, but in practice…. not always.  If I hadn’t been so tired I might have gone up and told him how much I am looking forward to the next few weeks of his sermons.  Maybe next weekend.  Wait, no.  We are moving the boys’ rooms next weekend.  I’ll just have to send him an ecard.

messy house funny

This week I will be starting my big October project of finishing the first draft of my next book.  I have been working on it, but I am planning a big push to finish it and get the editing process going.  That’s part of why I want to get the kids all settled into their new spaces….. they need some attention from Mom before I go into my writing cave.

messy house funny

Lastly, my daughter and I went to see a movie called “Captive” while we were out shopping.  It was pretty good for the 18 and up crowd (keep in mind we are SUPER conservative about what we let our under 18 kids see).  The content was definitely adult in nature, but never went so far as to be disturbing.  I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.  And that’s just because I thought it could have used a little more of a point, but I like to be spoon fed in a movie.  I’m lazy like that.

Have a great week!

10 Reason to Use Invisalign

10 Reason to Use Invisalign

(I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment but all opinions completely my own!)

If you’ve been following our Invisalign journey, you know we have 2 boys in aligners now.  We are so happy with the entire process and I thought I’d share with you some of our favorite things about Invisalign.

10 great reasons to use Invisalign!

1. It’s SO easy!  Like, SUPER easy!  The boys wear them all of the time unless they’re eating, so we just keep their cases in the dining room (I made little buckets for their cases you can see here) and they just take the aligners out for meals and keep them in and the rest of the day it’s a no brainer.

2. It brings us together.  I know, this sounds weird but we really do enjoy the time spent together going to the orthodontist and finding clever ways to store the aligner trays and just working together on this very cool project of straightening their teeth and watching their smile change.

3. They learn responsibility.  There is a level of responsibility to this and the boys have really stepped up and taken charge.  They have to take care of these aligners and they understand the importance of that.  It wasn’t immediate, but over time it’s been less of a mom-job and they have shown maturity in this area.  Oh how I love watching my boys become men!

4. Less Ortho visits.  As much as we enjoy the time together, I also love that I don’t have to go as often as I did with my kids in traditional braces.

5. Easy teeth brushing.  Being able to remove them makes teeth brushing so easy.  There are no wires to work around or brackets in the way.  I have also noticed that the boys are more consistent with their teeth brushing.  They like to be clean before putting the trays back in so they are brushing several times a day.

6. Invisibility.  My boys love the fact that in our experience, you can hardly see the aligners.  It’s kinda like a super-power.

7. Eat whatever you want!  Unlike traditional braces, you can eat anything you want with Invisalign.  There is nothing to avoid, except of course what Mom says you can’t eat….. like ice cream for breakfast.  “Just because you have Invisalign, young man, doesn’t mean you can ACTUALLY eat anything you want.”  😉

8. Know your numbers.  Since the trays are numbered it’s easy to tell how much longer you have to go.  It’s inspiration to keep changing them on the assigned day to keep up with the program.  You always know exactly where you are in your treatment.

9. Being cool.  My boys are so happy to do something their friends do, it makes them feel hip.  Or is it cool?  I don’t know the right word these days.  When I was a teen it would have made me feel like totally tubular.

10. Brotherly Love.  We have the special gift of 2 boys in treatment so they share this project.  They help each other remember to change trays, they share tips, I will hear them say if we are going out, “Hey, don’t forget your retainer case!” and they seem to have developed a bond over the process.  It been an unexpected surprise.

I hope you’ll look into Invisalign when it’s time for some teeth straightening at your house.  It’s free to talk to an orthodontist and just see what you think!

Happy straightening!

If you have any questions, hop over to the Invisalign Facebook page and they’re great about answering!

Again, I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment.  My opinions are completely my own and I only work with companies whose products I believe in.  Click HERE to read the full disclosure statement.

It’s Fall Y’all!

It’s Fall Y’all!

I am pretty sure in heaven it will be fall weather all of the time.

We are rounding the corner to pumpkins and 75° and warm drinks and wearing layers and it all adds a spring to my step!


The past few days have been filled with family and relaxing and church and all things lovely.  On Friday I had my first full day at home in weeks.  I celebrated by not getting dressed or brushing my hair for the entire day.  I’m thinking of making it a weekly event.  I may even put it on the family calendar so everyone can be prepared for the less-than-stellar look.

After a whole day of playing games with the kids, homeschool assignments and folding laundry, I prepaid to go to bed around 9:30.  After lying in bed for about half an hour I got an idea, what if I went ahead and colored my own hair?!  Because that is the next best thing to sleeping.

I had ordered some do-it-yourself hair color in July and it’s been sitting in my bathroom staring me down ever since it arrived, daring me to use it.  I’ve been too nervous since the first time I colored my own hair I ended up looking like something out of an old horror movie.  I cried for 24 hours afterward until my stylist could get me in to fix it.  But having it done is so expensive that I decided to try it again and apparently Friday was the night to do it.

Frankly, my gray roots were scaring people.  Mostly me.

The color was from eSalon and was pretty easy to do and only took about 45 minutes.  The color looks nice, not as pefect as when I pay the big bucks, but I didn’t cry all day Saturday so that’s one check in the positive column.  I will definitely do it again.

On Saturday morning my kids dressed like pirates so they could go to the city for free donuts and some fun shopping.  My 3 youngest boys couldn’t go pirating (it was just for big kids this time) which I felt really bad about because they had gotten up early and dressed for it.  It nearly broke my heart to tell them they couldn’t go so I told them, “You guys think of something fun you’d like to do and I will take you tonight.”  They chose to go out for Mexican food with ice cream after, which is something we very rarely do.  They sure know how to make the most of the mom-guilt.

Also this weekend I had my first Honeycrisp apple of the season and I picked up some pumpkins for the porch.  Someone should really write a song to the Honeycrisp apple, so enormous and delicious and the perfect amount of crunch.  It’s just another way to celebrate fall.


Sunday we went to church followed by lunch out with an older couple we have grown to love since we have been going there.  Yep, eating out twice in a weekend and I am feeling pretty spoiled.  Let’s just call it fall celebration number three.

After lunch I took the sweetest nap and then went for a walk with the kids.  Really…. the simple goodness just never stopped.

I may have to make this an annual event…. after school starts and the weather cools down I spend a day in my pajamas eating Honeycrisp apples and having Mexican food with friends.  You have my permission to adopt this tradition for yourself.


Sadly, according to the family calendar I will have to actually get dressed each day this week.  There are activities happening every day, but it’s all pretty close to home and we will be together.  That’s all a girl can really ask for.

I hope you’re having a nice September and a wonderful week!

Be sure to continue the conversation over on Facebook!


Sometimes I Wanna Be Amish, but I Don’t Want to Make Quilts

Sometimes I Wanna Be Amish, but I Don’t Want to Make Quilts

All I can say about the past 2 weeks of my life is wow, wow, wow.

Between the book release then a trip to Orlando and a conference last weekend… is entirely possible that I am going to die of overexposure to fun and goodness.  Is that possible?  Like, I am actually craving housework and salad.

On the day the book came out, I drove around to a bunch of bookstores and left little notes in some of the books.  It was such fun to see my book in the stores.


The next day I flew to Orlando with 4 of my kids for 5 days of fun at Universal Studios.  The thing I struggle with the most when life gets so busy is sticking with my health plans.  I had such a great restart to my diet a month ago and planned to spend my entire time at Universal Studios Orlando eating healthy.  I had a suitcase full of healthy snacks and was armed for the battle.  In the parks I planned to eat bunless burgers with lots of veggies, stay away from sugar, etc.  But by the third night after days of running around and keeping up with the kids, I fell into bed at 11PM with some Oreos and half of a leftover giant pretzel.  Epic fail.

But you know what?  It’s not permanent.  I can just turn it around again.  This is my carousel ride of life.  Take good care of myself, down again, do a better job next time, fall off, eventually I will be more on the ups than the downs and that’s OK with me.  I am trying.

Last weekend our pastor preached about a time that is coming when there will be no more pain or diet problems or sin dragging us down.  We will be free of all of that and right now we can believe that to help get us through the hard times.  Oh boy I can’t wait for that day!

1 Peter 3:6-7 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

I am back to work this week with book writing and my Young Living oils team and a normal diet that consist of less Oreos and more lettuce.  I am also thrilled to be back to my little road for my morning walks instead of hotels and theme park workouts.

Speaking of theme parks, in case I didn’t say it, we had a fantastic time at Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure.  My kids that went with me all agreed that it will go down in our memory as one of our best vacations ever.  I really had no idea how wonderful the whole place was and will definitely go back!  Just give me a few months to recover.


After arriving home from Orlando we had one day to prepare for the Forge conference where we had a vendor booth and ladies’ luncheon happening.  The luncheon went so well (thanks to my BFF Sara) that I am going to pray about doing it again next year.  It was a lot of work, but such a sweet time of love and fellowship!


As much as I enjoyed getting all dressed up for the past couple of weeks and being out amongst the English, my wanna-be-Amish side is kicking in and I am ready for some home time.  I won’t be doing any canning or quilting, but I will be mopping some floors and hanging laundry on the line.  I am looking for simplicity and time with just my family.

We are also cleaning out bedroom for one of my great “shifts.”  It happens every year or two.  The kid’s needs change and we have to move bedrooms around.  It’s also a good time to rid ourselves of the junk that seems to accumulate.  We will attack it one room at a time until everyone is settled into new digs.

I am glad to be mostly home again and just enjoying some normalcy.  Grocery trips and Bible studies and homeschool and house cleaning are the name of the game.  I don’t travel again for a month and I plan to embrace every second of this time!

I hope you are falling into your routine of back to school.  Doesn’t it feel good to be back on schedule?!

Have a great week!

Continue the conversation on Facebook….


76 Trombones and a Universal Weekend

76 Trombones and a Universal Weekend

Yesterday I somehow got the song, “76 Trombones” stuck in my head and now I am going to have to find myself a support group for people who are tortured by Broadway.  Add to it the fact that I only know the first 2 lines and after that I go into a mumbling sort of hum that makes my brain try to reach back into 4th grade when I may or may not have actually known the words.

And that, my friends, pretty much sums up the way my brain works.  All day everyday.  A song pops into my head for no particular reason, I can’t stop humming it until I am singing it at the top of my lungs around the house except with the wrong words.

This will be SO.MUCH.FUN for the 65 new friends plus their families that get to spend the weekend with me over Labor Day.  Some of my kids and I are heading to Orlando next week where we get to build memories and enjoy meeting some super-cool people.

We’ll be attending the Family Forward Universal Orlando Adventure and it will be a blast!  I know we will have a great time not because of the inevitable rain leftover from Hurricane Erika or the plethora of other Broadway melodies swimming around in my head, but because it is sponsored by some companies that will bring the beauty out of any moment!

This brilliant event is intended to bring bloggers together WITH their families and focuses on not only fun, but working as a team and doing community service.  I can’t wait to see all we will learn together about the Children’s Miracle Network and how to really make the most of our families’ service to others.

Second, we will be staying at…..wait for it….the gorgeous Loews Royal Pacific Resort where I will not only be enjoying the beautiful views, but I may just make the visit complete for other fellow exercisers in the fitness center as I uncontrollably hum songs from The Music Man while on the treadmill.  You’re welcome Loews guests.

My kids will be so proud.

And ashamed.

Which is possibly going to be my favorite part of the whole trip.

We are excited about visiting Universal Studios and seeing what they’ve got going on.  I have been doing my research (aka Pinterest) and learning about Beer Butter and the need for ponchos and how to manage the ride lines.  Of course I have already planned what essential oils to have onhand and how to keep my big thighs from causing a heap o’trouble (which let’s face it, happens when you’re a big girl doing a lot of walking in a humid environment).

And with 4 of the kids going along, we have planned the whole budget for the trip and each of us knows the entire agenda from the moment we leave for the airport until we pull back in the driveway 6 days later.  Sometimes I like to surprise the kids with things when we travel, but this time I thought they would enjoy it more if they got to make most of their own decisions and have control over their spending.  For the few meals that are not provided with the event, I gave them each a budget.  They can spend it any way they want.  And they worked last weekend rebuilding our back deck to earn money for any extras or souvenirs.

My goal for this time we are spending together is to let them make their own decisions, learn, meet new people and oh yes… a few promotions for my book, Mama Needs a Do-Over: Simple Steps to Turning a Hard Day Around, which is being released the day before we go!  Be sure to order your copy!

And if you have any great Universal Studios tips head over to my Facebook page and continue the conversation.

Lastly, please accept my apology for sticking “76 Trombones” in your brain.  Hopefully the adorable Ronnie Howard image from the movie below makes up for the annoying wordless song.

Ain't he cute?!

Feeling SpOILed

Feeling SpOILed

This past weekend was a heap o’housecleaning and packing.

It began on Saturday morning after my walk.  When I got home we all sat around in the living room going over plans and schedules and who needed to be where and when for the week.  We talked about budgets and how to juggle the cars and when to do the grocery shopping, etc.  You’d think after all these years it would be simple, but it never is.

My husband James and our oldest son were planning a trip together for the week, leaving at 4:30 on Sunday morning.  So we all needed to plan for their exit needs.  In addition to that, the rest of us had gotten a little tired of the house staying messy, so we decided to make Saturday a deep cleaning day.

OK, maybe that’s a little exaggeration.  *I* was tired of the mess.  I think they were too, they just didn’t know it.

We divided up the household chores and each person had an area they were responsible for.  I had the dining room and my own bathroom (which was a little sneaky on my part since I cleaned my bathroom a couple of days before.  Shhhh….).  Levi was going to be my “cleaning assistant” which basically meant more work for me than if I had just done it by myself.  He likes to talk a lot and forgets that we are supposed to be working.  But that’s OK….I like hanging out with him so it all evens out.

In the morning I poked around doing a few other jobs like 8 loads of laundry and giving the puppy a bath and then I told Levi, “I’m ready.  Let’s clean the dining room now.”  He acted excited at first, under the false assumption that it was gonna be a picnic.  Like we would just erase the random drawings on our white board, sweep and we’d be done.


Mom clean is different than kid clean

When Mom cleans it is a serious thing.  We pulled books off of shelves and dusted, we moved furniture and scrubbed under it.  We cleaned out baskets of junk and polished all of the furniture.  At one point he disappeared under the guise that he had to go to the bathroom, but this isn’t my first rodeo, mister.  I am onto that trick.

After a few hours we were mostly finished and it was time for me to move onto to helping James pack for his trip, so I told Levi we could finish the rest tomorrow.  “Tomorrow?! How much could there be left to do?!?!” he exclaimed as he slapped his palm to his forehead.  I hated to tell him that I could work on just that room for 2 more days.

To make it up to him I let the boys watch a movie, even though we don’t usually watch movies on Saturday.  That soothed his tired little self.

Poor James had been feeling queasy all day, so I offered to pack for him while he told me what to do.  It was also a great way to spend time together before they left.  He sat in our bedroom recliner and pointed while I located what he needed and put it in the suitcase.  By the time we were finished he was looking a little green so he went straight to bed with the plan to get up at 4:15 the next morning in order to be at the airport by 5:30  (in case you don’t like math, that’s an hour drive to the airport from our house).

But the next morning when my backup alarm went off I checked on him and it was pretty obvious that he wasn’t going to be able to go on the trip.  He was just too sick.  Jacob and I made the quick decision that I would drive Jacob to the airport and hopefully James could catch up with him the next day after 24 hours of rest.  I literally flew out the door without even drawing my eyebrows on.  By 4:45 we were on the road.

Even though I was unprepared for the early morning drive, I did enjoy spending that time with Jacob.  We were talking and then about 15 minutes before we got to the airport he realized that all of his supplements and oils were in James’ suitcase.  They had planned to check one bag and filled it with the liquids and that bag was still at home.  Uh oh.

When you get used to having oils in you life it’s hard to live without them.

I said, “Let’s just see what’s in my purse.  Maybe I have at least some peppermint (Jacob’s favorite oil and one I always travel with!).  I set my purse next to me and started digging around in the bottom of it as I drove, going by feel alone.  If you’re wondering why he didn’t just look in the purse for me, it’s an unspoken law of nature….men don’t look in ladies’ purses.

As I blindly rummaged for the familiar shape of the bottles, I pulled them out one at a time.  “Here’s some Thieves!” He grabbed it from my hand, “Oh cool, I’ll take that!” as he shoved it into his bag.  I dug again, “Oh,” I held out a bottle, “I found peppermint!”  “Hey thanks!” he liked that.   “Here, I have a bottle of Abundance…”  He took it saying he had always wanted to try that one.  On and on it went until he had about 8 oils, 2 packets of NingXia Red and several NingXia Nitros to take with him.  And there were several more he didn’t want to take (in case you’re wondering, he opted out of lime, Slique, Valor II and Northern Lights Black Spruce.  My purse was like a clown car of Young Living products.

I don’t think I realized how many oils I carry with me since I just toss them in there and use them individually.  I saw for how spoiled I am and had a moment of gratitude for these gifts.

The only bottle I may shed a few tears over is the Abundance.  I use it every day and I have a feeling I’m not getting it back.  It’s one of those oils that every time I recommend it to someone they message me a month later and say they never want to be without it ever again.  And being the mom in this situation….well we all know the rules.  The kids don’t feel they have to return moms’ things.

I’ll be ordering myself a new bottle this week.

Once I got home it was time to dress the boys and head off to church.  The sermon was wonderful, which kept me awake.  Well, that plus I drank a NingXia Zing mixed with lemon, frankincense, Light the Fire and an ounce of NingXia Red on the way to church.  Nothing was holding me down after that.

After church I helped James a little and then settled the kids in for some down time.  One of my girls and I decided to watch “The Karate Kid” because she had never seen it.  It was a flashback of the 80s complete with big shoulder pads and music by Survivor.  By the time it was over I was thinking about popping open a can of Tab and playing with my Rubik’s Cube.


This morning James was feeling well enough to go so he headed to the airport to catch up with Jacob.  Those of us staying home will be doing our normal weekly activities of swimming, sweeping and trying to keep up with laundry.

And I’ll be refilling my purse with oils, of course.

Have a great week!

Fun with the Boys (+ an Invisalign Update)

Fun with the Boys (+ an Invisalign Update)

(I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment but all opinions completely my own!)

I thought I’d catch y’all up on how we are doing with our Invisalign journey.  I have 2 boys using the aligners and we are cray-cray about the whole process!  Having had 4 of my kids in traditional braces before this and now being more than halfway through Invisalign with Noah and a few months in with Adam I am sold.

I’m gonna shoe polish this on the back of my car window…..Invisalign or BUST!

And I promise I am saying that of my own free will.  No one is making me give both thumbs up.  I would never tell you something that I didn’t believe.

Besides being so easy for the boys to take care of and manage, it really is changing their looks.  I can tell they are both feeling more confident and excited about their teeth.  I have noticed a change in their attitude about brushing and caring for their teeth too.  I think having to remove the aligners to eat reminds them to brush before putting them back in.

Another thing I love about this is that we only have to go for checkups every 10 weeks.  That turns it into an occasion and we like to make a whole day of it. Our last appointment was this past Monday and my oldest son decided to go along with us.  We had a mom/super-tall-boy day in the city.  We checked in with our orthodontist then did haircuts, jean shopping and saw a movie.  Plus Chick-fil-A of course.  We can’t go to the city without a stop at Chick-fil-A.

Make the most out of the time you spend together getting your teens checked at the orthodontist! #spon #motherhood

Speaking of Chick-fil-A, it’s nice that they can take their aligners out to eat.  No broken brackets or food getting stuck in the wires.  That’s one of the things I really love about using the aligners.  And don’t forget to check out my 5 tips for helping them manage the aligners!

This mom of 9 is sharing her journey of using Invisalign after having 4 kids in traditional braces.  Come follow her along! #greattips #momofboys #spon

Let’s face it, the needs of a teen can be overwhelming.  I am so thankful that at least this one area has been made easier and more enjoyable.  Now, I wonder what can be done about the problem of outgrowing their shoes every 4 months.  Someone needs to invent an adjustable sneaker.

Thanks for stopping by and if you have any aligner questions, hop over to the Invisalign Facebook page and they’re great about answering!

Again, I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment.  My opinions are completely my own and I only work with companies whose products I believe in.  Click HERE to read the full disclosure statement.

I’m Trying Not to Be a Mom-Zombie

I’m Trying Not to Be a Mom-Zombie

The Focused Conference in Virginia last weekend was wonderful!  We laughed, we learned, we ate…..pretty much in that order.  I got to meet so many amazing women….it never ceases to amaze me how many brilliant people are out there.

Right now I’m sitting in the airport trying to figure out a way to sum up the past few days.


I would normally do that on Monday morning, all casual and lounging in my recliner with my kids around me chatting me up.  But that won’t be possible since I have to pile my boys in my car tomorrow morning by 8:00 and drive them to their orthodontist appointments in the city.

I really love our ortho, but I do occasionally wonder about the wisdom of choosing one so far away.  Most of the time it’s no big deal, but after flying home from Virginia the day before and getting back after dark….I really don’t much feel like waking up early and leaving home.

But I really DO want to spend some quality time with my boys who I am missing like crazy right now, so I need to look at it as a gift instead of a burden.  I can sleep another time.  Not sure when, but I am confident it will happen someday.

And as a double treat my boys get to go with me after the orthodontist while I get my haircut.  I get it cut at ULTA where there are plenty of makeup and hair products for them to peruse while I am in the chair.  I had to promise them In & Out burgers PLUS a trip to the Lego store to make up for the torture.

Tuesday and Wednesday are turning out to be really full days also.  So I will need to pick up some under eye repair cream while I’m at ULTA tomorrow or I will start to look like a mom-zombie.

Speaking of busy, I will only be home for a few days before heading back to Dallas (by car this time since several of my kids are going with me) for the Young Living International Grand Convention.  It’s no big deal….just 12,000 of my closest friends hanging out together.  The word “madness” comes to mind.  I plan to pack a LOT of food to take with us, not to save money but because I expect the lunch lines at even the fastest food places to be so long you will be ready for dinner by the time you get to eat.

It’s a good thing I like raw fruits and veggies.

If you have tips for packing up food for traveling over a week hop over to my Facebook page and share them with all of us!

Have a great week!

A Testimony to the Power of Prayer

A Testimony to the Power of Prayer

Back in the day when my kids were little, my husband would walk in the house at the end of his workday and say, “Hi honey, what did you do today?”  And I had nothing to say.  I felt like I had been crazy busy, but when someone asks you and you can only think of small things like diaper changes and spilled crackers and crying babies and nursing the baby it feels like you did nothing.

And that’s how I feel about last weekend.  My thoughts are a blur of activity, none of which are worth telling you about.

Unless you want to start on Friday morning.  That was pretty exciting.

I woke up and decided instead of doing my morning run I would exercise in the pool.  I just felt like a change of pace.  But it was a bit of a “if you give a mouse a cookie” situation because I discovered a big mess of pool toys left out from the boys swimming the night before. I so stuck my head in the house and called for the boys to come out and clean them up.  One of them was in the kitchen and he came out and started cleaning up with me.

But then as we put away the toys I noticed that there was rain water (from who knows when!) in the container where they keep the smaller toys, so we cleaned that out, and then I saw that the large toy storage was a mess, so I called another boy out and I had him straighten that and another boy came out and I had him start trimming some overgrown limbs that were dragging in the pool and the last, unfortunate son came to see where everyone was so I had him carry the cut limbs to the burn area in the back of the yard.

I finally got in the pool after half an hour of working with the boys. But only about 10 minutes into my exercises someone came running to tell me that our 16 year old son Noah had been bitten by “something”.  I got out of the water, wrapped myself in a towel and went into the kitchen where he was sitting with ice on the sting.  As I was assessing the situation he said he was starting to feel worse.  His hand (where he was bitten) had swollen to nearly double its normal size and he was covered in hives.  He said he felt like he couldn’t breathe and that’s when I started to freak.  My husband was walking in the house so I yelled for him to take our son to the hospital.  He rushed over to us and immediately agreed and while I helped Noah to the van while my husband ran to get his keys.  Our oldest son, Jacob, came out to see what was going on (I may have been screaming, I really don’t remember) and he jumped in the car with them.  They drove off and I ran to change out of my wet suit and I followed right behind.

Oh.  My.  Lord.

That was pretty much all I could say in prayers as I drove.  We live about 15 minutes from the hospital if you’re speeding.  A few minutes into my drive I felt the Holy Spirit tell me to ask people to pray.  I knew my son was already having blurred vision when they left so my mind was not working and I couldn’t think of who to call….so I just put it out on Facebook.

“Y’all please pray for my 16 year old son.  We are rushing him to the hospital.  More later. XO”

Two minutes after I asked for prayer my husband called me and said as they were pulling into the emergency room driveway our son just started breathing.  He kind of woke up, didn’t feel faint, could see and was breathing fine.  He said the swelling and redness was going down.


A beautiful testimony about how God answers prayer!

We decided that they would sit right outside of the emergency room while I ran to the pharmacy and got whatever the pharmacist recommended.  As long as he was breathing fine and didn’t have any other symptoms we didn’t think we needed to spend the morning in the ER.  But at the same time….we didn’t want to be far away if it happened again.  I took the bottle of Benadryl the pharmacist suggested to the hospital parking lot and gave the OTC meds to Noah, but honestly….except that his hand was still very swollen you couldn’t tell anything was happening to him.  He was completely fine.  I just stared at him amazed by God’s miracles.

Then I did what any mother would do…..I started to cry and pet him and kiss him and be generally annoying.  I announced that when we got home I would be sitting next to him and staring at him for the next 24-48 hours.

And here’s the message for you kids who might be reading this: If your mom was just scared out of her mind that you might die any second and she tells you that you will have to sleep next to her that night so she can listen to you breathe….there’s no point in arguing about it.

We waited there for a while then decided it would be OK to take him home.  He announced that he was really hungry and could we get him some food.  These boys are always, always, always hungry.

It’s as it should be.

So we fed him burgers and let him sit on the couch all day eating ice cream and playing wii because frankly I was too worn out from the morning to even think about him going back outside.  Plus his swollen hand was useless and he was a little sluggish from the Benadryl I gave him in the parking lot.

And the rest of the weekend after that is a blur.  While I am sure I did some other things, I really don’t remember much.  We cleaned house and went to church and to my friend Sara’s beautiful anniversary party and we shopped a little and I worked on book stuff and I barely recall any of it because the only thing on my mind was hugging my kids and thanking God for them and trying not to cry.

On Sunday evening I asked my husband if we could buy our son a pony…..or maybe a car.  He gave me this shocked look, “A car?!?!”

I know, I know.  I just wanted to do something for Noah so he would always know how glad I am that he is here.

He will have to settle for all the burgers he wants ‘cuz I can’t afford a pony or a car.

Have a great week!

Teens and Confidence

Teens and Confidence

(I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment but all opinions completely my own!)

It's hard to find confidence no matter how old you are!  But the teen years are rough.  #ad

Teens and confidence.

Yep.  I remember in my teen years how hard it was to find stability when it came to my confidence.  Actually, forget my teens, I struggled with it last week!  It never fully goes away.

But when you’re a teen and you’re finding your place in the world and figuring out where you fit and how you want to look and what you might want to do with your life…’s a lot to deal with!

But self-confidence can be a trap.  If we build our confidence in ourselves then it’s fragile and unstable.  BUT if we build it in God it is on a solid foundation and can never break.  Can I get an amen?!

Even though we teach that to our kids, to look to God for their strength and security, life is a journey and can take a long time to really have that kind of unshakable confidence.  I’m not sure we ever fully get there on this side of heaven.  And while we are looking to God for our source of confidence, we still have to find our personal style, career path, learn how to have relationships….so many things that make us unique and amazing!

It’s a lesson in focusing on God and enjoying the grace of life at the same time.  It ain’t easy for anyone!

Right now I have 4 teens, 2 girls and 2 boys.  My boys are both in homeschool and quickly becoming young men.  It’s happening WAY too fast for this mom!  These 2 are a real blessing!

Invisalign and teen confidence! #ad

One thing we deal with in our family is very. crooked. teeth.  I blame my husband.  His teeth are much worse than mine.  But I don’t tell him it’s his fault because then he would bring up all of the weird OCD problems our kids have and you can only look to me for that mess.  Let’s call it a draw.

Anyway, while we are teaching our kids that their confidence should come from God, we are also sympathetic to areas where they feel insecure and we help them if we can.  Several of our older children had traditional braces.  That worked out OK, but had its share of issues to deal with.  So we decided to use Invisalign with these 2 boys and have been thrilled with that decision!

Surprisingly, they both LOVE the process and the responsibility of taking care of their aligners.  I’ve seen them grow in maturity from it and they each deeply appreciate the sacrifice our family makes to pay for the treatment (which is true of the traditional braces as well, of course!).  Our willingness to do that for them has given them a confidence of knowing how much we value them!

They each have such unique interests and personal style.  Noah is Mr. Snappy Dresser and would probably wear a tie or scarf every day if he could.  He’s a great kid….like I-can’t-believe-he-is-really-mine kind of great!

Teens and confidence #ad

And Adam is his own kind of character.  He’s funny and super smart!  He loves reading and writing more than anything….except eating.  He really likes eating.  He’s just so interesting!  I love him to the moon and back!  No, past that.  To infinity and beyond.

Teens and their confidence #ad

We work hard give them each room to explore their own interests and style.  It’s so cool to watch them become good at something new and just be themselves!

A recent online survey revealed that 94% of teens think their appearance influences their popularity.  How sad!!!  I want these 2 precious boys to not only KNOW that they are amazing no matter how they look, but I also want them to learn not to judge others by their looks either!

I mean, we are happy to help them have straight teeth and fun hats, but that’s not what it’s all about, man!  If we can remove a barrier to feeling confident, like getting their teeth straight, we want to do it.  But while they spend that time in orthodontic treatment, we also pour God’s love into their minds and hearts.  We do service projects and teach them skills and let them explore their own, unique interests.  For instance, Noah loves archery so we got him equipment for that.  And Adam….well….I can’t keep enough books around for that kid.

Let’s work together to help our teens learn that how they look is only a small part of where their confidence should come from!  It’s all about who God says you are, how you treat others, how you spread God’s love.

Thanks for stopping by and if you have any aligner questions, hop over to the Invisalign Facebook page and they’re great about answering!

Again, I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment.  My opinions are completely my own and I only work with companies whose products I believe in.  Click HERE to read the full disclosure statement.