life around the house: painting, planting, and growing

I think I've become a certified homebody over the past few years. Home is just the happiest place to be. :) Life around the house is always busy and full these days.

With all of the spring-like weather recently, it feels like we've been having more fun than our usual February. One Tuesday afternoon, we decided to imitate Monet for our presentation on famous artists the next day:

And when it's this nice out, we like to use the afternoons as much as possible to be outside, explore, or work on projects. Right before Valentine's Day, Noah decided to use his free time to write everyone in his class a specific Valentine's note:

I love seeing how all of the children are so different, and how God is developing their talents and personalities. It's so humbling to see God taking them into adulthood in their own ways.

And speaking of personalities, these two littlest kiddos constantly surprise and entertain the whole family with their (mostly adorable) antics:

One night I came home from teaching my class at the gym, and found this- his dad had given him a time out, and he used it wisely...! :)

Ahhhh it's so precious, I can't even stand it. :D

We used one lovely Saturday morning to plant our bulbs in the flowerbed:

And another Saturday to touch up the ceiling (don't worry, I was there on the sofa for moral support):

And though it feels like it takes about three hours every.single.night to eat and clean up, sometimes we have time left to play games or read: :)

The days are long and yet so SO short. Before I know it, this little lady will be making her appearance (~18 weeks left!):

We're definitely in the days of long, hard, constant work, but you know what? I wouldn't trade them for anything. :) They are the best.

valentine's day 2017

Thank you for loving others and sharing this post for the May family! You guys are so caring- thank you so much!

We were on winter break last week at Classical Conversations so we went ahead and took the entire week off. :) I actually didn't intend to take more than three days, but by the time Thursday came, I was really okay with an extra two days off. February burnout is real. :D Though we're back in the saddle today, it was so wonderful not to think about it for a while!

On Tuesday we went on a Valentine's date! Even with a drizzly bootcamp that morning, I hadn't the foggiest idea it was going to rain for the rest of the day! We ended up driving in the storm and had to stay more inside than I hoped, but it was still fun to be together.

We picked up a cake for the kiddos the night before- they all agreed the number of cupcakes it came with meant we were going to have 10 kids- 5 boys and 5 girls: ;)

They are always so sweet about holidays- they are so very good about planning ahead and making gifts for each other. Elijah really surprised me the most this year: he drew a little Valentine as a clue, and I later found out that he had set his alarm to get up early and clean out the car before our date!! I was blown away!! He's 13, so I was amazed at how thoughtful it was for a teenager to sacrifice sleep and do that without anyone knowing or asking. It was a beautiful, sweet gift! :)

Robert gave me these the night before too, and colorful flowers make up my favorite kind of bouquet: 

We didn't exchange gifts this year- a fun date and good food was plenty enough for us since we're saving to buy a larger car in the next few months. :)

The Cheesecake Factory never seems to disappoint:

He went for the Cobb salad (it was ridiculous), and I went for the lunch portion of the barbecue ranch chicken salad (still huge!):

Stuffed to the brim, we browsed next door to the lovely Container Store and A Pea in the Pod, where I realized at both places I must be closing in on miser with this new savings plan. I couldn't bring myself to even touch much of anything at their prices, ha! :P

We walked around the NorthPark mall for several hours, and (I) excitedly found a new Valentine's memento to replace my favorite recently-gave-up-the-ghost anthro mug:

On the way back home, we stopped at an long-time pregnancy favorite, Jerry's, for a giant 1/2 sausage and green olive pizza:

And another favorite tradition- buying our newest little person a couple of outfits of their own (on super clearance!):

Gap has my favorite baby clothes- they're soft and last for the longest time!! I can't wait to see how our little lady looks in these. We're officially on the downhill slide to meet her! :) 

How was your week?

one of my worst nightmares

What I'm about to share with you is one of my worst nightmares.

On January 19, 2017, a father of seven young children drowned in an Austin lake within the sight of his sweet wife and family.

His name was Cody May.

It's one of the most unimaginable horrors a family can face, but our Almighty God was not taken by surprise. Though we do not understand, our Lord appointed long ago that Cody would be brought home and leave behind a young wife and seven children at 31 years old. The very thought makes my stomach churn and my heart want to weep. How do you deal with this as a wife? I can't even imagine the anguish she must be experiencing right now.

I don't know their family personally, but I heard about his death the very day it happened because I'm in a Facebook group with his wife, Kimberly. We also had several mutual friends who have since testified over and over that this man wholeheartedly followed Jesus, preached the Gospel to the lost (in the streets!), cared for the little babies who are being slaughtered daily, and made six children in need his very own.

And because they had just recently moved and were between jobs, they had no life insurance when he died. Which leaves you with the awful realization: not only are they all having to fight through grief and sorrow and the terrible pain of a tragic death- this sweet woman with seven children to care for no longer has a means of income.

She is truly a widow. And her children were orphans.

And they need us, the body of Christ, to care for them. This- this- is how we can tangibly follow God:

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
James 1:27

One of her friends contacted me last week and let me know just how we can do this for one of our very own sisters.

1. You can give their sweet family a one-time gift (visit here), or...

2. Help to share in caring for their monthly needs through a tax-deductible donation.
A trustworthy family friend of theirs set up a 501c3 (non-profit) as a way for anyone to give, from anywhere, and possibly long-term:

I know it's a scary thought to commit to a monthly gift- something in our self-preserving nature is always so afraid to commit to giving in the future. But, if you can spare only $5 a month (one Starbucks specialty cup!), it could add up to a rent payment if only 200 of us do the same!!

God has blessed many (many!!) of us with more than enough, and honestly (I'm preaching to myself here) it would be to our great shame to let this heartbroken, believing family go uncared for while we enjoy our lattes.

Would you please consider giving a monthly amount, believing that as the Lord provided for you, you also will be able to give abundantly?

Oh, don't forget His promise:

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

And please, please, will you pray for the May family?

homemaking fail: 3x over

Remember how I got a great deal on 50 lbs. of potatoes at Sam's? Last week I decided to get smart and cook half of them at once before they all went bad.

I chopped, sliced, and then used the food processor to make potato chips:

Then I processed another big bunch to make hash browns:

I added some oil, and baked them for a while:

And somehow, in some way, I cooked close to 25 lbs. of potatoes in three different batches, and burned/ruined all this like a champ:

We couldn't even eat most of it! And the one tray of good chips I didn't burn? Someone spilled it on the floor. And then because I didn't peel the hash browns they looked like mushy mud cakes and were disgusting... It all turned out so terribly that I couldn't stop laughing!

But hey, I did make sure that about 25 of our 50 lbs. of potatoes didn't go bad in the pantry. ;)

life lately: almost summer, happy feet, happy fam + new goals

It's Monday, which means I have lots of random things to tell you before I get to my goal list. :D

1. It's spring in Texas!! 

last Monday was GORGEOUS.
Just kidding... kind of. With three days forecasted to be 80+ and the other two at 70+ this week, I'm wondering if summer isn't just around the corner!

2. After much searching, I think I finally found a pair of cushioned-but-light shoes that keep my feet happy on the roads- the Hoka One One Cliftons:

3. We ate pizza for three dinners in a row this weekend. :D Three different kinds of pizza: semi-homemade, takeout, and frozen, and the fam was happy every night from Friday- Sunday:

4.  The littlest kids are BOTH NAPPING right now. At the same time!! And the girls went to work with their dad for a little while, and the boys are outside- which means my house is actually quiet for a moment! :) The littlest lady and I are getting some very nice time to plan out this week on the sofa in the den:

But I have to hurry because it won't be long before the 18-month-old decides to wake up and try to eat from now until dinner time. :D

Here are my goals for this week:

:: do ::
pray alone every day
exercise 6x
plant bulbs in flower beds (is it time yet? I’m afraid I’ll forget and let them grow in the pantry all summer with the onions!)
wipe out oven
help research microwave warranty (it failed last week at 2-years-old)
take kids to library
straighten/reorganize/purge hall linen closet
make bread 2x
wipe down treadmill and belt
foam roll + stretch 3x 

:: read ::
1 Peter 1-5
The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul- 45 minutes
Psalms- 7 chapters/ 1 Corinthians

:: learn ::
listen to George Mueller autobiography 30 minutes
listen to 2 sessions from the Shepherd’s Conference 2016

:: be ::

prayerful. Over and over and over again lately, so many sermons I’ve been listening to reminded me I really need two things the most: prayer and the Word. I get so busy from the moment I wake up that my prayers are short and throughout the day, and I’m spending less time praying alone and less time reading my Bible alone. One Paul Washer sermon I recently watched reminded me that Jesus, who was sinless and God, went away from the crowd and prayed for so long the disciples came looking for Him. If Jesus Himself sought to be alone with God in the midst of being needed constantly, how much more do I need to pray?? I am sinful, and weak, and self-focused- I need to spend even more time praying! 

(always) catching up + two firsts

Last weekend was full of firsts! And lots of hard housework. :D School is keeping us busy (a.k.a. kicking my tail again), so I ended up having to do a substantial part of my goal list on Saturday rather than throughout the week.

Here's the double batch of bread I had to make on Saturday morning:

I decided I need to make this part of the routine, because it was SO nice to have bread already made on Sunday and Monday night:

I cleaned up the nursery again after our latest closet remodel, and this stack of baby items and newborn clothes made me even more excited for this summer:

After a long day of cleaning both the upstairs and downstairs, we really enjoyed our pizza night:

And then on Sunday night, we had the chance to do two things on our date that we'd never done before! We enjoyed our very first meal at La Madeleine:

And the food was actually as delicious as I had heard!! I was entirely impressed. We splurged on dessert, and I could only eat a sliver of cake (too much sugar for my head) but it was SO yum:

We had been away from home all day long (preggo mama-tiredness is real!), but somehow we summoned the energy to navigate through the late-night crowd and long lines at Aldi:

It was probably so crowded because eggs were only .15/dozen and they had the most unbelievable price on milk:

Here's what we ended up buying for $21: Butter, 3 dozen eggs, 6 lbs. of apples, dressing, artisan lettuce, cilantro, 2 bags of turkey pepperoni, 1/2 gallon of chocolate almond milk, iceberg lettuce, and 1 gallon of milk:

I was amazed by their low prices! Other than the odd feeling that I was shopping at a day-old/thrift food store, I was quite happy with the store's quality and price of the food. :) The thrift store thought obviously lingered because at home I found myself cautiously smelling the milk and sifting through the produce to make sure it wasn't old! :P (it wasn't, of course!) So weird. :) I wish we lived closer to it, either way! 

This week, thanks to subbing, running lots of errands in the evenings, and upping my weights in bootcamp, I have been just as equally off my to-do list game. I have been SO tired that I've only been doing the basics! And I won't even tell you how many naps I took. ;)

I was so exhausted at one point that I started to wonder if the baby was having a growth spurt, and then on Tuesday my midwife let me know my labs came back from last week and I was slightly anemic. She recommended this supplement:

Which I went immediately to the store to purchase, because this mama NEEDS any help she can get in the energy department! I'm hoping it works even better tomorrow, because the majority of my to-do list is waiting again. :P 

Right now, I'm feeling thankful to the Lord for both modern medicine and for Saturdays to sleep in and catch up. :)