..."popsicles on the porch"...what a great afternoon treat and our favorite way to spend time together! These are simple and precious moments! Princess #1 and Princess #2 along with Little Man #1 and #2 are my inspiration for most of these writings.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Noah's Ark Park

We heard about this great waterpark for the kids that we had to go check out! It's called Noah's Ark Park and the girls absolutely love it!

They have a huge Noah's Ark with two nice size slides that the girls love racing down. The animals in the ark squirt water out to the kids below and they have a few little water tunnels that the kids love to chase each other through! The water is only ankle deep which makes it fun for the kids to splash around in and gives mom a greater sense of peace.

Our trips to Noah's Ark Park has made for lots of family fun together! We generally pack a lunch and let the kids go wild for a couple of hours! Here is some fun shots of our girls sliding down the slides!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Professional Mommy

So I have mentioned before that I am training to be a Dale Carnegie Instructor. Since this is a business related course, I live in the tension of how to be real and share the things happening in my mommy world, while still trying to be relevant to the business culture. In this quest, I have been discovering lots of parallels between my mommy job and the job I use to have outside the home.

Here are a few things I have learned in the business world as it relates to my job as a stay at home mom….

Preparation reflects Performance—Part of being ready for a busy work day whether working in the home or outside of the home is preparing both mentally and physically the night before. That means getting plenty of rest and going to bed at a decent hour. I struggle with this because I am a night owl by nature. Somehow when I started staying home, I got into the bad habit of thinking that since I didn’t have to be at a real office by a certain time that it didn’t matter what time I went to bed. What I began to really understand is that this is my job, and like any other job, it is important to get to bed at a decent hour so that I am sharp, on top of things and ready to deal with the “inevitables” that may happen.

Dress For Success—Like any other job, it is important to dress for success! When I feel good about the way I look, it affects my attitude. This in turn affects my performance. Just because my job is managing the kids and the home doesn’t mean that I should lie around in my pj’s all afternoon with my hair all frazzled just because I can. My dress subconsciously affects my attitude and performance just as it would for any other job.

Manage My Time—Learning how to set priorities and manage my schedule to accomplish all the tasks at hand is not only crucial in the professional world, but it is necessary when managing my home. When I worked outside the home, time management was especially important as I traveled all over the city to meet with clients. Because of all the time I spent on the road, it was necessary for me to schedule an “in office day” at least once a week, so that I could accomplish other tasks. In order to accomplish this, Monday’s were designated as “my in office day.” This day was reserved to accomplishing those tasks that could only be done when I was sitting down in my office in front of my computer. It was untouchable to others unless it was absolutely necessary.

Likewise, I realized the same is true as we manage our homes. Why not have an “in office day?” So, Monday’s have become my “in office day.” It is a day reserved for tasks that need to be done around the house. I might even wake up early before the kids to get a head start. Having this one day set aside each week to tackle my home duties has been so beneficial in keeping my sanity. In addition, it has helped relieve some tension I have felt in not wanting to get so busy with things around the house that it steals my attention and focus from my kids (the whole reason I stayed home). If I have one day a week to focus on the down and dirties like mopping, cleaning toilets, doing laundry, etc….(that’s not to say I don’t wash dishes every day and run the washing machine more than once a week), I feel more balanced between accomplishing the things around my home and investing quality time in my kids.

Setting Goals/Having Objectives---Every professional has certain business objectives and goals for the things that need to be accomplished that year so that they are constantly moving and growing; improving their business and or product each new year. The question is what can we do better this year and how can we go about accomplishing it? So, what are our year end goals, family goals, etc…? Are there certain tasks we want to accomplish around the house before the end of the year i.e. clean out the garage, clean out closets, organize the home office, etc… or maybe we want to be more diligent in teaching our kids scripture, or for older children, showing them how to have a personal devotional time with Jesus, teaching them their abc’s, shapes and colors or building their vocabulary, etc… What about goals for our family…establishing a family devotional time, game night, cooking together? We can work these goals for any area of our lives whether it is professional, marriage, home, children or etc…

A study conducted at Harvard University found that only 3% of its graduating class had clear written goals with plans to achieve them. Years later when this same class was surveyed again, it was learned that the same 3% had not only accomplished their goals but were worth more in financial terms than the other 97% combined! In addition the researchers found that the 3% had better health, relationships, and social skills! Those hard numbers are a harsh reality that unless goals are written down, they are likely to become nothing more than a dream that soon disappears.

These are just a few things the professional world has taught me in my profession now as a mother! I am discovering that managing our homes does not mean we lose who we are. That is, we don’t leave behind the gifts, talents and creativity that God has blessed us with…rather we take those things and apply them with the same passion and determination in our profession as mothers. We sharpen ourselves, set goals so that we too are always moving forward, thus improving ourselves and those around us as each new year unfolds.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

"Mommy, Can We Go to Church...PLEASE!!!"

My oldest loves going to church! In fact, she ask me just about every night after our bedtime prayers, “Hey mommy, do you want to go to church tomorrow…come on let’s go!” My heart just melts at her sincerity and excitement!

We do have our own worship and bible study time at home but I knew this wasn’t good enough….she wanted to actually go to church. Unsure of how to respond I have felt a little loss for words. I don’t want to tell her that we only go to church on Sundays and I certainly don’t want to tell her no. So when she asked me again on Tuesday I told her “ok, let’s go…we can have church right here at home!” She was a little perplexed and then proceeded to ask me, “but where is my classroom going to be? Where is Elianna going to go? What about my snacks?” I told her, “right here…we can do it in the living room!” Picking up on my excitement she said, “ok, mommy you go get the snacks and I’m going to go get my dress on!” I couldn’t help but laugh when she went to go get dressed and yet at the same time I was relieved that she was so excited and willing to go along.

And not only was she willing to go along but we were going all out...she wanted the real deal!
When she came back she was all decked out in her “church clothes!” With hairbrush and hair bows in hand, she told me that she wanted her hair in two “low ponytails” like MaryEvyn. After many attempts, I finally caught on and was able to give her the hairdo she wanted.

We were finally ready for church to begin! We started off singing some worship songs from their favorite Verse 2 Verse CD and bible action video. Isa wasn’t content with me just putting the music on though. She wanted me to formally announce that class was now in session like her teachers do at church. It went something like, “Ok guys, now we're going to spend a few minutes singing songs to Jesus to tell him that we love him." So the three of us danced, jumped, giggled and had all kinds of fun!

After our singing time I had to call the class to order so that we could sit down for our bible story. At this time Isa reminded me about the snacks (gold fish and water to be exact) that I was supposed to prepare for her and Elianna. Thank goodness they were willing to settle for Teddy Grahams instead! So, we sat down and had a short little lesson about Essau and Joseph. They listened contently while they ate their snacks. Following, we had a little prayer time and then I dismissed the class for nap time.

The girls had a blast! It was so much fun to see them get into it. What I really sensed though was the spiritual hunger God has already placed in their hearts. It was definitely an encouragement to me but also helped me to see that they are hungering for more! I love the way God speaks to us through our children! What accountability!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Adventures at Seaworld!

She knew what she wanted….to ride the Shamu kiddy rollercoaster! This ride was by far bigger and better than the old kiddy snake roller coaster at Astroworld.

As we waited in line I tried my best to prepare her for all that was about to happen. You mommys know that our kiddos respond best when they know exactly what to expect. However, with all the excitement I wasn't too sure anything was really soaking in...she was just so thrilled watching all the little kids get on and off the ride!

Even though the little princess could hardly wait her turn, knowing that she is claustrophobic, I couldn’t help but wonder if she would freak out once it was finally our turn. Our little princess doesn’t like anything on her body that feels remotely confining….even swim floaties have been known to send her into a frenzy. So, you can imagine why I was so sure the lap bar would send her into freak out mode the minute in came down and locked us into place.

But, to my surprise when the bar came down, she was still all smiles and giggles! As the bell rang and the rollercoaster pulled away from the platform she could hardly contain her excitement! As I looked over at her she had her hands raised high in the air! How did she know to do that?!! I knew she must have picked it up from all the other kids she had been watching but I couldn't help but think, "hey, what happened to my baby?" As we pulled away, she squealed in delight, “Put your hands up in the air mommy…it’s fun!” Here are some pics of our little princess on her first roller coaster ride at Seaworld in San Antonio.

If you're wondering what princess #2 was doing while we were riding Shamu....she was having a blast in the waterhole! Here are some pics of princess #2 fearlessly splashing around with the older kids!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

10 Random Things About Me....

1. I carry Purell with me just about everywhere I go….you never know when you’ll need it especially in public bathrooms…yuk!

2. I love storage containers, bins, crates, etc…and love buying cool organizational bins whenever I see them! I love to have them on hand ready to go when needed!

3. I love shoes…from flip flops to pumps; sassy, clunky, fun, etc…I’ve got em!

4. My favorite snack is popcorn

5. I love curling up in my bed and watching “Friends” with my husband

6. I still love putting chips in my sandwich

7. I am the Queen of Laundry—oops...I mean of mildew! I passionately hate doing laundry and when I do, I always forget to switch the clothes in time!

8. I love Jane Eyre but have never finished it---I am an avid reader but always seem to get distracted by the next new book out. I tell myself every year I’m going to finish it…maybe this year is the year!

9. One of my biggest fears is someone getting their fingers or toes smashed in a car door or any door for that matter (I have a terrible memory in particular when I saw this happen to my husband). I am very paranoid about this; especially since my small children are in the stage where they are fascinated about opening and closing doors.

10. I use to have a nose piercing