several months ago, i began reading a book called "breathe" by keri wyatt kent. i have been reading this with a group of friends and we meet once a month to eat dinner, desert and have a good discussion. two weeks ago, we finished the book and had our group at my house. overall the book was pretty good. there were a few chapters here and there that seemed a bit redundant but the concept of the book really spoke to me and hit home. the book really challenged me to breathe. the book brought to my attention there was too much busyness in my life and that my role of a wife, mom and friend was not being placed first - other things were. i was even in a place where i don't think i had the time to hear from God. i was running in circles and really stressed out. i had been in the place for a long time. sometimes i would realize it and cut back on things, but then quickly say yes to other things. just trading busyness for other busyness.

there were several principles in the book that really spoke to me. the biggest one was that i really needed to start saying no to commitments i had made, to commitments i was the process of making and to learn how to continue to say no to other commitments that may come along. i realized that i was so busy and that i never had time to have any fun or do anything for myself. and if and when i did i felt guilty and the commitments that needed to be done would overshadow the fun i should or could be having. i started to resent some of the things i had said yes to. i realized that i wasn't really enjoying this season of my life. i wasn't enjoying my family or even my friends. i was overcommited and stressed out.

the first commitment i had to let go was my volunteer position at elevation as the ekidz volunteer coordinator. that was very hard for me. i love being a part of our church and having a role that made me feel important and like i was contributing. but the volunteer position required way too much of my time. it was so hard for me to step down but i knew i had to. i knew that through my reading and through God it was what i was suppose to do. sunday mornings were becoming stressful for me. being pregnant and getting three kids to church early in the morning and staying late into the afternoon was getting hard. and i had been doing it by myself. i began to resent all of that. i realized i was not supporting jamil in his role as one of our pastor's armor bearers because i was so stressed out. i also had to do a lot of "work" during the week from home. i loved the work i was doing and the people i worked with but i had to let it go.

another commitment was as a room mom. once the school year was done at union academy, i vowed not to take on the role as a room mom for the next year. i loved being one of two room moms for josh's class. but i knew i couldn't commit for the new school year to either of the classes my kid's would be in. when the time came this year, it was hard for me not to volunteer this year, but i didn't. i have offered to help in anyway i can but just not be in that take charge role.

i am a take charge kind of girl, that is just how God has made me but i knew he was asking me to let go of that gift and let go of both of those roles for this season of my life and just follow someone else's lead for awhile in whatever i help with. at church i serve on a team that supports one of our community outreach partners, safe journey. it doesn't require as much time and energy but i am still able to be involved and be able to serve. and i also choose to see that i have a valuable role as i support jamil as he serves along side of pastor steven. i feel that him knowing i am handling our family by myself on sunday mornings gives him a peace of mind and he can serve pastor and be completely focused as he does. at school this year, i will volunteer when and as much as i can but not by taking a lead role.

in june, when those things were finished my time was freed up tremendously. i was able to put that extra time into spending real quality time with my kids this summer. with jordyn starting kindergarten in the fall, i wanted to be able to have a good summer with them and especially with her. i didn't want to tell them no to things because i had "work" to do.

i also realized when it came time to my daily schedule i often put too many things into one day. if we had a party at 2:00, we could also have dinner plans with family at 6:00 and hey why not add something else at 10:00 am too because that is free. i have realized that just because a chunk of time is free it doesn't have to be filled with something to do. i have made a conscious effort to really look at how our days and how our weekends are scheduled. we definitely still have busy weeks and weekends but they are not as frequent. we have scheduled time to breathe! so when a busy week or weekend comes along i can handle it a lot better. and if i am handling it better, my family is too!! we have had a lot less evening commitments as well. it is refreshing to be able to be home more evenings then away. especially with the kids back in school. having two in school has definitely changed the dynamics of our evening routine!

i have done really well this summer saying no to things that would require my time. i have lost the desire to say "yes" all of the time. i think i had such a fear of saying no because i thought that if i said no it would show a weakness or that i would be bored or that i wouldn't be asked to do anything else. i had gotten into a habit of saying yes to everything. i had this mindset that i am a stay at home mom and i have a lot of time on my hands so i should be able to do everything and anything that came my way. so for years i have said yes and overcommited myself anyway i could. what i didn't realize is that i wouldn't be bored. having a family and keeping up with a home keeps me busy. i realized that i am not at all bored, not at all. i have still been really busy. my priorities have really shifted and changed. i have been able to put my family ahead of all those commitments that used to be there. i feel like i have been able to focus and really put my family first. i know that God is calling me to live this way. this is where he wants me in this season of my life. God is the center of my life and my family and friends come first.

august wrap up...

since my posts have been pretty far and few between, i thought i would just write one that summarizes and hightlights what's been going on around here this month. each one probably deserves it's own post but i am just putting it all into one for today!!!! it is really hard to believe that tomorrow we will begin a new month.

big kid's school stuff...

the kids have been in school for a full month. they are both doing pretty well. jordyn has really adjusted to being in kindergarten. she really likes it. she does get very tired in the afternoons, which makes doing anything in the evenings really hard. she enjoys being there and has made some friends. she is a social butterfly and has thad o move her clip because she is talking too much. although the last two weeks she has been on green every day!!! joshua has realized he is a class clown and we have been working with him on appropriate behavior and appropriate times. he is so bright and intelligent that we really want him to focus on staying on task and being funny when he is suppose to be. hard for a boy who wants to make his friends laugh. he is a lot like jamil - especially when he was in school.

little buddy...

jesiah is doing pretty well at home with me. he is not going to preschool this year so he is with me every day. it is so different just having one around for the majority of the day. jesiah is pretty laid back and easy going, although he has his moments. he plays really well by himself and i can often do what i need to get done while he plays. it has been really fun to have him all by myself every day! he says and does the cutest things. he hasn't wanted us to call him little buddy or any other nickname - he tells us his name is jesiah. wow that is hard. i think we have officially traded in the nighttime diapers (pull ups) this week for diapers for the baby! jesiah has been waking up dry at night for several weeks. so the last several nights we have put him to bed in big boy pants and he has done great. jesiah likes that he has given up his "diapers" to his baby sister!!! he can not wait to be a big brother! i talks about it all of the time. he loves to rub and touch my belly. it is very sweet.

first sleepover party...

jordyn had her first sleepover party this month. it was so much fun. we did all things girly!!! we had makeovers, manicures and pedicures. we ate pizza, popcorn and watched princess diaries. it went really really well. there were 7 little girls in total at our house on a friday night. several were sleeping over for the first time and/or a little nervous. but there was not even a whisper of being scared when it came to bedtime! of course my camera battery was dead so i didn't take any pictures. although, our babysitter and family friend, johanna came to my rescue, she took the pics for me. i will post some pics once i get them from here. johanna not only rescued me by taking the pictures, she came and helped me the whole night!! what a blessing. she was there on friday afternoon while we got ready and stayed until saturday morning. i really couldn't have done it without her. she was such a big help!!!!! my sister also came up during our makeovers and having her there was such a help, when you have seven little girls yelling for glitter!!!

elevation news...

at elevation we have seen God working overtime!!!!! we have launched a new campus in uptown charlotte, seen over 1,000 people baptized and over 600 people accept Christ as their personal Savior!!! it has been an amazing month at our church. i feel so blessed to be in the midst of what God is doing at elevation. currently, hundreds of volunteers along with the staff have been participating in the daniel fast. we are on day 14 of the fast. i haven't been able to take part fully in the fast - pregnancy and fast just didn't seem to agree with me or with the baby. but i have been challenged by making all of our dinners and having a lot of the appropriate snacks on hand from the daniel fast recipes, since jamil is doing it in it's full capacity. there are several new things we have tried and will continue to use or have on our dinner menus. i know God is going to bless our church and do great things through our church because of this act of obedience and sacrifice of so many people. honestly, i will be glad to make some of our regular dinner menus once this is over. and i have really really missed baking and making deserts!!!!


we have been busy, busy around our house. i have been in complete nesting mode and working on our "must do before the baby comes" list. we have blocked out the last couple of saturdays and this coming one and we haven't made any commitments so that we can work on projects around the house. those "saturday" projects are ones that i need jamil's help with. during the week i tackle as much as i can by myself. we have been making some good progress and crossing things off of our lists!!!!

baby on the way...

today marks 50 days until baby jaelyn comes. i have been feeling pretty good. and things have gone really well. i am pretty uncomfortable and have been tired. i am not sleeping great at night but overall things are going great! i really can not complain. i am really excited to see her! i have been going to my midwife appointments every other week and i think after this week i will go every week.

i think that catches up mostly what has been going on here in the past few weeks. now i feel like i can get a fresh start to september and be able to write more frequently - but don't hold your breath!!!


visiting the hospital...

on thursday afternoon we headed to carolinas medical center (cmc) for our sibling tour. the kids loved knowing that they were all born at this hospital and that baby jaelyn will be too! jamil met us there and here they are waiting for the tour to begin!!!

here is nurse melissa starting the tour. before we headed up to the eighth floor, my favorite floor in the hospital and also known as my spa retreat, the kids had the option of dressing up like doctor's but none of them wanted to do it. oh well! we took this tour with joshua when i was pregnant with jordyn. joshua did dress up then!! but he was barelythree and dressing up was still cool.

first we got to peek into the nursery. i was amazed at the amount of babies that were in there. our nurse said that there were like 60 babies born that week. the nursery and all of the rooms were filled! all our rain must have brought a baby boom!! the kids had a lot of questions about the babies and what the nurses were doing to some of the babies. there was a baby being moved up from the nicu and having little monitors with sticky tape removed. josh thought they were taking off her skin. there was a baby underneath the lights getting a little suntan so we had to explain why she was there. i must say i was excited to see all the babies and can't wait to see what ours will look like!

next we went into a labor and delivery room. this room looked very familiar to me - i was actually in that room when one of my friends was there in labor!!! i told joshua that it was the room that his best friend was born in - he was soooo excited.

the kids climbed onto the bed and nurse melissa showed them how the bed works. she also told them about some of the equipment in the room. joshua immediately spotted a game system controller and was so excited. that was all he could talk about. the rooms have video games and internet access through a flat screen tv. wow - more ammenities than our own home. i am definitely trying to figure out how i can get a few extra nights tacked onto my stay!!! our nurse said she thought i deserved it, being a fourth time mommy.

the kids had lots of different questions about the room. nurse melissa answered them. and she told them about how a new baby will need a lot of special care. she encouraged them to be big helpers.

she also told us some different details about the labor and delivery floor. the mommies and the babies on the floor now where a little gps bracelet. and there are monitors all over the hospital that sense where their location is. when the baby is brought to the mommy the little bracelets are matched and then they chime!!!

nurse melissa brought a baby doll for the kids to practice holding a baby! here is jesiah doing a great job! jordyn also held the doll - she was an old pro! you can tell she is a mommy in training. joshua was to into the idea of the video games that he didn't want to hold the doll. he is so excited about those games - he didn't grasp the fact that he probably won't get to play on them very much. it's not like he will be living there with me - the kid's visits will be very short when they are there!!!

when we were done with the tour, we went into a conference room where the classes are taught and the kids had a little snack. nurse melissa talked more about the hospital and things that may have changed since we were there last! then she gave each kid a certificate and a little coloring book. we had a great time! i think it is really beginning to hit all of us that in just under 2 months we will be meeting our new baby!



i am feeling very overwhelmed today. there are so many projects that i want to complete and work on before the baby comes and i don't know where to begin. i am in panic mode that they wont get done in the next 8 weeks. on sunday, i started having some contractions (braxton hicks) and i think they really brought it home to both jamil and i that baby jaelyn will be here before we know it.

i have this incredible desire to get our home completely organized and deep cleaned. today, as i walked around the house and took inventory (by making lists!!) of what needs to be done, i felt panic stricken. i realized i am at a loss of where to begin. there are closets to be cleaned out and organized. i am in need of some creative ways to store a lot of our things. we are pushing maximum capacity in our home and running out of space. once i figure out what stays and what goes i have to figure out where to put everything.

so my mind is on overload with thoughts of where to start and how to get the tasks done in a way that will really work for our household. i am also frustrated because i have very limited energy to complete all this work. i run out of energy when i am halfway through a project. very frustrating.

this week (and probably for the next few weeks), i will be staying home so i can begin to knock out some of these projects.


update on my addiction...

yes, this week i did indeed earn back all of the money i spent last week finding deals on craig's list!! i sold three out of four things i had listed on craig's list. i still have a few more things to list. i also bought two more things this week!! i bought a medela pump for a steal and i also bought the cutest bouncy/rocker seat i have ever seen - it is a maclaren and it is pink and grey!!!!!

tomorrow, we plan to work on some projects around the house - i am sure i will find even more things to list and sell!!!!


my new hobby...

i love craig's list!!! i am addicted to it!!! it has come in handy over the last month. with having to redo the "girls' room" and buying baby gear - craig's list has been my favorite way to shop. i have been using craig's list for over a year. but in the last few weeks it has become a new and regular hobby!!!

last week, i purchased four big items off of craig's list for the baby! the retail value of what i bought would have been easily over $800 and i got all the stuff for $200! here is what i found... two very nice strollers, a joovy sit n stand and a peg perego pliko - in pink and black!!!! (yes, i am a stroller addict too!), a top of the line crib mattress and a baby bjorn (mine is 8 years old - so i "splurged" for an updated easier to fasten version!). and last month, we got jordyn's castle bed off of craig's list for $250 - it would have been $1100 new.

i am so excited about the new purchases and all of the money we have saved buying from craig's list. this week, i am going to list a whole bunch of stuff on craig's list to sell!! and i am excited because i will most likely "earn" back the money i have spent!!!!

so. last week when i wasn't blogging, i was on craig's list shopping!!!!


jordyn's sleepover party....

***this post is way long overdue...but nonetheless it is here now!!!!

jordyn had a sleepover party for her fifth birthday! her birthday is in july and the party ended up being in august, because i was sick on the originally scheduled date in july. she invited all of her favorite little girl friends from church and ballet. we did makeovers, manicures, pedicures, ate pizza, cake and ice cream and then watched princess diaries. it was a great party. all of the girls had a great time!!! our babysitter and special friend johanna came to help me throw this big shebang - what a blessing to have her there!!! she also took all of these pictures b/c my camera battery was dead. her are some pictures of our fun night...

girl talk

jordyn and anagrace
bff since 6 mos old!!

lily, addison and greta

avery looking pretty and applying more glitter!!!

anagrace and her makeover

lily hubatka putting on eye makeup

lily hummel helps avery

jordyn doing her eyes

you can never have too much glitter!

happy birthday jordyn!

jordyn and lily pose!

time to open presents!

seriously they were all asleep like this by 10:00 pm!!!!


911 whats your emergency ?...

today, my school aged kids had a half day of school. after we returned home and they ate lunch, i was on the computer and across the house i heard some chatter about dialing "911". immediately, i called the little voice (jordyn's) to come to me. she arrives next to my side with the phone in her hand. i asked her what she was doing and she said she dialed 911. i said where did you hear that - apparently it was in a book they read at school today. so, i tried to turn on the phone to see if it was indeed the last number dialed. the phone battery was dead, so it could reveal nothing to me. i asked her if someone answered when she dialed it, hoping she would say no, meaning the phone was dead. she said after i dialed 911 a lady said "911 whats your emergency?" she said she hung up after that. great, i thought, waiting to hear sirens coming down the street.

about 3 minutes later there was a knock at our door and i looked out to see a jeep marked special response on it and a man in a sheriff uniform standing there. as i opened the door, he knew by the look on my face that it was an accident and dialed by "mistake". i confirmed and apologized. then i called jordyn to the door so she could see the sheriff. joshua had told her she was going to go to jail because she did that, so she was scared to talk to him. we explained why you don't dial 911 unless there is a true emergency. the boys were thrilled to see a man in uniform. jesiah showed him the hand to his buzz lightyear toy that had fallen off. and josh asked him about his gun. poor guy, too bad he couldn't come in for the afternoon and get to know us a little better! my kids are not really afraid to talk to anyone!

so, we had our first phone call to 911 that was not necessary, i wonder how many more "mistakes" you get before getting a citation or taken to jail. with four kids i bet it is bound to happen again.

lists making, an olympic event?

if there was an olympic event for making lists, i would win the gold medal! if there was a medal for completing what is on the list, i would probably take the silver or bronze. i make lists for everything. i have this notebook where i write down pretty much everything that is going on. i have lists and notes in there that include, but not limited to:
a big to do list,
a daily to do list,
a menu plan for the week,
shopping lists,
home project lists,
wish lists,
saturday to do lists,
notes on phone calls made (business ones not personal),
a must do before the baby comes list,
notes on showers and parties that i have planned or am planning,
guest lists for showers or parties,
comparison price shopping lists,
and lots of scribbles that my kids have done.

when i bought it about 3 months ago, i chose it because it had three sections and it was a smaller notebook (8.6 x 6.5). i initially started out by using each section for something different. the first section was for to dos and menus, the second section was for planning events and shopping list and the third was for projects. needless to say, it is not that organized anymore and there are just notes and lists all over the notebook and in no particular order. maybe i will perfect a system like that when i purchase my next notebook.

i love to cross things off of my lists, it is such a sense of accomplishment. this morning, i realized that one of the reasons i never completely cross everything off on a list is because there is always something new to add to the list, something more to do!!

keeping lists is like therapy for me, it helps me to feel like i am in control of everything that needs to be done. even though everything is never complete, i can feel like i atleast know what needs to be done. writing it down gets it out of my head and i feel less overwhelmed.

so, i am off to see what has to be done on my list!!!!


quick update...

this week is our first full week of school and back into a full routine. early bedtimes and early wake times. the kids are doing pretty good with it. although, getting them to sleep early is hard. they just don't want to settle down when the sun hasn't gone down.

jordyn has really adjusted well! no tears, no whining -- she is happy to go to school!!! she wakes up with a smile and leaves with a smile. and when i pick her up she is still smiling - although she gets really tired in the afternoons, of course right around dinner time!

jesiah seems to be enjoying being an only child! it has been a sweet time for he and i!!! on monday, he was eating his lunch and said to me, "you're a good mommy". it melted my heart!! it was so sweet. and just the words i needed to hear!!

josh is doing well and seems to like being back at school. although, he hasn't liked the homework part at night. he doesn't want to stop whatever he is doing to complete it. but all and all, he is doing great!

as for me, the last week has gone so fast. yesterday, i had my midwife appointment, it is hard to believe i go every 2 weeks now. (i put an update on the appointment on the baby j's blog.) i just can't believe we are coming down the home stretch until we meet our sweet little girl!!! i am excited to have her here! my baby fever has spiked over the last few weeks!! in fact today, i am going to amy's house to watch her kids - so i will get to love on her twin baby girls!! and i look forward to the next time i can hold chelsea's new baby, ashton!!!!