in case you were wondering...

i know i have been a little absent around here lately.
it's been absolutely crazy to say the least.
i feel like i am on a roller coaster ride and it will not stop.
i've been spending my "free time" reflecting and praying.

hopefully once things settle down, i will have some good stuff to post!!

oh, yes, my oldest and my youngest both have birthdays over the next few days, so i will be back soon with atleast some birthday posts!!


guess who tried to come for dinner?

and here is the picture to prove it.

jamil was heading into the kitchen to help me make dinner last night. when i heard him say, "don't freak out, but you have to see this." i seriously did not know what to expect. i walked over to see what he saw peeking in our sliding glass door... aaaaaahhhhhhh....yup i did what most girly girls would do, i screamed!!!!

yes, there was a huge (probably 3 foot!) black snake right at the glass door. sitting right there, where my kids go in and out just about every day. right at the same door that they go in and out of and rarely remember to close.

i shuddered at that thought, what if they hadn't of closed the door all they way and that creepy snake made it's way inside our house.

we called the kids over to see the snake and we watched him slither passed our second sliding glass door and down the porch into the yard.

what an up close science lesson!! way too close for my comfort.



every year, i say i will not do it again, but every year i do.
for about four years now, my friend amy and i have a mulit-family yard sale.
this year is no different!
so this week, i am busy busy getting ready for it.
i am cleaning out closets, rooms and the garage,
in hopes to get rid of a lot of stuff we just don't need or use.
boy, oh boy, do we have lots of stuff.

and boy, oh boy, do i have a hard time parting with some things.
i keep thinking i should get rid of some of the baby gear that jaelyn doesn't use anymore,
but i am just not ready!
maybe next year.
until then, i have plenty of other stuff i can part with.

so if my posts are far and few between over the next several days, this is why!


{almost} wordless wednesday ...

in one week, she went from this...

{pulling up to kneel}

to this...
{pulling up to stand}


super sized 'happy birthday to me' post!

gosh, i don't know where the past week has gone, but it has certainly flown by! i am going to recap the events from this past weekend in one post today!

as i have said before, i like to celebrate birthdays over several days. mine included! so this past weekend was my "birthday weekend!" we had lots of family time and i got some "me" time too.
jamil was off on thursday and friday. he had taken off for me to go to the beach, and kept the days off even though i did not go. he. is. the. man!

on thursday, jordyn and i went shopping for new ballet and tap shoes! i think this is one of the perks of being a girly mommy to a girly girl!!! don't you?

and i am so excited that she will be taking dance again at masterpiece studios. (jordyn is on the home page of their website - check it out) we LOVE this studio, truly God centered and ms. jackie is such a gifted teacher! jordyn had her first class on friday morning. i was all prepared with my camera to take a picture of her and never got one by herself. and this isn't even a great one. oh well!

on friday afternoon, i had a relaxing time getting my hair done! i should have taken a before and after picture but i didn't. it is a lot shorter, but i love it. you can catch a glimpse in some of the other pictures on this post. although you can't see the back, where it is the shortest!

that evening, jamil and i continued celebrating with a much needed long overdue date night. we had dinner at the olive garden and then got some yummy krispy kreme donuts to take home. perfect saturday morning breakfast!!!

joshua plays soccer at the ymca. his team {the blackhawks} had their first game on saturday morning. he did a great job playing! and had a ton of fun! he amazes us with his athletic abilities.

after josh's soccer game, we took a picnic lunch to the park. and had some playtime! the weather down here has been beautiful and perfect for the outdoors!!

on saturday night, we went to church and heard pastor preach the fourth and final sermon in the series give. me. faith. it was awesome. the whole series has been so encouraging and i have gotten so much out of it! you can check it out here! here is a picture of jaelyn after church that night!

on sunday, my actual birthday, my sister took me out for lunch to sushi 101, then we went shopping and we just had to make a stop at rita's before heading home! yummy!!! that evening, my mom made a homemade italian meal, raviolis and meatballs.

of course, the night wouldn't be complete without yummy birthday cake!

after we ate, josh sang a birthday song that he wrote for me and played his guitar. it was so stinkin' sweet and i was surprised!! i was super impressed with his creativity and musical ability.

here is the birthday momma and her little buddy!!!

oh, and i got spoiled with presents too, here is one of them:

now this present takes the cake!
it was my sister's idea, she has fabulous taste, don't you think?
i still can't believe i own this purse!
it is way out of my element ~ but i LOVE it !!

i would have to say that it was a great birthday weekend, filled with lots of great memories! i have felt totally blessed by the time with my family and being truly celebrated with lots of birthday emails, texts and phone calls from lots of wonderful friends!!!


where i should be...

**this is a long post tying in two thoughts, hang in there, keep reading and you should get a good word in by the end! **

today, i definitely most certainly will not be grocery shopping with all four kids. remember i told you to mark my words the other day that i will not ever take all four kids with me shopping. i had a few encouraging comments left about that post, i so appreciate that! also online grocery shopping was mentioned & suggested. the funny thing is, that when jaelyn was born and really ever since i have used that. most recently, thinking i was saving a lot by going shopping at certain stores, i gave it a go. the money i saved was certainly not worth the sanity i lost! i will resume to my online shopping, try to use more coupons and stock up at costco.

last night i sat down with my receipt from super walmart and did the online shopping at harris teeter for the same items. i found out that shopping at walmart saved twenty dollars. but, i bought things and brands at walmart that i wouldn't normally buy at harris teeter. so if i continue to shop the specials, use coupons and keep my paper products stocked from costco. i think we can make harris teeter online shopping fit into our budget! plus buying online and reviewing the order before it is placed has always saved me a surprise amount at the long check out lines, saves me from having to say no to the kids for the extras and saves my sanity!

so how about you, how do you balance shopping with kids? what's your trick, please share!

ok, onto where i should be today...

today, i should have had my super cute vera bradley overnight bag packed, a beach bag in hand, and a beach chair too. i should have met up with ten of my favorite ladies in our church parking lot and we should have been on the road to carolina beach for a girlfriend's beach getaway.

but i am not. i am so bummed. our trip that we planned months and months ago, gradually fell apart. one by one, until it was down to just a handfull going. and when it was down to three we had to make the same decision as the others before us whether to go or not to go. each made a responsible decision to not go because it was best for their family for whatever personal reason they held.

it was my turn to look at the decision on where i should be? from the outside and without emotion, i had to decide what is best for my family. after talking with my friend teri, thinking it through and talking with jamil, i decided to make a big girl choice and say no to the trip i longed for and so much desired and needed.

making a sound choice for financial reasons, mostly was oh so hard. i really, truly wanted to just go anyway, even though it may not have been the best decision. because after all i need to get away, relax and enjoy the company of some great girlfriends. who doesn't need that? but in reality, it was not the best choice.
unfortunately, there will be no one enjoying a girlfriend's beach getaway. we all made the choice to stay home this weekend. fortunately, we can just fondly revisit last year's trip with sweet memories and a few pictures.

in the end, we all made the choice independently of each other, to stay home and to put our family's needs first, whatever they were for each of us.

knowing, we all are where we should be this weekend is comforting.

isn't that the kinds of choices a mom sacrifially makes most often? where we should be.

and what a blessing it is to have that choice.

have you been faced with choices like this in your life? are your resentful or joyful & what is the choice you made?


wordless wednesday...

photo taken by the extremely talented and most wonderful photographers, the beautiful mess.

never again...

i was completely thrown off by the three day weekend, i really thought tuesday was monday. thinking it was monday, i realized i needed to go get some groceries for the week. so i packed up all four kids and headed to the store. my least favorite thing to do. and not fun with all four kids. it was not a good experience. i won't go into the details. i fear i might start having near heart failure by just revisiting the experience.

and to make matters worse, as i started shopping, i received a phone call from my sweet friend who was heading to my house for a playdate. i had completely forgot that it was tuesday, i really thought it was monday. thankfully she was flexible and forgiving and came over a little later than we had planned.

on my way home from the shopping trip, i called jamil and told him if i ever speak of taking all four kids to the store ever again, he has to perform an intervention and tell me no! i will never ever do it again. mark. my. words.


eleven months old...

on sunday, my sweet baby girl turned 11 months old!
i can't believe her first birthday is one month away.
where has this past year gone?
it feels like yesterday that i was anxiously awaiting her birth,
and here we are about to celebrate her big day!

jaelyn is an absolute blessing and such a joy!
i just can't get enough of this baby girl!!


detoxing social networking...

i had become quite obsessed with social networking; facebook, twitter and blogging. my laptop was always open, all tabs easily accessible and i would check them several times throughout the day. it became an addiction. seriously, it would distract me from my day. i was finding that i wasn't getting things done and my family was put second to the computer.

not only would i read and follow other's updates, but i became quite obsessed with posting my own updates on twitter {which was linked to facebook}. sometimes, i would even find myself stressing about not having anything worthy to post. like i was letting people down when i didn't post an update.

i started realizing that the more i became obsessed with reading every little detail about every person i followed or was friends with the more i felt annoyed. it took me a long time to identify exactly what i was annoyed about.

then i figured it out, i felt like everyone else was leading this exciting life. and it annoyed me. it appeared that other's lives were just better than mine. they were posting about all the fun they were having, all the friends they were spending time with, all the things they were buying.

some years ago, i got over that "keeping up with the jones'" mentality. or so i thought. but i guess it just crept in and it looks different now. it changed with the shift in technology.

because, i really am content with what i have and don't so much look to what others have. but i found myself discontent with what others were doing and why wasn't i doing it too.

i realized that this feeling i had when reading all these status' brought a whole new twist on keeping up with others. my involvement in these people's life was from a distance and i really wasn't involved. i was "left out". not that i expected to be invited to a party all the way across the country. but i became discontent that my life wasn't "like theirs."

and then i started to wonder, is there life really as good as they are posting about? or are they a little insecure too?

i also found myself struggling to come up with something exciting to post on my status updates. i even had a hard time blogging for awhile. i would try to write something that might generate a lot of comments. which really in truth, i thought would generate lots of approval.

wow, since when did i care what others thought of me, like this? why was i feeling so insecure with myself?

no longer did i feel so secure with who i am. i felt left out.
and worse, i was distracted, not getting things accomplished and putting my family second to the social networking.

i realized that this was insane. that i was reading these things, allowing these things to speak into me and it wasn't good for me or for my family.

so, slowly i began to detox myself of my obsession with social networking. i am still on twitter and facebook but not like i was before.

now, i limit myself to what i read and "who" i allow to speak into my life.

*disclaimer: please note that i am by no means putting down those people who follow and post on twitter and facebook ~ i think it is great if you can keep it in check and you enjoy it. when it gets to the point that it isn't enjoyable, then i encourage you to rethink why you are doing it!


my toothless wonder...

jordyn lost her first tooth, finally.
after months of being wiggly, it finally fell out.
well, it didn't exactly fall out.
it came out with a little help of her big brother.
i walked into the kitchen and found jordyn bright eyed and excited
but on the verge of tears.
to my surprise, she let josh pull it out with a paper towel.
i think she was too excited to finally have the tooth out
so she didn't cry,even though it hurt a little bit.
the expression on her face was the same as the face
she made when i took her to get her ears pierced three years ago.
shocked, in some pain, but oh so excited.


miss busy...

that is what i am calling her these days.
miss busy.
she is everywhere and starting to get into everything.

it cracks me up that she is starting to pull up, and doing her army crawl everywhere,
and boy is she fast! but, she isn't going from lying down to sitting up, yet.
{although, my sister found her in her crib sitting up one day last week, so i think she can do it, she just doesn't.} i guess in her own time she will. it still amazes me at how different each and every baby develops.

jaelyn is such a sweet baby!!
although we are still having issues with waking at night. we have good nights and then some not so good nights. i could still eat her up! honestly, there is no one else i would rather be with in the middle of the night! holding her and snuggling with her in the stillness of the night is enjoyable. i do cherish those times.

no longer can i put things out of her reach,
because she is starting to pull up and find them.
isn't she so cute??