Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Felicities - 8.31


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

We Love Jesus. Period.

A few weeks ago we had an unusual thing happen. My husband had run over to our church late on a Saturday afternoon to pick up a guitar he wanted to practice with at home. While there, the church phone rang so he answered it. On the other end of the line was a young woman, very distraught, and wanting to talk to someone about divorce counselling right then. My husband explained to her that, as it was Saturday night, there was no one at our church that could meet with her right then. However, she was so upset that he said she was welcome to come over to our home and we'd be happy to talk to her if she couldn't wait until Sunday or Monday.

I admit, when he came home and told me this story, I knew that she wasn't going to come to our house - she had no clue who we were. But not 30 minutes later, she was in our driveway!

We invited her into our chaotic abode and for about an hour, we just listened. It's bad, folks. Really, really, not good. I didn't know what to say - I'm not divorced, my parents aren't divorced, even my grandparents stayed married until they all passed away. My husband is a child of multiple divorces so he did most of the talking and once she was talked out, he was able to share his testimony with her and tell her a little about the One who will walk through this situation with her.

The point of this story is to share one small thing that my husband said that I have been thinking about daily ever since he said it. Our new friend was sharing how she didn't understand why "he" would leave her - they had been together for so long, they had a beautiful wedding - why wasn't he commited to staying together. Travis' response?

The ONLY reason that Stephanie and I haven't gotten a divorce is because we love Jesus. Period.
Bottom line, I love Jesus. Yes, I love my husband, too, but somedays it's harder to love him (and it's harder for him to love me). :) We are both sinners, but we love Jesus and we are committed to glorifying Him, learning about Him, and walking with Him - that's the only reason we don't yell "divorce" or "I hate you" or "I'm tired of trying" when we disagree.

Something that's just been on my heart and mind a LOT lately - how well am I loving Jesus in areas like my marriage, raising my girls, diligence in managing our home, etc.

Friday, August 24, 2007

HomeSchool Plans

So yesterday was a slow relaxing day around here. To give you an idea of how relaxing it was, Elizabeth (3 mos.) took at least a 2-2.5 hour nap after each feeding, Natalie (18 mos.) took a 2 hour morning and 3 hour afternoon nap, AND Noelle (3.75 yrs) slept for about 2.5 hours yesterday afternoon. We are all much more rested today. : ) Right now, the littlest ones are napping and Noelle is at her desk playing with her school supplies. We are trying to remember to get them out when Natalie is napping. I don't mind Natalie coloring (on paper and herself, of course) but sometimes it's hard for big sister to really get work done on a project with she has a little "helper." : )

What did I do during nap time? Planning! : ) I typed up our tentative schedule for the fall. This won't be the norm everyday, and the times are obviously not set in stone, but I needed to give myself a little more structure so things that I want to accomplish get done. Several of you had graciously offered up preschool suggestions for me last week and that was so helpful. My starting plan is to aim for three mornings of semi-structured preschool/table time for Noelle. Why three days? Well, we have Bible study at church on Wednesdays and this gives me a little time with other adults and the two big girls some playtime with friends. Then one day will also be for errands/library day (probably Friday mornings). I found this great list of preschool goals and will use it starting place for some things to work on with Noelle. Other things that I will be doing as well as resources will be:

~ Before Five in a Row
~ putting together a nature journal of things we find on morning walks
~ concentrating on one letter per week and while doing that we'll...
~ make an ABC notebook, cutting pictures out of magazines and printing them on the computer
~ lots of time with markers, glue, scissors, and other crafty things
~ Bible memory (we'll use her Awana materials for this)
~ helping with special Mama projects whether housecleaning or cooking something
~ lots of reading aloud

We're planning to start officially after Labor Day, but next week will have several trial runs, I'm sure. And I can already tell a difference with Natalie by making sure she has a morning rest time, even if she doesn't sleep. It's been good for her to have that structure back ... I kinda messed her up thinking that she was going to be dropping her morning nap and she (and I'm) not ready for her too.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Slow Morning on Thankful Thursday

We had a rare evening last night ... friends were in from out of town so several families got together for an evening to hang out and catch up (and, of course, eat yummy food). : ) We didn't get home until 1 a.m.! I know ... not your typical bedtime routine for three little ones, right? I figured we would head home and have the girls in bed a little later than usual, but they kept playing so well and behaving we lost track of the time for the most part. By 12:30 though, the oldest and youngest had fallen asleep in various spots, but Natalie (18 mos.) was still going strong. She had all the adult attention to herself and was being a charmer.

Because I'm an early-to-bed person myself, I'm thankful that nights like these are not the norm. But, it was well worth it for the chance to catch up with these wonderful friends that I miss so much. I am thankful for friendships that stand the test of miles, but can pick up right where they left off. And another bonus, I'm thankful that there was a little sleeping in around here this morning!

So, if you are looking for me today, at the moment we are curled up watching Sesame Street and will follow that with a morning nap and rest time for all. So thankful that we have no where to go today and can catch up from our fun and late night.

For more Thankful Thursday, visit Iris at Sting in My Heart.

Monday, August 20, 2007

That Time of Year

Even though the weather doesn't show it, fall is fast approaching. And, one of the best signs of it around the blogosphere ... a renew drive to organize and schedule and get back on track after the relaxing and luxuriously lazy days of summer. (Well, not all that lazy, but it's definitely been more laid back around here). : ) I'm not complaining - it's been a good thing for us with the new baby and adjusting dynamics.

However, I'm jumping on the same band wagon as several friends and am working on my first "schedule" for us here at home. I mentioned in this post about our/my desire to do a little preschool with Noelle this fall. (Thank you so much to everyone that responded ... your comments have been sooooo helpful. More on that in a minute). : ) That said, one of my wishes has been to put together a little daily plan for us for a guideline. It is not my strength at all to sit down and play games with the girls ... it's way to easy for me to distracted by the laundry or lunch or other work. The schedule is for focus for me just as much as it is for the girls. : )

Okay, my computer time is up for the moment! More on preschool later... : )

By the way: Over at Women at Home, one of the coolest places on the web, evah, we've been discussing menu planning and organization in general. Several asked and I offered some of the forms that I use to help with my menu planning. (I'm a freak - I love to organize and plan our meals.) If you are interested, these are all PDF downloads and you are welcome to use them. : )
~ Family Favorites - this chart is broken down into breakfast, lunch and dinner columns. Sometimes it helps me to see my meals laid out that way (especially if I'm tired of making toast every morning for breakfast - it's a good reminder of other options that I could put together for the girls).
~ Family Favorites 2 - this one is where you break your recipes down into different categories, ie., chicken recipes, pasta recipes, kid-friendly, crockpot, etc. I use this mainly for dinner ideas. You could totally use this for a weekly planner. For example, I have seven columns/categories of meals. Assign one to each day of the week or whatever day it works better for you. For us, Wednesday is a crazy day because I have bible study at church in the morning and Noelle has Awana at night. That means on Wednesday I cook from the "kid-friendly/make-ahead" column since that night we are usually eating as we try and walk out the door.
~ Meal Planner

Menu Plan Monday - 8.20

I'll preface this menu by saying that we are REALLY low on groceries and I can't go shopping until at least Thursday (Travis' payday). While we are not going to starve, I don't have much extra to wing it this week. When the cupboards are super-bare, I usually ended up planning EVERYTHING out so that I don't suddenly realize that we don't have food for breakfast or something.

Monday:
B: toast or oatmeal or blueberry muffins (leftovers)
L: quesadillas
D: chicken stir fry with mixed veggies (frozen) and rice

Tuesday:
B: toast or oatmeal
L: hotdogs, peas, apple slices
D: homemade pizza

Wednesday:
B: toast or oatmeal
L: pb & jelly sandwiches, applesauce or yogurt
D: potluck with friends' (so we can hang out with out-of-town friends that are here). I'm taking fruit salsa (think I have all the ingredients) with tortilla chips and a green bean cassarole

Thursday:
B: toast or oatmeal
L: chicken nuggets
D: spaghetti, garlic bread, some veggie

Friday:
B: cereal
L: quesadillas
D: tacos for the adults, girls will probably eat theirs in tortillas

Saturday:
B: cereal or toast
L: going to a birthday party at a local lake/beach so probably something like pb&j and chips
D: breakfast dinner

For more menus, visit Org Junkie!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Remember #10


Remember #10
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

Remember: Be creative. Try new things. I am going to learn how to sew. Little dresses for my girls. Skirts for me. Learn a new skill. And keep trying when it's hard.

Posted a little early since I have a baby shower to attend in the morning.

Question for You

I usually hesitate at throwing out questions here on my blog ... mostly because I'm worried no one will answer. : ) (But don't feel any pressure. Seriously).

I'm curious about preschool. Noelle is going to be 4 in October and we currently don't have any plans towards putting her in a formal preschool. At the moment, we are leaning towards homeschooling when she is ready to start kindergarten. That said, what have you done for preschool for your child(ren)? Did you do a formal 2-day a week (or more) preschool program? Did you work on anything at home that was more structured? While my goal is not to have her reading before she's ready, I do want to work on some table skills with her as far as listening and following instructions appropriate to her age level, and also have some fun mama-and-Noelle time that is just for "big girls." : )

Thoughts?

Remember #9


Remember #9
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

Coffee is good. Especially when you are drinking good coffee. Always remember to set the timer on the machine. Buy a fun and favorite cup just for coffee.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Remember #8


Remember #8
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

Invest in friendships. They don't happen overnight and they take hard work and commitment. But a close friend is a treasure. A confidante. A gift from God.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Irony

I find it ironic that the day that I post my "remember" layout on making better choices in eating healthier, that this is what I made my girls for breakfast for fun:

chocolate chip cookies.
It's been sooooo hot here lately that we haven't been able to do much of anything, so we needed a fun treat. My girls were pretty suprised with breakfast - their faces were definitely worth it. : )

Remember #7


Remember #7
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

Remember: It's not hard to eat healthy. You just need the right ingredients. Less of the junk and more of the good stuff. Rosy cherries, nutty-tasting whole grains. Good stuff.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Menu Plan Tuesday

Yesterday menu, posted today! : )

Monday (a.k.a. last night): Parmesan chicken, corn, rice
Tuesday: Pork Chop Romance (crockpot), instant potatoes
Wednesday: chicken soup with rice and frozen veggies
Thursday: eggs & toast
Friday: pizza
Saturday: pasta with either spaghetti sauce or alfredo sauce (will decide then depending upon the mood!) : )

Remember #6


Remember #6
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

Remember: Having good books sit on the shelf does nothing. Pick one up and learn a little everyday. Read for fun. Read to grow. Read to laugh and cry. Open a book.

Monday, August 13, 2007

So...

I haven't been posting a whole lot lately, other than pictures and projects. : ) Working on some decluttering around the house and been pondering lots o' things that aren't blog-worthy yet (or may never be). I also have an 18-month old that is pushing my buttons big-time right now and needs a little extra attention and love so that we both survive this season!

Thanks for all the sweet comments on my "remember" album. I really enjoyed making it ... and sharing it.

Remember #5


Remember #5
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

Remember: there is a big world out there. It's easy to get bogged down in today and here. I want to see the world - travel to far far away someday and experience it.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Remember #4


Remember #4
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

Remember: study a little bit every day. Don't get overwhelmed. Even if it's one verse. Makie it a habit. Probably the most important one. Spend time with Him.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Remember #3


Remember #3
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

Remember: Marriage is for keeps. For always. Even when it's tough. Especially when it's tough. Love him. Respect him. Submit to him. And enjoy.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Daily Something 8'10'07


Daily Something 8'10'07
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

Friday Felicities
~ things that make me happy

~ apple green
~ chex mix
~ Fridays
~ air conditioning
~ iced tea makers
~ girls that are clean and smell good

because some days you just need to color with crayons

Remember #2


Remember #2
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

Remember: I have one shot at being a Mama to my girls. What do I want them to remember of me? What do I want them to know? Make memories today.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Remember #1


Remember #1
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

Remember: the Lord is our God! And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Love God.

Deut. 6.4-5

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Remember


Remember
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

A journal of things I want to remember and that I want to pass on to my children, with much love.

August 2007

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

How you fit three girls in a TINY bedroom


How you fit three girls in a TINY bedroom
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

Lu asked me how we got all three girls into one bedroom and this is the answer. : ) Two cribs and one twin bed. If we stay in this house, we've talked about getting twin bunk beds for the girls and we could have FOUR in this room. That gets a little claustrophobic to me, so we'll see.

Just a note, the pictures on the back wall were taken by my Dad. : ) You can click the picture to see it bigger in Flickr and see the notes on it.

Monday, August 06, 2007

An Original Composition


We'll see if I did this right. Behold Noelle's original composition. In case you can't understand her enthusiastic singing, the lyrics are as follows:

The fox, the fox
The fox wore socks
The fox wore socks
When he played the blocks

Brilliant.

Saturday's Project


Saturday's Project
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

I've had this shadow box frame since Christmas and have had no idea what to do with it. This is going to go on the girls' bedroom door when Travis has a second to securely mount it on there for me. : )

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Marriage Meme #2

Found at Karla's.

1. Where/How did you meet?
We met at church. Travis was new to Nashville and looking for a church. My Dad introduced us that morning when he found out that Travis was a musician (I was on the music team at church).

2. How long have you known each other?
Seven-ish years.

3. How long after you met did you start dating?
About a year.

4. How long did you date before you were engaged?
6 weeks.

5. How long was your engagement?
10 months

6. How long have you been married?
5 years tomorrow!

7. What is your anniversary?
August 3.

8. How many people came to your wedding reception?
Best guess would be 200-plus.

9. What kind of cake did you serve?
I cannot remember for the life of me. It was pretty though. : )

10. Where was your wedding?
At the Scarrett-Bennett chapel on Vanderbilt University's campus - a stone church that held about 300-350 folks.

11. What did you serve for your meal?
We didn't have a formal meal since we were married at 1 p.m. - heavy-type snacks. But again, I don't really know because I don't think I ate anything.

12. How many people were in your wedding party?
Twelve. Five bridesmaids and groomsmen a piece plus our flower girl and ring bearer.

13. Are you still friends with them all?
Yes. Almost everyone who was in our wedding party, with the exception of the best man (my husband's brother) and one of the groomsmen (who is in seminary) lives here and we still see them regularly.

14. Did your spouse cry during the ceremony?
No, neither of us did.

15. Most special moment of your wedding day?
For me, was when we had a few moments together before pictures. We did all our pictures before the wedding so after I was ready, I went inside the chapel and Travis met me there. We had a few minutes to ourselves before we rejoined our bridal party and took lots of photos.

16. Any funny moments?
My neice, our flower girl, growled the whole way down the aisle. Her way of coping with nerves I guess. : ) But she did make it down the aisle!

17. Any big disasters?
Not a one.

18. Where did you go on your honeymoon?
Yellowstone National Park.

19. How long were you gone?
Eight days.

20. If you were to do your wedding over, what would you change?
Not one thing. : )

21. Greatest strength as a couple?
We work really well together as a team.

22. Greatest challenge as a couple?
Sometimes we don't work well as a team. : ) I occasionally can be, um, stubborn.

23. What did you dance your first dance to?
No dancing - not enough room! However, there was jazz music playing in the background and we entered our reception area to the Star Wars fanfare. : )

24. Describe your wedding dress:
How about a photo:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

25. What kind of flowers did you have at your wedding?
See photo above. : )

26. Are your wedding bands engraved?
Mine is not - his is. With Genesis 2.18 and the date.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Eight Things About My Marriage

A marriage meme ... in honor of our 5th anniversary on Friday. Tagged by Stephanie.

1. I love being married to Travis ... he is the only guy I've ever kissed and really dated. I love that.

2. I am several years older than Travis. SEVERAL. Do you want to guess how many? : ) Most people don't realize that because I look so young. LOL

3. We started our marriage by a one-week honeymoon at Yellowstone National Park, planned entirely by the husband. It was fabulous. No phone, TV, internet for over a week.

4. We've lived in two homes since we've been married - a two bedroom condo and our current house.

5. In our marriage, Travis handles the finances and budget. That is a Good Thing. All part of him being an amazing provider for us.

6. He is a supercalafragalisticexpialidocious kind of Dad! Our girls ADORE him and I love it. Case in point: I went to a baby shower last night and left all the girls home with him. They had a ball with Daddy complete with hide-and-go-seek games and I'm sure there was some jumping on the bed time. : )

7. He is a better housecleaner than I am. However, I am slowly warming to his desire to purge our house of all extraneous material and that, also, is a Good Thing.

8. He is my defender, 2nd only to God. There have been a couple situations where he has risen to my defense and has totally blown me away with the seriousness with which he takes that role. Makes me feel unbelieveable loved and cherished.

I'm going to tag Pattie, Maria and Cheri if you want to play along. : )