Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday Favorites...Party Plans, Date Night and More

Happy Friday! I've had so much fun joining in with Friday Favorites and getting to "meet" fellow Mamas in the trenches that I'm hopping in again. This week is short and sweet. :)

I cannot believe that my little surprise miracle baby is turning one (OOPS! I'm so tired!) two in less than three weeks. I mean, I really can't believe it! Just how??? I'm not going over the top or anything for his party, but c'mon, he's my last baby! I'm 96.47% sure of where it's all heading, but I can't pull the trigger and order stuff, ugh. I'll be getting another birthday shirt from Etsy, so I need to decide TODAY! Planning special parties is one of my favorite parts of being a Mom, but this one is stressing me out a bit, ha. Hard to think I'll be planning Ethan's graduation party next. Nooooooo.

Here's a look at Levi's Wild One First Birthday Party if you want to see it:

 Full post HERE

Last night was DATE NIGHT. I cannot even remember when the last time we went out was. Sometimes we order in and hang out, which is awesome, but sometimes you just wanna get out of the house, right? We went to the movies for a one-night showing of I Can Only Imagine. Other than the frantic texts every ten minutes (Levi was NOT having it and settling down to sleep), we had a great time. :) Thanks, Mom and Dad! I owe you big time. I should add that Ethan was rocking Levi, who had finally given in and fallen asleep, when we got home. The sweetest big brother in the world.

The only picture from last night, hahahaha!! I don't know why my forehead looks so big here, it's not. And also, my hair has been so OFF this whole week. So frustrating. Also ALSO, the movie was so good. Very moving and inspiring. I want to add it to our family collection when it comes out.

Getting the opportunity to relive some of my most precious memories (from when the older kids were babies and toddlers) is so special to me. Having experienced some deep, painful losses and numerous adoption heartbreaks, I do not take this for granted. My heart is so heavy for those of you in the depths of waiting and longing, wondering when and if motherhood is going to ever happen for you. I'm lifting you up right now, and the Lord hears you and sees yo and wants the VERY BEST for you. I truly believe that. I just felt like I needed to say that, but what I was going to write was that I love experiencing toddlerhood with little Levi. He is learning new words every day now, and is developing quite the sense of humor, too. He's still shy and serious outside of the house, but yesterday at Story Time, he participated and smiled. I was so happy for him, trying new things and having fun. Now we're just waiting on park weather, and since we just got two feet of fresh powder- with another two storms on tow for next week!!!- I think it's safe to say that we'll be waiting just a bit longer. 

I worked out every day this week! Go me! My favorite work out is a nice long walk, BUT with this stinky cold and snowy weather, forget that. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit this, but I've been cranking up the volume and flipping through the music channels on TV, settling mostly on Hip Hop and Rap, which, if you know me IRL then you know I normally can't stand those types of music, ha! But they sure have a great beat to bust a move to...see what I did there? ha ha ha ha Hope you have a super day and a fabulous weekend! I've got to go get dressed already because Levi and I are taking Ethan out for breakfast! :)

Aw, he looks SO little there! And that walk contains a LOT of big hills! I think I'm feeling the need to justify my red face/chest and little ol' sweaty self, ha!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Mom Fail

Good morning! We have survived the blizzard and even have a delayed opening today to boot! I'm linking up with Shay and Erika today for How We...  can't wait to read them all!

I've been a Mom for over eighteen years now so believe me when I tell you, I have more than my fair share of Mom Fails under my belt. Don't worry, you'll get there, too. ha ha ha ha ;)

I'm going to limit myself to just this one today because I mentioned it on IG recently so it's fresh in my mind.

It was a super sticky hot summer day, and we were at the beach. Which obviously is right where you want to be on such a day. We were having a really good time...until someone left the cooler cover open and the birds attacked our food, ha!...well, I guess I'm laughing way more NOW than I was at the time, because four little hungry people become four over-the-top hungry whiny people real quick.

Still, we chased the birds away, had more fun, and after several hours it was time to go home. Now at this particular beach, once you leave the hard-packed sand, the trek through the shifting and super HOT sand is absolutely treacherous. Just torture. So we go as fast as we possibly can to make it to the boardwalk area and the bath house. And this is the place where things come unglued real fast.

Poor Isabelle. She started to lose it. First she lost a flip flop in the rough sand, but didn't tell me, and then she started crying about how hot her foot was. I didn't realize she didn't have her shoe, so when I figured that out, we had to go back for it. And you know the only thing that's worse about a torturous walk out of the beach? Yup. Having to go BACK and retrace your steps. Ugh. Plus, she had decided to keep falling to the ground and dragging herself through said hot sand, which not only made her such a mess, but I'm sure it didn't feel very good either! So she was hollering all about that, and I was already getting "looks" from passersby.

So we finally made it to the bathrooms and changing rooms, and we are both sandy and sweaty and MAD. The boys were waiting there AND rolling their eyes at us, because boys. And they were already done. Again, because boys. So I was rushing on top of everything else, and we all know nothing good comes of that either. I must add here that a HUGE group of people had just arrived, and lots of them were now in the bath house. I had never seen it that crazy full before, so that upped my stress level considerably because crowds and I are not too simpatico if you catch my drift.

Poor, poor Isabelle. She was near hysterics but she was actually doing her best to keep it together because she knew I was going to lose it. I was not gentle or patient or any of the things that I want to be, and she had sensed that she better just roll with it. Which actually breaks my heart a little now. Doesn't that sound so sad?

So we got changed in a mad dash and I grabbed her hand and literally pulled her through the entire rest of the room and to the parking lot, where the boys now were. There had been SO many people running around and bumping into people, I was terrified of losing her in a crowd. In hindsight, why didn't I just pick her up? Was I carrying something else so I couldn't have? Was she too heavy for me to carry? I'll never know. Dumb hindsight, ha!

We arrive at the van, and Ethan gives me this weird look and says, "Why isn't she wearing her dress?"

I fully remember being so confused by his question, like, "Why would you ask something like that?" kind of puzzled. And annoyed, because it was NOT the time for jokes, so I almost yelled at him, too.

So I finally look back at her for the first time since mad-dashing out of there and see it: my poor little girl was standing there in her little Dora underpants, and nothing else, with tears streaming down her face. Obviously I thought I had pulled her dress on over her but it was clutched in my other hand in a death grip. I was so distracted and panicky (I hated the idea of leaving the boys unattended for any longer than absolutely necessary, so that's a part of it) that I didn't even realize I never put her dress on her before marching her out of there.

Lesson learned: I never left another bathroom/changing room without making sure she was wearing clothes again!

And she forgave me. Though this incident gets brought up more frequently than I'd have imagined, by her AND Ethan, ha ha ha!

This is the kind of mess that I was trying to deal with in a stinky, overly crowded, postage stamp sized bathroom stall...and also not have to touch anything! Do I sound defensive???  ;)

And I'm just throwing this in because it makes me so happy :)

Mamas, this feels like YESTERDAY and forever ago all at the same time...and now Ethan is heading off to college this year! Make the most of your time!

**added later**
I couldn't leave off a photo of just my four babies when we have FIVE babies...and as I was searching I came across this- one of my very favorites!!!!

Okay, here is my tribe of five! :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

This Week's Menu + Recipes

We're bracing for our THIRD nor'easter in two weeks here and the snow is already falling. Thankfully my husband is working from home and schools everywhere are canceled- everywhere is cancelled, we have gone soft in recent years, ha ha!- so I don't have to worry all day about anyone having to drive. Oh! I just remembered that Jonah works this evening...we will have to discuss that one later...

So moving on, I love seeing what other busy Mamas plan for their family's meals, so I thought I'd share mine from this past week. Honestly I wish we could go out to eat more, but the cost is INSANE with all these big appetites around here, so we really don't eat out all together very often anymore. I'll post the recipes I've blogged about...enjoy! If you have any questions, ask away!

I guess this post should actually be titled: LAST week's menu, but... ha ha

Or how about this for an alternate title: 147 plates to prepare! That's three meals a day, times seven people! Seven. It doesn't normally phase me, but when I was writing it all out, it seems like a LOT.

Jonah's birthday!!!
Breakfast: donuts
Lunch: leftover pizza...score!!!
Dinner: BLT's on specialty bread, corn chowder - so good!- and strawberry shortcake

Breakfast: eggs on toast
Lunch: easy homemade macaroni and cheese
Dinner: Hungry Jack casserole, peas, squash (I don't think I've blogged about this one but it's a favorite! I will have to remedy that soon.)

Breakfast: Donut Wednesday!!!! (apple fritters...kinda donuted out, ha!)
Lunch: chicken sandwiches, snacks
Dinner: I really cannot remember, and neither can the kids, ha! So I'll post another favorite: beef stew in the crock pot & EASY homemade yeast rolls

Breakfast: SNOW DAY! apple pancakes, sausages

Lunch: ummm...sandwiches? toasted cheese sandwiches I think...
Dinner: kielbasa & noodles (adults ate veggie-heavy pasta salad), squash

Breakfast: puff pancake with fruit
Lunch: frozen pizza, snacks
Dinner: burger & fries Friday

Breakfast: Dad's homemade waffles with berries - no recipe, but you gotta include a pretty waffle picture, amiright?? ;)
Lunch: soft pretzels & lemonade iced tea at the mall...oops! But it was SO yummy!
Dinner: baked fish, sweet potatoes & potatoes, steamed carrots, steamed baby spinach

Breakfast: blueberry muffins, scrambled eggs & hash browns
 (eek! that's an old one!!!)
Lunch: tuna sandwiches
Dinner: quesadillas & nachos

Share some of your favorites in the comments, or if you have a similar post, include a link! I love getting new ideas! :)
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