Mommy Daughter Day

Today I had a much needed date day with my daughter, Emily!  As a homeschooling mom, I am with her 24/7, but we are usually focused on making sure chores, schoolwork & errands are done.  We don’t always make the time to stop and smell the roses, so to speak.

Today was just a day to do that.  No chores.  No errands.  Just fun. 

We started the day meeting our Friday playgroup at the park for some fun in the sun.  Emily got a few hours with her friends, and I enjoyed my time with the other mommies.  After lunch, we headed off on our date.

 

First stop – Starbucks!  We needed a potty break and I thought a couple drinks were in order.  Tea for Mommy, juice for Emily.

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We then headed to Hobby Lobby where Emily had requested time to just wander around and look to her heart’s content.  She is such a crafty girl at heart!  Usually when we go in Hobby Lobby we are picking up supplies of some sort and in a bit of a hurry.  She has been asking for some time to just be able to browse and really look at all the fun goodness in that store.  We spent 3 hours in there today, and she had an absolute blast. 

New hair clips, anyone?

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I think she could have spent a couple extra hours just on the row with all the hard animals.  So many to choose from!

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Next stop was Petsmart.  We don’t have a zoo close to us, but that’s ok because Emily loves the free trip to Petsmart.  She loves to see the kitties, birds, lizards, hamsters, and all the dogs people bring in. 

After we had exhausted the animal entertainment, we headed to one of our favorite local used bookstores where we found a few deals we couldn’t live without. 

After the bookstore, we were both running out of steam.  It had been a long, but fun day.  We stopped at the grocery store for some cheese, crackers & pepperoni to make a snack tray for dinner and also grabbed some ice cream for a treat.  Normally we just make our own at home, but this was a splurge.  She had requested frozen yogurt, so we stopped in a new place to check it out.  I requested to see their ingredients to make sure it was safe for us to eat, but after looking at the list of chemicals on the ingredient label and realizing how few real ingredients were in this “frozen yogurt”, we decided to skip the Fro-Yo place, and just grab a good brand of store bought ice cream instead. 

We set up our snack tray, grabbed some ice cream (topped with melted chocolate and fresh strawberries), and enjoyed our dinner while watching Andy Griffith. 

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What a blessed day!  I’m so thankful for these special times with my girl.

Secret Keeper Girl Mother-Daughter Time

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A couple of nights ago, I had the privilege of attending an incredible event called Secret Keeper Girl Pajama Party with my daughter, Emily.  We even wore PJ’s that I made myself!  I made matching ones for Emily and her sabertooth tiger, and a different set for myself. 

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The 3-hour event was an evening for moms & daughters (ages 8-12) to have fun together while learning about modesty and inner beauty.  The focus was on teaching the girls (and moms!) that they are children of the King of Kings and are absolutely precious and loved – just the way they are.  They were taught that they are PRINCESSES with a Heavenly Father who is madly in love with them – whether they prefer being a “girly-girl” or a “tomboy”. 

“The King is enthralled with your beauty; all glorious is the princess within her chamber.” (Psalm 45:11a, 13a)

There was a lesson on labels and how we often label ourselves with things like “ugly”, “stupid” (the “S” word!) or “unloveable”, but those labels are LIES and God’s word tells us otherwise.  God made each of us to be different on purpose, so we need to stop comparing ourselves to others and feeling inferior.  Instead, we should take those labels OFF and replace them with God’s Word!

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We had time to talk with our daughters about any labels that they are carrying and then to pray with them.  We also had a giant “popcorn” fight with huge inflatable balls, and even did the chicken dance!

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We got to watch a fashion show – modesty style – with some cute, fun style ideas for the girls.  They even gave some great modesty tips like wearing a men’s or boy’s ribbed tank top under too-short shirts (the boy’s tanks are longer!), or putting leggings/pants under those cute (but too short) miniskirts or dresses (that look more like shirts).   They also taught some tests you can do to see if your clothes are modest enough before wearing them out.  Those tests can be found on the SKG website.  It’s all about keeping our "secret parts” – still a secret!  Let’s let our little girls stay little as long as possible, please.

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SO MUCH FUN!  Check and see if there is a tour coming to your area and if so, take your daughter!  I think next year, I’ll make a full date of it and take her to a hotel for the night for some extended mommy-daughter time.

Deep Thoughts (about bacon) by Emily

My daughter’s mind works in mysterious ways.  It is truly staggering how much information must be speeding around on the superhighway that is her brain.  It’s no wonder this child doesn’t stop moving.  Even her mind never turns off.  I absolutely love the imaginative ponderings that come flowing out of her – in the form of made-up stories, songs, questions, metaphors and similies.  I wish I could record her all of the time.

Today I caught on quickly, grabbed the camera and asked her to start over.  This was going to be good.  After all, it was about bacon, sin, and God.

You have to know as you listen to her that she prefers her bacon as UN-crispy as possible.  You’ll understand why I point that out in a minute.

You have to watch this.

That’s my girl! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Can you lick your elbow?

This morning while I was in the shower, Emily came running into the bathroom.

“Mommy!?”

“Yes?”

“You know how they say it’s impossible to lick your own elbow? Well, I can almost do it!! Do you want to see it?”

“Ummm, not right this minute.  I’m a little busy.  (Did she not hear the water running?)  I’d love to see it when I’m done here though."

“Ok! It’s really cool!”

She could hardly stand to wait until I was fully dressed before showing me this amazing trick.  I was definitely impressed because she does in fact get very close to accomplishing this feat whereas I can get my tongue nowhere near my elbow. 

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I laughed a little after she barged in the bathroom with her HUGE news as I thought about the cliché that mommies don’t even get to go to the bathroom alone.  My daughter is 8 and rarely interrupts me while I’m in the bathroom anymore, but apparently this news just couldn’t wait.  It’s definitely one of the things I truly love most about children – they are so easily amused and find joy in the simplest of things.

It also made me think about how thankful I am that God is never too busy to listen to me.  He is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  Always. Anytime.  He can listen to countless conversations at the same time.  That is beyond my understanding because I can’t even listen to 2 people talking to me at the same time!  He wants to hear about the big stuff as well as the small stuff.  He wants me to talk to him about everything!  He wants to rejoice with me when I learn something new, or when I have a great day.  He also wants to comfort me when things aren’t going well at all.

In this busy world we live in it’s hard for us to imagine having a friend that is never (ever!) too busy for us, but we have one.  Not only is He not too busy for us – He’s eagerly waiting for us to talk to Him.  Even about your latest tongue-to-elbow trick!

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,

for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matt 19:14)

I hope my daughter will always come to me – with her joys and her sorrows.  However, since there will be times that I am unavailable (I do need to shower!) – I am thankful for the relationship she already has with her Heavenly Father and that she knows without a doubt that He is always there.  Everywhere.  Anytime.  All the time. 

JRTC – Take 2

Yesterday at O-Dark-Thirty, I woke Emily up out of a deep sleep so we could buckle her in the car, take Rob to work and say goodbye for the next month.  He’s off to JRTC again.

My husband is the King of Packing! Seriously.  When we go camping, he always amazes me with his ability to make everything fit in the truck, but packing for his military trips just bring it all to another level.

Somehow he managed to get all of this (and even more stuff not shown)…

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…into this:

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That’s for an entire MONTH, folks!

Amazing!

This time, we don’t have a scheduled deployment planned, but his brigade will take on the role of the Global Response Force (GRF) starting December 1 so they are preparing as though they are deploying.  The Global Response Force is a military force in readiness, able to deploy at a moment’s notice to anywhere in the world for a variety of missions including defense and humanitarian.  In civilian terms, his brigade is “on call” for an entire year should they be needed anywhere to do anything.  The brigades rotate this responsibility and it’s their turn.

We’ve known this was coming for quite some time so we’ve been able to prepare.  Besides, after dealing with the deployment the thought of him going away for “only” a month seems pretty easy.  I know the time will pass quickly.  After all, it’s fall – my favorite season ever – so we’ll be spending lots of time outside enjoying the cooler weather.

The departure was a little hard on Emily of course, but overall she is incredibly brave and her faith in God keeps her strong.  She is truly an amazing little girl! She is super proud of her Daddy and totally understands that he is doing his job.  She also knows that God didn’t just call her Daddy to this life – He called our family.  That means we work together as a team to support each other.

The night before Rob left, Emily had trouble going off to sleep.  She needed extra hugs, songs, and cuddles from Daddy.  She finally went off to sleep with her Daddy Doll in one arm, and her favorite stuffed elephant in the other.  Isn’t she precious?

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(Yes, I am well aware we need to update the Daddy Doll! Emily tells me often that we need one with an Airborne beret. Working on it!)

Before we said goodbye, our family gathered around and we all prayed together for our family during this upcoming month.  We continue to say, “Here we are, Lord!” and we pray that we will see opportunities to serve Him and give Him glory even during these times apart.

On the way home I played one of Emily’s favorite songs – “Stronger” by Mandisa and we belted out the words together.

Hey, heard you were up all night
Thinking about how your world ain’t right
And you wonder if things will ever get better
And you’re asking why is it always raining on you
When all you want is just a little good news
Instead of standing there stuck out in the weather

Oh, don’t hang your head
It’s gonna end
God’s right there
Even if it’s hard to see Him
I promise you that He still cares

[Chorus:]
When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain’t gonna last forever
And things can only get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger
Gonna make you stronger, stronger, stronger
Believe me, this is gonna make you Stronger

Try and do the best you can
Hold on and let Him hold your hand
And go on and fall into the arms of Jesus
Oh, lift your head it’s gonna end
God’s right there
Even when you just can’t feel Him
I promise you that He still cares

[Chorus]

‘Cause if He started this work in your life
He will be faithful to complete it
If only you believe it
He knows how much it hurts
And I’m sure that He’s gonna help you get through this
When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain’t gonna last forever
In time it’s gonna get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger

When we got home, Emily and I crawled into my bed and just held each other as we fell back to sleep for a while.  When I woke up she was next to me just reading and she said, “I feel much better now that we got some more rest and I got Mommy cuddles!”.

God is good!

We are committed as a family to making the best out of this next month.  I know that God will grow each of us in His own way and that through this we will draw closer to Him and closer as a family as the Lord prepares us for whatever is next.  We already know the next several months are going to be a whirlwind of coming and going as Rob attends some schools, so we look forward to watching our family grow and thrive in this military life.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Mommy-Daughter night & an indoor tree house

Recently while Daddy was working late, Emily & I had a Mommy-Daughter Campout in the living room.  We stayed up late, watched movies, and ate ice cream!  I slept on the big sofa, and Emily took the smaller one.  She decked it out in style though!

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She set up her house-tent up on the sofa complete with pillows, sleeping bag & stuffed animals.

When it was time to clean up the living room, we decided to move the house to her bedroom.  She has a loft bed, so putting the house on the top bunk made an instant indoor tree house!

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She was so excited and couldn’t wait to sleep in it!

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All ready for bed with her favorite stuffed animal, Peanut.  Even Peanut has a stuffed animal!

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Big lights out, and time for bedtime reading with her lamp inside the tent.

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Night-Night, Bugaboo!!

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Happy 8th Birthday, Lovebug!

Last week, our baby girl turned 8 years old. 

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It just doesn’t seem like 8 years have gone by since we brought her home from the hospital.  While I definitely miss some of those early stages from time to time, I am also really enjoying this age.  She is SO FUN to be around!  She is developing quite the sense of humor and loves to make people laugh.  She’s old enough to hold real conversations, to play fun games, to help around the house, and is starting to develop her own sense of independence.  She has her own goals and dreams for her life, and it’s so fun to see who she is becoming and to truly appreciate the unique person that God created her to be.    

Looking back over the years, it’s fun to see what has changed and what has stayed the same. 

Her favorite color is still RED.

Her favorite animal is still an elephant – with her all time favorite stuffed animal, Peanut!

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She’s still just as kind-hearted, generous, and loving – with a special heart for little kids and animals.

She still adores nature, playing in the mud, and is more at home in the water than anywhere else in the world.

 

One big change is an amazing sense of COURAGE that has blossomed over the past year.

 

She has always loved motion like jumping on the trampoline, running, & riding her scooter, but she’s also had quite a bit of fear about heights and falling. 

Just last year, she was nervous about jumping off this diving board:

THIS YEAR was a different story!  She wanted to go to a local water park called Fantasy Lake for her birthday.  They have a beach area and shallow water to play in, but also water slides & rope swings – both kid-sized and for the adults.  What a great way to spend a hot summer day, right?

We already had a hint this courage was growing when we recently went to an amusement park and she was less-than-amused with the “kid rides”, and much more excited about the rides with a minimum height requirement. 

 

This year on her birthday, our little girl went on this:

 

Did you just say “WOW!”?  I know I sure did when I saw her.  Honestly, I was completely prepared for her to climb UP the stairs, and back DOWN the stairs – but she just marched up there and went down that slide like she’d done it a million times. 

She did end up doing it 3 times.

Mommy and Daddy each did it ONCE.  At first I thought, “If she can do it, I can do it!”.  Then I got to the top of the stairs and realized that thing was a little more scary from the top, but I still couldn’t let an 8 year old beat me!

We are so incredibly proud of Emily! She has overcome some tough challenges and she is facing new ones head-on.  She has the most amazing trust and faith in God that many adults spend a lifetime growing and it carries her through each and every day.  I am so thankful that God chose to bless us with the miracle of Emily and that He continues to use this precious child to teach us more and more about Him & His love each day.

A picture is worth 1000 words

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Today is Day 4 of the Blog Carnival hosted by Wives of Faith. If you are a military spouse and like to write, jump on over and join in – you might even win a prize!

Today’s topic is:

“Picture It: It’s been said that a picture’s worth a thousand words. Post a photograph you’ve taken.”

This one was pretty easy for me because I have a picture I’ve been wanting to post anyway!  I can’t do it in one picture, but rather a series of pictures.

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To some of you that might look like an ordinary weed – something that takes over your yard where the grass should be, something you try to get rid of.

But you would be wrong.

What I see when I look at that little flower is BEAUTY.  I think of the delicate petals, the bright color of sunshine, and happiness – pure joy, even.  I actually look forward to spring when these little flowers pop up all over the yard.

Why?

 

Because of this…the bigger picture.

 

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For as long as I can remember, Emily has loved picking these flowers for me.  When she runs out to check the mail, she comes back with one for my hair.  After playing outside, she’ll come in with a handful of them and present them to me like a bouquet.  She loves to sneak up and put one in a place that will surprise me when I turn around.

Recently, she even put together an entire arrangement with sand, marbles, seashells and rose petals for me.  Isn’t it beautiful?

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Seeing her joy in these little flowers brings me joy, and every time I see a dandelion I have to smile!  God uses the ordinary, and makes them extraordinary – just like He uses you and me.

Lessons from a child

I often learn things from my daughter – like that Asian elephants have smaller ears than African elephants, or that tarantulas can go several days without food.  God also uses her often to remind me how to be more like Christ.

Today, as we were doing our morning chores and getting ready to head out for the day I heard her singing.

“Hallelu hallelu hallelu hallelujah, praise ye the Lord! 

Hallelu hallelu hallelu hallelujah, praise ye the Lord!

Praise ye the lord, hallelujah!

Praise ye the lord, hallelujah!

Praise ye the lord, hallelujah!

Praise ye the Lord!”

 

I thought to myself that she was certainly in a wonderful mood and as I looked to see what she was doing, this is what I saw.

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Yes, one of her chores is cleaning the cat’s litter box!  Not only was she doing it without grumbling or complaining, she was PRAISING the LORD while doing it!  What an awesome example, that girl!

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky. (Phil 2:14-15)

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 2:23-24)

When the toys are away, the imagination will play!

We are moving to a house off post this upcoming weekend, so most of our belongings are already packed and our house is full of cardboard boxes.  Since it was our choice to move from on post to off post, the Army doesn’t do the packing and moving for us like they usually would.  Bummer! I really enjoyed that last time.  Actually, it’s not too bad – we even managed to score some free moving boxes from someone else that had just unpacked from a move.  Someone is always coming or going on an Army post!

Lovebug can’t wait to play with the cardboard boxes (her favorite toy) once we unpack, but for now she’s having to make do with whatever she can find that hasn’t been packed yet.  Yesterday, she created an “igloo” in the middle of our living room and spent the majority of the day sitting inside and reading her new library books.  After spending some time in the sunshine today, she’s now back in the igloo enjoying a snack and a good book!

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