Dedication

Bet you thought this would be another post about Cora! :) HA! Nope, this one is about Rebekah. We have dedicated Cora and Benjamin to the Lord as infants and wanted to do the same for Rebekah. I think we waited the longest on her, but we got it done this past Sunday! We decided to just go nuts and add her dedication to the crazy birthday weekend! Why not? We had such a special day celebrating Rebekah and dedicating her to the Lord. Our good friend and fellow pastor, Kevin, performed the dedication (and then had to leave to go lead his own church service!), and we were thankful for his service in this! We pray for Rebekah that she will want to follow the Lord and accept him as her Savior at an early age. We have chosen life verses for all 3 kids, and the one we picked for her is Psalm 34:8. It says, “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man (or woman!) who takes refuge in him!” Our prayer for Rebekah is that she will see that the LORD is good, and she will always take refuge in him. After church we all went out for lunch at one of favorite restaurants! It was nice to just relax and be with family and not be responsible for any of the food! HA! We love our Bekah and are so blessed to have her as a part of our family!

A photo I took before church...I sure do love these little muffins!

A photo I took before church…I sure do love these little muffins!

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Mimi and Grampy!

Mimi and Grampy!

Ma-ma and Pops!

Ma-ma and Pops!

Great Grandma Marie!

Great Grandma Marie!

We are fam-i-ly!

We are fam-i-ly!

Sisters!

Sisters!

Ben is always so proud to hold Rebekah!

Ben is always so proud to hold Rebekah!

A Birthday Party!

On Saturday we had Cora’s greatly-anticipated Hello Kitty birthday party! She was SOOOOOOOOO excited to have her party with her friends and cousins!!! She could hardly contain herself! We had invited all the girls from school (about 7), her  cousins and also friends from our small group. All said we had 17 kids (and that included Micah and Rebekah). The kids seemed to have a lot of fun, they were so well-behaved, and Cora was showered with a lot of wonderful gifts. I was shocked at what such nice things she got! She was blessed greatly by her friends!

Cora and I printed off some Hello Kitty coloring pages for her friends to color. It seemed to be a big hit!

Cora and I printed off some Hello Kitty coloring pages for her friends to color. It seemed to be a big hit!

Bekah with Grampy!

Bekah with Grampy!

My dad built this awesome soccer goal for Cora! It was a lot of fun for the kids to use at the party too!

My dad built this awesome soccer goal for Cora! It was a lot of fun for the kids to use at the party too!

"Pin the Bow on Hello Kitty"

“Pin the Bow on Hello Kitty”

I had planned another game, but it went over like a lead balloon, so we did "ring around the rosey" and "duck, duck, goose!" Those went much better!

I had planned another game, but it went over like a lead balloon, so we did “ring around the rosey” and “duck, duck, goose!” Those went much better!

I love these Hello Kitty ear muffs!

I love these Hello Kitty ear muffs!

Blowing out her candles

Blowing out her candles

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Micah! Last year at this time we were anxiously awaiting HIS arrival!

Micah! Last year at this time we were anxiously awaiting HIS arrival!

Our always-a-ham Ben!

Our always-a-ham Ben!

Sophia, my beautiful niece with her youngest cousin

Sophia, my beautiful niece with her youngest cousin

Riley! He asked my sister, "will there be running at Cora's party?" Yes, there was running... :)

Riley! He asked my sister, “will there be running at Cora’s party?” Yes, there was running… :)

The usual, obligatory cousin photo! Haddie had celebrated her 4th birthday the day before and Micah will be turning ONE this week!

The usual, obligatory cousin photo! Haddie had celebrated her 4th birthday the day before and Micah will be turning ONE this week!

Birthday Celebrations

Thursday was Cora’s b-day, as I mentioned last week! We had a lot of fun for her big day. We got donuts for breakfast, and she requested pizza–ordered, not made by me–for supper. We invited Grandma to join us, and then after supper Grandma treated us all to ice cream! I think our birthday girl had a great day, and she said she had a fun day and felt special at the end. We had a lot of fun celebrating her too!

We started the day by giving her her gift from us--a camera! She was SO EXCITED!!!

We started the day by giving her her gift from us–a camera! She was SO EXCITED!!!

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Happy 5th Birthday!

Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday DEAR Cora! Happy Birthday to you!

I can NOT believe I am not the mom of a FIVE YEAR OLD!!!!!!! HOW has this happened????? Where have the last 5 years gone? How is this even possible??? But, here we are, March 27, 2014, five years after Cora was born! What a wonderful 5 years it has been with her. She is such fun, such a delight, such a sweetheart. We feel so blessed to have her as our daughter. To have her part of OUR family! She is sensitive to the needs of others. She’s a good friend and sister. And, she is just so much fun!

I have really enjoyed this past year. Cora has reached a point of such maturity. She’s more self-sufficient and more capable to help in ways that are actually helpful! It’s fun watching her personality develop, her likes and dislikes take shape (and sometimes change on a daily basis!). She is really into picking out her own outfits, doing everything on her own and wants to help out with everything!

We have also noticed a real softening of her heart toward the things of the Lord. We can see the wheels turning, and her questions about Jesus and how we’re to live are becoming serious and more introspective. We pray she makes the choice to follow the Lord at an early age.

We will have a day full of stuff Cora loves today–I’ll write about it later. Saturday we’ll celebrate her with a party with her friends, cousins, aunt/uncle and grandparents! I’m excited about that! Be prepared for a blog post full of Hello Kitty birthday fun!

To you, my dear daughter. I love you more today than I ever thought possible. I’m so proud of you! You are beautiful, both on the outside and the inside. I can’t wait to see what all the Lord has in store for you. I love you so very much!!!! HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY CORA ANN!

This was yesterday at preschool. She has her helper badge on AND the birthday badge! She was SO PROUD of them!!!

This was yesterday at preschool. She has her helper badge on AND the birthday badge! She was SO PROUD of them!!!

The Festivities Begin

Cora LOVES Hello Kitty. And so, we’re going to have a Hello Kitty birthday party on Saturday! More on that later…However, we’ve already started some of the festivities and preparations. At preschool each child gets to be helper on the school day closest to their birthday. That just happens to be today for Cora! And, they get to bring the snack, which of course is always a more special snack than usual. I thought it would be fun to make Hello Kitty cookies for her to take as the snack, and the rest will be taken to her party on Saturday. I will say that I understand now why one pays so much for decorated cookies. Very time-consuming. I have done a lot of cakes, but these were my first cookies I did more than slap some icing and sprinkles on. In fact, Cora said, “Mom! Can I put the sprinkles on?” She was so perplexed we were not going to be doing sprinkles! HA! In any case, I got most of the decorating done before Cora was home from school but left the eyes and nose for her to help. We had a good time, and she was so excited by the outcome. I have to say, for my first cookie-decorating attempt I was pretty proud, too! Oh…and it took me a couple hours to do 25…I think I have 34 left to do for the party. I may resort to sprinkles…

Make sure you have a very lovely assistant!

Make sure you have a very lovely assistant!

They came out a bit puffier than I was expecting...oh, and these are just good ol' sugar cookies.

They came out a bit puffier than I was expecting…oh, and these are just good ol’ sugar cookies.

I made a thick glaze and shmeared that on each cookie for the trademark white Hello Kitty. It was smooth and hardened pretty a quickly, which is what I wanted.

I made a thick glaze and shmeared that on each cookie for the trademark white Hello Kitty. It was smooth and hardened pretty  quickly, which is what I wanted.

I bought black gel icing and used that to out line the head, the bow (which consisted of 2 big circles and a small one in the middle) and the whiskers. This is what took so long. When I do the rest of the cookies I'm going to cut the tube so the opening isn't so big.

I bought black gel icing and used that to outline the head, the bow (which consisted of 2 big circles and a small one in the middle) and the whiskers. This is what took so long. When I do the rest of the cookies I’m going to cut the tube so the opening isn’t so big.

Then I made pink frosting and used a large star tip for the big circles of the bow and a smaller star tip for the middle.

Then I made pink frosting and used a large star tip for the big circles of the bow and a smaller star tip for the middle.

My LOVELY assistant then put a chocolate chip for each eye and a Lemon Head for the nose. I put a dot of the glaze down first to act as glue.

My LOVELY assistant then put a chocolate chip for each eye and a Lemon Head for the nose. I put a dot of the glaze down first to act as glue.

The finished product! I know the Lemon Head is a bit big and round, but it works well, is the right color of yellow and according to Cora tastes GREAT!

The finished product! I know the Lemon Head is a bit big and round, but it works well, is the right color of yellow and according to Cora tastes GREAT!

A Weekend to Remember

Have you ever heard of Family Life Today? They are a non-profit, Christian organization dedicated to strengthening marriages. They have weekend events called “A Weekend to Remember.” These are all over the country, and they happen throughout the year. David has become friends with a man in our community who was a pastor and is now the chaplain of our local police and fire departments. He also works for Family Life Today. He mentioned to David that FLT gives scholarships to pastors to attend the weekend for free (except cost of hotel, but the event has a discount set up with the hotel). And so, we went over the weekend! The hotel it was being held was literally 15 minutes from our house, but because they want you to stay at the hotel to be away from life’s distractions (and kids!) we stayed at the hotel and my MIL stayed here with our kids.

It was a great weekend. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to stay for the Sunday morning sessions, but we did got to the rest. It was also a very hard weekend. The intent, I believe, is to get you and your spouse talking. There are people there on the brink of divorce. There are newly weds and one couple there had been married for 53 years! They also had pre-married folks and everyone in the middle. I don’t care who you are, how long you’ve been married, there is always something you can work on in your marriage.

You are forced (and it might be a true “forcing” for some couples) to be with your spouse and pretty much only your spouse. They don’t provide any meals, you have to go out and feed yourself. At first I thought this strange, but then figured it’s so you have all the time you can to talk with your spouse. They do not encourage buddying up with other couples. They really encourage you to stay a couple and do everything together. It’s only for 2 days, after all!

The speakers were really good and added a lot of humor, seriousness, honesty about their own marriages and Scripture to what they were saying. I appreciated that. They also had a very good set up of books and resources for your family–from stuff for kids of all ages to you as a couple. Would I recommend this to people? Absolutely!!!! Will we go back? Probably at some point! Who knows? It was the right time and place for us to go this past weekend. We went in to it asking the Lord to open our hearts to the things he would have us hear from him. I truly believe that happened and for that I’m thankful!

To be Content

It’s hard to be content sometimes, isn’t it? I mean, there is always someone more beautiful, richer, has a nicer house, better clothes, etc. I think our society does a really great job at making us feel inadequate with what we have and who we are. However, the Bible tells us to be content in all things (Philippians 4:11). But, let’s face it, it’s HARD to be content in ALL things! At least I find it to be so sometimes. I don’t think I’m a person who is constantly looking for the greener grass, but I do go through periods of time where that is true. Have you been there?

I’ve been thinking about all this because of a Facebook page I’ve joined recently. It’s a page that women can buy & sell their stuff for cheap. All you have to do is go to the person’s house, pick it up and leave your money. It’s been a wonderful resource for us! I’ve bought clothes, shoes, items for all of us off the site, spending very little money. For example, a brand new pair of shoes for Cora for $5! Two pairs of pants for me, with tags that said $108 (each) for $7.50 a piece! You just can’t beat that. Although I find this site to be very helpful for many things I have also noticed that it’s easy for me to become discontent with what I already have and have been blessed with. I have driven to many a FANCY neighborhood, places I will probably never live, nor would really want to, and then come back to my humble home and think, “yikes! Hope none of these ladies will buy something I’m selling!” How silly! How ridiculous! It’s just stupid, really. My home is beautiful, well-built and exactly what we need and WANT. We can afford it and are not house-poor. We don’t worry from month to month how we’ll pay the mortgage. But, Satan knows just how to make us feel inadequate, doesn’t he?

The other night we took the kids to get ice cream, yes, for supper! It was so much fun, and we were all having a grand ol’ time. In walk a gaggle of kids and most of them were wearing designer winter coats. I looked at my kids with their faces covered in chocolate ice cream and thought, “I hope those moms don’t see I have hand-me-down coats for my kids.” Just as soon as I had the thought I was so ashamed! How ridiculous!!! My kids have perfectly good coats, they’ve been kept warm all winter, the coats are nice, not ratty, not torn, nothing of that nature. God provided these wonderful coats for our kids, and they’ve never questioned the labels on them. Why should I? That little internal incident made me stop short and realize just how ridiculous things have become in our society and have filtered into my mindset recently. We’re buying designer everything for our kids, who will only wear them for a season at best. And why? Simply because we want to be sure people know we love our kids and can provide for them. Pure silliness and insanity!

Don’t get me wrong. If I find good deals on items I know are well-made, I buy them. But, in our family our motto has never been to buy the most expensive just because. And, in all reality, our family is more than happy to take hand-me-downs! It’s all a matter of our selfish humanness. And, I suppose our insecurities and not fully trusting the Lord. And so, after the ice cream incident I am more resolved to thank the Lord for his GREAT and MIGHTY provisions and not give a whit what other people put on their kids or selves.

Is this something you have struggled with? What have you found to be the root of it?