Tuesday, August 27, 2013

10 Reasons to Love Mickey & Minnie Mouse

My grandpa gave me my first Mickey Mouse when I was a baby. Ever since then my Mickey and Minnie Mouse collection has grown and continues to grow as people learn of my small obsession with these cute ears. Now I find Mickey and Minnie even more EARresistible and here's some reasons why...
  1. The ears are EARresistible! Seriously. They look cute on car seat covers, shirts, purses, shoes, diaper bags, mobile's over a crib, strollers, knitted hats, teething rings, etc.etc.
  2. It's a great couple's Halloween costume. (Do you think Kyle would go for this?)
  3. Mickey and Minnie's voices were actually a husband and wife duo.
  4. Walt Disney was full of creative spunk who dedicated his life for the betterment of children's lives, and it all started with a mouse!
  5. Mickey has a friend named goofy (who is a dog) but has a dog dog named Pluto as his pet. L.O.L.
  6. They offer plenty of decorating potential, including (but not limited to) a cute nursery. And an adorable 1st birthday party (coming soon...).
  7. No matter where you go shopping, you'll find Mickey and Minnie Disney products (and no that isn't creepy!). You'll find them in Wal-mart, K-mart, Target, Dollar General. When you visit Disney Land or Disney World the signs have ears on them and the ice cream is in the shape of Mickey Mouse himself! I mean, cripes, he's everywhere! Woohoo!
  8. And this...
  9. And this...
  10. And this...

Do we have to limit it to 10?!

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Mommy & Her "Deere" [Baby Shower]

When I took over the task of throwing baby showers for all the new mommy's in our church I didn't realize the plethora of ideas that came with it. I'm all about party planning, but now, I can whip out a plan or two in just a few minutes thanks to Pinterest, Punchbowl, and the experience I've had thus far. This John Deere shower was no exception.

I always ask the mommy if she's going with a certain theme for the nursery. I haven't had one similar response. There's so many creative women out there! Cassidy's hubby is a farmer and obviously a John Deere fan, so she decorated little Aleeah's room with John Deere. So that's what I did for her shower as well. It all turned out so cute. 

Cassidy and her little "Deere" Aleeah

Colors: Pink, Green, and Yellow

When you walked through the door you saw...

I try to do something new and unique for the guest book. This time I wrote Aleeah a "Deere John Letter" except I wasn't trying to break her heart, here's what I wrote and the guests signed around it:
Deere Aleeah, How precious you are to so many. There's love aplenty. We wish you the best in all you do. We will pray for you in whatever you pursue. Remember to celebrate each day. Don't forget to pray. Give thanks for all your blessings. Let God take all your worries; nothings worth stressing. Delight in God's Word. If you live by it, your focus will not be blurred. In Jesus alone take refuge. His knowledge, His grace, His embrace is HUGE. Love, (all the guests signed it.)
Signed and Framed.

Guest Book table.
I made the little onsie's with puffy paint, here's a close up:
Daddy's "Deere"
"That's how I roll!"
Each table was set up with a table runner (that was John Deere wrapping paper) and vases of wild sunflowers. I made Kyle drive me to a random ditch to pick them and I didn't even make a dent there are so many. They're beautiful.
I love this picture.

Who knew wrapping paper would make such a fantastic table runner?!
The food table was the highlight...
Dirt cake.
Chocolate donuts as "Tractor Tires"
Rice Krispies as "Hay Bales"
Gone Fishin'
Daddy's Corn Dip. (This stuff is highly addicting. I got the recipe from here. She calls it "Irresistible Corn Dip" and she's not kidding. The only thing I added was shredded cheddar cheese. Yum!)
The "John Deere Punch" consisted of sprite, lemonade, pinapple juice and lemon and lime slices.
The set up.
As is tradition when I throw a baby shower, I read a children's story. This time I read the classic, "The Little Red Hen" who finds a grain of corn, but nobody will help her plant it, reap it, take it to the mill, or make the dough. So nobody will help her eat the loaf of bread either. It lead right into the devotions. I told them that I wanted to be careful relating the parable of the sower to "The Little Red Hen" because I doubt the author of "The Little Red Hen" was thinking of the parable of the sower when it was written and I seriously do not think that Jesus had "The Little Red Hen" in mind when he told his story either. But stories and parables have this amazing ability to teach lessons that everyone can understand. Jesus knew parables and stories were a common way of teaching for Jewish Rabbi and "wise men" from the east. In other words, the crowd He was speaking to were familiar with this form of teaching. Jesus told the parable of the sower to the crowd (Matthew 13:3-9) and then explained the meaning to the disciples (Matthew 13:18-23). The seeds are God's Word, the ground is our heart, we can either let it take root, be grounded in it and not be swayed when trials and tribulation come; OR we can hear the word, but let the things of this world become more important; or let sin become what rules our life; or love it at first but when trials and tribulations come we forget it. It's important to not only hear God's Word, but let it take root, study it, live by it, let it change us and mold us into the likeness of God, so that when trials and tribulations do come we are GROUNDED in God's Word, with deep roots, and will not sway. We must (as James says in James 1:22) to "... be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving  yourselves." Just like a Farmer who WORKS hard to produce fruit, or the little red hen who WORKED hard to produce a loaf of bread, we too as Christians need to WORK hard to produce GOOD FRUIT and it starts with God's Word. Do not be like the other farm yard animals who too busy with everything else to want to help and thus missed out on the reward.

The game was guessing baby food "from the farm". There were six different types. The winner received the delightful John Deere cookies (click here to see how I made them).
The labels were taken off and each tub of food was labeled with numbers, there were six: green beans, squash, beef and beef gravy, peas and carrots, and sweet potato and carrots.
The prize.

Mingling, chatting, giggling, and trying to figure out the beef and beef gravy combo (Yuck, everyone guessed it was TUNA!).
Mommy Deere asked specifically for wipes and diapers (smart mom!). So I made her a diaper tractor, click here to see how I did it.
I wish I would've taken a picture (do I say that in every shower I host?!) of the awesome John Deere diaper cake another woman from church made. It was cuuuuute.
She walked away with a ton of stuff. I hope she felt blessed. This shower was originally planned for the month of July, but little Aleeah decided to come a couple months early! Scaring the beejeebes out of mom and dad. Mom spent 5 weeks in solitude with her 4 pound baby, but looking at her now you'd never know. She's a growing, healthy baby girl. Thank the Lord for answered prayers.
Cassidy and Her Little Deere
I have a couple showers coming up, one involving cupcakes and the other giraffe's. I'm super excited about spoiling both of these mommy's as well. The ladies of our church are amazing. The same women attend shower after shower after shower and spoil each mom with a plethora of much needed items. I am forever thankful for them because without the women who are constantly there when these momma's need them, these showers would not be worth my time and effort. Until next time ladies!

Friday, August 23, 2013

First Time Obedience

I was having this discussion with a mom of four marvelous young men,

Me: "I've been thinking a lot about how imperative it is that Brielle responds to my saying, "NO!" immediately. Lately, she wants to chew on electrical cords plugged into the outlet. There's no way I can go around the house and unplug everything from the wall just because Monster Bean wants to eat it. Due to this new desire of hers, I've been thinking about the importance of "NO!" long term. Like, for example, if my two year old daughter is running into the street and there's a car coming, I want her to respond immediately to my "NO!" I don't want to have to count, or bribe, or watch her "test the waters" because I'm not just saying "NO!" out of selfish ambition, I'm saying it for her own safety! So how do I help her understand that? Is this even possible?"

Mom of 4: "YES! It's called First Time Obedience."

I think I might have overwhelmed her with questions. First time obedience? We continued to have a marvelous discussion about discipline, expectations, and such. She has told me on numerous ocassions that there was no such thing as terrible two's or troubled three's in their home because that behavior was not tolerated. (Inwardly, I'm thinking, "Ha! Yeah, right!") However, her logic made so much sense, "If they hear you calling them terrible or troubled, then how could you expect them to act differently?" It definitely makes sense when I see her with her four teenage boys, I always feel this overwhelming desire to know more. Her knowledge level is FAR above mine in the area of parenting. I was expecting this long drawn out, detailed plan that she followed, but her advice about parenting is so, so simple (not easy), simple! I was shocked, "You mean that's it?" She assured me that it was. I was extremely grateful for this experienced mother's advice who's already had the opportunity to learn from her mistakes and know what works and what doesn't. I trust her advice because ALL of her boys are polite, well behaved, smart, independent, young men who are a joy to be around, in other words, whatever she and her hubby did... WORKED.

When I got home I decided to simply "Google" first time obedience and see what comes up. What I found blew me away. It's obviously controversial (what opinion about parenting isn't?!) but this concept isn't a new one (except to me) and there's A LOT out there for a mom like me who's interested in pursuing the topic. Rather than summing them all up, I thought I'd share a few of the websites I liked and let you explore them as you wish:

- She makes some great points here: http://themomiwanttobe.com/index.php/be-a-better-mom-monday-cleaning-up-your-parenting-require-first-time-obedience/
- A GREAT source as well is: http://www.childwisechat.com/2011/11/17/first-time-obedience-first-things-first/
- I LOVED this blog and immediately became a follower: http://www.babywisemom.com/
- I'm definitely getting the book that she suggested: http://www.itakejoy.com/first-time-obedience-really/

I guess you could call me a FTO mom! Until the other day I didn't know there was such a thing. Do you know how amazing it is to have women who share in Biblical truths when it comes to raising a child? I'm so thankful that I'm not alone and that I don't have to "write or re-write the book."

Now, it's your turn. If you are also a FTO parent, PLEASE, please, please tell me what's worked for you! View this post as a FTO Q&A.

[By the way, you can pretty much expect me to share my experiences as a FTO mom. Perhaps I'll call it "First Time Mom Seeking First Time Obedience" or "This Mom's First Time Obedience Journal/Journey" or "Adventures of a First Time Obedience Mom" or .... well, you get the idea.] 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Photo Tour: A Day in the Life with My Monster Bean

She's into everything and it looks like a tornado hit my home whenever she plays. I thought I'd give you a photo tour of the day in my life with my precious monster Bean. Starting with the kitchen.
This is mild compared to the norm.
Ahhhh... this is more like it.
She found a kleenex and decided to rip it apart into a bunch of tiny pieces.
Sometimes furniture is also misplaced. Yes, she did this all by herself as I watched in absolute amazement over my 10 month old's strength.
She walks behind this and got frustrated at the carpet that prevented her from going any further.
This is the bookshelf in her room. She LOVES to take the books off the shelf.

One of her favorite activities is taking items out of tubs, baskets, boxes, and drawers. This is her shoe basket, there were shoes EVERYWHERE. She hit our room next, opened my underwear drawer and scattered them everywhere, but I refrained from taking that photo for the sake of my audience.
Thankfully the stairs are blocked off, otherwise I'd have to show you her mess in the basement as well. Usually, the upstairs has toys scattered throughout every single room: kitchen, dining room, living room, hallway, her room, our room... so what I've shown you here isn't even the half of it. I pick it all up as soon as she goes down for her nap. I've gotten pretty good at it - it only takes a few minutes!
She's awake! "I'm coming over to YOUR house next!" ;)
Now it's time for a snack and that is an extremely messy ordeal.
I don't know how, but she had avocado on her ankles even! (In reality, she should hit the bath 3 or 4 times a day.)
Once she's done eating and she's out of her highchair, it starts all over again! Usually we go outside (she loves the outdoors) and she pulls the grass out of the ground, or throws the sand out of her sandbox, or tries to follow the puppies around (Marley definitely thinks she's a monster!). I'm always finding grass, sand, and dirt in her diaper. Oi.

Here's the thing, I want her to have siblings, but I can't imagine what my house is going to look like with more Monster Lowery's waddling around my house. I'm excited for those adventures too (someday, not soon, but someday). I think I need to make this sign:
A Day in the life with my Monster Bean is filled with little messes like this, but it's all worth it as I watch her grow and her personality develop. She stole my heart and there isn't a better person with which to spend the day, even if she is a monster mess.
But seriously, we are coming to your house next!

Monday, August 19, 2013

My 11 Month Old!

In one month I'll be saying, "My 1 year old!" and that seems so weird to me. I think that every mom could agree on this one piece of parenting advice: treasure every single moment, before you know it they're all grown up! I hear that every where I go and I couldn't agree more as I reflect on the last 20 months with my little bean. It seems like yesterday I was announcing my pregnancy and now I'm starting to plan a birthday party!

She's an ornery little booger who's obsessed with the dog's water bowl, a book titled "I Couldn't Love You More" by Matt Hammit and Jason Ingram, bath time, her blanket, and pointing at everything. Wherever we go she points at something and looks at me with wondering eyes. She's also starting to point at things she wants like her sippy cup, Kix cereal, the pictures on the refrigerator, or her blanket.

Speaking of obsessed...
... be careful when you open something (closet, refrigerator, underwear drawer). She is right there to explore.
... and last month she randomly decided to LOVE a pink Minnie Mouse blanket. Whenever she see's it her excitement is obvious as she giggles and crawls to it as quickly as she possibly can. Once she has it in her arms she gives it "aw, aw, aw's" (which is what we call our lovey dovey cuddling), she's starting to say it with me, "Are you giving mommy aw, aw, aw's?" Then she'll lean in close and melt my heart with her hugs and kisses.

Her kisses are SO cute! She makes the smooching sound by smacking her tongue on the roof of her mouth and then sticks her tongue out as you lean in to "give kisses". It's kinda gross and absolutely adorable all at once.

She also randomly decided to start using a pacifier last month. For the first few months of her life she considered them a toy so I just threw them all in her toy basket. Now they're precious items when she goes down for a nap, when we're in the car, or when it's bedtime.
This is actually a pacifier cover that she randomly found and is trying her darndest to suck on it. IT. WAS. HILARIOUS.
She's starting to become more cuddly. I soak it up, because those moments were never very frequent, and now she gives "aw, aw, aw's" as we read a book, or when we're playing. She's a very busy, busy child so I'll cherish those "aw, aw, aw's".

She loves to grab my fingers and "run" to a destination. There is no "walking" and I have a feeling that the moment she figures out that she can take that first step (without holding onto me) I'm going to get my exercise. She's tried taking her first step, but it failed and I think she's a tad nervous to try it again. She does push cars, toys, and chairs around the living room and kitchen as she walks behind them. She looks like she belongs in a "mighty man" competition as she grunts and pushes with all her might. She's a strong little booger.
She's strong, but teeny tiny. She finally grew into a size 2 shoe!

She LOVES to talk on the phone.

Pureed food is suddenly not her thing. If she doesn't want it she'll scrape it off her tongue and YELL. She'd rather pick it up HERSELF and eat. She LOVES corn on the cob, avocado, beans of any sort, chicken, and banana. However, this girl would live off Kix, bread, or graham crackers if I let her.

Oh, and she also LOVES chocolate shakes. A girl after my own heart.
She smacks her lips when she wants something to eat.

Her giggle is contagious.
Quigley is her best friend. They follow each other around the house all day long.

Photo Favs:

Checking out hail for the first time.

She accidently honked the horn in Poppy's truck and she did not like it! This pic is a favorite not only for her expression, but Poppy's as well! Too funny!
My next post about Brielle will be her first birthday! I'm guessing by that time she'll be walking (ahem, running) and keeping me on my toes (not that she doesn't already do that). She reminds me of a little Tigger, bouncing around from here to there, enjoying life, making the smallest things an adventure. Life is never dull in our house between her, crazy Quigley and our Marley Man, but we wouldn't trade it for the world. In the last 20 months this little girl has turned our life upside-down. She has shown us the meaning of love. We feel blessed beyond words and a month from now I'll be reflecting on our year with her... so ta-ta for now!