Friday, October 26, 2012

I have a sign hanging in my kitchen that quotes the above quote. I like the quote...but honestly, I hate sticky floors. I hate messy kitchens. I hate laundry piles and dirty ovens. I am not the neatest person you'll ever meet, I'm not very good at dusting and washing the windows. But throughout the day, I am always cleaning. I do the dishes as I cook and bake. I put things away in-between everything we do. I can NOT leave the house when it is messy. I can't stand having an un-vacuumed floor.  I'm crabby when the house is messy, especially when I've already cleaned it once that day.  

I love a clean house. I feel so content when there's no mess, no clutter, and everything is in its place and candles are burning. 

The problem is, I too often focus on cleaning. I'm always doing the dishes and saying , "Just a minute Alexys, I'm almost done." I clean while the girls are eating breakfast. I clean while they're watching a movie. 

I hate cleaning. But I can't help but do it all the time. I try to let it go for half a day and focus on the girls more, but then I end up overwhelmed at the bigger mess that I have to clean up later. (Where the mess comes from with just 2 small girls & in a small place is beyond me, I can't even think about what the mess will look like in a bigger place with more kids!!)

For awhile, I really thought that it was okay for me to clean up while the girls were doing something like eating or watching a movie. But lately I have realized, they like it when I sit with them at the table. They like to just be with me and cuddle on the couch while watching a movie. They like to know that I am focusing on them and giving them my full attention. 

The other day, our house was a disaster. I mean, almost messier than it's ever been. Jayson was working and Addyson was napping and all I wanted to do was clean. Meanwhile, all Alexys wanted to do was dance. She kept asking "Mom, come dance with me? Hold my hands!" The first couple times, I said "hold on Alexys." (I was doing the dishes) She kept asking. I started thinking about it & realized that these were the moments with my daughter that I would look back on and miss. The moments when all she wanted to do was dance with me. And I realized that I did NOT want to look back on these moments with regret, knowing that I passed them by because a clean house was more important than dancing with my daughter. 

So we danced. For about an hour. Holding hands, dancing around the living room. 

Of course, she had on her princess dress. She loves wearing it. She loves twirling and watching her reflection in the TV. She let me get a couple pictures at the end :) 

I think it is important to maintain a clean house, but not at the expense of my children.  They already grow up so quickly and I don't want them to grow up thinking that a clean house was my top priority. Wanting to do children activities all day already doesn't come naturally to me, so being obsessed with cleaning doesn't help anything. I want to WANT to dance with my girls, read them books, play play-doh and color, and take them to the playground. I want to stop rushing through these things (or not doing them at all) because I'm thinking about the cleaning or other tasks that needs to be done. 

In the story of Mary & Martha in Luke 10:38-42, I am Martha. I'm so busy doing all these things, but not taking to time to stop and listen and spend time with those around me.  It is my prayer that my heart would be changed and that I can find a balance. That I can be ok with a less than clean house. That I will slow down and ENJOY my family. 

Today, I want to DANCE. 

I invite you to join me...put down whatever you are doing and dance... with your spouse, your children, with your friends, or with yourself :) The cleaning will be there tomorrow (I know, that wasn't assuring to me for awhile either, it sounded awful)...but today will pass by and your kids will grow up and you will not get these moments back. Just the memories. So let's make them beautiful! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

How YOU can help Nico

Remember sweet Nico??? Our family has been praying for him for awhile now and that a family would step up to adopt him. And praise God, THEY HAVE!! The McIntee family has committed to Nico and are working SO hard to raise all the adoptions costs and get to him as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, Nico is in a region that requires 4 trips and the estimate for their total costs of Nico's adoption is $54,000.God has been opening doors and moving mountains for the McIntee family, but the financial aspect is still a huge mountain standing before them.

SO,  here are some ways that YOU can help!!  <This is Kara's blog <This is their families FSP on Reece's Rainbow, both of these websites are important if you want to help, need more information, or want to stay updated :) 

1. Please PRAY. 
God has led the McIntee family to Nico and He will make a way for them to get there and raise the money. Kara's family believes that and so do I. But please pray that God would show them the way, that the process would go smoothly and quickly, that God would sustain Nico and keep him healthy and loved while he waits, that the fundraisers would be successful and that the McIntee's would stay encouraged through this long road. 

2. iPad giveaway. (click here to view)
There is an iPad giveaway going until October 31. For every $5 donated, you get an entry into their giveaway. The grand prize is a 16 gb wi-fi iPad. There is also a strider balance bike, a Baby be Blessed doll, a starbucks gift card, and a drawing by Nico's future big sister that will be given away! You can donate to their Reece's Rainbow FSP (here) or to their pay pal widget on their blog. They have access to the pay pal widget money NOW for current costs and they will have access to the FSP money when they receive travel dates. Make sure that if you donate and want to be included in the giveaway, to LEAVE A COMMENT ON KARA'S BLOG!! (Especially if you donate through Reece's Rainbow, Kara will NOT know about your donation UNLESS you tell her!) If you donate to their pay pal widget, you will get double entries!!  You also will get a free entry for sharing about the giveaway!  If you still have questions, please feel free to ask me or Kara!!

3. Amazon orders. 
A lot of us love to shop & order things online a lot, especially through Amazon. The amazing thing is that if you click on the Amazon link on the right side of Kara's blog, and THEN place your order, Kara's family will get a percentage of your purchase. How easy & awesome is that!? The only thing you have to do is visit Kara's blog, click on the Amazon link, it takes you to Amazon and you place your order like you normally would! Please note, that items ALREADY in your cart do NOT count. You need to add items to cart AFTER clicking on the link from Kara's blog. 

4. Buy coffee!!
I would say "Who doesn't love coffee?!" but unfortunately, I don't. BUT I know that I am part of a very small minority that doesn't! Click on this link here and go buy some coffee!! Proceeds from each purchase will be donated to Nico's adoption. AWESOME!! 

5. Down syndrome awareness bracelet giveaway
This beautiful bracelet has been donated & for a $10 donation, you can have a chance to win it! Once there are 20 $10 donations made, a winner will be drawn! You will need to notify Kara if you have donated and want to be included in this giveaway!!

There are SO many ways to help the McIntee family. If there isn't one that interests you, you can still just make a donation to them, pray for them, and share the giveaways to reach more people! Please don't hesitate to ask any questions. 
Let's rally around the McIntee's & help bear the burden and make their load lighter. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

a little of this & that

Forrest is on My Family Found Me!! I have LOVED this boy & am so happy to see him on MFFM, can't wait to find out more about his family!!

Kendra has a Christmas Warrior! After a few weeks of no one committing to be her Christmas Warrior, Jayson & I started talking & praying about if it was something God wanted for us to do as a family. By that night, someone else had already committed. She has some new pictures and she is SOO cute, I love her so much! 

It was my goal to raise $100 for Enoch by October 31. On October 4, I had a moment of panic when I realized it was already October and that I had to raise it by the end of THIS month. I was collecting pop bottles, mostly from family & friends but hadn't made it out door to door yet. I decided to do it that night, but as soon as I got to my parents to get the wagon and had the girls ready, it was raining. Sometime inbetween my moment of panic that morning & later that night, Enoch went from $28 to $111!!! Some was from pop bottles generously donated but I have no idea who else helped, I am so thankful to everyone that donated money and/or pop bottles!!! THANK YOU!!!

Nico's family has an iPad giveaway going on for the month of October!
You can visit Kara's blog here to get all the details! You will get an entry into the giveaway for every $5 donated! You can donate to their ChipIn or to their Family Sponsorship Page (tax deductible) on Reece's Rainbow. The funds to their ChipIn will help them NOW. Their family sponsorship funds will help them for travel expenses later. If you donate to their ChipIn though, you will get double entries! :)   Nico is in a very expensive region & they have a lot of money to raise, so I'd love it if you'd at least check the giveaway out or consider sharing it! 

Zannen is being adopted by the Rutherford's, who are from West Michigan!! I'm so excited for a local family to be adopting from Reece's Rainbow!! This Saturday they are walking in a Step Up for Down Syndrome walk. They have decorated a wagon with TONS of pictures of waiting children to help raise awareness. They are also working hard to raise funds to bring Zannen home. If you would like to make a pledge to help support their walk, you can do so here on their Family Sponsorship Page!! Prayers & donations would be awesome to help encourage this family & show them support!! 

I have been on a gluten free diet for a couple months. For whatever reason, this time it hasn't been a huge struggle for me to be on it. I try to eat naturally gluten free b/c gluten free products are EXPENSIVE & often taste AWFUL!! WELL, I want to tell you, we found the most AMAZING pizza crust! Even Jayson loves it (which is very rare, mind you!!) & it's only $3.50ish.  So incase you or someone you know is on a gluten free diet and looking for a good gluten free pizza, try this one!!! :) 

We sold our trailer about a month ago. We need to move out by December 20 so we have been on the hunt for a new home! Our plan is to move into Kent County so that Jayson can have in-district tuition rates for GRCC. Luckily we have some time b/c it has not been easy or fun trying to find a place that has enough space for us, is within our budget, is in a good location, etc. We have looked at a 4-plex, a land contract, a house for rent. Ideally we wanted to rent a house or duplex that would give us enough space for awhile and not have to worry about having to move again in the next couple years if we have another child. But now, we are thinking we will probably keep it simple (for now) and just move to a 2 bedroom apartment at Ramblewood. It wouldn't be a lot further from Jayson's work and is in a central's close to Target, Meijer, the mall, everything I would need! :)  If our family grows in the next couple years, we'd just have to take it as it comes and go from there. BUT, if anyone knows of anything for rent in Kent County, let me know! Still keeping our options open! :)

That's about all I have for tonight, so now I'll just leave you with a couple pictures of my adorable, growing girls!!