July 02, 2014

Great Big Answers

Friends, for the sake of this post being as cool as I'd like it to be, I'd like you to do a little back reading....or at least remembering. Bear with me, it'll be worth it!

If you recall, back in January I told you about my "prayersolutions" which was my version of new years resolutions: The things that I was going to pray for in the coming year written on a little blue and brown card. My card is pretty well covered with names and situations and while it covers a pretty vast pool of Life, my card's subjects have one thing in common-all of them were BIG prayers. You know, the kind that cannot be fixed with a little elbow-grease and chocolate chip cookies....They are all much bigger than that.

And a few days later I shared with you one of the prayer requests on my card: A Friend For Ransom. 

Well, in the last month or so, God has really answered that prayer with a little boy named Jacob who moved here with his parents from Fort Bliss and who got connected to us through mutual friends. And, PS, I'm not even kidding when I say, I had FORGOTTEN that I had blogged about Ransom wanting someone to play baseball with, until we were literally sitting at a baseball game with Ransom's new little friend this past Saturday.


So, yeah, we've got a God of details answering our prayer, people!! 

Ok, so I tell you that to say, the other day I was praying over my prayer card and I was thanking God for answering that specific prayer when I felt the Lord telling me that He was going to answer MORE of my prayers! "Whoa, I thought, that's pretty huge!" basically the Ransom getting a friend was one of the "smaller" prayer requests on my card! haha! 

But, sure enough on Wednesday of last week, God rocked my socks off and answered yet another long standing prayer of my heart that I did not see coming! You see, right underneath where I had written, " a friend for Ransom" I had written " Get to Baptize Someone"  ( it was circled in an artsy cloud for emphasis) -this prayer came specifically from reading the Great Commission that the Lord gave to ALL His people before He left Earth the first time:

 "Go, make disciples of all people, baptizing them in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them all that I have commanded you and behold, I am with you always even to the end of the age. " 

So, I figured, even though I doubt Jesus would hold it against me if I didn't baptize someone, I felt like it was something worth praying for! However, in my mind it was very churchy in nature: I'd meet some young girl, and share the gospel with her, she'd start meeting with me regularly and would start following Jesus and then when she decided to get baptized after a few months I would get to do it....yup. That's my embarrassing little story of what I thought would happen! 

Instead, I got sick. So sick that every time I had an opportunity to go and be a part of the little Bible group that we had started with some ladies nearby, I seemed to never be able to go ( you can read the details here.) In fact, I only got to go once. And then the second time I got to go ( I was thankfully on antibiotics again) we were scheduled to talk about God's command to get baptized! BUT before we even got started the older lady we were meeting with said, "So, I have a question: I was raised Catholic, so I was baptized as a baby, but I read in the Bible that Jesus was an adult and he was also dunked when he was baptized. Why can't I be dunked?! I want to be baptized like Jesus!" 

We were dumbfounded! And we laughed! And we told her that we just so happened  to  have planned to talk about Baptism that night! And so, by the end of the evening Debbie had decided she wanted to be "Dunked" and she wanted me to do it! 
After having met me twice. 

And we were going to do it in three days. Boom. 

I went home on cloud nine, and as Brett and I talked about it, it just became even cooler.  Because, you know that story that I had invented in my head about how God would answer my "baptize someone" prayer? Well, that story had a lot to do with me. I didn't see it at the time, but at the end of the day I could have given myself a serious pat on the back. "Go me! I totally changed someone's life and now they are getting baptized!" But instead, it wasn't that way at all! There was no way that I could take credit for the Holy Spirit's moving! In fact, we didn't even get to take credit for doing an awesome job of sharing a bible study about baptism! Because the Holy Spirit had already put it on Debbie's heart before we even got there! 

In fact, the only thing that I had even the slightest regret regarding how God had so miraculously answered my prayer was that, my mentor and friend Deb actually had the same prayer request on her prayer card ( actually, I'm not sure if it was on her prayer card, but I do know we'd talked about how much she'd like to get to baptize someone!) and on the night that Debbie ( I know, two Deb-names, keep up!) had asked me to baptize her, my friend Deb was at my house taking care of my children. I felt guilty. I felt like I had somehow cheated, but little did I know, but God had THAT worked out too! 

On the day of the baptism, it ended up that Brett was also going to be baptizing his long time friend Ash, who also had never been baptized and who, on Thursday, mentioned to Brett that he felt like it was something he needed to do. Of course, this time we weren't even surprised! Of course, the timing was perfect! And so we all met with friends at a neighbor's pool and waited for a last few people to arrive.  And then I found out that another couple had asked to be baptized as well! And sure enough, when they arrived, the wife asked for my friend Deb to baptize her! 

And so, I shouldn't have worried, God once again took care of every detail. In fact, from the Holy Spirit moving Debbie to say that she wanted "to be dunked" on Wednesday night, we had four people get baptized on Sunday. The Lord continues to remind me that He is truly a Big God who can do Mighty and Great things. 


And so as we all take a look at our prayer cards ( even if yours is figurative) I hope that this story encourages you to pray for Great Things. We have a very great God! 

Now, I'm super excited to see what other cool things get answered from my prayer card soon! ;-) 


June 22, 2014

For my friend.

Hey! so, I bet you're wondering what's going on with my Tabitha/Priscilla Story? Well, truth be told it's slowed to a snail's pace; and in thinking about it, I think one of the major factors is I'm getting to a part of our story that includes some characters that I feel like my writing skills have trouble describing. I just do NOT think I can do them justice!

However, this month marks the birthday of my friend KJ.  This is kind of a special birthday for KJ; for one, he's going to be a teenager and two, it's his first birthday in heaven. I really want to do something special to celebrate such a big birthday event, and I want you all to join me, so I put aside my inability to express myself fully to tell you this:


I met KJ a few days after I went to live in the Ronald McDonald House in Houston, TX. My husband Brett and I had both been praying that my time at the House would be well spent and that I would be able to make some friends while I was there (I was pregnant with twin girls-one who’d already gone on to be with Jesus and the other who was still fighting for Life), and KJ and his mom Jane quickly became part of the answer to that prayer. It's strange to meet a person when they're in the middle of something as life-altering as cancer treatment. I realized quickly as I met people and started to live life with the other families at the RM house that we were all living in a very strange little bubble. A bubble of diagnosis, prognosis, treatments, pain, sickness, good news/bad news, choices and decisions and all that was messily piled on top of the day to day realities of being parents and kids. I could say much about the effects that bubble had on us all but I mention it here only because KJ was unique. Unlike many of the rest of us, the bubble did not seem to affect or define KJ. 
An 11 year old little boy from rural Kentucky, and yet he was really so much more. When I met KJ, he had experienced more difficulty in treatment and prognosis than many of the others at the house at the time. He wore the battle scars of brain cancer and he could have had every reason and excuse to live those scars out. But he didn't. He was so incredibly patient. Cancer treatment is unique in that it has the rare ability to be almost equally as ravaging and brutal to the body as the disease it is made to fight.  I would have dinner with KJ and Jane almost every day, and there were days when his treatment left him exhausted and in even more pain but I never ONCE saw him complain. Not once. He would take phone calls from family members and talk to adults that volunteered at the RM house with a maturity and consideration beyond his years. He made people feel special. He was able to see past his own suffering-and that was a gift.

KJ also had an awesome sense of humor. His wit was quick, so quick that you almost knew that his mind was always looking for ways to make light of situations, he did not let the difficulties of his current state bog him down, and it was almost like he was working hard to make sure it didn't bog down the people around him either.

KJ also had a Hope about him that was Other Worldly. I cannot imagine going through the things he was having to go through with the dogged faith that he did, but I can only say that it HAD to be the supernatural. That kid had such a calm peace about him! In fact, I can honestly say that he was the calmest, most at peace person in that place, and he'd be the first to say it was because of Jesus. He and his mom were continually sharing that they fully believed that Jesus could do All Things and KJ lived that faith out. It is True that Jesus can do All Things, because I saw Him do it in KJ.  

When I met him,  KJ was 11. I say that because he was so very much an 11 year old little boy. You know, the type of 11 year old boy who was super excited about the news that they were going to make more Star Wars movies and who liked to go to Comic book stores to buy just a few more Storm Troopers for his collection. He was an 11 year old boy who would tell me how he'd get up and try to get to the TV rooms before anyone else on Saturday mornings so he could watch the cartoons he wanted to see. He was still the 11 year old boy who loved Olive Garden, especially their pasta and bread sticks. Sickness had not touched these things about him, and it made me love him all the more! 

KJ and Jane and I were buddies, getting through our days in the “Bubble" for a little over 2 months. I was so grateful for Jane's friendship during that time and those 2 months together often feel much longer to me, especially the impact that KJ had on my own life as a mom and just as a person. I was in the very throws of mourning the loss of our yet-to-be-born daughter Priscilla, and watching KJ and Jane’s daily walk through life was balm to my sensitive heart. It was yet another reminder of the fragility of life. The remarkable Gift we are all given each day when we wake up. We all have a choice of how we live that oh-so-special day, and I wanted very much to live it a little bit more like KJ. 

After our daughter Tabitha was born ( healthy as can be, I might add!) I was excited to get back to the Ronald McDonald House for a day or two because I knew KJ was itching to meet her. He'd been eagerly waiting for her birth for days (as we all had!) and having him hold her and tell his mom, later, that maybe one day he'd like to be a Dad was maybe one of the greatest privileges of my life and( to me) made it totally worth it to be away from my own son and hubby for so long. As I headed back to my "regular life”, I'd get phone calls from KJ (he'd gotten his very own cell phone!) and we'd chat about the goings on at the Ronald McDonald House and he'd ask how Baby Tabitha was doing. 

A few months later when KJ had some major setbacks in his sickness and our conversations stopped,  my prayers for him didn't. I would often look at my healthy little baby girl and marvel and then I fall to my knees pleading for a miracle for my friend. And when KJ passed away in  September 2013, I was heartbroken. The letter I wrote for our daughter Priscilla (which you can read here) carried many of the same sentiments I felt about KJ, the loss of someone that I knew the world would miss! I knew that an awesome son and friend and future dad were lost to us all and it hurt.  And my hurt for his parents who lost their only son- was an indescribable ache. What to do with such hurt and pain?  
And after much prayer and asking of the Lord,  I've decided the only way to deal with them is to try and acknowledge them-not to push them away-understanding and experiencing the Pain of life is to hopefully point us to Heaven. They point us to Christ. He is the only One able to Hold our suffering when we can't. I also want to use that pain to motivate me to make this life, this world, a little bit more liveable because honestly, KJ taught me that life is a beautiful and a delicate gift and that gift is meant to be share with others. He taught me that while he was alive, and I hope that I can carry that with me and honor him in my actions now that he can't do it himself. 


As I celebrate his birthday on the 24th of June, I’d like to honor his life with a little "acts of kindness" movement.  Big or small, I hope that you will join me in honoring my dear friend's life by showing love to those that cross your path on his birthday. I also hope that we can use his birthday to remind his wonderful parents what a fantastic son they raised.  Remind them that his impact lives on and his many fantastic qualities were passed on and shared. If you decide to join me in doing an act of kindness for KJ, will you document it on your social media of choice? I know we usually try to stay anonymous when it comes to doing nice things, but this time its not for us, its for KJ and his parents. His parents have Facebook and I will do my best to transfer any instagram and twitter submissions to Facebook so they can see them. But, wherever you choose to share your act, would you mind using the hashtag:  #kindnessesforKJ  




(If you aren't familiar with hashtags all you have to do is type it out JUST LIKE THAT -no spaces please- on your Facebook status or on your tweet or instagram comment and it will automatically be "categorized" so that when you click on it, it will take us to ALL the acts of kindness that have been done. )

And feel free to use the picture above if you'd like, if you want to share this story on your own blog or social media! Thanks dear friends! xoxox


June 21, 2014

Heart in my throat

So, things have been a bit tenuous lately. And after the most recent developments I'm going to share about it here. Mostly because I'm selfish and I covet some extra prayers. And I definitely say selfishly because I know there are much greater needs to be prayed for-because the bottom-line I know that we are covered by a lot of Grace around here and that He will not desert us.

Ok, so now to my crazy tale:

At the end of May I developed a case of Strep throat. It was uncomfortable to say the least but I was able carry on daily activities of caring for kids and going to a play dates at Chick-fil-A and having house guests etc. However, very suddenly, I couldn't do any of these things any more. Within an hour ( as in in the middle of our oven blowing up-quite literally- and dinner needing to be on the table I told my poor husband-bless him.... I had to go to bed). While I lay there in bed wondering why I couldn't even swallow without excruciating pain, I got a text from a friend in our ministry here saying "Great news! We met a few ladies while out giving out cookies and praying for people, who REALLY want to learn about Jesus, can you come with me tomorrow night to share some Stories of Hope!?!" -
I was so bummed, this was a long long long awaited answer to prayer, but by the next day I found myself at the ER. Where I was diagnosed with a Peritonsillar Abscess. In a way I felt justified for feeling so bad and a little mad that the ER had so clearly laughed at me and left me without even a triage for over 4 hours. But I was given a steroid shot, some much needed pain relief, and some strong antibiotics to hopefully get rid of the Abscess. I felt better within 12 hours. But I'd missed my chance to go share with those ladies, something I'd been praying I'd get to do for....well...basically a year.

But there'd be another chase the next week! The ladies were hungry for Truth and I was excited about their next meeting. It turned out they meet again within the next two weeks. The day we were planning to meet, I had finished my round of antibiotics and my throat returned to fire. The abscess was back. I was back on antibiotics and I was once again missing a chance to meet with the ladies.


However the doctors were positive. They figured it would just take a "bit longer" for the antibiotics to work on the abscess. So I took the medicine, felt better pretty quickly and didn't think much more about it. I was even able to finally  meet with the ladies! It was great!  I even packed up those antibiotics and headed off on a lovely vacation with my parents and sister's family. And finished up all my meds a few days before heading home. And then....

The night I returned I got a sore throat. I knew it was coming back. It was a classic repeat of the time before, and the time before that! But this time I figured I had one difference!! I wasn't schedule to meet with the ladies again for 3 days! I had time to get this taken care of!! I headed to the ER* again the next morning. It was 7am, the ER was empty. I was in and out again in an hour. With nothing. I was told it was "probably a virus" and that I just needed to suck it up. They did give me a steroid pill, so I figured they were right and started the "sucking up process". I made it another day and a half. But by day 3 ( you guessed it, right on time to meet with the ladies) I was literally in tears from the pain.

Which brings me to my latest and hopefully last ER visit. I INSISTED on seeing the ENT, and was finally given a CT scan of my throat. Sure enough I've got myself a rocking abscess that just doesn't want to go away. My options were all pretty gruesome and all included antibiotics so we've decided on a "compromise" of sorts. I will be taking ANOTHER round of a DIFFERENT antibiotic in the hopes that this one will actually work without invasive actions. And if it doesn't, I'll be finding out ( as in finishing the meds) right before we leave on our long LONG awaited vacation to see Brett's Dad's side of the family up in  Maryland.  The plan is that if it doesn't work this time, I'll see the Ear Nose and Throat Doctors before we leave, get more antibiotics and schedule a tonsillectomy for when I get back. Which sounds all well and good except that I know how tired my body already is. I know that antibiotics are great, but they seem to be doing more and more harm to my body in side affects than good, even now two days into this round, my throat is still struggling-which is not a good sign. The thought of dealing with that struggle while also dealing with the added stressors of travel is a disappointment. And I also know that Brett is leaving for a 3 week training exercise in Indiana when we return from Maryland, and therefore it will require other family to step in and help me out in my recovery from surgery.

So, friends, to sum up, its been crazy around here. And I have been left feeling weak. Weak emotionally, spiritually and definitely physically.  But, I've also been here before. In fact, we've been in FAR greater straits then these! And we've always had a Heavenly Father to pull us through! I look forward to seeing His Mighty Hands at work. I'll keep you updated....


*You may wonder why I go to the ER and not my "regular doctor"? Because its nearly IMPOSSIBLE to get appointments with my regular doctor. I've called in extreme pain and told the next available appoint was 3 weeks away. Such is military medicine. If you live with it, you know what I'm talking about. The rest of you refrain from talking about ER abuse around me.

June 16, 2014

Reach out and touch somebody....

As part of my bible study a week or so ago I came across something that I don't think I'd noticed before. And being a verbal learner it took two discussions with two different groups of people for it to even start to set in....so, I figured, why not seal the deal and "work it out real good" here on my blog....

So I was reading in Mark 5: 21-43. Which in my Bible is captioned "Jesus Heals a Woman and Jairus' Daughter" but what I wish the people who translate Bibles had titled something along the lines of, "Jesus is all about the Journey" or something equally cheesy. Maybe we can count on that for the next version of The Message, but I digress...what I mean, to say, is that here's Jesus and this super important man ( Jairus) comes along and says "My daughter's super sick, please come quickly and heal her!" and so Jesus slowly makes his way with a GIANT crowd of people following him.
Fellow disciples ( not just the 12! He's got a LOT of disciples!), curious bystanders, and sick people clambering to be healed....that makes for a pretty large group! I can only imagine that walking with that kinda crowd would be hard and so, it only makes sense that Jesus would be touched by a woman who wanted so desperately to be healed by him. He then STOPS and asks "Who touched me?!" ( you can read all the details in Mark-and you should! Its so fabulous!) and spends time talking to this woman-and enough time passes that Jairus' servants come to tell him that his daughter has passed away.
Of course, the disciples and the rest of crowd are like, "Fail Jesus!" you totally missed out on healing a major spiritual leaders daughter and thus gaining the correct notoriety that we all hope to receive. ( you know, more legit than just the Crowd). BUT as you will know if you continue reading in the chapter that Jesus actually proves them all wrong by telling everyone to stay put and he and only three of his disciples go to Jairus' house where he proceeds to raise the little girl from the dead!


Now, up until recently I'd looked at these two events as connected only in the sense that the healing of the Woman was cause and effect for raising the little girl from the dead! But I now think it might be so much more!

As someone who's trying really hard to reach people for Jesus, I can go hurdling through my week until I reach the next "Christian milestone", either our planned family outings to go take cookies to neighbors and offering to pray with them, or bible studies, or church, or accountability groups....these are all things I can put on my calendar and I put my head down and "do business" till I get to the next one.

When I look at this story about Jesus, I can see how Jairus' daughter is kinda of like one of those Big Deal events of my week. ( "Heal major Jewish Leader's daughter" ( check!) ), but unlike me-who would have probably IMMEDIATELY sent away the crowd and only had my 3 best buds come along for the journey to make it all go smoother and so I'd get there in a timely fashion to do my healing-Jesus didn't. He walked along, with all those people clambering around him. Kinda like an almost 4 year old, and maybe an almost 18 month old, perhaps? Or maybe a lot like the annoyingly slow guy in the check out in front of me at the grocery store today? Or maybe the overly chatty lady at the library when I'm trying to get us home for lunch, maybe?
Basically, I was convicted that, to Jesus, ALL of the people were important, not just the "important" ones-or the ones who he'd made a commitment to....How many "hemorrhaging" people do we pass up on a daily basis because we're all too busy rushing on to our next part of our day, and then we only spend time loving on people for Jesus at certain set aside times?! This is craziness! And maybe I'm the only one, but I am so glad I noticed this little truth in my readings. As wonderful and important as the set aside times are ( because lets be honest, if Abigail doesn't plan, than she starts to go a little crazy), but I want to have an ATTITUDE of Love and Kindness for all those who cross my path each and every day!


May 27, 2014

the preschool problem

As the school year comes to a close isn't it the perfect time to talk about NEXT year?! Haha! If you're an over-planner like me, than YES! It's almost too late to plan out what you will do next year! :-) 

So, over the last few months I've had several people ask me about Ransom's schooling. As I've mentioned previously, this last year Ransom has been attending a little "Pre-K 3" class at a private Episcopal school near our house twice a week in the mornings. We made the decision for him to attend "school" this year mostly because he had gone to "school" ( I use the word school but its more like mother's day out when they're this young...) when he stayed with family during our Tabitha Year, and he loved it, and ALSO because we'd just moved to San Antonio and I knew that the routine/sameness of school plus the added bonus of making a few friends ( hopefully!) would be good for him as we got use to our new city.

That being said, our plans for this next year were a little less easy for me to decide. Ransom is turning 4 in August and so he could technically enter into the official "preschool" territory. I had tons of questions to answer and I'll try to cover all our options here for those who are interested.

1. When to start School ( as in the real, "let's learn some stuff" school)? Ransom is young for his year group. As in, he barely makes the Sept 1st cut off with his August birthday. I read endless articles about maturity and socialization and if your interested I can point you in some directions ( though I honestly didn't bookmark many of them). I also talked to teachers and parents. In fact, it was my go-to conversation with just about anyone. It probably got boring. But, you know what? In the end it boiled down to watching my own kid. And isn't that how it should be? I know studies and experience is really valuable and I know it definitely educated our decisions, but every child is different and we should treat them as such! I watched my kid with his little classmates and I watched him with kids at the park and the library. He gravitated towards the younger kids. His best friends at school? One turns 4 in June, the other doesn't turn 4 till next October. Kind of an interesting coincidence! Sure Ransom has a pretty impressive vocabulary and he's on the tall end so he keeps up with those older than him well both physically and acedimically . But the bottom line is that he'd still rather play, and when he is playing he gets intimidated easily by his older peers. He cares very little about learning to write his name, or even coloring within the lines. And while those things might not necessarily change with time, I'm still happy to give him one more carefree year before we start to seriously buckle down with academia. And hey! If this next year he decides he wants to learn some more sight words or how to write more letters than BONUS! I think a little more maturity socially will go a long way with his future schooling.

2. Private/Public/Homeschooling? Whew! Here's a real hot topic! First of all, let me just get the private school thing out of the way first....we're a one income family. We will probably remain as such for the foreseeable future ( until I become a chart toping author. boom.) so private school is not really in our budget. However, we did love Ransom's schooling experience this past year so much that we're actually waiting to see if we will be able to attend again next year-with a hefty amount of finical aid** But, let's say you're middle class, English is your first language, your children do not have any huge learning disablilties and you aren't military. Than you actually CAN'T attend public preschool in a lot of states because you don't meet the criteria! Craziness! But, honestly, you should be ok with that, Parents! Let's not rush our kids into school, OK? Let them be little!!! They are going to be in school for basically the rest of the time they are at home, so take a chill pill!
But, lets say you do feel like you kid needs some outside the home structure, or maybe a little extra socialization, or maybe you think your kid is behind in some basic learning milestones ( recognizing their name, basic phonic sounds and ABCs etc. ) and you don't feel up to the task of taking those things on at home. Than great! Private/public school may be for you! Bottom line: Please free yourself up of the pressure of outside sources! Friends, I know that as the years continue my question of whether to send my kids to school or homeschool them will only be more complicated. But, if I'm honest many of those complications will come from feeling pressure from the various parenting camps. Why can't we all just agree that homeschool and outside the home schooling both have benefits? Why can't we agree that sometimes those benefits will lean one way or the other for different children at different times? I hope that Brett and I will have the clarity of mind to decide each year for each child what will be best for them with the resources and understanding that we have for that upcoming year, and for all the things that we can't see we will rely on the Lord to direct us. And above all, so HELP ME if I'm ever judgmental toward someone else's parenting choice! Sure, here I am telling you what we've done on my blog, but I HOPE that you never feel like I'm telling you what YOU should do!


**After much prayer we couldn't decide whether to keep Ransom out of school this next year and start doing some homeschooling the next year for PreK ( or even just start doing a little this year and maybe do a combo two-years type deal) OR if having him in an actual school environment was something he would really need for this next year. ( we still don't have a ton of friends). SO in the end, not being able to afford his current preschool was a blessing. Our finical aid request is our metaphorical fleece. If we get it, then great! Ransom will benefit from the outside the home interaction and structure of another year of preschool. If not, than great! I've got library days, children museum art times and park outings planned to fill our days with the outings, socialization and stimulation that I think he will need.

3. How do I pick a school? So, let's say you've decided that sending your little precious angel off to preschool is the way to go. How do you go about picking said preschool?  Now in some places your choices are limited. As in, ONE OPTION. In some ways, I really envy you! hahah! Then all you have to decide is if that ONE place is right for you and if not Homeschool it is!! Sweet! BUT let's say you've got a bunch of schools to chose from? Public schools ( if you meet the criteria-we did because we are military! Score!), charter schools ( same criteria), and private schools ( cost plays a factor).
I started by going online and going solely on location.  Then once I'd found all the schools in my area I looked up all their rating and reviews that I could find online. greatschools.org is a good place to start, but even your basic google search usually reveals some reviews. Now, I don't take my reviews TOO seriously! BUT if all 50 reviews say that the principles never listen to the parents than that MIGHT be something to consider! After, I've read everything I can, I do a scheduled visit. You can call and make appointment and then be shown around the school in style. They will tell you all the wonderful things about the school and will try and highlight all the good things. You will want to ask questions like, "what learning styles do you uphold to?" And with preschool it either is "we are free form" ( aka you're paying for your kids to play) or "we follow such-and-such curriculum".  Ask about tuition, parent involvement, do they do field trips/special events, teacher to student ratio, and are other "classes" such as another language or music extra or offered?
If you like a school you may want to go back and do a "pop in" visit unexpected to see if teachers still seemed fully engaged, if things differ depending on the time of day or the day of the week etc.

And, then, if you're like me....you'll barely pay attention to any of the above criteria. Instead, you will pay sole attention to how you feel about a certain school.  Sad but true. I follow my intuition above the facts pretty much every time.


So, what about you? What things do you find really important in deciding the best schooling decision for your child? Did you do preschool or just go straight to kindergarden? If you child did preschool, what kind of preschool was it? I'm dying to hear your thoughts!

May 15, 2014

Good Morning!

Hey, ever wondered what a morning routine is like for a mom of an almost 4 year old and an almost 1 and a half year old?

At around 7ish Tabitha wakes up, I hear her and roll around in bed willing her to go back to sleep. ( she never does). So I get up and go get her. Change her diaper and then we go sit on the couch together. She watches either Little Bear or Daniel Tiger* on Amazon Instant. ( free with Amazon Prime) and I read my bible.

This happens until around 7:30 ( Ransom has this rockin' clock in his room that lights up and I set his for 7:30...sometimes he'll sleep through the light, sometimes he wakes up before the light and has to wait until it turns on before he can call for me. That clock is a LIFESAVER). Either way its around 7:30 when he joins the day.

Ransom settles onto the couch next to his sister and I get moving in the kitchen. My kids get 45 minutes of TV time in a day ( two episodes of LB or DT) -thats on a normal day, sick days and awful days happen to everyone and those don't count- and maybe a movie night once a week so you've gotta use the time wisely!!

Breakfast in our house is pretty much the same every single day 365 days a year- per my kids request. I try to do something special and its like a HUGE HORRIBLE DEAL. How DARE I deviate?! So, yeah, instant oatmeal for everyone ( I use plain oatmeal and then add a little fresh local honey-this helps with their allergies BIG TIME, and adds the needed sweetness factor). So, I start making oatmeal and then I start making coffee. This is a KEY INGREDIENT of a mom of minis. If you skip the coffee step then I really have no words of wisdom for you. I have NO IDEA how you're surviving.
At this point in the morning I also let Ransom know that I'm "putting my oil in my mouth".  ( if you're curious this is the post that got me started oil pulling). I need twenty minutes of "quiet time" to swish my coconut oil around in my mouth and that's basically an ETERNITY to a little boy so I have to give him a heads up that I won't be open to his endless questions of "Then what are we gonna do?" . Luckily, TV plus breakfast is enough of a distraction to get this part of my day over with!

I put both kids oatmeal in the freezer for quick cooling and then cut up some fruit. Usually both kids are chomping at the bit for their breakfast so they eat fruit while their oatmeal cools. They can both see the TV from the table so we finish up our TV quota for the day as they finish breakfast, while I drink my coffee ( usually my twenty minutes are up by then!) and make snacks/lunches pack up bags for whatever activity we've got that morning.
When Ransom finishes his breakfast he must bring his plate to the kitchen and then is sent off to the Potty. ( going potty was a HUGE fight right when he got up, so even though it seems CRAZY that he'd still be holding it from ALL NIGHT LONG, having him up for about 30 minutes before sending him off to the restroom seemed to cut out the drama.). I will then clean up Tabitha and help her finish up her oatmeal ( she's still learning how to eat with a spoon and things are a bit...ummm...messy right now).

TV time is usually up by then and Ransom will come into Tabitha's room and play on the floor while I get her dressed. We then head into his room ( with a stop in the bathroom to wet down hair and comb down both of my kids Rockin' cowlicks) where we wrangle him into some clothes and then all three of us tromp into my room where I throw something on. That's right. THROW.
I now fully understand all the jokes about Mom's appearances. By the time I've dressed and brushed the hair of two other humans NO ONE has the time or patience to let me be meticulous about what goes on my body. Yesterdays clothes don't seem too gross! Let's wear those! ( it's happened!). Black leggings again today? Don't mind if I do! I do own 5 pairs, after all!
By then the clock is getting close to 8:30 and it's time to head out the door to preschool. Or if its a non preschool day we will have taken our time with a few of those tasks and it's closer to 9:30 and its time to head to the library for story time, the museum for art time, or off to some morning errands.
For pretty much ANY trip outside our house I must have two things ready: sippy cups and snack cups. I put these name bands on my kids sippy cups so that they can keep them straight no matter what cup they are drinking out of that day. ( even when they can't read their name they can understand colors). I get mine from here and they look like this:

And they are great if you're kid is in childcare at church or goes to school or daycare. 
And then we also have snack cups like this


And I usually fill these puppies with gold fish or Annie's bunny grahams or cheerios- something munchy to keep away the grumps, the possible car-naps ( the worst kind of 5 minute nap that means no naps later) and the "I'm hungy"-ies that inevitably happen right after breakfast. 

Luckily now that my kids are a little older the only other things I have in my bag is one little zip bag ( that I talked about in this post) with a diaper or two for Tabitha and an extra onesie. A package of baby wipes, an extra bib for Tabitha and one of these awesome disposable placemats, and then two match box cars for when we have to stand in line too long or have too long of a wait getting the oil in the car changed or something. Thankfully both my kids like to play with cars. ;-) 
YAY! Giant diaper bags are finally a thing of the past! 

So there you go, a typical morning at our house! Seems pretty easy right? 

HA!

April 14, 2014

An in-depth look at dramatic parenting

So, I feel like maybe I let you guys off a little easy the other day when I shared about my families recent bout of sickness, and maybe I need to give you some of the details. Ok, wait, I lie that's not the reason . I'm really going to put it here more for myself. I find that when I go back to blog posts that I wrote when Ransom was a baby I  often marvel at some of our truly horrific days. Its nice to remember. Mostly because of the lovely fact that I'd first forgotten . When we are in the worst of it we can hardly imagine that there will be a day where the awfulness will have worn off, but its true.

It fades.

So, in the glory of the fact that this story will fade, let me set the stage.

It was Saturday night. We'd had a busy day, a day that had started with us at the Urgent Care clinic finally getting Tabitha's health issues sorted out. We had then rushed to take my friend Adelaide to a hair appointment ( she's in town for an army course and she's currently stationed in Germany which means she doesnt have her car with her. bummer for her...which you'll soon see...), and then I had made the smart decision to take my kids home instead of going to a Ministry training event.

I must insert here that its SO crazy how different my attitude is with two kids instead of one. Poor Tabitha has had to suck it up soooo much more than Ransom. There is NO way that if Ransom had been sick for weeks and weeks and I'd just taken him to a last resort doctors appointment, that I would then leave said appointment and even CONSIDER lugging him to some event. Bless my little girls heart. She is SUCH a trooper. I admit a lot of my attitude change has not just been that I'm now a mom of two...but also the fact that Tabitha really is so incredibly easy.

But as we drove and Tabitha started to whimper from the backseat, I shot up our white flag for the day and we headed home.

The day continued....I went back and got Adelaide from her hair appointment and she came home to our house where I put the kids down for naps and I made pizza dough for future dinners, and gave the master bedroom a deep clean. Adelaide insisted that sitting around and watching me do house chores was more fun than going home. I seriously doubted it. ;-)

So skip to the evening.....I'd made snacks, herded post-nap children, I'd made dinner, and was starting to clean up from the dinner process when Ransom yelled that his ear hurt. I told him it would be ok. ( yeah, I guess my overall attitude as a parent has relaxed considerably.) I figured he was just complaining because I'd asked him to clean up his toys. But, by the time we'd sat down to watch a little movie I could tell he was not himself. At. All. He was weirdly worried by parts of the movie he'd never been worried about before. And started to complain about his ear hurting. And then he started to cry. Uncontrollably. Nothing I did could make it better. He was beyond consolling.

Brett was getting ready to go into a night shift....oh yeah, did I mention Brett was on night shifts? And thus, making me a "single mom" for pretty much 20 hours of the day. More like 22 hours of the day. But, hey, I know some rockstars who are 24 hours of the day ALWAYS. So no complaint here. I'm just sayin'. Brett was getting ready to head off to work, and Tabitha was making it known that she needed to go to bed. right then.

So in the midst of this craziness, I decided to take Ransom to the ER.  eh. not my best decision. And I can now tell  you at least 20 reasons why, but at the TIME? At the time it seemed like a good idea. Story of my life.

Oh, and my Adelaide. What a long suffering friend! She just thought that Brett was going to take her home on his way to work! Nope. Instead she headed with me and a screaming Ransom to the hospital. And by screaming I mean that ear piercing scream. The out of control animalistic scream. It was pretty intense....luckily we only live about 3 minutes from the hospital and there was a super long train parked along the road so there was some minor distracting for my screaming son...but oooooopppppppsssss.....I left my wallet in the other bag. You know, the wallet that has my all important military ID. 
Back home we go, and the screaming gets MUCH LOUDER when Ransom realizes he does NOT get to go to his bed as he is so strongly suggesting.  And then...and then the worst thing ever.
That train?
 
That SUPER LONG train? Parked beside the road?!  It is no longer parked. It is moving....slowly, ever so slowly across our road. Leaving us at a standstill. No closer to the hospital. A hyperventilating 3 year old in the back seat, a husband who's getting closer and closer to being really REALLY late to work waiting at home with our sick 1 year old.
This is where I may have said something I am not proud of under my breath.

But then I pulled it together and talked in my most chipper voice about how exciting and fantastic it was that we were going to get to sit and watch this train go by.....Its in these moments that I realize how important it is to not let my own emotions mirror my childs, no matter how distressed and awful they might be making life for themselves and everyone else. Someone must be uber calm. And basically that person has to be Mom. Not always easy, and sometimes not even possible. But I put my whole focus into it and sat there watching that SLOOOOOW train go by and discussed the cars and their different colors with Adelaide.
Bless her.

After seeming hours had past we finally arrived at the ER. An ER that was filled with the young and old all reduced to waiting together in the hopes of getting some medical care. And there we were. Two women and a screaming 3 year old. And by screaming I mean SCREAMING. Really really loud screaming.

I'm pretty sure Adelaide and I  were mistaken as a couple by an actual lesbian couple and their tween son who were sitting in front of us, but they were SO nice and friendly and incredibly patient with the amount of weeping and nashing of teeth that was going on behind them. Seriously, I do not know why the ER didn't call us back sooner, just for the sake of the 40 other people having to suffer through listening to us...  But they didn't and instead we waited for FOUR HOURS. Ransom eventually fell asleep 

And we watched the time tick away. With each passing minute I regretted my
Decision to come to the ER. After further observation it was clear that only Ranaom's ear hurt. Nothing else. Classic ear infection. And sure, he kept waking up in pain, but at home at least the two of us would be the only ones suffering. Here in the ER Adelaide was stuck with is, and by now, my Dear Friend Deb was watching over Tabitha at home and Brett was at work, so Deb was ALSO holding an unasked for night vigil. I had clearly jumped the gun. We should not be here....
But now that'd we'd put in all that suffering time, when should we call it quits? At what point was all of this waiting around NOT worth it any more? 

I held Ransom's sweaty head in my lap and played mind games: "if we haven't been called by 11, we'll leave..."

"If we haven't been called by 12:15 we'll leave."

At 12:30 I sent Adelaide on a recon mission to see how far down on the list we were. It was SUPER discouraging to here that there were five patients in front of us.

And then around 1 Ransom woke up again. And so did everyone else within ear shot because the dude began to scream and cry again. In desperation, I picked him up and carried him up to the desk with me to have the people tell ME to my FACE that 5 hours in the ER was not enough... And guess what? They did just that. They told me and my crying son that there were no longer FIVE people in front of us, but SIX. 

This was the last straw.

I turned, went back to our seats and told Adelaide we were leaving... And then, the most annoying thing happened.... They called our name! Sure as I'm impatient they had called my bluff and I was NOT taking it!! And there they were calling is back. Half begging us to stay!

I suppose I should be thankful that the rest of our ER Visit last about 45 minutes, from seeing the doctor to getting our medicine and walking out the door. BUT IM NOT.

Should I have called their bluff sooner? Pretended to leave so my kid would get care? Should we even have to resort to either going to the ER or being sent to a clinic that misdiagnosed Tabitha only a few weeks before? Should I have definitely just waited to go to the ER during the next morning so all my friends could have gotten a decent nights sleep?

All the answers to these questions made for a pretty unsatisfied Mommy.

But such is the way, and as I have said before, these moments so quickly fad
From memory... And for that I am thankful. 






















Resurrection Eggs: my new favorite thing


So a week or so ago one of my lovely Instagram friends posted a picture of some "Resurrection Eggs" and I was immediately curious! She gave me the details and a few days later I headed out to buy our own set! 
I am SO glad I did! 


You can find these Easter eggs at any Christian bookstore ( I looked into about three different ones in our area and they all had them)- I got mine at Family Christian Books. And the price ranges from $15 to $20. ( I got mine for $16.50), and hey if you don't live somewhere with a Christian bookstore, you can get them online too!  

The eggs came in a fun "egg carton" but I moved ours into a big bowl on our dinning room table, easier for little hands to get to and also added decoration! Score!  

At first I thought we'd use the eggs like an "advent" calendar of sorts. Open an egg every day, discover the little figurine inside and read the story, but turns out Ransom likes to hear ALL the stories ALL at once! He sat through all 12 eggs about four times on the first day! I was AMAZED at how opening little eggs held his attention and how much of the stories he retained by having these little "visual aids" 

I would tell him which egg to get out, he would find the right egg, open it up and he'd play with whatever was inside while I read him the story. 

There is a donkey ( Palm Sunday), 3 silver coins ( judas betrayal), a little cup ( last supper), praying hands ( prayers in the garden) , a rooster ( peter's denial), a crown of thorns ( he was mocked), a whip ( beaten and tortured for us), nails ( nailed to the cross), a spear ( pierced for our transgressions), a linen cloth ( buried) *, a stone ( covering the grave), and an empty egg ( He has risen !) 


I currently alternate between reading the little stories and just telling them. But honestly, it was all surprisingly well written and each story pointed to the Truth of Easter.  Tabitha's little baby hands in the picture above also prove that even little ones like to sit and play with the eggs. I definitely think these eggs will be a part
of our Easter Tradition from now on! Ransom just keeps on asking for us to do the Egg Stories and we just keep saying yes! 

*I was super bummed when I found that my Eggs came without a linen cloth! Looks like they just left it out! Boo! But as far as easy to replace or come up with my own it was probably the best of the options. Still. Bummed. 

April 08, 2014

We haven't died yet.....

Hey, see that white line that almost looks like a hair on my cheek? and then that little drip on my chin. THAT'S SNOT! Snot from my adorable-yet-also-affectionate daughter who decided to give me a kiss after sneezing. 

The month of March was the month of sickness. From what I can tell sickness entered our household almost as soon as my sister's family left our home after they visited for spring break at the beginning of March. That may sound like I'm blaming it on them but I'm not, if anything,  the fact that the sickness did not hit earlier was directly related to how hard I prayed and pleaded with God to "not ruin their visit with sickness"....clearly I should have been much more specific, because as I said, the sickness hit after they left and it DID NOT LEAVE.

If I was savvy with charts and grafts. I'd show you the ebb and flow of the sickness as it surged through our family, but since I am not. I'll just tell you the highlights. I wished for death around the 27th of March.  Tabitha got EVEN SICKER ( even though I didn't think that was possible) on the 29th and Ransom went to the ER on 5th of April.
And then you might also think, oh hey, noticed Brett wasn't mentioned there! He must have been saved from the misery. Well, you'd only be partly right. He spent two of those weeks working EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. without any sign of a weekend or anything. Just night after night, then he'd come home, parent a little bit, sleep for a few hours, get up, parent again and then head off to work. He didn't see the Real World until this past Sunday.

Several people have been like, "Hey, are you guys doing better?" and I basically attack the nearest piece of wood with some sever knocking when I say, " I think so!"  because I had proclaimed with all sorts of vigor and false optimism that we were "better" last week and I spent Saturday and Sunday at various medical facilities, so pardon me if I don't get excited about the use of only half a box of kleenex today as opposed to a full box yesterday.



In the midst of all this horridness I have been thinking a lot though and one thing I know for sure. We are SO blessed. Both of my kids have been sick with common illnesses. Things that can be easily explained ( even though Tabitha was misdiagnosed twice. thanks for that). I was sick with a common illness mixed with a ( un)healthy dose of lack of sleep- things that were also eventually cured.

 We have "free" healthy care. Thanks to the military all the horrible doctor visits and potentially dangerous diagnosis and misperscribing was at the very least all free. No doctors bills for us! And that may sound tongue and cheek ( as in, we definitely got what we paid for) but I know plenty of my readers can identify with bad medical care and yet they've also spent months paying it off!

Sometimes it really is important to count your blessings in the midst of minor suffering and so today I salute the single moms, the deployment-single parents, the parents of kids suffering from life threatening illness, those buried under a mountain of medical bills and those fighting hard to stay afloat due to sickness of any kind. I acknowledge that while you may be able to find little blessings and silver linings in your days ( which, by the way, rock on for that attitude!) I also know that things are TOUGH and please know that you are not alone.

Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains....

April 04, 2014

Consultation on entertainment

When I was little, like maybe 12ish, I said that I wanted to be a consultant when I grew up. Because I had an opinion on everything and someone should really pay me for that. My parents thought this was a really kicker and told strangers on the street what I'd said, and then they'd all laugh....

But, I'm 30 now and I'm still pretty sure I'd be an excellent consultant. HOW DO YOU GET THAT GIG?  Luckily I don't have to think hard about it because there is all this free internet space just asking for my opinion so here today I will share with you my favorite entertainment: BOOM.  ( still not being paid though....that's a real downer! haha!)

I was listening to NPR on my way somewhere and I heard about this book and then received it for Christmas and then finally got to read it a month or so ago. Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL team six now besides the fact that the title is kind of stupidly long the book was a total page turner. These are my faaaavorite type of books, real stories that have almost fiction-like plots. I was also really moved and surprised by the added element of spirituality that was shared by her previously agnostic husband during their ordeal. And you can NOT HELP but get excited during the Seal team six rescue. Seriously I love that we've got heroes out there like this.  I definitely recommend this book.

When Brett is working day shifts and we have evenings together, after we put the kids down we will often "celebrate" making it through yet another day by watching a little TV. Now, we don't have "real" TV, but we do have the internet. Which is basically the same thing. There are about 3 shows that Brett and I watch together. And now that I look at my little list, I'm happy to say its fairly well rounded. 

First, this is our newest favorite show ( Thanks sister and bro-in-law for telling us about it): Brooklyn Nine-Nine on FOX.  I didn't think I'd like this show because I never really cared for anything Adam Samberg did when he was on SNL ( It was always kinda... ew).  HOWEVER, this show is actually incredibly clean. Besides some allusions to some things, its without a lot of the off-color comedy that seems so common on sitcoms these days. This show is also incredibly funny.  As in we laugh out loud every SINGLE episode. I also think its a mark of a good show when basically every single character is both likable and hilarious. Nice work. Oh, and when you watch it, and you get to the season finale and Gina starts talking in Emojis....just imagine me laughing till I cried. 



Second, this show is in its second season and Brett and I are still really liking it a lot. Elementry on CBS.  Now, after watching Sherlock on BBC ( which we also loved, but isn't worth mentioning because they only do THREE EPISODES A SEASON AND THEN LEAVE YOU HANGING FOREVER), I was skeptical about ANOTHER modern day Sherlock Holmes. And then the whole "female Watson thing" ? Yeah, call me doubtful. But! I was presently surprised! We enjoy the little mysteries, the dialogue is fun, and the relationship and growth in the characters is actually quite touching at times. I'm always down with well rounded characters and I feel like the creators of this show are really making it happen.


And lastly, we watch MARVELS: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D on ABC.  I know, I know, nerdy. But since I haven't seen a movie other than a comic book movie in the movie theatre in years. Seriously. I've just given into the fact that I'm married to a huge nerd and I actually am a huge nerd too. But this show? Another Joss Wheaton show failure?! I was incredulous that it was going to be any good. But, like I said, being married to Brett meant that I was going to be watching it whether I had my doubts or not, so you can go ahead and thank me now: I did the dirty work for you and can now say, after viewing the first 16 episodes that it's a good show. As in really good. Well written, good cast, and pretty fantastic story line development. We've gotten increasingly excited about this show and get pretty sad when it misses a week. So, if you've got a little nerd streak in you, ease your fears and give this show a shot. You won't regret it. 



So there you go, one book and three tv shows. Just show's how totally cultured we are around here. 
Need something to go along with your entertainment? May I recommend  my favorite cheap wine? Its Mirassou Winery's Pinot Noir.  Super dry red, always reliable, about 8 dollars. What's not to love? 



So, what has been entertaining you recently? I'd love to hear your recommendations! 


April 03, 2014

It's like riding a bike.

Did you know that I never officially learned how to ride a bike? I'm sure I've mentioned this embarrassing fact on my blog before but its worth repeating.

It's even more embarrassing because, thanks to the awesome invention of the "balance bike"  my 3 year old has been riding a bike better than I ever could for almost 2 years now.

That being said, the whole phrase "it's like riding a bike" has always been more theoretical than actual known scientific fact for me. Basically I'm just going to have to take all your bike-riding people's word for it- But writing blog posts is definitely one instance that it is NOT like riding a bike, you can NOT just jump back on.

Turns out that good writing takes practice. And my own writing has dwindled down into one word sentences that look like this:
 "Help."  written in the margins of my Bible.

I'm coming off of a three week bought of sickness. My kids are still sick, but luckily I  seem to becoming to the end of it. I say luckily because Mama really has to be well. There are no sick days for Mommies.

Unless you're Gwyneth Paltrow.

Anyway, I'm coming up for air. And I'm letting you know that after finally getting my computer fixed ( it's been under the weather for a bit), I'm hoping to get back into serious book writing. However.  As I just mentioned writing just doesn't come all natural like. It takes work, and some greasing of some wheels. Therefore I've decide that I'm going to kick start my writing juices by writing some badly written blog posts here.... Lucky you!

And since all my creative juices are focused on things like, "What will we eat for dinner this week?" ( because its one of life's greatest unfairnesses that we must come up with things to eat EVERY DAY, THREE TIMES A DAY)- I'm going to ask you, dear people-who-use-to-read-this-blog-back-when-I-wrote-things. What would you like to see a blog post about?
Maybe I'll pick one and write it this week!

February 15, 2014

Avocados


Yesterday Ransom had a V-day party at his preschool which was basically his favorite thing ever. He got a giant bag of Valentine's from his classmates ( read: candy) and he got extra playtime at school ( we usually only go on Tuesdays and Thursdays). I spent the whole time nervously making small talk with very well dressed mothers. I had put on make up and worn my clean pair of black pants but I still didn't feel like I was measuring up. I basically went out of my way to not mention that even if we wanted to go to this preschool next year, we wouldn't because WHO CAN AFFORD THAT?! ( apparently prices go up to full-on private school tuition once you hit actual "preschool" age. So instead of paying for your kids college you can just go ahead and spend that money on private preschool (whaaaaa!?! ) .


But I didn't. And by the time we left I was feeling about as insecure as my 16 year old self. I'm THIRTY! I kept telling myself, I'M THIRTY! I SHOULD BE OVER THIS!

But the thing is, I'm not over it. I care a whole heck of a lot what other people think. But the embarrassing part there was that I should at least care about IMPORTANT things, right? I mean, what these ladies thought of my last seasons ( Target) shoes should not be on my list of what is important. Ever.

But sometimes I slip into this really awful insecure place where people do things at me. They wear their designer Jimmy Choos  at me.  And they throw perfect Valentine's parties at me. 

So stop whatever you're doing and read this blog post right now. Quit pointing your avocado at me. It should be my anthem. And I should definitely remember it when the Mommy guilt or the 16 year old self starts to seep in.

We're all fighting some battles and instead of spending my time in that preschool class room being insecure, I should have spent it loving those adorable 3 year olds, their great teachers and those other moms  ( and Nannies...there were several Nannies) of 3 year olds...because if their 3 year olds are anything like mine, then they need some major loving too....

So here's to being less about me this next week.


P.S. This blog post is brought to you by 2 hours of ALONE TIME AT STARBUCKS during the usual late evening bedtime ritual which is being handled beautifully by my wonderful husband so that I could write in peace. He is a gift.

February 06, 2014

Picture, picture on the wall...

This is my second post in what could loosely be called a "series" about my love of pictures. The first one was on Photobooks and how to keep all our picture memories at our fingertips, quite literally.


Photobooks tend to be a lot of work, though totally worth it! But printing pictures should NOT have to be that hard! So, the other way I enjoy our picture memories is by printing individual pictures and displaying them around our home.

Our photo wall ( which has pretty much met capacity...) in our dinning room is always GREAT when we have first time visitors to our home. Its has all kinds of good conversation starters right there on display! I choose pictures for print using a few guidelines:

1. Is it "artistic"and captures an important event in our life?
2. Is it flattering and does it capture important people in our life?

So my photo wall is a mixture of landscapes ( places we've lived and visited) and people ( friends and family who make us who we are)....if you're curious as to how I accomplished placement of over 40 pictures without loosing my sanity and our renters deposit ( because of the holes)...then look no further than THESE BABIES. ( thank me later).

I also have pictures in frames in our "office" that are just of our family. This has been a more recent edition and I'm enjoying adding to these picture that are of a more personal nature.


But then lately I've enjoyed just "sticking" pictures (with magnets, tape or clothes pin) that are not framed in other places around the house, usually just pictures of the kids that I find irresistibly cute....maybe I need an intervention? Hmmm...


Anyway, if you're interested, I use three major sources for printing pictures:

Kanvess.com is my current favorite. I use them for printing my "birthday pictures" tradition. The bonus (slash drawback...its the only size they offer!!)  is that they have the perfect size for my birthday print needs: 3x3s. And they are fast and easy to use and pretty cheap ( right now they have a great little Winter sale, where your first 6 prints are free using this code: WINTER7360 ) . They have an App ( and for Android) that will let you quickly and easily buy photos off your Instagram account. Or you can go on their main site (surely they will update their app for this soon?!)  and order pictures from your computer, phone or other photo keeping sites.


Postalpix is another favorite for buying prints right off my phone! Their App ( here's the Android link) lets you very easily add pictures to your cart and once you reach a full order just click "buy"! Once again, I'm drawn in by their "square" photos and I often use their 4x4s in framed pictures. But they also have your traditional 4x6 and 5x6, 8x10 etc...SO EASY if you're an "I only use my iphone for pictures" person like my self....sigh. My poor poor DSLR you are so neglected now that I have a second child!

But, once upon a time, I DID take pictures on my DSLR and I do also periodically get pictures from friends and family. I will often stick those in Dropbox and then transfer them to my photo library on my phone and still use the above Apps to print pictures! It really is just so easy and fast!


However, I still can't beat Snapfish for their bulk prices on your traditional print sizes...so when I'm buying up a bunch of traditional sizes, say to update my photo wall, I will use their company. ( they have an App too!). In further contemplation the only reason I do not like Snapfish they just have NOT got on board with the square pictures that Instagram has made me love so very very much ( clearly I'm nostalgic for some Polaroid!) and their app and website is not very user friendly in my opinion. What can I say, I find Snapfish a necessary evil.

So, that's how I print pictures for our home. If you've got some great sources that I have mentioned let me know! I'm always on the lookout for the trifecta: ease, expense, expedient ( oooh yeah, alliteration!).