Sunday, March 29, 2015

Letters from Dad: #24



Dear Kids,

This month let’s just pray. I have a lot on my heart right now, and I think that's probably the best place to go with this post.

Dear God,

I want so badly for my kids to live in an area where I don’t have to worry about them getting hurt or killed. The news reports from surrounding neighbors are sobering as I hear about another child who has been killed. It’s a week until Easter. The day that we remember how Your Son Jesus was tortured and killed, yet here I sit in my comfortable house and selfishly want my kids to have a good education and a safe environment.

I know I'm not the only parent who wants this for his kids. God, what can I do for this city? What can I do so that kids throughout the world can have a safe education? This problem is much bigger than just our family. A lot of people have switched to homeschooling. Maybe in a few years, I’ll be there. Right now, I don’t think I can provide the structure and therapy that the children need to develop.

God, You have provided for my family. You have taken care of our physical needs. I know that You will dispel my mental worries. These concerns will go away as I turn the details over to You.

Thank you for Your Son and Your Love. 

Love,

Daddy

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Little Things Thursdays: #103

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting our family and blog!

Welcome to The Little Things Thursday!!

If you are new, we like to take a minute to look back on the little things that brightened our week. So often we get busy and forget all of the things that we enjoy as we go through our daily lives. This is an opportunity to stop, remember, and enjoy those things! Nothing is too small...in fact, the smaller the better! That's the whole point! If you have a blog, leave a link in a comment below! If you don't blog, I'd love for you to participate by leaving a moment in a comment anyway. Ready?


1. Happy Birthday, Sean and Uncle Nathan!
Daddy and Uncle Nathan

Last week, we celebrated Daddy and Uncle Nathan's birthdays! No, they aren't twins. They were just born on the same day exactly two years apart. But since they have always shared a birthday...maybe Sean should have seen it as foreshadowing....lol!

2. Spring has Sprung!
Ellie, Daddy, and Abby

With the GORGEOUS weather, we've been outside enjoying it! The kids always love being outside, but especially when they've been cooped up because of the cold for so long.

Look at these photos! We didn't even need jackets!
Elijah

These were taken on the same day as when we celebrated Daddy and Uncle Nathan's birthdays at Pa and Ma's house. They have a big backyard and built a club house for the grandkids a couple of years ago. The kids always beg to go outside when we visit. 
Caleb


3. Birthday Tricycles
Ellie and Abby

We held back the kids' birthday presents until the weather warmed up. We knew that as soon as we pulled them out, they would want to go for a ride. Sure enough! They were thrilled with their new tricycles AND the fact that they could ride them in the street with our supervision. We are on a quiet street, so there isn't much traffic, and our driveway is at an angle. The street is the only choice...and apparently, it's a definitely perk to this activity!

Elijah

Can I just say...consignment sales are the bomb! I bought all of these tricycles for between $10-$15 each. WOW! They made for very inexpensive birthday gifts and the kids had no idea that they were pre-owned! And even if they did know, they wouldn't care. :D  

Caleb


4. Dear God...
Oh my word, I can hardly stand the cuteness! I REALLY need to record this, but in the meantime, I'll have to just tell you the story.

A few weeks ago, all four of our kids started saying their own bedtime prayers. Now, instead of just Mommy or Daddy praying, all six of us pray before they go to sleep. It is so precious...even if they sometimes get lost in their thoughts. Lol!

But Elijah...oh this boy kills me! Elijah has two standard prayers that he goes with. The first goes like this:

GOD!


I GO TO SLEEP!

JESUS!

AMEN!

It's in all caps because he practically yells it. No worries about God missing that prayer!

The second prayer starts very similarly, but about halfway through he breaks out into song and sings Yankee Doodle Dandy for God.

The "why" is the best part! A few months ago, Sean told Elijah that Yankee Doodle Dandy was his song since Elijah's nickname is Doodle. Sean taught our Doodle to march in place and wave a baton while he sang the song. Adorable! So now, Elijah sings his song for God because he wants to share it with Him. At the end of the last stanza, he always finishes with, "I love that song!!! Amen!"

Typing this out just does not do it justice, so imagine a 4-year-old little boy, very exuberantly talking to someone that he KNOWS is listening to every word he says. We never know if we are going to get his yelled prayer or his song prayer, but either way, we love seeing our son pray! :)


Now it's your turn! What Little Things brightened up your week? Link up your post in a comment below and make sure you come back next week to play again!




This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Little Things Thursdays: #102

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting our family and blog!

Welcome to The Little Things Thursday!!

If you are new, we like to take a minute to look back on the little things that brightened our week. So often we get busy and forget all of the things that we enjoy as we go through our daily lives. This is an opportunity to stop, remember, and enjoy those things! Nothing is too small...in fact, the smaller the better! That's the whole point! If you have a blog, leave a link in a comment below! If you don't blog, I'd love for you to participate by leaving a moment in a comment anyway. Ready?


1. I Can't Keep Up
Well, I think it's pretty obvious at this point that I can barely keep up with life. How sad is it that I sometimes go a full week between posts? I try REALLY hard not to, but sometimes....I just can't get to it. *sadness* And because of that, there is a BIG backlog of posts that need to be written. Hmm...I just need more hours in my day! Mid-February through the end of March are particularly hard as it's our busiest time of the year between birthdays, our anniversary, taxes, prepping for the semi-annual multiples consignment sale (so. much. work.) and trying to keep up with my job AND the kids and a house. Eh, who am I kidding? The house is definitely not kept up at this point.

Anyhow, because I have the same number of hours as everyone else, we are just going to go with it. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

2. Back in January, We Went to St. Louis
So today's Little Things Thursday is really all about our trip to visit the kids' great grandparents in St. Louis a couple of months ago. I haven't blogged that adventure yet, and it NEEDS to be officially recorded for posterity. So it's a BIG THING that is taking over Little Things Thursday. And I'm okay with that.

Back in January, we did something pretty daring. We decided to load the kids up in the car and make the trek to St. Louis for the weekend.
Ellie, Elijah, Caleb, and Abby

It may not seem very daring, but it was our first trip with the kids, and it made me nervous. Mostly, I was worried that sleeping on the floor in sleeping bags wouldn't fly with them. BUT, we wanted to give it a try, and figured they would learn to cope being out of their beds if we gave them a chance.

The kids did well on their first car trip. The longest they had been in the car before that was about an hour. So even though Abby decided that she was "STUCK!!!" about an hour from our destination, we still considered that four hour (5 hours if you count the McDonalds pit stop) drive a success!

And once we arrived, the kids had a ball! Great-Grandpa and Great-Grandma (Sean's grandparents) had picked up some coloring books, crayons, and reading books for the kids to play with. They also let us have the run of their entire basement apartment, which was so nice!

 Ellie and Great-Grandpa

Great-Grandma and Sean

Then it was time to bed down for the night. Oh...that first night was rough. The kids had fun backpacks, but even though we made a big deal out of how great it was to go "camping" with them, it just wasn't met with much enthusiasm after the first 5 minutes. I finally rubbed all of them with sleepy essential oils and put Peace & Calming in the diffuser. It took until about midnight, but we finally got them all to sleep. Thankfully, the next night was much easier! I think we just had a little learning curve there that hopefully we won't have to deal with again in the future. It's always hard to deal with changes, especially for little ones.
Clockwise from left: Ellie, Abby, Caleb, and Elijah

Saturday morning, we woke up and the kids had breakfast. At this point, the adventure was back in full swing and very exciting! They played inside and outside all day long, and Sean's cousins, Christian and Gabriel, came over to keep them occupied as well. I also had the fun opportunity to jump across the state line to Illinois and teach an essential oils class for a few women that afternoon. And Sean held down the fort and made sure everyone stayed out of trouble.

That evening, Sean's Uncle Matt and Aunt Lisa came over to hang out with us for dinner (Christian and Gabriel are their kids). It's always so fun to see their family when they come to town. I'm glad we could come their way this time! I'm also always impressed with what nice young men Christian and Gabriel are! They were very kind to all of our kids who were running around everywhere.

Clockwise from left: Ellie, Abby, Christian, Elijah, Gabriel, and Caleb

The next morning (after a much better bedtime) we headed to church with the great-grandparents to meet some of the people who have been praying for our kids since we were pregnant. The sweet people in that church have only seen pictures, so I think they enjoyed seeing the real life versions of our kids. Lol!

After lunch back at the homestead, we loaded up to drive back home. 
Elijah, Caleb, Great-Grandma, Abby, Great-Grandpa, and Ellie

Us and the brave grandparents who put us up for the weekend!

And then we managed to stretch the adventure just a little further by stopping for blizzards halfway home. There were no arguments from the kids on that account!
Abby, Caleb, Elijah, Ellie, and Daddy

It's somewhat empowering to know that that first road trip is behind us. We survived and had FUN! Yay! We are thinking about potentially trying a road trip to New Mexico to see my side of the family this summer...16 hours in the car...are we crazy? Haha!

And I think we will have to head back to St. Louis at some point this year as well. Abby has been asking repeatedly to go see "Gwampa and Gwamma." :)


Now it's your turn! What Little Things brightened up your week? Link up your post in a comment below and make sure you come back next week to play again!




This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Little Things Thursdays: #101

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting our family and blog!

Welcome to The Little Things Thursday!!

If you are new, we like to take a minute to look back on the little things that brightened our week. So often we get busy and forget all of the things that we enjoy as we go through our daily lives. This is an opportunity to stop, remember, and enjoy those things! Nothing is too small...in fact, the smaller the better! That's the whole point! If you have a blog, leave a link in a comment below! If you don't blog, I'd love for you to participate by leaving a moment in a comment anyway. Ready?


1. FOUR!!!!
Caleb, Elijah, Ellie, and Abby

"How old are you?" "FOUR!" It's a pretty big deal at our house to be four. :) Their actual birthday wasn't much fun as the stomach flu swept through the family in a matter of hours, but we made up for it a couple of days later when stomachs had settled back down. We also had a birthday party for them the week prior that I still need to post pictures of! 

All that to say, right now I'm hearing lots of little voices reminding me that they are four. That's big kid level!

2. Oh....Wow. Major Fail.
So for the kids' birthday party, I decided that I was going to be really awesome and bake some allergy free cupcakes for the three people who were coming who couldn't eat regular cupcakes. Just to clarify, I used to bake professionally for a coffee shop, I've done a couple of wedding cakes, and many birthday cakes and other desserts. I'm a pretty good baker! So when faced with trying to make dairy/egg/gluten/oat-free cupcakes, I really didn't think it would be a big deal.

Oh....I was wrong.

Allergy-free baking is a WHOLE other ballgame. It is really, really hard. I tried a couple of batches with various versions using suggestions from the internet and friends. Oh my word. Allergy-free baking is not meant to be a strength of mine. Above, you can see the vanilla cupcakes on the left, and the chocolate frosting plopped on top on the right.

Let's just say that no allergy-free cupcakes made it to the party. None of our guests were expecting them, so it wasn't a let down. but I was still sad I couldn't pull it off.

Dear Kids: Never develop a food allergy or you will never eat cupcakes again. Love, Mom.

3. Elsa and Anna Purses
Abby and Ellie

The girls got Elsa and Anna purses from our friends, The McCleary's for their birthday! I love how intent Abby and Ellie were as they worked to make them look just right. I love even more how their personalities are completely reflected in how they colored them in. :)


4. Just So
Caleb is very particular about things. They have to be in the right order, in the right place, or in the right sequence, or he has trouble accepting it. I think it's an autism thing. But what a lot of people don't realize about kids with autism is that they are some of the SMARTEST kids out there! They just process information differently. Anyhow, Caleb is intrigued with a doll house that their cousin gave the girls for Christmas. Everyone has played with it, but Caleb has to arrange it. We walked past the room to find this arrangement set up by him. It's not about playing with the dolls. It's about making sure that everything is in its proper place in the house because that's how it should be.

The other kids? They just lose the pieces.


5. Refresh VoxBox



It's been awhile, but I got another product review box in the mail from Influenster. I love getting boxes from this company because they actually send full sized products instead of one-and-done samples.

This "Refresh VoxBox" has:

  • Beanitos Chips: Granted I haven't tried these yet, but the name sounds really close to "Beano". You know, that stuff you use for excess gas. I hope the chips are better than the name. All I'm seeing right now is "Eat me, and I'll give you phenomenal gas!" Let's hope I'm wrong. Eek! (these are preservative-free and GMO-free though! Yay!)
  • CoverGirl UltraSmooth Foundation: I've been very pleased with CoverGirl foundation in the past (I've tried several types!), but I would like this one a lot better if it didn't have so many chemicals in it. I'm becoming more and more aware of just how many unnecessary chemicals are in everything in my bathroom. So I guess my thoughts are, "I like CoverGirl, but prefer other brands over them for their better quality makeup."
  • L'Occitane Shea Butter Light Comforting Cream: I really like Shea Butter! Again, it's not all-natural, but I really like that it is Fair Trade. That is important to me! This company has a partnership with women in West Africa who make the shea butter. Knowing that this supports them is very cool!
  • Orgain Certified Organic Nutritional Shakes: I haven't been to Whole Foods yet to pick this up, but organic is okay in my book! My hope is that it tastes good though. I'm still on the hunt for a protein shake that tastes like an actual milk shake.
  • Montagne Jeunesse Face Masques: Um....the mask is black. Granted it's a Black Seaweed Peel Off Masque, but the color just kind of weirds me out a little bit. 
  • SkinnyGirl Tasty Nutrition Bars: I love foods that have decent nutrition that I can grab and go! Life with quadruplets doesn't stop!
  • Listerine PocketPaks: All I can say is...yes! These are way handy!
  • DenTek Fun Flossers: These are little flossers for kids. If I hold a kid down to floss his teeth, do you think he will bite me?
  • DenTek Comfort Clean Floss Picks: Clean teeth = happy mama. I still have a permanent bottom retainer in, so I'm pretty careful about keeping it clean.
Also, Elijah REALLY wanted to be in the picture with the products. Hehe! Such a handsome boy!

6. Young Living February Essential Rewards


I have to show off my Young Living Essential Rewards order from February. I recently got a zyto compass, and I came back with a SLEW of out of range biomarkers. Because of that, I mostly concentrated on supplements with this order and bought a few for Sean too. I even *gasp!* decided to try one of the all-natural deodorants. It's too early to tell if I like the deodorant or not, but the mere fact that I own it makes me a little nervous that I'm sliding on down that "crunchy" hill faster than I'm okay with. Lol! My main goal in my 30's is not to turn into a hippie....I say that as I sit here eating Girl Scout Thin Mints.....eh, I think I'm good. :D


Now it's your turn! What Little Things brightened up your week? Link up your post in a comment below and make sure you come back next week to play again!




This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Letters from Dad: #23


Dear Children!

You made it to your 4th birthday! Congratulations!

It still blows my mind that you all have survived. Crazy journey. Very emotional. Lots of laugher, lots of frustration. All of it good. I’m so happy to have you four in our lives. Everyone is growing so much, not just physically, but spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually.

Elizabeth is still the second little mama. The only thing that stops her is her size. She wants to grow so big but says she hates food. Little girl needs to realize that she needs food to grow.

Elijah is a sweet boy and looks after his siblings. He still needs to slow down. He is too inquisitive sometimes, and we would appreciate it if he would stop talking so much and start listening better. Still, we are glad that he is asking questions and learning.

Caleb is such an ornery, goofy little boy. He loves pulling little antics and running off and giggling. It is hard to get upset at such a sweet spirit. Every day he speaks better and better. He is still lagging behind the other kids, and they are starting to catch on, but they don’t hold it against him. I hope they never do. I know he will catch up soon.

Abby is our little princess. She has a hard time waking up, just like her momma. She loves giving hugs and singing and dancing. Her favorite people are her daddy and all of her grandpas. We went on our first trip to St. Louis last month to visit my grandparents. At least once a week, Abby asks when we will be going back.

We have lucked out with the children we have. They have great manners, not perfect, but really good manners. They are all very sweet. Even their rough edges are easily strengths. I don’t know why God blessed us so. I certainly haven’t done anything to be this lucky.

Children, I pray your next year is full of blessings and that you continue to grow, grow, and grow. 

Happy birthday!

Love,

Daddy

Saturday, February 21, 2015

4th Birthday Interview: Elizabeth Grace


Ellie always has an opinion about EVERYTHING. Her interview was probably one of the most entertaining, and she enjoyed every minute of having Mom and Dad sit across the table from her while she answered her questions!

Elizabeth Ishum
Our natural born leader, organized, youngest daughter...who also thinks she's the oldest.

How old are you? "Three" (keep in mind that all of these interviews were done prior to their fourth birthday)
What makes you happy? "A family....your daddy, my mommy, my sister, Elijah, Caleb, and me" (I wish you could have heard her voice as she said this. As soon as she finished, I asked her want she wanted. She just giggled. Lol!)
What is your favorite animal? "Big Bunny and Little Bunny" (These have been her special loveys since she was born. She is still completely attached to them.)
What is your favorite color? "Red"
What is your favorite thing to eat? "Red Cupcakes, hotdogs, chicken fries, and chicken nuggets"
What is your least favorite thing to eat? "Potatoes" (This is such an understatement. What she meant was, "I don't like anything you cook." *sigh* Yes, we have some picky eaters.)
What is your favorite thing to do? "I like to get my jacket on, color, and write my name" (she LOVES writing her name! :) )
What is your favorite TV show? "Strawberry Shortcake"
What is your favorite movie? "Mouse" (a.k.a. Baby Mozart from the Baby Einstein series)
What are you really good at? When I go potty (Well, thank goodness for that!)
What is your favorite song? "Strawberry Shortcake" (The theme song, I guess?)
What do you and your mom do together? "drive in the white van and help Mommy work" (I'd also like to add that she is our mini Essential Oils Ambassador. If I'm walking her to class and someone coughs, she lets them know that they need oils. LOL!)
What do you and your dad do together? "Put the glasses on and help Daddy pick out shirts." (Ellie gets very concerned if Daddy isn't properly dressed, so she makes sure that she keeps an eye on his wardrobe.)
What is your favorite book? Currently she likes the Bernstein Bears books.
What do you want to be when you grow up? "a lady" or "a mommy" (She answers with either one. She used to want to be a Daddy so that she could go to work. Then we told her that women and mommies can work too, and she decided that she is okay being a girl. Haha!)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Just Between Friends Consignment Sale is Back...and I Found GREAT Deals!

Thank you to JBF Lee's Summit for sponsoring this post! I love writing about something I already love and do anyway!

It is FREEZING in Kansas City today. The snow held off for all of December, January, and most of February, but over the last week, we've had (a little) snow and very cold temperatures. It's so cold that the heater in our van can't keep up (or it might be going out on us, but I'm hoping that's not the case!)
But nothing stops me from getting to the Just Between Friends Consignment Sale every spring and fall. It is clearly marked on the calendar because this sale is how we afford birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, shoes, and more. The selection is SO big, that I have no problem finding what I need for four kids in the same size and being able to coordinate everything as well. Ah, my type A personality is so happy!
Want to see a few of the things that I found at the Just Between Friends spring sale? Say yes, because I love sharing my finds!!

I decided to start in the movie section today. I normally go for the shoes first, but thought I'd see if there was anything fun that the kids might enjoy watching when school is out this summer. Oh. My. WORD. There were probably 30 Disney movies, new in box for just a few dollars! Aladin, Cinderella, Pocahantas, and many more. I picked out about $90 of movies that were worth about $200! I did end up whittling my selection down to about $40 of movies (because I found so much other stuff I had to get!), but my kids will be delighted that I bought everything from Disney's Cars to Princess Sophia, to Doc McStuffins to a new Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVD to add to our collection!

Then I wandered for a bit to see what other fun things they had before buckling down in the shoes and clothing sections.

I found this ah-maz-ing dollhouse filling with furniture in the toy section. If only we had room in our house for something this cool! I couldn't stop thinking about how high quality, and big it was though. Plenty of room for all of the kids to play at the same time! And then I saw someone else wheel it out on a dolly. *sniff!* That's the only thing about these sales. If you see it and you like it, GRAB it! If you don't, someone will come along behind you and snatch up that great deal and you won't get another chance at it. That's my big piece of consignment sale advice for you today. "You snooze, you lose."

But happily, I found PLENTY to fill up my bag and our closets....SHOES!
Okay, so just being honest. The JBF owner and a lot of volunteers know who I am now. I've been shopping this sale twice a year for four years. I'm "the shoe lady". I come in during every sale and buy my kids shoes plus two sizes up. I don't mind the title because it is absolutely ridiculous to pay full price when you can find like new items for only a few dollars. "Shoe Lady" is a badge that I wear proudly. I mean, wouldn't you if you found an almost new pair of sandals for your daughter for $2??? Abby is going to be thrilled!

And then, I just couldn't help myself. The little girl dresses! Oh my word. It's one of the best parts of having little girls! Right now, my girls are ALL about dresses. They consider themselves princesses when they can twirl around and have a dress billow out. It is precious! So I had to do a little "princess dress" shopping. I found SO many adorable sundresses and church dresses for $4 and $5. And then I came across these dresses:

I grabbed the pink one for $9 and the yellow for $12...both brand new! Now I just need some warm weather so that I can dress my girls up!

If you are in the Kansas City area this weekend, this sale is definitely worth stopping at! Don't worry, I left plenty of good stuff for you!

John Knox Pavillion
520 NW Murray Road
Lee's Summit, MO 64081

Friday, February 20th
Open 10am-7pm
$2 admission for 18 and over.
You can bring a stroller and your kids, but it is BUSY. You've been warned!


Saturday, February 21st

Open 10am-7pm
FREE admission!

Sunday, February 22nd
Open 10am-7pm
FREE admission!
Marked items are 50% off!

Have fun shopping, and if you find a great deal, leave a comment and tell me what it is!!

This post was sponsored by JBF Lee's Summit, however all words, photos, and opinions are my own. I REALLY love this sale! This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.
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