Thursday, June 30, 2011

What's Your Song?

Sorry, I've been a little MIA this week! I've been volunteering at the fireworks tent our Christian school sets up each year as a fundraiser, relaxing by the pool with my favorite girl, and gearing up for the grand finals of my karaoke competition which is THIS Sunday!

I'm really excited about this competition, because there are only three people in the grand final, and there are three prizes! So, this guarantees everyone to walk away with something! Woohoo! First prize is a trip to Vegas, which I would love, love, LOVE; but I'd also be happy with 2nd place, which is $200! Not to shabby, if I say so myself!

I know a few weeks ago I shared the songs I was going to do, but after practicing and working through them with my sisters, some of the selections have changed. So, this week I wanted to share my finalized set list for Sunday! Get excited!

My sisters are EXTREMELY unsupportive of this song! :( But, I really feel like I can rock it, so I'm going to give it a try anyway! Kiss it, girls!

I was born for Broadway! Everyone always discourages me from singing these types of songs in our talent competitions, but this time, I don't care! I'm going for it!

What better way to win a trip to Vegas? Am I right!

I'm really excited about my song selections and I think Sunday is going to be a great show, because the other two contestants are really talented too! I am also excited to announce that I am auditioning again for Bootlegger Idol NEXT THURSDAY! (You can check out some of my previous Bootlegger Idol videos here, here, and here). Kelly, who runs the competition, has been texting me WEEKLY asking me to please come and do it again, and since only 2 of the top 6 are able to come back, I really feel like I have a great shot this time! I feel like I've improved greatly just from my first experience with the competition, and so I really feel like I have a lot to offer this time around! So keep your fingers crossed for me!

If you want to get in on the fun, head over to Goodnight Moon and join her "What's Your Song?" link-up! It's the perfect addition to any Thursday! :)

Happy Thursday!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Tough Choices: When A Hobby Becomes Illegal

"A man needs his hobbies", this is my dad's life motto. One of the things I remember most from my childhood is my dad and his countless hobbies. He was an avid deer hunter, turkey hunter, bow enthusiast, golfer, and body builder. He also enjoyed camping and four-wheeling, which we did together as a family at least once a month during the spring, summer, and fall. Well, four years ago, I married a man with countless hobbies...just like my dad. My husband is a car enthusiast, deer hunter, waterfowl hunter, fisherman, and most recently, he became a motorcycle enthusiast...a biker.

You know, when we were first married, I did my best to "protest" the hobbies. I hated how much money they drained from our checking/savings account and how often they kept him away from home, but the longer I've been married, I've begun to realize that my dad's life motto is true is so many ways.

Men need to stay busy. They need things to tinker with; to perfect. It's in their blood. It's what makes their inner workings tick. Without their hobbies, men would become globs on our couches and that would drive us nuts! Now don't get me wrong, I love my husband. I actually do ENJOY spending time with him! But, after two or three days, I'm ready for him to GO; to find something, ANYTHING, to do that does not involve me. Yes, maybe I do take him for granted, and that's probably because I am blessed to have him here with me all the time. Unlike so many wives, I don't have to worry about him being shipped over seas in a few months or being frequently called away in the middle of night. Yes, my husband has a nice "9:00 to 5:00" job, for which I am extremely grateful, but I still think even the men who serve in our military and our local police, fire, and emergency departments still need to have their hobbies. They need things to distract them and help them to cope with the things they've seen and faced throughout the years. They need things, other than their families, to give them joy; to remind them that they to are human.

I think, in addition to hobbies, men also need friends; "brothers". Other men who share common interests with them. Men they can talk to and laugh with. They need friends to share ideas with and to help them through life's ups and downs. I have become close with some of my husband's friends, and while my husband's friendships are a lot different than mine, I don't think that they are any less important. I really admire that my husband would drop anything he's doing to help a friend. I think that is an amazing character trait, and I think most men with true friends possess that character trait.

One of my husband's newest hobbies, embraces both of these: hobbies and friendship. Last summer, my husband bought his first motorcycle. I, like most wives, was leery to allow him to purchase one. I worried for his safety, and my mother who is an ER nurse, had reveled me with stories of all the "gunk" she has seen in the ER as a result of motorcycle accidents. But, after months of talking about it, I finally gave in and I'll never forget how excited he was to finally own a bike. One of the best things about having a motorcycle, is that so many of his friends also own one. We have discovered that the motorcycle is not only economical, but it also opened up new avenues for him to hang out with his friends and meet new friends.

A few weeks after purchasing the motorcycle, a good friend of my husband's, "C", who also happens to work in law enforcement, was talking to my husband about his desire to join a motorcycle club. C really wanted to go about it the right way, especially because of his job, and he was leery, because there are so many motorcycle clubs with negative persona's in our area. He knew that other cities had law enforcement motorcycle clubs, but that ours did not, so he asked my husband if he would be willing to start a law enforcement motorcycle club with him. He knew that most other law enforcement clubs only allow law enforcement members to be a part of their club, but C and my husband did not want to limit their club. Since our area only has one other well known motorcycle club with a POSITIVE persona, they wanted to open their club up to everyone. They wanted to give local motorcycle enthusiasts another option to join a club that is founded on integrity, friendship, and community service. They knew they needed to be careful, and that they couldn't allow just anyone to join, so they created by-laws and standards for their club. The minute those by-laws were in print and their patch was designed, the Ozark Regulators Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club was formed.

In the beginning, lots of guys, mostly law enforcement, wanted to join up. It was an exciting time! They were having monthly meetings and trying to ride together at least once a month. They were talking about community service projects they could get involved with and even made plans to adopt a section of highway. The members were so excited about the club and where it was heading, that they couldn't wait to share the news with other law enforcement members in hopes that many more would join up. But, that's when things took a turn.

Unfortunately, not everyone in our local law enforcement agreed with the motorcycle club. Of course, these people have never asked to read the clubs by-laws or actually spoken with any of it's members in a effort to educate themselves. They just based their knowledge of our motorcycle club off the more negative clubs in our area, basically lumping the Ozark Regulators into the same category, and they used that false information to begin planting hateful rumors. As a result, law enforcement members who were already apart of the club started being threatened with their jobs, and within weeks of the hateful rumors making their rounds, three of the first six members dropped out. These men didn't want to lose their jobs, especially not over a hobby, and the other guys didn't blame them. C and the other law enforcement members did everything they could to correct the hateful rumors, they even made arrangements to meet with our sheriff, so they could tell him about the club and it's purpose. They wanted to get his blessing, so that the guys who felt they had to step down because of their jobs might be able to join back up once they knew their jobs were safe. But, sadly, that is not what happened.

Apparently, our sheriff and our under sheriff are against certain "hobbies". They are so against them, that they too are willing to threaten these innocent, upstanding law officers with their jobs. Now of course, they will tell you that they know this is illegal. But, you know, nothing is stopping them from finding another "reason" to fire these boys and put them out on the streets just because they want to be associated with a LAW ENFORCEMENT motorcycle club. C was even told the other day by an authority figure at his job, that he is no longer allowed to dress, OUTSIDE OF WORK, like a "biker". This means he is not allowed to be seen wearing a bandana or chains at Wal-Mart or a local restaurant. He was also told that he is no longer allowed to attend the local "bike night" in our area. He was also given an ultimatum. He was asked to choose his job or his motorcycle club. Period. After all of that was said, he was informed that "the discussion of the Ozark Regulators is over", and he was sent on his way. It took a total of 15 minutes, but in those 15 minutes, a hobby, one of the things that gave a couple of guys some peace and sanity, was vanquished. All because of a misunderstanding and some hateful rumors.

Despite everything, the guys have walked away quietly. They have hung up their vests and their patches, because they fear for their jobs: their way to feed and provide for their family. Granted, they probably could go out and get other jobs which pay WAY better than law enforcement, but they won't quit. Because not only do they love what they do: they love helping people. Yes, they are not quitters. They will not walk away from a job just because they are being bullied. They are stronger than that.

I admire their strength and their resolve. I admire their willingness not to make "a scene". But, however, I will not be quiet. I will not sit by while, not only their first amendment rights are being violated, but also other Missouri laws regarding defamation and discrimination are being violated. My husband, who is a prominent business man in our area, is being referred to by some in law enforcement as a "gang member". A GANG MEMBER. Are they not aware of what that kind of slander could do to our business? To my husband's income? To our family, and our ability to provide for our two year old daughter? What about our law enforcement club members who are afraid of losing their jobs over a hobby? What will happen to them and their families (most of them have young children) if they are inadvertently fired over this nonsense?

Needless to say, I cannot wait for the 2012 elections to get here, because I will be the number one person fighting AGAINST our sheriff's re-election. He may be able to silence my husband and his friends, but I WILL NOT be silenced. I will not be some woman who publishes something in the local paper and then disappears into the background. My parents taught me to stand up for what I believe in and I actually believe in this country and the fact that it was originally founded on things like freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the freedom to peaceably assemble. I believe in the truths behind our laws and amendments, and I will not back down.

"Men need their hobbies, Ashley". Yes, but men also need their voice and the freedom to choose to be apart of whatever perfectly legal hobby suits them. Last time I checked, we did not live under a dictatorship or a monarchy. We live in a country that was created by the people, for the people. And no, it's not just for the people who disagree with our views, or in this case, our hobbies, but for all people: mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, servicemen, law enforcement, businessmen, and yes, even motorcycle enthusiast.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Healing Side

“No matter what, once in your life,
someone will hurt you.

That someone will take all that you are,
and rip it into pieces
and they won’t even watch where the pieces land.
But through the breakdown,
you’ll learn something about
You’ll learn that you are strong,
and that no matter how hard they tried to destroy you,
you can conquer anyone.”
~Author Unknown

I have a dear friend who is hurting tonight. My heart is so heavy for her, because she is the last person on Earth who deserves this heartache. She is kind. She is genuine. She is a GREAT mom. She is an AMAZING friend. But, I also know that she is strong, and as hopeless as things may seem right now, I know she will find the courage to make it through and come out even stronger than she already is.

This song has been on repeat on my iPod for weeks. My situation is different than her's, but I think there is something similar about the pain. Yeah, I may not know what its like to be where she's at in her life and I may not know what it's like to walk through her valley, but I can grasp the hurt. The ache. The wound that is so deep, it feels like it may never heal. The hopelessness. The choice that is so much bigger than yourself. The tears. The moments spent contemplating forgiveness you may never have the strength to give. I can understand those things.

I just needed her to know I was thinking about her, and praying for her every moment that I could.

Friday, June 24, 2011

When Daddy's In Charge...

Last night I got to enjoy a night out and nothing beats a little Thirsty Thursday action with some of my favorite girls: Lianne, Erica, and Jannea. My friend, Kyle, recently started DJ-ing at a local bar on the water, and he has been wanting my sisters and I to come up and do karaoke. Well, last night seemed like the ideal opportunity, so I called up my friends and away we went. I loved it because the singing and dancing all took place outside and it was the perfect night for it! I also got to enjoy my very first Fish Bowl! Umm...yummy! But, I won't be drinking too many of those EVER again, because they are $12 a piece! Yikes! (Shh...don't tell Randy!) Anyway, it was a great time and I am so thankful to have an awesome hubby who always steps up to watch Emma when I want to go out. He endures every girl's night out, weekend away, and karaoke competition like a champ. He is truly mine and Emma's superhero! Yes, he always tries to do his best, but sometimes the morning after, I look around my house and scream giggle at all of the chaos that has ensued when mommy was away, and daddy was in charge. For instance:

1. Emma's diaper in the morning is always on WAY to tight. This is partly my fault, because when she was 6 months old, I told him he needed to be sure and secure the diaper nice and snug on our long, skinny girl to prevent diaper leakage (Her diapers used to leak TERRIBLY because she is so skinny and it was hard to get a good fit!). Now that she's older and we are potty training, we don't have to worry about the diapers quite so much, but every morning after he watches her, the diaper is fastened AS TIGHT AS IT WILL GO! I am shocked sometimes that her legs aren't purple from the lack of circulation!

2. The living room I managed to keep clean ALL DAY, is officially a disaster. I don't know why, but the minute I walk out the door, I think Emma and Daddy get out EVERY SINGLE toy she owns! I make Emma pick up after herself all day long, my motto is: "When your finished with something, you have to pick it up BEFORE you can get something else out". This works really well for us, and we go through most days without any major mess (except for when she decides to build a tower with ALL of her books!). However, I don't think Daddy supports my motto, because the morning after a night out, always begins with a massive clean up, which means placing EVERY SINGLE toy back in the EMPTY toy box. Awesome.

3. For the most part, my husband is banned from the kitchen. Anytime he enters that room of the house, mess ensues. Therefore, I usually don't allow him in there, especially not to cook. But, on the nights I go out, he sometimes has to cook or at least warm up leftovers. Well, this means, dishes...lots and lots of dishes to do the next morning, and we all know how FUN grease and spaghetti sauce is to clean off kitchen surfaces 9 HOURS LATER!

4. Emma always wakes up with the most random items in bed with her. One morning it was sand from the sand box, another morning it was books...LOTS of books, and this morning it was my volleyball referee whistle...ODD.

5. With Daddy, PJ's are optional. More often than not, Emma goes to bed in her clothes when Daddy watches her. If I don't lay PJ's out, he won't put them on her. Period. Although, last night he did manage to get a diaper and a PJ top her. Progress???

Yes, I love my husband and I am so grateful that he allows me the occasional frequent night out. He is seriously the best! And sometimes I have to remind myself to take a deep breath, because, hey, at least she's still alive! Right?!

Happy Friday! I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What's Your Song?

I completely forgot about the link-up this week! My week has just been flying right along, and this morning when I got on my blog roll to see what everyone was up too, I was like, "OMG! It's Thursday! I better head over and link-up!" :)

Today, I'm sharing a song that has really been speaking to me. My life is in a crazy place and everyday I am coping and trying to move forward.

I just want to say thanks to Charla over at Heart Like Mine for introducing me to this song. It really made a difference in my life the day I found it through her blog! It definitely shined some hope in my life that I haven't felt in a while.

Well, I'm off to spend the afternoon with my sister, run a few errands, and possibly get a new cell phone! Mine is about to bite the dust, the speaker is junk! But I've been putting it off for fear that a new one won't get service at our house. You see, my husband has gone through 5 different phones in the last year and NONE of them get service at our house...not even the one he has now! He can't even text! Grr! So, you can understand my reservations, especially since I'm a SAHM and I spend MOST of my time at home! Let's hope I have better luck than my hubby, because I seriously need one. Bad.

I hope you are all having a beautiful Thursday and be sure to head over to Goodnight Moon to get in on the fun!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Our Non-Foodie Diary: Tips of the Trade

I love this girl! She is the light of my life, but when it comes to eating, she turns into the Wicked Witch of the West...complete with the flying monkeys! Okay, well, maybe not literally, but food in general is a challenge for us. It has been a challenge since the moment I started giving her baby food and she turned up her cute little nose at EVERYTHING I offered to her. In fact, because of her picky eating, I fed her baby food until she was almost 2. But, right around her 2nd birthday, my husband didn't want her eating baby food anymore and the food war ensued.

To be honest ,things were AWFUL in the beginning. There were spankings, time outs, and LOTS of tears (Not just from Emma either!). Everything I read was telling me not to force her to eat, but my mom instincts were telling me not to be bested by my toddler. I knew she would eventually eat when she was ready, even if that meant a few nights going to bed hungry (which I had a lot of reserves about because of her age). My husband also wanted me to limit her milk intake, but I never did. I knew she needed the calcium, and that even without the milk she was still going to be picky.

After weeks of fighting, I came up with a game plan: I got rid of the baby food completely with the exception of baby food applesauce (Emma hates the texture of regular applesauce, and I can't find any as smooth as baby food applesauce, so we keep it in stalk for those last minute breakfasts). I stopped being lazy and actually made an effort to actually make my daughter breakfast and lunch in addition to dinner. I started buying more fresh fruits and veggies to incorporate into our diet, and I tried harder to eat when she was eating to get her on a normal meal schedule. We also quit pushing. I always offer her what we are having, and if all she eats is the meat, that's okay. I do, however, make her take at least one bite of the vegetables. I also quit making breakfast and lunch a big deal. Some people are not breakfast people, and I have days where I still don't eat lunch. So, I try not to be pushy about those meals. Sometimes it's 10:30 before she has "breakfast" and she doesn't eat lunch usually until she gets up from her nap around 3:00, and you know, that's okay. That is what works for us, and she is anything, but malnourished. She doesn't tell me she is hungry too often, but when she does I am thankful that she'd pick pretzels, a piece of fruit, or some fruit snacks over cookies and candy. I know that at this rate, I can't be too picky, so I'm not. I also feel like if she gets at least one veggie and one to two fruits everyday, I'm doing good.

I know there are parents who have extremely picky know those kids who ONLY eat starches, or they ONLY eat popcorn, or they ONLY eat pudding or whatever. Yes, those parents have it way worse than I do, but I think any level of picky eating is frustrating and because of that here are few tips that worked well with my little non-foodie princess.

1. Stick to your guns! As much as I wanted to give up, and feed her baby food until she was 6 years old, I knew that I couldn't. I knew that eventually she would sadly have to eat real food. So I have never given up trying! Some meals go okay, others are a battle, but no matter what I never throw my hands up and just give her what she wants, because I know that healthy eating habits start at an early age.

2. Play off the foods your child does like. If your child likes meat, then serve a meat at every meal, but switch it up and offer different kinds of meat. Emma loves chicken, so we just call every type of meat I serve "chicken". Emma always gobbles it up! Emma also loves potatoes...any kind of I try to serve potatoes A LOT! In addition to serving foods my child loves, I try to only introduce a new food with a favorite. For instance, Emma HATE spaghetti....HATES IT! So, I try to never serve a new veggie or side dish with spaghetti, because I know she already isn't going to eat very much dinner. I usually will pick a veggie she likes (green beans) and serve that with the spaghetti, because I know that a belly full of green beans is better than nothing.

3. Don't torture your child with foods they dislike.
As I mentioned previously, Emma HATES spaghetti. I acknowledge this and as a result, I typically will only make spaghetti once every other week.

4. Don't give into your child's tantrums. As Emma has gotten older, it has become easier to firmly encourage her to try new foods and eat what is in front of her. If she throws a fit about something I want her to try, I will firmly say, "Open your mouth and try it or I am going to spank you." Usually, she will try it or I have to spank her. Period. We also do not tolerate spitting food out. If she spits something out, she goes immediately to time out. Emma is a fairly "easy" child. One time out is usually all it takes for her to realize that we are not kidding. I learned the hard way that Emma is smart, and she will throw a fit just to get out of eating her dinner. So, by not giving into her tantrums and being firm in our discipline, but still requiring her to finish her food, we have been able to make huge strides when it comes to eating.

5. Stop feeling guilty.
I decided a long time ago to quit caring what everyone else thought about my daughter's eating habits. I am not one of those people who believes that every picky child is a picky eater because of their parents. I know that is true is some situations where parents ONLY offer their children foods that THEY like and they never try to introduce their children to new foods. I do think that picky parents make for picky children. But, I also realize that some children are just picky. Period. And as long as I frequently try to introduce my daughter to new foods and she is getting the fruits and veggies she needs in her diet, then who cares if I only feed her french fries when we go out to a restaurant. After all, she's MY child. Therefore, she is MY business...NOT yours.

I will say that Emma has come a long way since January, but we still have bad days. In fact, last night's dinner was a fight and I even served meat and potatoes...which she likes! It just goes to show you that not every meal is going to be a piece of cake, even after you start making progress. However, I am slowly learning what works for us, but its not without effort and lots of hard work. I am so proud of how I am growing as a mom, and how I've accepted that I don't have to be an expert at everything, because some things just don't work out the way you planned.

What about you? Are any of your children picky eaters? What works for you?

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Adventures In Potty Training: Lessons Learned

I'm back for another potty training post and this one is a much more optimistic! You can go here and here to get caught up on the rest of the adventure.

So, here we are, two weeks in and things are going great! We have pretty much done away with the plastic pants and Emma has gone straight to panties during the day! We are having minimal accidents (knock on wood), and she is getting much better about trying to tell us when she has to go potty. I feel like we have come leaps and bounds from my post two weeks ago and I am actually kind of glad for my husband's nagging persistence to stick with it (don't tell him I said that!), because that persistence has definitely paid off! Yes, I know we aren't out of the woods yet and that the timer probably isn't going anywhere for a while, but I do feel like everyday we make progress, and that is all I can ask for.

You can tell in my previous posts that I definitely had NO IDEA what I was doing, and to be honest, I still don't. Potty training was/is a huge learning experience for me and I have been leaning on the experience and advice of others to get me through. Thanks to all of you who commented and left advice and encouragement here. I really appreciated it and tried to take some of it to heart. I also want to give a big thanks to my friend, Lianne, for bringing me her potty book and "Elmo Goes Potty" DVD. Emma loves both of them! I could not have survived the last two weeks without the strong support system I have around me.

So what about the tough days? Yeah, well, we got to enjoy an entire week of them! Every time I turned around Emma was having an accident! I also did WAY more laundry, and I felt like a prisoner in my own house! It was seriously one of the longest weeks of my life, and I tried to give up more than once. That first day I think I cried more than once, and I even had to have Randy keep Emma for a few hours that night so I could just get out of the house. It was definitely A LOT harder than I had envisioned in my mind it would be. But, it was worth it, because now I have enough of my own personal experience to give some of my own potty training advice. So, here goes:

1. Invest in wa
terproof pants.{picture}

Yes, I realize that we are POTTY TRAINING here, but all of the mom-expert advice that I received told me NOT to use pull ups or diapers while potty training, especially with little girls. Little girls do not like to be wet or yucky, and so I was informed that after 2 or 3 times of peeing down her leg, she would get tired of feeling wet. The waterproof pants help to contain most of the mess, which makes for easier clean up.

My daughter is skinny, so I had to buy 12-18 month waterproof pants to get the right fit, and while they do contain the mess, it is still messy to take them off. So, when Emma would have an accident, I would take her in the bathroom, make her stand on a towel, and remove the plastic pants and her panties. I would then rinse both the plastic pants and the panties out with warm water, because you cannot launder the plastic pants. I would then throw her panties in the clothes basket and lay the waterproof pants flat to dry on a towel on top of my dryer. This worked best for us, and helped me to clean up every accident easier.

2. I always use flushable wipes.


I actually just use regular baby wipes. Sometimes the off-brands are thinner and not quite as thick as the name brand wipes, so they flush just as well as "flushable wipes". But, my sister, Randi, uses flushable wipes for her 3 year old son and she likes them. I think it is just up to you! But, no matter what you use, I would recommend wiping your child down really well after an accident, because this will eliminate the feeling you might have to bathe your child after every accident. I also realized with Emma that she would still get a "diaper rash" from the panties being so wet all the time those first few days. If I would wipe her down really well this seemed to help with the rash.

3. Pull-ups are not evil.

Okay, this is just MY opinion and this is what works best for EMMA and I, but we do use pull-ups. I totally agreed with all the mom advice that told me waterproof pants and panties works best to potty train quickly! I credit Emma being almost fully potty trained in two weeks to that advice! But, car rides, getting in and out of the grocery store, and other social functions are already stressful enough, so I just could not imagine adding accidents to the least right now. She is just starting to tell me when she has to go potty, so hopefully as she learns to communicate her need to use the bathroom, then we can eliminate the need for pull-ups when we go out in public.

You know, I am not someone who can just hole up and potty train my child for a month. I have a life. So, anytime we needed to run an errand or whatever I would throw a pull up on her. However, when we were out and about, I tried to be religious about taking her potty every 30 to 45 minutes. Luckily, Emma goes potty well on the big potty if you hold her, so she always does great going potty at Wal-Mart or wherever and 90% of the time we make it to town and back without an accident.

I also still use diapers at night. Pull-ups are freaking expensive and I still have diapers left, so I wait until right before bedtime to put a diaper on her. Since, she is only 2, she does not wake up to tell me she has to go potty or that she has went potty, so diapers work best for us right now. I know, night time potty training is harder to master and I am not going to get up every 45 minutes to take my child to the bathroom. I do take the diaper off first thing in the morning and make her use the potty, even if her diaper is wet. She will usually go right away, and we start our potty routine of every 30 to 45 minutes right then.

On another note: I have quit giving Emma milk in the middle of the night if she wakes up. Emma still does a milk cup to go to sleep, and I do not feel the need to take it away from her at this time. But, before potty training, if she got up I would give her another cup of milk because she would go back to sleep faster, but I have now quit that to help her maybe not have such wet diapers in the morning.

4. Set up a reward system.

{Emma's potty chart}

I know every kid is different, and if your child responds to M&M's or Skittles, then kudos! Emma, however is not a candy kid, but she LOVES stickers! The best thing I have done through this experience was buy a piece of cardboard and make this sticker chart! I put it in the bathroom right next to her potty, and we talk about it ALL the time. I say things like, "Emma, try to go potty for mommy so we can put a sticker on your chart!" or "Emma, what happens if you go potty for mommy?" and she'll say, "I get to put a sticker on my chart!" She definitely responded the best to the stickers! Also, during the first week, I was letting her put pennies in her piggy bank, but she got kind of bored doing both, so the sticker chart is all we do now.

I think a reward system is key! Even now when Emma goes potty, she come to the bathroom door and says, "Mommy, I went potty. I am so proud of you!" She knows that going potty in her potty is a good thing and that it makes me very happy. However, I do not spank her or punish her if she has an accident. I know that she can't help it and she is just now learning about the feelings her body gets when she needs to use the bathroom.

I am also not pro "naked potty time". I think it's important to teach your kids from an early age to leave their clothes on, and just pull down their pants, when they go potty. I mean, they won't be able to strip down like that in public, especially when they are older, so why hassle with the confusion. Emma has responded pretty well to leaving her clothes on and she doesn't really question it or ask me to remove her clothing.

I know that every child potty trains differently and at different times. It could be that my next child will not use some of these methods or potty train as easily. But, I feel like some of this information is pretty generic and works well for all children. I also found some great potty training strategies from Parenting magazine if you are interested in hearing some advice from other moms.

All I can say is that potty training is hard. Really, really hard. Definitely one of the most difficult things I have had to do as a parent. But, when you make the decision to start, STICK WITH IT! I can promise you that you will want to give up! You will get tired of spraying Shout on your carpet, as well as, washing towels and barely full baskets of laundry! And the first time you see that giant pee stain on your couch, you will swear your life is over and you will want to ban your child from sitting on the couch permanently. But, you just have to hang in there. You just have to keep going. Because while it's one of the hardest things I have ever done, it is also the most rewarding, because I get to see my daughter learning something new and transforming into such a big girl.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Once Upon A 21st Birthday...

This past weekend was my sister, Kasie's 21st birthday party! It ended up being a beautiful day for a dock party, and we probably should of left it at that. I don't have many pictures of that night or bar hopping, because, well let's just say, that things didn't go quite according to plan. Yes, things were said and feeling were hurt, but, I promised myself I was NOT going to get into it! Yesterday, Randi and I drank to not dwelling on the past and moving forward. So, I'm done naming names and pointing fingers. I know alcohol makes people act stupid, and trust me, there was A LOT of stupidity going on. But, I'm just going to say, that I wish things had gone differently and I'm sorry that things went downhill so fast. We all definitely learned a few lessons and as stressful as this weekend was, I was glad we got some of her friends together to celebrate Kasie and her 21st, even if the only real "celebrating" happened at our dock party :)

Here are a few pictures of our weekend...enjoy!

(Clockwise: Dock girls! Lt to rt: Manda, Kirstin, Kasie, Me, Janae, and Randi; Kasie with the sign that defines our whole weekend; Me and the birthday girl; The girls with our mimosas at breakfast: it was prepared by our own personal chef!)

(Clockwise: Randi and I with our cousin, Channing; Randi and Manda lovin' some Lake livin'; Randi and Janae; and more Randi and Manda)

(Sexy ladies! Janae, Randi, and I on our way to Kasie's birthday dinner!)

(Randi and I with the birthday girl! Kasie's sash says, "Finally 21" appropriate!)

These memories are the good ones of that day, and I'm so glad I caught them on camera! I feel so blessed to have the sisters that I have, even when we drive each other crazy!

Happy birthday, Kasie!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What Is Friendship?

“God doesn’t give you the people you want,
He gives you the people you need.

To help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you
and to make you into the person you were meant to be.”
~Author Unknown

I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately. The older I get, the more I realize that people change. Not always for the better. Not always for the worst. They just change. But, at the same time, I know that I have changed too. I am not the same girl I was when I was 6. 12. 16. 18. 21. Some people may think I've changed for the better, other may think I have changed for the worse, and some would probably say I've just changed, I've aged, I've moved forward.

Because of all changes that occurs, I realize that it is hard and unlikely to have the same best friend from childhood. The girl whom I consider to be my "best friend" has been my friend since kindergarten. We have always been completely different people. She is quiet, I am loud. She is a deep thinker, I am more spur of the moment. I tell-it-like-it-is, and she keeps everything inside. I love her. We compliment each other. But, we have definitely grown apart in some ways. For instance, I am married and I have a daughter, and my friend isn't at that place in her life yet, so sometimes I feel like we struggle for ways to relate with one another and connect. I still consider her my closest friend, but we have changed. Our friendship has changed. Not in a bad way, things are just different.

Because of those changes, I don't really feel like I have a close friend. You know that friend you call and tell everything too. The friend that knows everything about you and then some. I, of course, have my sisters and I love and appreciate their friendship, but at the end of the day, they are my sisters. There are some things about me they don't even know. Things I choose not to tell them or anyone else. Sometimes I wish I had someone to talk too. Someone I could tell everything too. Yes, of course, my husband is one of my best friends. He probably knows more about me than anyone, but part of me longs for that girlfriend who completes your sentences, calls you just because she had a feeling she should, and knows everything there is to know, all your dirty little secrets, and still doesn't judge you.

I am like everyone else out there. I have secrets. I have scars. I have wounds that often feel like they will never heal. And I wish I had someone to share that with. Someone who could help me bear the burden. Someone who doesn't have to tell me they are praying for me, because I already know that they are.

Now, if you know me personally, I am not writing this because I need you to host a "friend-talent" search for me or anything. I'm fine. Really. I do have a lot of great friends to go shopping and watch a girl movie with! I have great friends who come out and watch me compete in my karaoke competitions and shake their fists in anger when I don't win. I have plenty of people in my life that make me laugh and know how to put a smile on my face. In all honesty, I am a very happy girl. Sure I have my flaws and my sad places, but overall, I love my life. I am blessed with family and friendship.

And because of these people, I have also started re-thinking some of my other friendships. Over the past year, I have met some fantastic ladies! Girls that almost a year ago I snubbed and would of NEVER considered being friends with. But, since I've recently decided to get over myself and actually get to know these women, I have discovered that they are probably some of the greatest women I have ever met. They are so fun and down to earth. They have taught me to be real, and because of them, I am so over fake and all those girls I used to consider my "friends". I realize now that some of those people I thought were my "friends" never really accepted me for me, and they still don't. I don't need people like that in my life. I need women like, Lianne and Erica! These women are so supportive and fun. I feel so blessed to have them in my life. This last year has definitely taught me to be more open minded and accepting of people, especially other women, because if you don't you may never see the great friend that is hiding inside of them.

Yes, as you can see, this whole friend thing has been heavy on my heart lately. I've watched several friends move forward without me in the last few years, and while I am happy for them and the places they are in their lives. I still miss them. Plus, I also have women in my life that I've tried to be-friend and I've gone out of my way for them, only to be repeatedly shut down. That is frustrating too, you know. But, its okay. I don't need them, right?! Right.

I guess to sum it all up. This last year has really made me re-define what friendship means to me as a woman. As I watch friends come and go, make new friends, and realize that my relationship with my best friend is changing, I know that God will lead me to that place where I can find the true thick and thin friend my heart longs for. I believe women need other women. To cling to. To relate to. To help keep them afloat and to remind each other that we each have our own brand of crazy, some more outrageous than others, but in the grand scheme of things we are all the same. We all want the same things. Happiness. Family. Security. Friendship.

What about you? What do you look for in friend? How have your friendships changed over the years?

What's Your Song?

It's Thursday! Woohoo! That means another link-up with Amber over at Goodnight Moon! I am so happy, after 17 weeks, we finally have a button for this link-up! It's super cute and it's courtesy of Miss Neidy over at Neidy's Infinite Playlist! Be sure to stop by and show her some love this week!

As everyone knows this Sunday is Father's Day! Every year, over Father's Day weekend, I accompany my husband and his family to the annual car show we attend in Branson, MO. My husband and his family are really into classic cars and we actually have 3 of our own cars that we take with us when we go (Yes, we actually drive them down there). My husband has really enjoyed taking Emma the last two years and she already loves cars as much as her daddy! Here are some quick pics from last year:

{Family photo op! Randy, Emma, and I}

{4 Generations of car show enthusiasts: Randy's grandpa, Randy's dad, Randy, and Emma}

{Emma in her Papa's 1929 Model A Roadster}

{The best picture from last year! Emma with her daddy's 1929 Model A Roadster}

This is the first year I will not be able to go. I am hosting a 21st birthday party for my little sister, Kasie, and I "unfortunately" have stay behind and "endure" the party (Yeah, I'm heartbroken. Can't you tell?). No, but seriously, the car show is kind of fun and I enjoy doing it with my husband, because he loves it so much. I am also a little worried about sending Emma down there with them for the entire weekend. I worry about silly things like the fact that she's still potty training (Will I send enough clothes and pull ups?), her getting a sunburn (God, I hope they keep sunscreen on her!), and her fluid intake (It's going to be so hot! Lord, please help them to give her plenty to drink!). Yep, normal mom stuff. It's not that I don't trust Randy's mom, because I do! Really! I just worry. It's my job. Anyway, I think it's great that Randy and Emma are getting some one on one time for Father's Day, and I know they will have a great time!

So, in honor of Father's Day, I wanted to share my favorite father/daughter song. I have loved this song for a long time, but when I found out we were having a girl while I was pregnant, this song took on a whole new meaning for me. I still get teary eyed when I hear it, because not only does it make me think of the relationship Emma is going to have with Randy, but it also reminds me of my dad. It's a beautiful song and I hope you enjoy it.

I hope everyone has a great weekend and be sure to come back Monday for my 21st birthday party update!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Happy Birthday to my little sister, Kasie Dawn! She is OFFICIALLY the big 2-1! And while today will come and go without much hoorah besides lunch with me and then dinner out with some of her friends later tonight, we have a fabulous birthday party planned for her this weekend and I CANNOT wait! I promise to post pics Monday morning, but for now I'll settle for lunch with this gorgeous girl.

{Happy Birthday, Kathryn}

And in true birthday fashion, her is the song we have deemed her official birthday song, because no birthday is complete without a song!

Yep, It's official. I CANNOT wait for this weekend! It's going to be EPIC!

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Shooting Stars

There is something so refreshing about food, family, and sisters. There is nothing quite like the balm that comes from laughter with some of your best friends or the warmth that clings to a good secret shared between sisters. You know, when I look into the eyes of these women, I see hope and the strength I am going to need for tomorrow. I see what it truly means to be known and understood by someone.

{my mom, my grandma, kasie, noah, randi, emma, me, and faith}

{kasie, randi, me, and faith}
{June 12. 2011}

{randi and I: TWINKIES!}

I praise the Lord everyday for how richly I am blessed through them. These faces...these women...are five of the reasons why I am one lucky girl. They are my reminders that I am strong. I am fearless. I am capable of so much more than I ever thought I was. They are my fan club, my shooting stars, and my kick in the ass. They are a huge chunk of my paper heart.

Days like today remind me...I am really going to be okay. Eventually. Because, no matter what, I am blessed. So blessed.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Make Me Believe...

If they only knew. If I could make someone understand. Then maybe, just maybe I would find the courage and strength I need to move forward. Maybe.

SMS: Potty Training 101

Today I am linking up with Ms. Katie over at Love of Life for her Saturday Morning Scene! If you wanna get in on the fun, head over and share your photos!

My Saturday morning looks like the rest of my mornings this week:

But, things are becoming less and less messy and we actually went pee in the potty TWO times in A ROW this morning! Woohoo! I have feeling we are finally getting the hang of things! She even looked at me when the timer went off and said, "It's potty time!"...too cute! I just look at her sometimes and I cannot believe how big she is getting!

I am currently taking potty training advice here and I welcome any and all tips of the trade! Trust me! I also want to give a big shout out to my friend, Lianne over at Quick Hair Do's For The Busy Mom, for loaning me her potty book! You are a life saver, girl!

While your here, check out my most recent controversial post, "What Would You Do?". It's an interesting post about the discrimination of disabled people and the people who care for them! You won't be disappointed! I would love some honest feedback, instead of the "Hey, I'm a new follower!" comments I got yesterday (For the record, I really dislike those types of comments, but that's another post for another time! Grr!).

I hope you are all having a fabulous Saturday! I'm off to get ready for breakfast with a dear friend!

Saturday Morning Scene

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What Would You Do?

I am becoming increasingly appalled by people. Maybe it's because I have ZERO tolerance for intolerance. Now don't get me wrong, I have beliefs. Christian beliefs. And because of those beliefs there are some life styles and practices I do not support, but that does NOT mean that I constantly berate, condemn, or belittle people who may choose to do things I do not support. I believe that in order to fully show someone the love of Christ, they have to see Christ in you. Not just with the words you say, but how you live your life. With that said, I have ZERO tolerance for racism, sexism, and discrimination against the disabled. I am not a fool nor do I choose to put my head in the sand. I see everyday how these things are still breathing hate into our society and it sickens me.

Today, while reading a dear friend's obituary on our local newspaper's website, I ran across this letter. Please visit the website if you want to see it for yourself, but to save you the trouble, here it is:

"I am writing to express my disappointment in a lake area business.

My child attends the Dogwood Hills State School for the severely disabled. In order to get him to school on time as well as get myself to work on time, we must meet the school bus at a location other than our home. For safety reasons, we chose a place to meet that met several requirements. The location needed to be on the right side of the road for the bus, not open for business at that time, and have more than one entrance and exit if at all possible.

Since the end of February, we have been using the parking lot of a business in Camdenton for this purpose. The time varies, because it always does when dealing with the loading and unloading of students at this level of disability, but we are generally there together for about five minutes — anywhere from 7:25 a.m. to 7:35 a.m. each weekday.

Today, one of the employees of the business pulled up behind us as I was getting my child out of my van and began honking his horn. He then got out of his car and came toward us. He was visibly angry. He informed me that the business had strict security rules and that I was breaking them by being here. I did not respond as kindly as I could have because I had my hands literally full with my disabled child, trying to remove him from the van and put him in the bus while this rude young man was yelling at me. Also, I do not respond well to bullying tactics.

After getting my child to the bus, I went to try to reason with him. He informed me again that I was breaking security rules, and I was breaking the law by trespassing. He then threatened to call the police if he saw us there again. When I tried to speak to him further, he rolled up his window and kept yelling, "I can't hear you," until I went away. Really, his behavior was harassing, discriminatory, hateful, and at the end it was just ridiculous.

Of course, the bus driver and I are going to find another location to meet. It was not necessary for this man to be rude or to threaten us with calling the police because we were using the parking lot of a business that isn't even open for 5-10 minutes in the morning. He could have pulled out on to the highway and back in and gone around us instead of sitting behind us honking his horn. Sadly, this sort of rudeness happens often to those of us who care for the severely disabled when we take them out in public.

I just want others to think before they act. If others are inconvenienced or made uncomfortable by having to be around the disabled for a few minutes, just imagine how tiring, uncomfortable, and "inconvenient" it can be to care for our loved ones 24/7. We love them. We would never call them inconvenient, but believe me, it is much more of a problem for us to put up with people like this rude young man than it is for the rest of the public to wait the few minutes longer it takes us to do everything.

None of us asked for our children to get sick, be in car accidents, or to have congenital illnesses. Certainly, none of the children deserve to be treated badly because they are ill. Any adult who cannot find enough compassion in their heart for hurt children that that they cannot endure 3-5 minutes of inconvenience should be ashamed."

I am so angry and sad for the woman who wrote this letter. I applaud her for never sharing the name of the business and for seeking to be the bigger person, because trust me, this woman is a much bigger person than I would have been. I know this woman has to get up everyday and put her big girl panties on and after this horrendous experience she continues to do so! Bravo! Unlike the "man-child" who confronted her so rudely, this woman actually has class and I realize she only wrote this letter to draw attention to the discrimination that disabled people face everyday. She wanted to use her voice to speak out against a terrible experience which probably, as sad as it is, isn't anything new for her. However, I cannot be as humble, I guess that's the word I'm looking for, as she has been.

After some research, I'm pretty sure I've found the business and the douche bag this woman had to deal with. Tomorrow I will be sending him a copy of the letter, along with the comments regarding the letter from the website, and this blog post. I just cannot allow this man to continue to poison society with his hate and not face the consequences of his actions. Even if it doesn't phase him, at least I will know in my heart that I took a stand and used my voice for this woman, her child, and every disabled person out there.

What about you? What would you do in a situation like this?

What's Your Song?

Happy Thursday! For some reason today feels like Friday to me, and I think its because I'm in the middle of trying to potty train my 2 year old daughter! Yikes! And even though it's only day #2, I am more than ready to throw in the towel! (Yes, these are the moments that remind me that motherhood truly isn't for sissies!) But, thankfully, my husband offered to watch Emma last night so I could go for a drive and clear my head, and today I am feeling much more optimistic than I did at 7:00 PM last night. I also invested in some plastic pants that actually fit, so hopefully today will be less messy than yesterday, which will eliminate some of the stress factor!

What about you? Any potty training pro's stopping by? Well, I wrote a post yesterday about my experience and I am currently taking potty training advice here. So, please swing by while your here and leave any tidbits of your potty training survival guide you are willing to share! I will be most grateful!

Today I am sharing my wedding song. A good friend of mine, Josh (You may remember him from my karaoke competition), performed this song for us while we were lighting our unity candle, and it's the only actual song we had played at our wedding, besides instrumental pieces like the "Wedding March", "The Waterfall", etc. I just love this song, and it has a very special meaning to my heart. I also think there is something so soothing about Dave Barne's voice. So, enjoy!

Well, my timer is about to go off and it's back to the potty for us, but if you want to get in on the fun you can head on over and visit Amber at Goodnight Moon to share your song in her "What's Your Song?" link-up. I promise, it's LOTS of fun...way more fun than potty training!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Adventures in Potty Training

If you've been following me for a while, you may remember this post where I talked about my reservations regarding potty training my daughter who recently turned 2. My husband and his family have been adamant from the moment she turned 2 that she was/is ready to potty train. However, since I'M the mom and I'M the one who has to do the potty training, I have been holding out and waiting for my gut to tell me she was/is ready. I am still waiting for that instinct to kick in, but I am also tired of hearing, "So when are you going to potty train, Emma?" blah, blah, blah. Well this morning I thought, "We are going to be home all day, why not give it a shot?!" So, I put her in some big girl panties and watched as our morning began to unfold.

Once I put her in the panties, I set the timer for 15 minutes. Once the timer went off, we headed to the potty. She sat there for a few potty. So, I pulled up her panties and set the timer for another 15 minutes. She played quietly while I did some blog stuff, and after the timer went off a second time, back to the potty we went. She sat for a few more potty. So, I reset the timer a third time and headed off to my bedroom to make the bed. The next thing I know Emma is running in my room yelling, "Mommy! I went pee on your couch! Vacuum it up!" I was shocked. I mean didn't we JUST get done sitting on the potty! Grr! But, I held my temper and took her into her room, cleaned her up and changed her panties, all the while reminding her to "Tell Mommy when you have to go potty, Emma". She said okay, and on her way she went. I reset the timer for 30 minutes this time and headed to get the things I needed to clean up the couch (P.S. How do you get urine smell out of a euro suede couch?! Gross :p). She was out of my sight for literally like a minute and the next thing I hear is, "Mommy! I went pee on your floor!". What?! Are you kidding me?! No, she wasn't and after a quick examination, I found that she wasn't lying (as I had hoped) and ushered her back to her bedroom. I cleaned her up, changed her panties and headed into the living room to clean up the couch and the spot on the floor in my bedroom. I reset the timer for 30 minutes and got everything cleaned up the best I could using warm water and Shout spray.

It is now 1:00 PM and my daughter is napping peacefully with a bum that is perfectly dry and diapered (Yeah, I'm not doing the whole potty-training during nap time and bed time FOR. A. WHILE.). We have gone through 5 pairs of panties since 8:00 AM, all of her cloth-like shorts, and she has yet to actually potty IN THE POTTY! I even moved the potty out in front of TV in hopes that she would use it better, but it was still a no-go. Ugh. I am literally on the verge of giving up, but I know I'll catch some flack if I don't give it the "honest" try my husband and his family are expecting. Bleh! You know, I feel like if she would just go pee in the potty, even just once, that would give me the hope I need to move forward, but as of right now things are looking bleak.

So, any advice?! Trust me, I'll take it. I plan to stick it out until the end of the day, but unless she actually goes pee in the potty I probably won't attempt it again tomorrow. I don't have enough clothes for this experiment! Sheesh! Well, wish me luck!

If You Comment Here, Please Read...

One of the highlights of my day: comments. Yep, I get so excited when I write a post and you all leave me sweet nothings. I love checking my email and seeing the emails from you that say you've left me a comment. It's a weird sort of rush, I guess. After I read your comments, I always try to think of something to say in response, even if it's just "thank-you!", that way you know I've read your comment and it didn't go unappreciated. I've really been able to connect with some of my followers through this blog and the comments they leave me, so I never want to miss an opportunity to make that connection with more of you, but lately I've been having some trouble.

Yesterday, my friend, Erika over at chambanachik shared this great blog post from Sweet Simplicity. While I was reading it, I was thinking to myself, "Holy crap, this happens to me ALL. THE. TIME!" So, if you read my blog and often leave me wonderful comments, please go check out that blog post and do me a HUGE favor: add your email address to your profile.

Yep, it's ridiculously easy and the lack of a email address makes it nearly impossible for me to reply to your comment. Sometimes I'll visit a "noreply@blogger" commenter's blog just in a effort to locate their email address, and most of the time I still won't find it. It just makes the whole "showing you some love back" process that much harder and usually I am lucky that even found a few minutes to check my email or my blog! I know most of you moms out there know how that is, so the whole hunting down an email address is not ideal for me or my time.

So, if you comment here, thank you! I love all of the support I receive from this blog! But, if you could all just take a minute and make sure you have an email address listed with your account, I would be sooo super duper grateful!

How do you do it? Well, I'm glad you asked! Just go to your "Dashboard" and then to "Edit Profile" next to your little picture on your Dashboard. Once your there, make sure there is a check mark the little box next to "Show My Email Address" and make sure you have an email address listed under your "Identity" just a few questions down. After you all done, scroll to the bottom and "Save Profile". See? Easy peasy, right?! Right!

Thanks again for your comments and all the love you all continue to show me. I am one lucky girl! Happy Wednesday!

Monday, June 6, 2011

And The Rains Came Down...

When I was 15, my first youth pastor was called to another church. At age 16, the church I had been apart of since birth had a split and my family went with the group to start a new church. Between 16 and 17, my mom moved my sisters and I back to our old church and we lost another youth pastor that year.

Yes, my teen years were plagued with church struggles and the ups and downs that came with being so involved in a ministry. While I can recall most of the details behind each and every one of those instances, the thing I remember the most is the hurt and the weakness of faith that always seem to follow. I remember sitting on my bed, crying out to God for answers, and at 25 years old, I have only received a few of the answers I wanted all those years ago. And to be honest, I don't think the lack of answers is because God wasn't listening. I think it's because these situations require trust. I have learned that in the midst of these things, God only wants you to trust Him. To hold on tight and know that He is in control. Because everyone's faith must endure a little fire so that we can be refined into what He meant for us to be. And you know, He doesn't just give us one or two struggles, but a life full of struggles, so that we never lose site of Him or quit relying on Him to get us through. This is a truth I have always known, but I am always reminded of it the hard way.

Thursday the pastor of our church resigned. While the reasons are unclear and some of us know more than others, the anger and hurt is very evident. As I listened to my church family's questions and remarks on Sunday at our business meeting regarding the resignation, I was taken back to my teen years. I am not angry with my pastor or the deacons for the decisions that were made, but my heart does hurt for those who don't understand. Who have questions. Who never saw this coming. I have been exactly where they are, and I know that this is going be a huge test of our faith not only as individuals, but as a church family. There is nothing pretty about this storm, and I have a feeling that for us, the rain has only just began to fall. There is definitely a lot more pain and frustrations to come, but I am a firm believer that sometimes the Lord has to knock you down, flat on your back, so the only place you have left to look is up.

This situation has definitely solidified to my husband and I that the Lord definitely wants to continue to use us in our church. We both feel the Lord calling us to step up to the plate and do more to serve Him not just through the church, but also through the school. We are not sure what all the Lord has planned, but we know their is a work to be done and we want to be apart of it. Please pray for us. This is truly a coming of age moment for both of us and sometimes we both tend to let "immaturity" get in our way. We know that it is past time for us to "grow up" in our relationship with the Lord and for us to start doing some "feeding" instead of always being "fed".

I am excited to see the work God has left to do in us and through us. No matter how far I may have strayed, it is always nice to look up and realize that He has always been here. He never left my side. This situation has made me want more than ever to get my relationship with the Lord back on track, not just for our church, but for my marriage and my daughter. And as hopeless as our church's situation may seem, I think these are the times when God reaches down and draws His people closest to Him. I can feel Him drawing me near, and although the thunder is rolling, I can hear Him calling my name and trust me, it has been a long time since I've answered.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Biker Chick

"I like a man with a tan and a twisted chrome kickstand
leanin' on a big old bike.
The low rollin' sound that'll shake the ground,
comin' out of long pipes.
I like a tattoo or two,
or even
more if they're cool
on the big old arms of a long-haired dude.
Inside of me, there's an all I wanna be
Biker chick chick..."
~Jo Dee Messina

Today the Mr. and I leave for Eureka Springs, Arkansas to enjoy their Blues Festival with my Dad and Grandpa. This is my first long distance motorcycle trip and I'm excited and nervous all in the same breath! My husband really, really enjoys riding his bike, and I've been trying to get into it, so that biking can be something we can do together. Motorcycles have always kind of scared me because, you are SO vulnerable when you are on the back of one. But, I have gotten used to it and I actually feel pretty safe when I ride with Randy (shocker). I try to dress protectively, and I wear a big helmet ( his friends MERCILESSLY make fun of me!). But, it's all in the name of safety and trying to protect my pretty face from possible pavement impact.

This past Christmas, he bought me THIS sweet leather jacket:

I was so proud of how he and my friend, Kristin worked together to surprise me with the jacket I have wanted for FOREVER! It was seriously the nicest, sweetest gift he has bought me in a long time, and I love it! He also bought me some sweet biker boots to wear when we ride, and now my biker chick look is officially complete! I can't wait to rock my look this weekend at the Blues Festival. I think I may just be able to pull it off and fit in!

I am also excited for the beautiful weather they are promising for this weekend, which will make riding just that much more enjoyable! This is definitely going to be a memorable weekend, and I can't wait to share it with my dad and my grandpa, who is 85 years old and still rides a Harley (and, no, it's not a trike)! This may be the last time I get to take a trip like this with my grandpa, and I am planning on taking lots of pictures to document this memory! It's going to be a great one!

So, if you could take a moment and say a prayer for me, my hubby, my dad, and my grandpa as we head down to Eureka Springs. Please pray for safety and for God's hand of protection to be on us, I would really appreciate it. I know I'll be praying the whole way there and back!

I promise to share lots of pictures when I get back! I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"What's Your Song?"

Apparently, I have awaken with the worse allergy attack EVER! I've been taking meds for the last few days trying to keep my nose from dripping and my throat from swelling, but last night at 3:30 AM, this beast took on a whole new form! Not only is my nose dripping like a leaky faucet, but my throat is swollen and sore, my ears ache, and I'm on the verge of vomiting at any moment. It's awesome. Trust me.

And what could possibly make being sick just that much more amazing?! Well, it's the fact that I am supposed to leave tomorrow for my first long-distance motorcycle trip! Yeah, can you imagine me with all this gunk on the back of motorcycle?! Yep, I'm sure it will be EPIC and that my snotty self will be the epiphany of the hot biker chic my husband has always wanted! NOT. Hahaha! Well, at least his bike looks good! ;)

Well, today I want to share a few of my favorite "on the road" songs. These are the songs I love to turn up on long car rides, and you can bet I will be filling up the miles to Arkansas on the back of my husband's motorcycle with these tunes and many more via my iPod!

What songs do you like to listen to when your on the road? I'm always looking for new music and I would love to add them to my playlist!

Well, I have every intention of taking a hot shower this morning and then curling up on my couch for the remainder of the day. I'm supposed to clean my house and pack for our trip, but that may have to wait until the hubs gets home.

I hope you are all having a fabulous Thursday, and if you want to get in on the fun head over to Goodnight Moon for her "What's Your Song?" link up!

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I do not receive monetary compensation from any of the products, companies, or organizations I promote through my blog, unless otherwise specified during a giveaway or promotion. I am just your average mom trying to share products that I enjoy with other moms, as well as organizations and charities I believe in.