Merry Christmas!

Wow, can ya tell it's getting close to Christmas???? Sheesh, nothing like posting once every 45 days or so - sorry for the big gap in updates. There's just WAY too much stuff going on around here. Time to slow down and take a few minutes to brag on my sweet munchkins. This past week we had their Christmas programs (and yes, I did just say CHRISTMAS, not "holiday" programs). I was a little nervous how Peyton would do. We'd been talking her through all that was going to happen for several days and how we were so excited to hear her songs (even though she'd been singing them night and day "practicing" here at home). Well the big day came and she did AWESOME...better than many of the "typical" kids, so yay God for that!! I know this'll come as a shocker to many of you, but I took video (and a thousand pictures) of each of the kids' programs and they're absolutely LOVING being able to watch them over and over. Thankfully I've got a new computer set-up so I can plop them in the chair at the extra work station and they can push the space bar to their little hearts desire, playing the videos over and over.

Carson managed to score the part of Joseph (could it possibly have had something to do with his overly-animated-eat-up-the-spotlight personality??) and he did a great job. He led Mary into Bethlehem on her donkey and in to the stable. Unfortunately, after baby Jesus arrived Mary was showing signs of postpartum depression and sat in the corner of the stable wanting nothing to do with the baby. So Joseph stepped in and laid baby Jesus in the manger and watched over him while the angels and wise men arrived. What a sweet story to be able to tell him as he gets old! :) After the Christmas play came the Christmas music. Of course, Carson decided he needed to be front and center with his buddies Isaac and Colin. Those three did a great job carrying the group as they sang their whole slew of songs.

Here are a few videos of the kids at their programs -

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We wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!

I am not alone!

A few weeks ago I was feeling really overwhelmed and very discouraged about things - mostly things to do with Peyton. Don't get me wrong, I'm SO incredibly proud of what great things she's accomplished in the past few years, but there are days I can't help but sit and wonder what the future holds. Right now we're really struggling with potty training. She "gets" the idea, but she's deathly afraid of going on the potty...she'll sit there for a total of about 2 seconds, then she gets tears in her eyes and says "all done". We have managed to get her to go in the bathroom on her own when she has to go #2, so that's a big step, but I still just want so badly for her to be fully potty trained!! I think it'll be a big confidence booster for her, plus selfishly, I sure could do without the judgmental glances from people when we walk into a public restroom with a pull-up in hand. Well, as I was trying to do my best to focus on the positive things we've got going on in our life and with Peyton, I stumbled across a great blog that a few moms of special needs kids have created. It's a devotional site designed specifically for these moms to talk about the struggles they're facing in relation to different bible studies they're going through. Right now they're doing the Joyce Meyers study "Never Give Up!", and as I read through some of the posts I just broke down and cried. FINALLY! Someplace to find some spiritual encouragement from someone who is walking down the same road as me!!! The tears were complete tears of JOY, because the past three and a half years since we received Peyton's diagnosis have been very tough spiritually. As hard as all my friends may try to understand some of the struggles I'm facing, there's really no way for them to fully understand. I do have to say, though, that I have so many amazing friends who have surrounded me and are always there to celebrate the accomplishments and work through the set-backs with Peyton - and for that I am incredibly grateful!!

As I read through the devotional blog post this morning on the "Spectrum Spirit" site, there was one part that hit me like a ton of bricks that I want to share:

Waiting on the Lord...
"When success does not come easily, when we find ourselves frustrated and weary in our efforts, we need to wait for the Lord." -Joyce Meyer page 118
That's where I feel like I'm at right now, waiting on the Lord. I'll be honest with you, my son just turned 7 last month and this is not where I thought we'd be. Even when they gave us his diagnosis four years ago, I always thought by the time he was 5 he'd catch up to his twin brother. Then when he turned 5 my thoughts turned to he'd catch up by the time he was 7. He's now 7. Don't get me wrong. I am so thankful and feel so incredibly blessed by him and all of the progress he's made. However, my dream of my son being completely healed from autism is not working out to my timing. I believe God is trying to pull me closer to Him during this time and something is keeping me from getting closer. I'm not sure what. But, after reading this chapter, I'm going to spend more time waiting on Him. I am thankful that Joyce included in this chapter what exactly it means to "wait on the Lord" because I really needed some help with this. On page 118 Joyce says "it simply means spending time with Him, being in His presence, meditating on His Word, worshiping Him, keeping Him at the center of our lives." She then writes "While we wait, we need to aggressively expect God to do great things in us and in our lives." I believe that God still wants me to research all of the different therapies, supplements and biomedical treatments out there for my son. I also believe he wants me to spend as much time as I possibly can playing and being there with him. I don't think that by "waiting" for Him, He just wants me to do nothing. He wants me to continue doing what I'm doing for my son but take the time to be with my Father as well so that I know what He needs for me to do. I also know that for me, the more time I spend with God, the better my attitude, my outlook and my emotions are. Remember what Joyce says on page 121..."Waiting on the Lord does not have to be complicated. Just put Him at the top of your priority list. He wants you to have and enjoy a quality of life you may be missing because you are not spending time with Him."

Wow. I feel like if you just replaced the references to this woman's son with "daughter" and replaced the references to autism with "global apraxia" this paragraph pretty much explains my spiritual struggles I've been wrestling with. I can't even tell you how excited I am to continue reading this blog and receiving encouragement and spiritual food from it! Thank you God for reminding me that I am not alone!!

Peyton the Chatterbox!!

Some of you have already seen these, but for those of who aren't on Facebook, check out Peyton's latest and greatest!!!

Here she is singing "Baby Bumblebee":

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And here she's showing us what she learned at school:

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Brilliant

Wow, I love this.

Peyton's First Day




















Well, this morning Peyton had her open house at the mainstream preschool she'll be attending. She's in her third year of ECSE preschool now, but those class sizes are very small and so we thought it'd be good for her to get used to being in a larger, regular size class just like she will be for Kindergarten next year. We've heard great things about Children's Country Preschool here in Hanover (specifically how well they work with special needs kids!), so we're excited to start the year there.

As we walked in to the classroom, Peyton went right over to one of the teacher's and asked "What's your name?" - and here I was worried she'd be shy and wouldn't want to talk/interact with anyone! She wasn't afraid at all to approach other kids and ask them their names (and of course point out that the shirt or shorts they were wearing MATCHED Peyton's dress...leave it to the fashion diva). The teacher started out by reading "The Kissing Hand" to the class and she had a little raccoon puppet she introduced to the class as a "new friend". Next we did a little craft with our handprints and hearts in the middle - Peyton loved pressing her hand in to the giant ink pad. She kept saying "Oh no! Got messy!" and laughing. After we finished our craft time we did some singing, learned about the classroom rules and had a snack. Once snack time was finished up we had some free-choice time. Peyton popped up out of her chair and quickly made her way back over to where we'd had opening group time. She grabbed the raccoon puppet, turned around and told me "You sit down. I'm the teacher." So obviously I obeyed the "teacher" and sat down while she took a seat in the rocking chair that Miss Trisha had been sitting in. With the puppet on her hand, Peyton says to me, "Say hi to our friend!" and smiles. I love seeing how she's getting more and more in to pretend play, etc.! Peyton got to be the teacher's helper for music time, which she thought was SO great. We sang a fun song, did some dancing and then wrapped up with our closing group time. The teacher talked about how excited she was to have each of the kids in her class, then she said, "Does anyone have any questions?". Peyton yells out, "I do!". The teacher says, "Okay Peyton, what's your question?". Peyton sat there for a minute, looked around at all the kids, then looked back at the teacher and asked "Where's Carter?". I thought I was going to pee my pants laughing!! Anyone who knows Peyton knows that her favorite person in the world is her best bud, Carter. Unfortunately they're in different ECSE classes this year which has been kind of tough, but it sure was sweet to see that she still has a VERY special place for him in her heart!!

Peyton I'm SO proud of you for what a special girl you are and all the wonderful new things you're learning. Daddy and I are so thankful that God chose us to be your parents!! Thank you for being such a sweetie with such a big heart! We love you!!

Trying something new

Take a minute and check out the latest addition to the Libby blog family - Phat Photos by Libby Design. This one will be devoted to photography - fun stuff!

Whose Kids Are You Talking About???

So last night I co-hosted a Tupperware party with my friend/neighbor, Kelly, and I found out a few days earlier that Chad had Fantasy Football draft party #3 the same night. Perfect. We lucked out and were able to score one of the sitters we've used in the past from church. The kids were excited when we told them Jo was coming to play. They really enjoy having sitters come, but last night was the first time we thought we'd try having the sitter put the kids to bed. This might sound like no big deal, but keep in mind that Peyton is very much a "schedule/routine" girl...and then there's Carson who we nicknamed the "sleepless child" for the first few years of his life. Then of course there was the fact the kids had just had their first day back to daycare, so they were both super clingy when I picked them up. I'm just going to be honest here - I was fairly certain there'd be mass chaos when Jo attempted to put the kids down. But I figured worse case scenario, I'm right across the street, so the kids are comatose on the couch when I run back across the street after my party.

Before we went to get the sitter I'd talked with the kids about how Jo was going to put them to bed. Carson had a few questions like, "Who's going to brush my back teeth?" and "What if I can't get my jammies zipped?". We talked through all the "what ifs" both of the kids had and they seemed a little confused. Peyton kept asking "Jo sleeping downstairs?" because usually if they go to bed and someone's still here (Grandma & Grandpa Peterson especially) then they sleep in the guest room downstairs. Well the time came for me to head over to help set up for the party and I reminded the kids about bedtime and left a big long note for the sitter explaining our bedtime routine, etc. Then I left. At the party I kept checking the clock thinking, oh boy, wonder how things are going. Well by the time we got everyone out the door and things cleaned up it was about 9:45pm. I quickly ran across the street and entered the house to find it....quiet. I could faintly hear the white noise of the kids sound machines upstairs. But other than that, it was quiet. Jo came walking up the stairs from downstairs and said, "Hey!". Of course the first thing out of my mouth was "How'd bedtime go?". What came out of her mouth completely and utterly shocked me. She replied, "Wow, you're kids are so great! They've been the easiest kids BY FAR to put to bed! I gave them a warning that it was 'almost' bedtime and they both ran upstairs to the bathroom to brush teeth, then got jammies on, went potty and we read some books. Then they both got in their beds and said 'good night, Jo!' and I haven't heard a peep out of them since! I LOVE babysitting for you guys!!". I just stood there. Seriously, I was speechless. All I could say was, "Wow....wow....wow...", then I finally managed to say something else like "Well I'm glad it went well...wow.".

As I was driving Jo home, I just kept thinking about everything she'd said about the kids and how they'd behaved for her. Then I felt bad that I'd automatically assumed they'd melt in to useless heaps of nothingness without me there to console them. I guess after the long summer of having everyone home without any real schedule and all of us getting on each others nerves as a result, I'd just had it in my head that the kids wouldn't know how to deal with the fact that neither of us were home for bedtime like we usually are. I smiled driving home and said "Thanks God!" - this couldn't have come at a better time. Right as I'm staring at an insanely crazy schedule for the upcoming school year and feeling like somewhat of a failure as a parent with the last few weeks of summer break having not gone so well. So this morning I woke up feeling renewed and ready to take on this crazy life that God has given me, with all the running around to three different preschools, various therapy appointments, client appointments, church meetings, etc. It's funny how God takes little things like a babysitter telling you how wonderfully well-behaved your children were to reassure you that despite all your feelings of inadequacy, He's right there beside you, helping you and guiding you through all the trials you're facing.

Wordless Wednesday - "Roughing It"

As I'm sure you can tell, our camping trip this past weekend was VERY rustic. :)

Where have you been my whole life?!?!?!?

Okay, how many of you pour a cup of coffee in the morning, then find it around dinner time sitting on top of your bookshelf where you set it down to go break up a squabble between your kids? Or how many of you end up with a sink full of travel mugs (that can't go in the dishwasher - DOH!) that your husband drops off in the sink each day after work? Well boy, have I found the motherload of travel/insulated coffee mugs!!! Check this bad boy out!




















This company, ActiveGear, has developed a dishwasher-safe, soft sided travel mug that will not only keep your coffee warm, but it's also 100% recyclable. And the coolest thing is that right now, they've got a limited-time offer going on where you can donate $10 to one of three charities and you get the mug for FREE!!! So all the proceeds go to charity - you sure can't beat that!

But if times are tough right now for your pocketbook, you could always check out the giveaway over at Busy Mom where they're giving away TWO of these mugs. Be sure to stop over and check out their site - they've got TONS of great product reviews and blog posts that are sure to make you smile!

Greater Things

The month of July has been a bit of a whirlwind. We celebrated July 4th with family up in Duluth, MN, then Chad and I celebrated our 9th anniversary with a quick trip to Stillwater, MN. A few days later I flew to Chicago, IL with a girlfriend for a long "girls weekend". Then it was back home for a few days before heading to Cross Lake, MN for the weekend and from there we drove to our family reunion and spent a week in Wisconsin Dells, WI.

When we got home last Saturday evening it hit me that I hadn't been to church the entire month due to our crazy schedule of vacations. Sunday morning we headed to church and what a breath of fresh air it was to spend the morning worshiping with our church family. God has sure been good to us and we're so blessed to have such an incredible church that we're a part of. As we sat in the service Sunday I started thinking about our crazy busy month and all the places we'd been. Then at the end of the service our youth pastor and his daughter got up and talked about the missions trip they'd just returned from in Honduras. Needless to say there wasn't a dry eye in the place after Dan and Jo got done telling of all the great ways God had provided for them and their team. Dan talked a lot about the people they'd been able to minister to and my heart just ached to be a part of something like that someday. I've always wanted to go on a missions trip outside the U.S. but it just hasn't happened...yet.

The past couple of days I've been thinking of just how amazing our God is and how undeserving I am of everything He's provided for me specifically and also for our family. I started thinking back to some of the people I'd seen on the streets late at night while in Chicago who had small children with them but were out sitting with signs asking for help and money, or the homeless man who came over to dig through the trash can next to us while we were sitting on a bench outside a shop in Wisconsin Dells. Wow. Obviously I've seen people in rough shape before, but seeing the old man in Wisconsin Dells really left a pit in a my stomach - because Carson sat there watching the man dig through the trash can and asked "Mom, why's that guy taking garbage out of there?". The man just turned and looked at us and when our eyes met I smiled at him hoping he'd see that my smile was filled with God's love unlike many of the "smiles" I'm sure he's seen in his day. I talked later with Carson about this homeless man and he seemed very confused. His little mind had a hard time grasping the idea that not everyone has a home, or a playset in the backyard, or lots of toys, or even a bed to sleep in at night, but he did seem to understand how I ended our conversation when I told him that there are lots and lots of people in the world who need help - from us, but most importantly from Jesus. Since then he's been asking if he can "help" people.

Well, yesterday we had a wonderful chance to "help" people. Our church was hosting a community outreach event that the kids could be a part of. Carson and I spent an hour and a half at The Wellstead in Rogers, which is a memory care facility for seniors. The best part was that we got to bring along our pets to share with the residents. It was so fun to watch Carson show off our sweet little dog, Boots, to all the people there. Carson was pretty shy, but the people sure enjoyed seeing all the kids and their pets. We finished up our time there by singing some old hymns and saying goodbye to the new friends we'd made. What a perfect opportunity to show the kids just how easy it is to show God's love to people - especially those in our own community! This really got me thinking of all the people in and around the Hanover/Rogers/St. Michael area who are hurting and need so desperately to have people show them that God DOES love them regardless of whatever challenges they're facing. I've really been praying that God will reveal other ways we can reach out to those in need in the months and years to come. Some of the lyrics to one of my favorite songs says "greater things are yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city". I can't wait to see what God has in store for our community and our nation - what a privilege to be a part of "greater things"!

A Place of Our Own

For the first time in the 10+ years Chad and I have been together, we will finally be part of a church who has a building of their own!! Our church just purchased a building and will begin renovations soon. We're SO excited to be a part of what God is doing at NorthRidge Fellowship! Here's a news article that tells a little more about NorthRidge's journey:

Finally A Place To Call Home

Wordless Wednesday - It's A Keeper!

This is one of my favorite shots out of the 500+ pics I took while on my girls weekend in Chicago. Absolutely LOVE it!!

Don't worry...

I'm still alive. Summer is always a bit crazy, especially trying to work from home with all the troops around. Yikes! We've also had the privilege of traveling around the state a bit this summer, so blogging has taken a back seat for a while. Tomorrow I'm headed to Chicago for a long weekend with my friend Emily - can't wait!!! Stay tuned for pics and some stories of our wild and crazy adventures from ChiTown!!

Off to pack...

Tasty Thursdays - Stove Top Chicken Bake & Parmesan Bow-Tie Skillet

Since I've been slacking the past 2 weeks, I'm throwing in a bonus recipe this week. Hope you're all enjoying summer!
























Enjoy!

Wordless Wednesday - Just Another Day At The Park

Wordless Wednesday - Boots

Don't ask me how, but it looks like we may have a new family member. Meet "Boots" everyone!


Wordless Wednesday - First Kite

Over the weekend we figured we'd take advantage of our annoyingly windy conditions and let the kids fly kites for the first time. Carson was ECSTATIC and was quite the kite flying machine!!



I Did It

I went to see the Yanni concert here in Minneapolis last night. Go ahead, let the Yanni jokes fly...I can handle it. Seriously, though, I won a pair of tickets to Yanni Voices off of my friend Amber's blog. Chad thought I was teasing him when I told him, but he eventually agreed to go. So last night we headed downtown, grabbed some grub at Hard Rock Cafe across the street from the Target Center, and then headed to the concert. There was definitely a lot of GREAT people watching to be had! I was pleasantly surprised to see that about 40% of the audience was under 65, so we didn't feel TOTALLY out of place. As soon as we got in and took our seats along comes a guy who may have had a few too many cocktails...probably in his late 20s, dressed as Yanni. I'm talking like the old school Yanni we all remember from when we were kids, long hair, mustache, black suit, the WHOLE get up. He was a few seats down from us and was quite the riot to watch/listen to. He kept yelling, "YANNI GAVE ME THESE TICKETS!!! I'M SO NERVOUS ABOUT PERFORMING TONIGHT!!!". Well thankfully he got up and wandered to another section shortly after the show started...we saw him a while later with a security officer. Go figure.

As the show started Chad and I were totally unsure what to expect. But once we got past the fact that we were AT a Yanni concert, I have to say, I rather enjoyed it, especially the other musicians who are touring with Yanni on his "new and improved" tour. The vocalists were outstanding and the musicians - wow, definitely some of the best I've EVER seen/heard. Maybe I'm just a complete music dork, but having played the violin for 7+ years when I was younger, watching the violinists play was SO incredibly cool. At one part during the show they did like a "dueling violins" gig - it was AWESOME!!! Then there was another musician who played this special kind of harp...they said it was some sort of ancient kind that is really difficult to play. Well this guy was absolutely PHENOMENAL to watch and went totally nuts on the harp!! They also featured a cellist who blew everyone away, and the drummer did about a 5 minute drum solo that was pretty sweet. There were a couple of outstanding duets some of the vocalists did - they were BEAUTIFUL. I especially loved the harmony parts!! So it was actually pretty cool to see all these fantastic musicians...and probably more so to see that the concert wasn't all about YANNI!!! Sure there were a few of your stereotypical "Yanni" songs that were played, but overall the show was totally not what I expected. There were all types of music played/sung, ranging from opera to latin to pop, and then there was also a lot of dancing. I told Chad during the show that I'm guessing there were a LOT of Dancing with the Stars fans there who were IN HEAVEN!!! :) There were quite a few ladies screaming "I LOVE YOU YANNI!!!!!" in between all the songs, and one lady in particular was up dancing around in the aisle waving her hands all over the place. Very interesting to watch. The audience went nuts at the end when Yanni & his crew came back out for a couple of encore songs, then the show finally ended.

But wait, that's not all folks, as part of my winnings on Amber's blog, we had two "Meet & Greet Passes". Can you even believe it?? So there was a bunch of people who had these backstage passes - we were all led back through security and to this big lounge room where they had all kinds of goodies. Then we hear this lady yelling "Are there any bloggers here??? From the One2one giveaway???". So Chad and I made our way over to her...we were the ONLY ones. She led us back by the dressing rooms and then there was a big whisper fest that went on between her and a couple of other people. We heard them saying, "Yeah, Yanni's not feeling well at all, so he's not going to be able to come out..." I was CRUSHED!!! Okay, maybe I wasn't...just trying to be dramatic. :) But we did get to meet 3 of the other performers: Chloe, Leslie Mills & Ender Thomas. They were all very nice! The girls were pretty quiet - they gave us a quick handshake, then there was Ender...he came bolting over and grabbed a hold of both Chad and I and gave us HUGE bear hugs when we first met him and then again as we were saying goodbye. He seemed like a genuine nice guy! Gotta love those Latin American men, huh?? :) We had a chance to chat with them for a bit about the concert, how long they'd been performing together, whether they preferred Facebook or Twitter, ya know, the important stuff!! I was kinda hoping we would've had the chance to meet the 4th performer, Nathan Pacheco - he had an incredible voice! And that ended our magical evening at Yanni. *Sigh*















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Tasty Thursdays - Chicken Tortilla Bake

Here's this weeks recipe!













Enjoy!

Wordless Wednesday - Big Helper

Over the weekend we did a landscape project (tearing up the nappy sod along side our driveway that gets snow heaped on it and replacing it with landscape rock - you can see it a little in the photo on the left side). As we were shoveling the rock yesterday Peyton decided to "help". She was SO proud of herself. She kept saying "I help you, okay? Yeah!". I bet she made at least 15 trips from the rock pile to where we were dumping the rock. Thanks for being such a good helper, Peyton!

Baby Mia

Our friends Joe & Gina had baby #3 on May 9th and last night Gina brought baby Mia to bible study at our house. The kids were ecstatic!! Peyton was pretty amazed by the whole process of Gina's tummy getting bigger and bigger during her pregnancy. She seemed to "get it" finally when we looked back at pictures of me when I was pregnant with both of our kids. Carson wasn't nearly as interested - he did ask me "Mom, did Gina eat her?" when we talked about how she had a baby in her tummy. Yikes...didn't want to have THAT conversation quite yet, so I went with the 'ol "Nope, God put the baby in her tummy" answer. Well now that baby Mia is here both of our kids are SO excited. Peyton got to hold her when she was just a few days old, but last night was Carson's first time holding her. He was a riot to watch. He kept leaning down saying things to her like, "Hi baby Mia! My name is Carson. I like you!" and "Do you wanna play cars with me?". Peyton was in her glory when it was her turn to hold the baby. Every noise Mia made Peyton would say, "She laughing" or "She talking to me". My hope is that they'll get their "baby fix" through Mia and drop the line they've been saying a lot lately..."Mom, we either need a baby or a puppy"...







Tasty Thursdays - Cheesy Stuffed Shells

These are my absolute FAV!!! And they're actually not too difficult to make. YUM!! Be sure and serve them with some Cole's bread...or my garlic herb bread that I'll share with you sometime soon.













Enjoy!

Wordless Wednesday - God's Promise

Love this!

Tasty Thursdays - Cheesy Quesadillas

These are super easy (and quick!) to make for those evenings when you just don't have time to whip up a big masterpiece of a meal...and the kids love these!!













Enjoy!

Wordless Wednesday - A True Friend

Sorry, I know "Wordless Wednesday" technically means post a picture WITHOUT words, but I just have a tough time NOT writing something!! Anyway...some of you have heard me talk about Peyton's friend Carter from ECSE. From day 1 of school she came home talking about "Carter". I had no idea at the time that Carter would end up pretty much becoming family!! It's been fun to see their "friendship" grow, and even though Carter doesn't always have a lot to say, they've become the best of friends!! Here are a few pictures of Peyton & Carter - some of them walking down the hall together after school (they recently took their friendship to a new level - holding hands as they walk down the hall - so cute!!) and then there's a picture of them at Peyton's birthday party. Thank you Carter for being such a good friend to Peyton...even though she can be a little bossy sometimes!




Legacy

Yesterday as I spent my Mother's Day morning listening to my favorite pastor preach, I was so excited to hear what God had laid on Pastor Ben's heart. His sermon was on the impact we as mother's have on our children, whether you're a biological mother, an adoptive mother, or a surrogate mother. What a powerful concept to ponder! And what a wonderful reminder of the amazing gift we've been given as mothers. Pastor Ben talked about how as mothers/parents we often want to "turn our children in to Christians", but the reality of it is that our responsibility is to lay the foundation for our children, and the rest is between them and God. We can support them in prayer, but ultimately it's up to our children whether or not they choose to build on the foundation we've laid for them.

After we left church I kept thinking about what Pastor Ben had said and was thinking to myself "Great, my kids are going to remember me telling them 'No, we don't hit' or 'If I have to tell you again you're going to your room' - not exactly the legacy I'd like to leave". So I prayed about it and asked that God would give me more "teachable moments" with my kids - or more importantly that I would be on the look-out for situations or circumstances in which I could use to instill Christ-like qualities in my children. Sounds a bit daunting, but it's what we're called to do as moms!

Later on after we'd had a crazy adventure down to the Twins game and an afternoon spent outdoors running around with the munchkins in the yard, I was trying to round up the kids for bedtime while Chad was out finishing up some yard work. I have to admit I was slightly annoyed because selfishly I was "keeping score" in my head that this week I'll have to do bedtime FOUR nights in a row by myself because Chad's got a lot of stuff going on this week. As I was thinking about this I could sense myself getting even more annoyed and I knew this would cause me to be short with the kids, so I quickly prayed that I'd just be at peace with the fact that this week was going to be a "mini-single-parent" excursion and that I'd be able to make the most of it. The kids brushed their teeth, we read a few bible stories together and then Peyton said she wanted to go to bed. So I tucked her in and Carson and I headed to his room. He wanted to read a couple more books (prolonging bedtime as usual), so we did. As I turned out the light and began to sing him some songs he asked if we could sit and rock in the rocking chair. Normally I'd be against doing that because my mommy-radar would have wanted to put an end to the never-ending-bedtime-routine. But I decided what the heck, why not. As we sat there rocking he interrupted my singing and started asking me questions about one of the stories we'd read - David & Goliath. Our conversation went something like this:

Carson: "Mom, why'd that guy throw rocks at him?"
Me: "Because Goliath wasn't a nice man and he didn't love Jesus"
Carson: "But I love Jesus!"
Me: "I'm so happy you love Jesus! He sure does take good care of us, doesn't He?"
Carson: "Yep. I love God, too."
Me: "So do I!"
Carson: "Mom, whose big like that rock guy?"
Me: "You mean Goliath?"
Carson: "Yeah, the one that falled down"
Me: "Well Goliath was a HUGE giant...he was soooo tall that he was bigger than everyone else."
Carson: "Taller than Jesus?"
Me: "Yes, taller than Jesus. But God is bigger and stronger than everyone!"
Carson: "Bigger than Daddy?"
Me: "Yep, bigger than Daddy."
Carson: "Mom, do my friends love Jesus?"
Me: "Well you'll have to ask them. Each one of us have to decide if we love Jesus for ourselves."
Carson: "Peyton loves Jesus - she told me and we sing 'Jesus Loves Me' a lot!"
Me: "Well that's good."
Carson: "I will ask my friends "You love Jesus?" when I see them. I'll ask Brice, and Izzy, and Colin, and Ari."
Me: "That's a good idea! Isn't it sad that some people don't know about Jesus?"
Carson: "Who doesn't know about Jesus?"
Me: "Well some people don't know about Jesus and how he takes such good care of us."
Carson: "Yeah, like he gives us fruit snacks and gum."
Me: (Trying not to laugh) "Yep, he gives us so many things we don't deserve or need."
Carson: "I can tell them 'Jesus loves you!'."
Me: "Yes you can, but do you know the best way to show them about Jesus?"
Carson: "No."
Me: "You can show them about how much Jesus loves them by being a good friend and helping them."
Carson: "Okay Mom, I will help my friends and I will say 'You can have a turn with my bike when I'm done, okay?' - that's being a nice friend, right?"
Me: "Yes, that's being a very nice friend."
Carson: "Mommy, I love you! Can we snuggle in my bed now?"
Me: "Sounds good..."

When I finally left Carson's room I just had a big smile on my face. What an awesome way to end Mother's Day! I thought back to a couple years ago when I was talking to a dear lady from our church, Jan. She had stopped me as I was making my way down the hall to drop the kids off at their classes and she said, "You look like you could use a hug!". She gave me a huge hug and then asked how I was doing and if there was anything she could be praying about for me. Well for those of you who know Carson, I'm sure you remember that the kid didn't sleep for like the first 2.5 years of his life. That day Jan stopped me I had been up almost the entire night with him and it was all I could do to keep myself from breaking down in her arms crying I was so exhausted!! She walked down with me to the nursery where I dropped the kids off and then we had a chance to talk. I told her how Carson's sleep issues (on top of caring for Peyton with all of her extra needs and appointments) were killing me and I felt like bedtime especially was absolute TORTURE!! She said to me, "Oh Aimee, some of my most precious memories with my boys were laying with them at bedtime talking, praying and singing songs with them...even up until they were in middle school! It'll get easier, and you just watch - some day soon you'll find yourself wishing you could spend a few quiet moments with them talking before they drift off to sleep." At the time I was thinking to myself "Yeah right!", but Jan was right. Those moments at bedtime are now (slowly) becoming very precious times. And how fitting that I have a wonderful quiet time with Carson at bedtime on Mother's Day - the first Mother's Day Jan's boys are spending without their mom here on earth. Thank you Jan for the wonderful words of encouragement and for all the prayer support you gave me!!! You left quite a legacy both with your own children and the many surrogate children you had!

FIVE!!!

Wow. Today Peyton turns 5 and I have NO idea where the time has gone. As I was looking back through all of our pictures to find a few to post of Peyton, there were quite a few tears. Mostly tears thinking back to all the challenges that Peyton has faced over the past five years. Then there were also some tears of joy - it really is amazing to see how she's progressed, and we're so incredibly thankful for the delightful little girl she is! God's blessed us in so many ways, but I consider Peyton's progress one of the biggest blessings of all. As a mom it just melts my heart to see Peyton's compassion for others and her ability to instantly change your mood by flashing a simple smile at you. Oh how I love that little peanut!!

Peyton, I hope you have a wonderful birthday and I hope you know how proud Daddy and I are of you!! We love you!!!



Tasty Thursdays - Homemade Orange Julius

Okay, so I'm a complete sucker for Orange Julius whenever I'm walking through a mall. So in honor of the weather staying about 50 degrees for more than 2 days this week, here's my mom's Homemade Orange Julius recipe. YUM!














Enjoy!

Wordless Wednesday - First Trip To The Dentist

Last Friday I took the little man in for his first dentist appointment. He did GREAT!! The hygienist and dentist were laughing because he was so relaxed with this legs all crossed in the chair...it was hilarious! Great job little buddy!!






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