Friday, February 26, 2010

Cleaning Cleaning Cleaning

A good number of people seem to be coming to Kye's party on Saturday...and several of them have never seen our house. Typically when people come over I straighten everything up, dust off the dark wood furniture (why oh why did we get dark wood?!), and wipe down the counters. Seriously, clean counters make an entire house shine!

This time I thought I'd better do a little bit more cleaning! Is it a bad sign when you start cleaning at the end of February and find yourself picking up pine needles from the Christmas tree? Or that I just opened my blinds for the first time EVER so I could actually wipe down the windows? Or that we've lived in this house for almost two years yet I just learned that you're supposed to dust your baseboards? Oops!
Cleaning is just NOT my thing. In all the areas I need work in, being a better home maker is one of the largest! I loathe it all. Vacuuming? No thanks! Sweeping? Seriously? Zach says his mom did it every day! Are you joking? That's why I like having dark tile, you can't really tell when it's dirty ;)

The only thing I enjoy doing is laundry! I like it for some strange reason! I also am pretty hardcore about the counters looking clean in the kitchen. And I'm very OCD about Kye's toys. I guess because we plan to have so many more children? Or maybe because we have dogs (well specifically LEVI) who may chew stuff up? But each time he plays with things I am hardcore about putting it all away. I count all the pieces and make sure everything is accounted for. And I get super anal about it and pissy if Zach doesn't clean up just right after playing!

Does my lack of cleaning love surprise anyone? I mean those of you that have been to my house have always seen it clean right??? There are a small, few (lucky?) people that I allow in my less-than-perfect house. Those are the same few people that are (again...lucky??) allowed to see me in my "regular" wardrobe. That wardrobe is the exact opposite of my out-of-the-house style. At home all day I wear random pj pants, a non-matching wayyyy too big t-shirt, my LLBean slippers from 7th grade, and some pretty awesome semi-afro hair. It's hot. Trust me.

It feels like every day I vow to myself to make it a routine to clean the house. Zach and I swear up and down each time the house is in perfect shape (which is pretty much whenever my mom visits...don't we all just want our mothers to see our house in spotless condition? haha) that we will KEEP it that way. But we never do. Don't get me wrong, I DO clean. Just not DAILY. I've started buying cleaning wipes and they are REALLY helping me clean more often! I use one to wipe down the bathroom sinks, the toliets, the kitchen counters, I even found some Windex ones to clean the mirrors! It makes life a LOT easier and when things are easier I'm more likely to do them :)

I may give myself a pretty hard time about not keeping the house in tip-top shape but hey I DO cook almost every night that we are home! That's better than most families these days right? And I have actually gotten in the habit of making our bed in the morning! I want Kye to make his bed in the mornings so I know I need to be in the habit of making ours as well. I KNOW that I need to work on cleaning more as I want Kye to know that he needs to take good care of his things and clean up after himself. I PROMISE that after the party I will KEEP the house in spotless condition...it'll be company ready 24/7...although I think I've made this promise before...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Heaven

Has anyone close to you passed away? If not you've been blessed but if so then I think you can relate to what I've gone through since Nana passed away in August. I've ALWAYS believed in Heaven but actually having someone go there made me question so many things. It made me realize how little I truly know about the place that I will be calling home for eternity!

I made it one of my (many) goals for 2010 to have a better understanding of Heaven and what it is like. To be honest, I was AFRAID OF HEAVEN! How silly is that?!? But so many things I heard about it made me nervous. I'd heard that when we die we don't actually go to Heaven, that our spirits wait in our bodies and we just kinda sleep until Jesus comes back then "the dead in Christ shall rise" and we will go to Heaven then. I'd heard that there is no marriage in Heaven. I'd heard that since there are "No tears in Heaven" that we cannot be sad so therefore we won't know each other. Because if we know each other then wouldn't we be sad to realize that many of the people we knew on Earth didn't make it to Heaven and were instead in Hell? I'd heard that Heaven is a place of constant singing, praying, and worshiping of God. That our bodies are no longer ours and that we are spirits with the Lord. I'd heard that we'll never see Earth again or know what is going on "down here." I'd heard that things we love on Earth will not be in Heaven and that our pets would never be there with us as they don't have souls (I've been teased plenty of times about my hopes that all dogs go to Heaven haha).

Zach has been raised a Christian and when I asked him about Heaven he didn't really know much either. His response was always that Heaven is going to be wonderful and amazing and A LOT better than the alternative. He'd say that he personally doesn't really care what Heaven is all about, he just knows he wants to get there. That's so inspiring that he's able to be excited to go somewhere that he doesn't even have a clue about! I guess I'm not as good as he is because I NEEDED answers! I'd lay in bed at night worrying myself to death (no pun intended!) thinking about Heaven and where Nana is and where I'll be someday and what will happen to all of us. Asking myself a thousand questions that I could never answer on my own.

Finally I went to our local Christian Bookstore and asked them about any books they had on the topic. They have gotten to know me pretty well in there but I still made sure to tell them that I'm VERY conservative and I ONLY wanted something based on GOD'S WORD!

They lead me to a book simply titled Heaven. It's by Randy Alcorn and they told me that it's the "go to" book on the topic. The quote on the cover of the book actually says "Other than the Bible itself this may well be the single most life-changing book you'll ever read." And when I was only 3 chapters into it I could honestly say that it was!!! It has been an INCREDIBLE book for me and my life. It has brought me better understand of God's plan and has given me an inner peace about my own eternal state.

I'm not going to give anything away. I'm not going to tell you what Heaven will be like. Or where Nana is right now. I'm not going to spoil it for you because I guarantee that if 1000 people read this post (or more likely 5 people haha) NONE of them would have a CLUE to the answers that this book holds. I promise you that he uses SCRIPTURE to back up all of his points and uses the BIBLE as his guide. It's not some story about someone dying and having a glimpse into Heaven. It's based on God's Word. Yes, Mr. Alcorn does have some opinion in there but he makes sure to tell you when it's his opinion, which I like.

Zach and I have discussed some of the things in this book and like he said, the guy may be wrong. Even if everything he says about Heaven isn't true, does it matter? What matters is I got my answers from the most reliable source I could find. I have grown so much spiritually thanks to this book. I feel closer to God. A more desperate DESIRE to live my life how HE wants me to live it so I can experience the joy of Heaven with Him. I feel pricked to tell others about Heaven and WARN them about HELL. I want EVERYONE I love to be in Heaven with me. I want to share it with you all!

This book will make you question yourself and where you will be spending eternity. Can you say you're going to be living forever with the Lord? Like Mr. Alcorn says, when we give people directions to a place we warn them about a sharp turn or a bad patch in the road that could cause them danger. But do we truly WARN people about an eternity in Hell? I know I don't do it NEARLY enough! So here's my warning: we WILL all die. There WILL be only two options after death. Are you 100% sure about where you'll end up?

Obviously, I hope everyone has a personal relationship with the Lord. I hope everyone reads the Bible as IT is God's Word. But I also hope that everyone reads this book. It WILL change your outlook on life and the after-life too!!!

I am not finished with the book yet (it's not a light read by any means) but I already have changed feelings about Heaven. I can truly say that I am EXCITED to be there! And that when my time comes to face death I will not be afraid the way I would have been 6 months ago. I'll face it happily knowing that I'll be meeting God soon! I no longer lay in bed at night tossing and turning with worry and I am at peace with Nana's death as I know and understand where she now is.

I actually just bought the book on cd for my Uncle Spear. He is a strong Christian man and I'm sure it'll bring him much joy to hear about the home he'll have someday. I wish I had millions of dollars so I could buy EVERYONE a copy of it!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Birthday Invitations!

Now that everyone who is going to get an invitation has gotten it I can post the pictures from our invitation photo shoot! It was back in January when the weather was actually decent one day so Zach and I raced down to the park to capture some pictures of Kye. He wasn't in the greatest mood and it took me over 800 pictures (my camera has that shutter feature where you can just keep pressing down and it shoots a ton of pictures in a row) to find two to use for the invites!

Here are the top pictures from that day:
 
  
  
of course it was Daddy's idea to get some of him hanging
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
I love this, trying to get Kye to smile
it didn't work!
  
we knew it was time to head home haha 
Do you like the shirt? I actually got it on Etsy and I LOVE it! Yeah it wasn't too cheap ($20) but he wore it for the invitation pictures AND he will wear it at his party so I think it was worth it. Don't you? I know little girls have all kinds of cute 1 Year Old outfits to choose from but for a boy this was the cutest thing I could find and I actually based ALL his party decorations around the shirt :) 

You can tell from the pictures that he wasn't being Mr. Photogenic but whatever! We still managed to capture two that were invite-worthy:
 
  
I planned on having invitations made from a seller on Etsy but they were expensive ($1.20 per invite!!!) and I didn't want to limit the number of people we could invite so I found a GREAT deal on Vistaprint   (thanks to my UPromise account) and was able to order 40 invites for only $15! (click on either of the links for more info on how I got such good deals!) I chose the basic invite then made it my own with custom wording and adding the pictures! I think they turned out GREAT (you can click on the pictures to make them bigger!):
 
The backside is lighter than the front side but I really like them! The party is LESS than a week away! Getting EXCITED!!! :) If you're coming to the party and wondering what the heck a 1 year old would like (as I'd be asking myself if I didn't have a one year old at home) then feel free to check out Kye's wishlists at both ToysRUs and Target. These links will take you directly to the lists!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tough Morning

So I've spent most of the day feeling a little down. Some days are just like that aren't they?

My dad called this morning, which was a nice surprise. We don't get a chance to talk often so it's always nice to hear from him! He called to let me know that he won't be coming to Kye's party. Don't get me wrong, I didn't expect him to come. By now I'm used to how these things go. I live in my husbands home town so at any gathering ALL of his family will be there. Even random distant cousins. And ONE person from my family will be there...Mom. I feel bad that the party is at such a bad time but so thankful to her for driving up here for the party then back home then driving to St Augustine for Brandon's wedding the very next weekend. She's awesome :)

I'm sure people can relate...no matter how close you are to your in-laws or even your friends, there is just something about having people around you that are "your people." I think being around Zach's family and how uber-tight they are is sometimes hard because it reminds me how spread out my own family is. Even though when I planned Kye's party I assumed that my mom would be the only family I'd have there, I still hoped that Brandon and Chrissy would come or that Dad would somehow make it. And none of them can which is okay! It's understandable and it's not like they aren't coming b/c they just don't want to. But that doesn't mean that I'm not a little disappointed as it is Kye's FIRST birthday which is a pretty big deal. Isn't it? And I guess going to Lorelai's party and seeing ALL of Matt and Robyn's family there made me a little jealous! Her sister lives in Lawrenceville and has a 5 month old baby but they drove down for it and I'm not sure where her dad and step-mom live but they came in for the party too.

On top of that, Uncle Spear is doing much worse than when I saw him back in December. He now has a feeding tube, cannot walk, has only 30% use of his lungs (if I understood correctly) and only is able to move one of his hands. Thankfully it's his right one and he's still able to semi-communicate through writing on a dry erase board. They don't have much help and he's at the point now where he can't help so my Aunt Cheryl is having to do it ALL. My heart just aches for them. It's awful to just think about how Uncle Spear is still 100% Uncle Spear in his mind but that he cannot do anything with his body. This news took my little disappointment feeling and tripled it. I last I heard they are hoping to come to the wedding but I'd imagine that it'll be much too much for them. I hope Zach, Kye and I can get up to visit them soon.

Since getting off the phone with Dad I've just been in a funk. I cried it out some and just kinda vegged out. Not really a good thing to be doing with a BIG party in a few days but sometimes stuff just comes up that makes you need a little shut-down time. Ya know?

Please continue to pray for my aunt and uncle. I'm a realist and obviously this battle isn't one that will be fading away but pray for Aunt Cheryl's strength both physically and emotionally. That she can continue to be strong for them both. Pray for Uncle Spear's peace during this difficult time and that he will be able to keep his high spirits and that his progression will slow down so he can adjust to his new life slowly and not have to deal with so much at once. And hey if you wanna toss a little prayer in there for me too I wouldn't mind ;)

Why Is It?

Why is it that I can snap ONE picture of Zach with Kye and it's PERFECT?
Yet Zach can take six of me and not get ONE that compares?
 
  
  
  
  
  
It makes me wonder who's to blame???
The photographer?
...Or the subject?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Best Valentine's Day Ever!

Seriously, this was my best one ever!!! So yes, it's a LONG post to go along with my GREAT day!

We started out the morning by going to church and Kye got to take a fuller nap since we didn't have class! That made him in a way better mood for church which was nice! It's getting easier now that he can stand up b/c we can just put him between us on the floor and let him stand and play with toys in the seat. It seems to be working! It probably will get tough again once he starts walking though!!!

After church we went to Blimpie to get subs and went to our neighborhood park to have a family picnic. It was BEAUTIFUL outside but sadly the ground was soaking wet :( So no go on the picnic! On the way home from the park we let Kye "drive" for his first time (don't worry we live 2 seconds from the park so it was rather safe...)
 
both concentrating
  
  
Once we got home Kye went down for his nap and we ate our subs and basically waited for Kye to get up! As soon as he did it was present time!!! I was pumped about our first Valentine's Day box and I had a lot of fun making it as well as filling it with goodies for us all. This year it was our only Valentine's Day decoration, maybe someday we'll invest in more but with Kye's birthday not that far away I'd rather spend more on his party decorations!
 
He totally understood what the box was for!
He LOVED the card from Gramma because it sang when he opened it!
helping Daddy get his new toy remote control out of the CRAZY hard-to-open packaging
Zach and I have NEVER done big stuff for Valentine's Day. When we were dating our "anniversary" was Feb 5th so we spent more money and effort on that holiday. I feel like Valentine's Day isn't some big awesome holiday, it's just a nice day to share with those you love! We set a $30 budget and did good sticking to it. We also didn't get much for Kye. Gramma sent him a cute card and a webcam so we can Skype with her (yes my MOM does Skype and I had no clue what it was haha) and G-Mama and Big Papa got Kye a remote control he had on his ToysRUs wishlist. 

I couldn't resist getting Zach a little candy b/c he LOVES it!
I also got Zach a black beanie, Season 3 of The Office, and a coupon that said it's good for a year subscription to House Beautiful magazine. I thought it'd be so fun for us to look through it together and get ideas for our next home! Or at least ideas to tuck away for a dream home someday ;) I played a little joke on him too and typed in MEGA small font on the bottom of the coupon "this coupon also entitles Emily Parker to a pool in her next backyard" haha Hey, I'll do whatever it takes to make this thing happen!!! ;)
Zach did a great job and got me an HOUR long pedicure at a new Spa in town!
 
We got Kye several little things: a new bath toy and book from the $1 bin at Target, some toy plastic balls I got for free with a coupon at ToysRUs, and this monkey I couldn't resist! I typically am not a sucker for things like this but I couldn't help myself! It was TOO funny! I got it for $10 (I know $10 what a ripoff!!! but oh well!) because I bought three Hallmark cards and it's so cute, you press the paw and it dances and sings! I plan to have it out at Kye's party so everyone can see it then too! He cracked up and kept pushing the button!
 
 
It was fun just opening our little gifts together and we were impressed with how much more Kye got into it than he did at Christmas. He loved playing with the wrapping and tearing up the tissue. Hopefully he'll be cute for his birthday!

After we got done opening we took a family bike ride down to the park to play! The weather was too perfect to spend the afternoon inside!

Did you notice Kye's shirt?
ready for a ride
We had a great time at the park and Zach enjoyed getting to play with Kye as he usually misses out on our park visits during the week. I laugh out loud about this picture for many reasons...Kye's hat is funny but Zach's shorts are even funnier!
our boy loves to swing!
 
  
  
After we got home I made a FEAST! I wanted to cook something I knew Zach loved and it was a success! I made an awesome Roasted Pork Tenderloin and my favorite Pampered Chef Bread (click on the names of the recipes to view them). YUM!  
 
And for dessert I made those already pre-done festive cookies. I thought it'd be cute and Zach actually LOVED them! We let Kye have one and after he figured it out he enjoyed it too!
  
  
After Kye's bath Zach had such a sweet idea to have us BOTH read Kye a story so Kye and I sat on Daddy's lap and read Love You Forever. It was precious! Zach read a page then I read a page and I, of course, ended up crying at the end of the book. I can NEVER read that book without crying. But it was such a sweet way to end a great day as a family! The BEST Valentine's Day EVER thanks to my two favorite guys!
...As a bonus Valentine's Day gift for me JEFF AND JORDAN are on this season's Amazing Race so I got to see them again (an answer to my prayers!!! haha). I watched soooo much Big Brother back when I was nursing so often last summer that I feel like I know them personally and I was reunited with old friends :) They won the first leg so I hope they continue to do well!
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