Vacation Time

Taking some time off...

 The next few weeks are very special...we celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary in Cape May, we are taking the kids to Lancaster PA to go to Dutch Wonderland, my MIL celebrates her 60th birthday, and we have some more day trips to the zoo, and beach with friends.

As we take this time of refreshment and relaxation we are renewed in our love for one another, we grow closer as a family and we create memories and laughter that will truly last a lifetime.  See you in two weeks.



Love,
Team Mac
xoxoxo


Goodness

Goodness:  Being Like God Inside and Out

Elisa Morgan's book: Naked Fruit: Getting Honest about the Fruit of the Spirit

Ms. Morgan uses the example of the strawberry.  "The strawberry wears its seeds on the outside.  With no apologies, this tangy fruit proclaims its nature, sharing it's seeds as it grows."
Good means: what is excellent in character or constitution.  Morally sound...perfection.

The Bible is very clear that none of us is good.  No not one!  That's the whole reason Jesus came to earth to save us because we would try so desperately to do our own thing and fail miserably.

Ravi Zacharias one of my favorite favorite apologists of our time (we went to study under him for two years in a row in 2006 and 2007 in Oxford England at RZIM ministries) once said, "Jesus didn't come to make bad people good, he came to die to make dead people live."
What is it with us humans that tries and tries and tries so hard to be good (religion will kill you!)?  Instead of having a RELATIONSHIP with the one true God who IS GOOD and wants to give us new LIFE in Him.  I think because rules are easy to follow but relationship building takes a lot of work and discipline and it causes us to be vulnerable.  We have to trust that God's way is the best way, not our own way.

Psalm 119:68  "You are good, and what you do is good."
We try to be good but goodness is just natural to God.

I love this quote by Ms. Morgan "God doesn't change.  He's either good when good and bad things happen, or he's not good when either happens.  What changes is our view of God.  When times are good, we see his goodness.  When times are tough it can be hard to see his goodness."
Last time we talked about Kindness...click on Kindness to see last week's post.

Galatians 5: 22-23 The fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

"Kindness has to do with what we do.  Goodness concerns who we are."

"The goal of goodness is to make us like God.  And God's meeting our needs doesn't always accomplish such an objective.  Just as God is good to give us what makes us happy.  He is happy to give us what makes us good.  His actions consistently push us to the point where we will eventually resemble him."
One example I can think of in my life that taught me goodness of character and helped me to grow and to change me from the inside out was a time when the situation was not good.  But the situation allowed me to be shaped to be more Christ like and without it I would have never ever grown so much in my faith with the Lord.

I was 15 and diagnosed with an aggressive giant cell tumor in the bone of my foot.  It wasn't cancerous but it was so destructive it ate away a huge part of the bone in my foot where my ankle was and caused so much pain I couldn't walk or sleep.  Finally the tumor was removed after a lot of misdiagnosis for months furthering the growth and after the surgery I was home for 6 months recovering.  During my Sophomore year I couldn't go to school.  I was home bound.  My teachers came to my home to school me and test me and keep me up to date.  One thing I did faithfully night and day was pray and read God's word.  I've never read the Bible more faithfully.  It was like I was an empty cistern and just needed to be refilled every day.  The amount of hours I spent pouring over the word, journaling and praying changed me forever.  I think God was using this time as a molding time for me, he was changing me from the inside out, he was pouring his wisdom in me and he was giving me peace comfort and hope during this awful time of me wondering would I ever walk again, would anyone ever marry me a cripple.

Come Junior year, I was able to walk again with a crutch.  I was so scared to go to school with that crutch.  So embarrassed.  I felt everyone would tease me and make fun of me.  I sat on the bathroom floor the first morning of school and begged God to give me one verse to help me through that first day...

Isaiah 41: 10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
I literally opened the Bible to this page...God was speaking to me and He gave me this verse of comfort and strength.  I took it and boldly went to school and all was well.  But I learned a valuable lesson in those 6 months.  I am nothing without God.  He is my help.  No matter what.  Always I need Him.  And in that one year of being home, surgery and all, therapy, and healing, God changed me for GOOD.  I got to know Him the way you do a best friend.  It wasn't about following rules anymore, it was about loving him and wanting to be more like him.  Am I good?  No way!  But in my relationship with God He is transforming me to be more like His son, because the more time I spend with Him the more I just become like him.  It's the same way with our friendships on earth.  The more time we spend with people with bad attitudes and filthy mouths, guess what, we end up like them! 

Don't be like the wicked teachers in the Bible who only cared about their outward appearance of following religious laws and practices...they were so busy caring about the outside they forgot about being transformed from the inside.  We can all fall into this "works mentality" trap.

"Goodness can't be clothed in superficiality and still be good.  At its core goodness is nakedly good."
In other words, you can't fake it and fool yourself.  You are good because God is making you good.  Or you are not good at all.  And I'm an actress.  I know all about "acting" and "faking it" that was what I studied how to do as an Elementary Education/Theater Major at Rowan University.  God doesn't want us to act it or fake it.  He wants us to be genuine.

Romans 8:28

"And we know that in ALL things God works for the GOOD of those who love him."





Blog Hop--301 Followers! Yippee

It's Time to Mingle!

Happy Go Lucky

Each week we will choose one blog at random to spotlight at the next week's blog hop.
This weeks guest host is Simply Sweet Sunday
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There are no rules to this blog hop. Just link up your blog's m
ain page. Then have fun reading new blogs and making new blog friends. We would love for you to follow the hostesses in the first four spots and our guest host in the fifth spot.


Please leave a comment so we know to follow you back.

Grab our button if you want to share our blog hop with others. There will be a new list every Thursday, so be sure to come back every week.

We hope you have fun and thanks for joining us!  We are so excited to find new blogs, share great ideas, and inspire each other.
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Family Date

Ice Age

Ever have a great idea in the middle of the day?  Well, yesterday after being at the Orchards with the kids, and really missing John, and hating that I get to do so much fun stuff with the kids while John is at work, I texted John, "Hey, want to take the kids to see a movie tonight?"  The text reply back was, "YES!"  I was so happy that we came up with this plan.

John met us at the theater right after work, he missed a few commercials but the kids were SO happy to have daddy with them!  We were with only about 3 other families so we had the theater almost to ourselves.  The kids yelled, "Daddy!" when they saw him come up the stairs.

The movie was only an hour and a half and the kids were still in bed before 9:30pm...it was a great family date...even on a school night!  Thanks to my honey for making it possible!  I liked the movie Ice Age because it stressed the importance of family and sticking together and being loyal to your friends even when they aren't "cool" so to speak.  Great morals to live by.

Family Dates rock! 


Terhune Orchards Princeton

Read and Pick Program

 One of my favorite places to take the kids is to Princeton.  We go to this farm and enjoy their Tuesday Read and Pick Program for $7 per child.  The head of the farm reads us a few books about the topic that day (yesterday was flowers) she makes the kids pretend to grow like flowers, tell her their favorite color and then they are given a cup with water and some scissors and they get to cut their own flowers!  They have a 9:30 class and an 11 class, and since it takes an hour to get there I go to the 11am.

Mark and Julia and my friend Erin's kids Nicholas and Christopher really enjoyed the farm.  It was a hot day but afterwards we ate a snack under the shade, fed the animals, played on the tractors and milked a fake cow.  What more could you ask for.  I also bought a boat load of farm fresh peaches so I could make a peach cobbler this week....yummo!

These are the days I want my kids to remember...when mommy took them to fun places to learn new things!  We are going to go back in August to pick apples and peaches!!!!



Revisit--Summer Plans

Planning Ahead

 Click here to see a post I wrote before summer began.  It was about the importance of planning your summer ahead of time before others or events take over your precious time.  Isn't it amazing how many birthday parties, graduations, etc are during the summer?

Some important goals I had for the kids were visiting: Kateri Environmental Center (June 1)...Turtle Back Zoo (May 25)...The beach (once a week)...Dorbrook (we've gone at least 4 times this summer)...Jenkinson's Aquarium we did (July 16)...the only place we haven't gone yet is Allaire State Park and I plan to go in August for a train ride.

We also went to Terhune Orchards in Princeton twice so far and had a blast learning about farm animals and flowers!

Fall Plans

Some exciting things to look forward to this Fall are Gymnastics, Awana, Co-op Homeschool group twice a month, Bible Study Fellowship once a week, and Mops once a month.  I'm still aching to take my kids to Liberty Science Center...I'm hoping to go this August/Sept.  I also want to take Julia to the American Girl Doll store in NYC and I want to take Mark to Insectropolis...a museum about bugs...he's so into bugs lately.

I like planning ahead...I feel more accomplished this way!

"Iniative prompts you to tackle the task before you are told, before you are asked, and before the last minute!"

Planning ahead is my motto!



Being Thankful

1 Thessalonians 5: 16-19
 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.19 Do not quench the Spirit.

I feel like these verses say it all:

1. Rejoice always (be full of joy)
2. pray continually (don't stop praying)
3. Give thanks in all circumstances (God knows what He's doing just trust Him
4. Do not quench the Spirit (don't suppress all that God has for you, embrace His power and strength, and stop complaining!)

As a woman I have had the high honor of having some truly wonderful friends.  And we women are really good at sharing our hearts and deepest concerns with each other, from health needs, marriage issues,  job struggles, relationship problems, whatever the case may be I have gotten the chance to be a good listener and pray for my fellow sisters.

The more I ask my friends how I can pray for them, more often than not, I end up thanking God for the blessings that I have in my life.  My petty problems and trivial annoyances are nothing when I compare them to the bigger picture and problems out there.  The more I try to reach out to others and the more I pray for others I realize how good I have it, how blessed I am, and how faithful God is.  The more I focus less on myself, I find God showing me others whom I can encourage and be a blessing to.

Have you ever gone to a doctor appointment for a well visit for your kids, and seen other sick kids there, and you stop and thank God for good health?  How about seeing a severely handicapped child at the beach or a store, doesn't it make you appreciate good health all the more?  When I stop focusing on me me me I stop to see the wonder of God's hand in all of our lives.  How He protects us, loves us, provides for us, even when we don't realize it.

It's easy to rejoice and be joyful when your eyes are fixed on Him.  He is just that GOOD.  He is just that wonderful.  Taking the time to praise God for all He has done with your kids or in a journal is an awesome thing.  It will make you smile.

This weekend I was in such a bind.  I had a meeting that meant a lot to John that we had to go to, but both my sitters, Plan A and Plan B got messed up completely.  What was I going to do?  Who would I ask so last minute to watch the kids?  I texted and called a bunch of people, no response, or not available was the answer.  Finally I asked someone who I didn't want to bother at all, it was her birthday weekend, and guess what she responded "YES!  I'd love to!  It would be a great birthday present to be with Julia and Mark."  Her sweetness and generosity was such a balm to my soul and frantic self.  (Us Type A people get frantic when their plans are messed up.)

But God didn't stop there.  We came to pick up the kids at 4pm, and the girl and her parents begged us to stay longer for dinner.  They fed us, let the kids play in the pool, and made us feel at home.  That was all God.  He was showing His love and kindness like He is so good at doing.  Why did I allow myself to get frantic and worry.  Why didn't I trust God would provide a way?  Why do I always get worked up? 

This incident taught me to be thankful for the people, young and old, that God has put in my life to make my life sweet.  I'm thankful for my brothers and sisters in Christ. 

This week I really want to be on the look out for ways I can rejoice over God's goodness more, pray more, be thankful, and not complain.




Organizing our Day

Woman on a Mission

I like to get things done and make the MOST of my time.  I could never understand why people would say, "You should nap while your baby is napping."  That is, until I had two under two!  Now when it is nap time I make at least 15-30 minutes of putting my feet up!  But wait we are getting too ahead of ourselves.  Here is how things typically run in the Team Mac household under "Mommy Time" which is usually through dinner. 

I break up our day into 5 very distinct parts:

Morning Work
Something Fun
Lunch/Nap
Something Fun
Dinner/Downtime

It all starts with that first cup of coffee and first praise to God for giving us a brand new day with no mistakes in it...yet.



Morning Work entails:

Milk Cups, Breakfast, Beds Made, Get Kids Dressed, Shower, Brush Teeth, Sesame Street, School Time, One load of Laundry, Clean Kitchen, Garbage put out, water my vegetables and flowers.


Kaitlyn, My Julia, Jennifer, Annabelle :)


Something Fun is usually: 

I believe in organized fun.  Going to library craft time or storytime is one of our favorites or we sometimes like to go to Barnes and Nobles story time.  Something Fun is a plan for the day that I make at least a week in advance.  I never wing it.  That stresses me out.  Usually during the weekend I'll decide which day we head to the library, a playdate, the pool, the beach, Monmouth Museum, the park, the farm, or Kid town at WoodBridge Mall.  This is a built in incentive for the kids to do all their school work well so we can look forward to that something fun later on.



Lunch/Nap is always at noon:

My kids enjoy eating at the same time in their own home.  Yes we can eat anywhere at anytime, but I really try to make this time of the day sacred.  It saves money to eat at home.  And after our play time out of the house the kids love to play in their play room as I make lunch.  I've stuck to this schedule for a long time with them and they are really good eaters and nap very well!  Usually I put them down around 1:30/2:00 and by 4:00 we are all up and about and ready for the next fun thing!



Something Fun Part 2:

This could be as simple as puzzles on the floor til dinner time, painting sea shells we collected at the beach, coloring in our coloring books, reading books from the library, or playing in the backyard shark pool and slip and slide.  Sometimes Julia has Taekwondo during the week and we have to head there.  Sometimes we make plans with my Mom to meet at the park.  But whatever it is it's something active til dinner time.


 Dinner/Downtime:

I never ever stress about dinner.  I have a plan.  See my monthly prep plan click here.  I prep during nap time and by 5 or 5:30 we eat it.  It's short and sweet and simple.  No fuss no muss.  After dinner it's bath time and pajamas.  The kids have free play til daddy gets home.  When Daddy walks through that door you should hear the YELLS, SCREECHES, and SCREAMS, it's as if he's been gone for years at a time.  And once John is home our family is complete.  We allow the kids to stay up til 9pm and then head upstairs for potty time, brushing teeth, books and prayer, and of course hugs and kisses.

  That's how I do it.  That's how we make it through the day as a team.  We work together to get things done, but leave plenty of time for family fun.  And I can't do it alone.  I pray through out the day for strength, because let's face it staying home all day with your kids is exhausting.  Playing is fun, but the nitty gritty stuff is hard and tiring.  God is my help.  And I'm so thankful for my help mate, John.  Team Mac needs him!

 --Kristi



 




Blog Hop...300!

It's Time to Mingle!

Happy Go Lucky

Each week we will choose one blog at random to spotlight at the next week's blog hop.

This weeks guest host is Blue Skies Ahead

There are no rules to this blog hop. Just link up your blog's m
ain page. Then have fun reading new blogs and making new blog friends. We would love for you to follow the hostesses in the first four spots and our guest host in the fifth spot.


Please leave a comment so we know to follow you back.

Grab our button if you want to share our blog hop with others. There will be a new list every Thursday, so be sure to come back every week.


We hope you have fun and thanks for joining us!  We are so excited to find new blogs, share great ideas, and inspire each other.
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Instagram

Here are just a few of my favorite Instagram photos this week.  Mark taking a rest after riding his bike at the park.  Isn't he a doll baby?
 
 Shrimp Scampi I made for my loves.

Valerie, baby Maeve, My Julia and Brenna at the Aquarium on Monday.  Isn't my Julia a gem?

I love this one of Julia riding her bike with her side pony tail.  Oops, her helmet was on the bench.

Mark and I at church last week for VBS.

Julia watching the fountains at the Woodbridge Mall.

Mark with his hat and silly face.

Instagram...I love taking pics with you.

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Kindness

Julia at about 20 months in Marky's room just making him smile
Meeting Needs Nicely

 Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another.

I've been doing a series on the Fruit of the Spirit with my kids at home, and I've been reading a book on it by Elisa Morgan called Naked Fruit: Getting Honest About the Fruit of the Spirit. 

If you missed any of my other posts check them out by clicking on their FRUIT words below:

Love--Joy--Peace--Patience

What I love about the fruit of the spirit is that you can see them clearly in a person's life if they truly possess it.  And what I love about KINDNESS is that it is an ACTION word.

 "Kindness is meeting needs." 

And lets face it we all have needs.  Kindness is noticing someone hasn't been to church in a few weeks and you taking the time to call/text them to see if everything is okay.  Kindness packs a husband his lunch and picks up those socks by the side of the bed.  Kindness adopts an orphan in another country by sending money each month to take care of their basic needs.

"Kindness contains pure, clean action--the kind that usually costs us something in terms of time and energy."
 Recently, my dearest friend has been struggling with sickness in her family.  I kept promising to pray for her daughter to heal and kept texting my concern, but it wasn't until I got in my car, drove the 40 minutes to her house with kids in tow, brought some soup and fun toys for her daughter that my KINDNESS had some legs and feet.  And it felt so good to DO something for her.  Yes it took time and energy, but it spoke volumes of my love for her.

"Kindness is coupled with compassion.  Kindness cares, and because it cares, it acts.  Kindness gets involved."
Sometimes when I look around I wonder if we really care about others, or do we just pretend to?  Sometimes, especially in the North East where everything runs so fast and time is short I think we get so wrapped up in our own daily doings that we simply don't take the extra time or effort to invest and love on other people.  And I mean needy people.  I'm so guilty of this.  It is much easier to show KINDESS to people who are far away and don't require a lot of energy or effort.  It takes a lot more sacrifice to invest in the needy, neighbor next door where the cost is high and the need is great.

Ecclesiastes 4: 10

"If one falls down, his friend can help him up.  But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!"

I think of the times people were kind to me by reaching out when I needed encouragement, who surprised me with a gift or card, who wrote a text to brighten my day, who brought over a meal when I just had a baby or was sick.  And I think, wow, those people were Jesus' hands and feet to me.  It was love and kindness in action...and then I think of the times that I pushed that KINDNESS away because of pride. 



Here comes the honesty.  I just had Mark, and I had a 17 month running around the house, and I was DETERMINED to do it all without anyone's help.  (What was I thinking?)  My MOPS group kept emailing me, "Kristi, how can we help?  Can we wash your windows, bring a meal, do your laundry?"  And I thought to myself I don't need help, surely their are other moms who need more help than me, I only have two kids, I can do it.  I have my meals planned, my house is clean.  And you know what?  I missed out.  I missed out on the opportunity of lettting someone bless me simply because I was too proud to take a hand out.  Oh, how I could use that blessing today! LOL  Never, never let pride get in the way of accepting kindness.

 Here comes more honesty...why is it easier to show kindness to the person in Florida as opposed to the spouse you married for 9 years?  Okay, let's be real...sometimes it is easier to put on the nice voice, send the card, help a friend in need much more than it is to show kindness in our own home.

I think of my favorite mentor Christy Weaver.  Christy, mother of 3, married her college Sweetheart Bill, and lover of the Lord since she was in her early twenties, Christy oozed kindness and not only to me and other kids at youth group, but to her hubby, to her children to all who came in contact with her.  She opened her home, sent a card of concern, gave me rides, went above and beyond to always always show me she cared.  And she was such a good listener.  The time and energy she poured into me over the years has been costly, very costly, and when John and I first found out we were pregnant the first couple I wanted to tell (after our family of course) was Christy and Bill.  And we could think of nobody else to have the place of honor of godparents.  One thing I admire about Christy is her tone of voice and her self control.  She is just the sweetest. 

The other day I saw a woman at Costco talk to her 3 year old daughter in such a shameful way, to the point of using profanity at her daughter because she spilled something, and I thought, wow, sometimes we can't even show kindness to our very own children!

"But to tell the truth, we seem to do a better job extending kindness outside our homes than inside."
Final Point

So what do we do to possess this kind of kindness?  Where do we get it and how do we get a refill if we feel empty?

How many of you as moms feel empty?  Oh I know it.  We get drained emotionally and physically every day as we raise our kids.  This past weekend I had a melt down right in front of my kids because I was just so tired and so frustrated.  It happens.  What do we do?  Well, first we apologize.  I swallowed some humble pie today and told Julia and Mark that mommy's anger and behavior was wrong and then we simply go to the source.

We get on our knees each day and ask God to fill us generously with his love and KINDNESS so that we in turn can show it to others.  And if you have skipped your quiet time lately like me because you have been running running running to get all the things in your life done, it is worth it to stop, and be still and refill from Him.

"A major truth for moms or any caretaker is that we can't give to others what we don't have ourselves. OH we thing we are being incredibly selfless and spiritually mature to give to other while ignoring our own needs.  But are we?"
I loved this last quote: "Kindness to others begins with kindness to ourselves."  So simple and true.  And for me the key words are this...Kristi, be still.

After I take the time to be still, stop running and getting things done, I can refill with the Lord and be reminded of all He does for me and how much he loves me and confess all my many faults.  Then I can be renewed and restored and have plenty of Kindness to give to others.

Especially my three favorites:



 


Grandma Goggles

Through the eyes of Grandma...

This past weekend (and countless others) my mom took the kids for the evening so John and I could have a date night to spoil some friends for their birthday.  We got to see the movie Spider Man at the Dine in Theater.  It was awesome.

My mom came to the door at 5:30 pm with a blow up alligator (he was huge) new bug collectors (we are studying bugs in Science right now) to catch fire flies, and beads/bracelets for Julia, and a car model kit from the dollar store from Mark.  Grandma Donna means business...

Whenever my mom watches the kids I can usually expect later bedtimes, and a whole lot of excitement.  The kids never want her to leave and she always has something new just for them.  Who does this??? Grandma does.

And when it is time to come home (usually kids are asleep by then) Mom never leaves right away, she gives us a play by play of everything everybody said/did/ate, etc...she tells us every funny detail, every time Julia shared, every time Mark used the scissors properly, and even takes care of our puppy.  So if we get home by 9:45 she doesn't even leave til after 10 pm...she has Grandma Goggles...

She sees everything through the eyes of Grandma's perspective.  Everyone behaved, everyone ate well, everyone was good, Did you know Julia can do this?  Did you know that Mark can spell that?  Everything is wonderful in Grandmas eyes...and I love it.

Last night's fine moment was when it was time to go to bed and Marky got very upset because (he's my 3 year old Linus from Charlie Brown) he could NOT find he blanky anywhere (it was in the dryer...I can't remember everything! LOL)  Sure enough, guess who came to his rescue?  Julia!  She told Grandma she knew mommy washed it today at laundry time (she's my all time helper) and she ran downstairs and found it for him...My mom went on and on about how tender and loving Julia was to her brother (ahem, my mom does not see these two fight during play time!)  Those Grandma Goggles can only see the good in their granddaughter.  So precious....

And my mom's other highlight story was that at bedtime Julia remembered to pray for my mom's mom...Grandma Corrine who has a bad neck.  My mom couldn't get over Julia's prayer.  (She is quite the prayer warrior my 4 1/2 year old.)

Grandma Goggles.

I heard about these Grandma Goggles through a friend Lindy, and sure enough it's true...everyone grandma has them.  And it is just wonderful.

I got several texts again today from my mom about her glorious grand children.  About how good they are, how smart they are and how blessed I am as their mom.  And she's right.  Grandma Goggles and all!

Love you Mom.




The Excellent 11: Enthusiasm

Rollerskating in S. Amboy with mommy and daddy
"Qualities Teachers and Parents Use to Motivate, Inspire, and Educate Children"--Ron Clark

 Enthusiasm is Contagious

 "Children are impressionable, and when they look to adults for guidance, we must inspire them and motivate them to want to learn, to have a desire to achieve, and to want to be the best person they can be."

One of the reasons I parent the way I do is because of all the wonderful reading materials and practice I've had my classroom students over the years, not to mention years of babysitting friends from church!

One summer I read a book by Ron Clark called the Essential 55 and it was awesome! It was 55 ways to inspire your students and basically be a great teacher.  Ron Clark was a young, Caucasian, teacher in an inner city poverty stricken school, where teachers had pretty much given up on their students.  But he was determined to have a successful school year and he poured everything he got into his students and the results were amazing!  His class even went on a field trip to Washington, D.C.!  

His next book was this one, The Excellent 11, and I love this book because it inspires me to want to be a good teacher and a great parent.  Feel free to read the chapters along with me or just follow along.

I wanted to re read this book as I venture ahead on another homeschooling year with Julia and Marky.  I wanted to spark the flame and inspire myself to be EXCELLENT and at my best, because my children DESERVE the best.

 Do you get excited about teaching something new to your kids?  Can they see your excitement?  Do they feel it?  Are you happy to share new things...or are you dull and uninterested?  I'm just kidding no one sets out to be dull and uninteresting to their kids, but I think if we all carefully planned something new to teach our kids and did it with enthusiasm, it would be awesome for our kids!

This past weekend John planned another rollerskating outing with the kids (yes, there were tears after two hours of skating).  I was very reluctant to go.  I was tired.  It was Saturday.  All I personally wanted to do was clean or window shop.  But John was determined to get moving and do something fun.  All I could think about was how tiring this was going to be.  But once I saw his enthusiasm and how excited he was to go, that was it, I was hooked.  And you better believe Mark and Julia were!

We laced up our skates and we headed out to the silky wood, slippery floor.  "Oh brother." I thought to myself.  Here we go... But really...we had fun...John took one, I took the other...we practiced on the carpet a few times and then we took them on the main floor. 

John worked with Julia a lot because she falls a lot, and by her third time around I was able to just hold one hand and skate with her!  She is getting the hang of it!

Marky is pretty amazing on skates.  He has a knack for it.  But Julia needed a lot of encouragement, enthusiasm, and practice...and John did a great job.

John used his enthusiasm for skating to motivate all of us that day.  We even skated during the couples round and the kids cheered for us by the benches...I think they were proud of us!

Enthusiasm affects all the people around you.  When you are patient and happy with your child it makes other parents around you at ease and do the same.

John took time to tell the kids what he expected of them and taught them and practiced with them and I was surprised to see such quick results.  And no boo boos!

"I believe that as teachers we must set the bar as high as possible.  I am a firm believer that we can get out of students what we expect, and if we aren't setting our expectations extremely high, students aren't going to perform extremely high."

It's true.  The more opportunities we present to our children the more awesome things they can learn and tackle.  I'm a firm believer in limiting T.V. and NO video games (I personally hate video games...I know I know I'm strange, but I'd much rather read a book or cook a meal, or clean than sit in front of a video game).  I want my kids to be exposed to different sports, different languages and cultures, and be active.  And trust me Julia is HIGH energy...Mark is on the mellow side, but his boyish adventure side is coming out!

So even though our kids are only 3 and 4 we like them to try new things like roller skating for fun, for learning, for exercise, and for our family enjoyment (although mommy needed some nudging.)

PRAISE

 "And finally, I praise the class as a whole and individuals as often as possible."

Words of affirmation are so important.  John and I really try to praise as much as we can so that it balances out the times that we have to correct and discipline.  I want my children to remember my praise and pats on the back as well as our talks on the time out step.  Both are important for growth.

Praise sparks kids to want to do MORE and do BETTER and I love that!  If someone compliments my blog or my children's behavior or my home, you better believe I want to blog more, continue to be a consistent parent, and continue to be a good home maker.  Words are so powerful. 

It's our job as parents to push our children to reach their potential and encourage them all along the way.  I want to be my child's biggest fan!

Have a wonderful weekend being the awesome parents you already are!  I can't wait to see what God has in store for us as we continue to pour into our children with enthusiasm and loads of love!


Boys......


"Boys will be boys..."

 You've heard it many times...

Well my little boy, loves to make crafts...he loves to glue, and to cut, and especially to wave the final product around and sting mommy!

My boy loves mommy and son time when Julia is at Gymnastics camp and we just chill out and play together and talk.

He tells me all about super heroes, bat man, and spider man, and iron man, and Captain America.  And he tells me how he doesn't like the bad guys because they are NOT nice.

I love how he is always using a cape to fly around the house and rescue damsels in distress.

My boy loves to eat...anything and everything...and cream cheese on his bagel is a favorite!

My boy likes the beach...he doesn't like the scary/wild waves though...he prefers the calm part that washes over his toes...

He does like to build with Julia!

My boy loves getting hair cuts now...go figure!  He loves cool spikes too!  He gets sad when he takes a bath and the spikes go away.

The best part of the hair cut is the lollipop afterward!

My boy loves trying new foods.  Daddy took us to the Chinese Market to get ingredients for sushi rolls and Mark ate a sesame ball with bean curd!  I was so proud!  We could totally take him over seas.

Lately, my boy loves to be silly!  He is so funny!  He uses different voices, and tries to make everyone laugh.

My boy, loves to hear about Jesus.  He loves VBS this week watching the skits and singing and doing the moves to the new worship songs.  Especially: You, You, You, You can trust God!  I love his tender heart towards the gospel and how he defends Jesus when we tell him how Jesus had to die on the cross for our sins.  He got very upset that God allowed Jesus to get hurt on our behalf.  "That's not fair mommy!"  I love his heart. 

I love my boy.


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