She's 5!!!

We are spoiling Julia rotten this week!

Today is her birthday and we are taking her to the Rainforest Cafe for lunch with some special guests!

Later on we are having a house family party (16 guests) in her honor and to bring in the New Year!

And on Sunday, January 6, after church we are having a Princess Party at the taekwondo school where she and 15 other kids will come and their parents and celebrate with her!

Yup, we went all out this year for Julia, but 5 years old is a huge milestone!!! And we are so proud of her!

1 Samuel 12: 24 says, But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.

We are so thankful for our daughter and we love showing her that her birth and her life brings so much joy to our life.  You only turn 5 once!!!

 


The best day of my life...




 "Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."--Psalm 126:2

Ever have one of those days, weeks, months or years, where you just feel God's presence so strongly in your life and you just know He has GREAT things in store for you?

Have you ever felt like, "Man, I just don't deserve all of this, Lord!"

Have you ever felt like God was just smiling down on you and was filling your mouth, your day, your life with laughter and joy?

Well, that is exactly how I feel around my children's birthdays.  There is just this pride and joy and happiness and gratefulness I feel for all that God has blessed us with in each of them.  And so, this year as Julia approached age 5 I have to say I just felt pure, explicit, undeserved, joy!

She is my joy.  She is my gift.  I don't deserve a great kid like her at all.  But God in his love, mercy and grace, decided in April of 2007, that I would conceive a daughter and that in December of 2007, give birth to our Julia Star. 

 
 On December 22, we took her to the American Girl Doll store in Manhattan for the very first time.  After Julia picked out her doll, had tea, snacks, and cake with us, and browsed the store for some doll accessories, she leaned over and thanked us and said, "Guys, this is the BEST day of my life!"  To hear your little one say those words to you when you planned a special day for them and it actually works out to be a great day for them, is just the absolute best feeling in the whole world.

 
 This store is every little girlie girl's dream.  4 floors of dolls, doll clothes, a doll salon, and a restaurant for your family and your doll is little girl heaven for an almost 5 year old.  Julia picked out her Julie doll which was on the third floor and then we set off to see the rest of the floors and have tea with brother and daddy.

 Julia's doll got her own special chair and she got to have Tea with us!  The service here was amazing!

 Does she look happy or what?  She got a birthday crown for herself and her new doll.

 We kept asking her doll Julie, "Are you having fun Julie?"  Julia would answer, "Mom she's shy."

 Forget the tea, we want CHOCOLATE MILK!

 Then the finger food came!  It was all so good!  Cucumber sandwiches, tuna sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, muffins, fruit cabobs, rice krispy treats....yum!

  Make a wish big girl!!! You fill our days with laughter and joy and we are so proud of the little young lady you are becoming.  God has great things in store for you!

 
Happy Birthday Julia Star!  We can't believe you are 5 this year!  I know the American Girl Place was the best day of your life...but the best day of our life was when you entered ours on Dec 31 at 7:16 a.m.  It was early morning and you were so alert and awake in our arms.  And you never cried in the hospital.  You were so happy and content with just taking it all in and looking all around.  You were so full of life even then.  Mommy and Daddy, and Marky love you so so much!   

Our prayer for you this year is this:  That you grow in wisdom and stature.  That you continue to seek God with all your heart. (we love all your questions and are going to write a book to answer all of them, you inspire us so much my love).  That you make good choices and godly friends.  That you succeed at all you do.  And that you continue to be a joy and a blessing to those around you!  We LOVE you!

Psalm 126:2
 "Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."


Blog Hop

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 week's guest host is: oh so nifty

 
There are no rules to this blog hop.  Just link up your blog's main 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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Christmas etiquette



This year we have really had to review and practice how to behave at our different family celebrations. Especially after last year when after every gift Julia would ask, where's my other gifts?

It's our responsibility as the parents to demonstrate these right behaviors instead of just expecting awesome Behavior. I learned that well last year because it was the first year I was embarrassed at Christmas at my in laws. Every other year Julia and mark were just too little to even understand gifts. But last year at the ages of almost 4 and 2 1/2 they really got into gifts, as do most kids.

Julia's behavior wasn't awful but it was enough to be rude and slightly ungrateful. So this year we've had several family meetings where we discussed Christmas etiquette at the grandmas houses.

Here's what we've gone over:

1. You never ask for your Christmas presents. You wait patiently for the adults to announce it.

2. Once you open a gift you say Thank You! Then you go to the person who
Got it for you and you give them a hug.

3. When presents are all opened instead of asking for more start enjoying what you have.

4. Never ask, are there more gifts????

5. Remember this is Jesus birthday celebration and we are exchanging gifts out of love. No one deserves more gifts. Each gift is a treat.

I'm glad tonight we can practice at my moms house and hopefully by Christmas day the kids will have the hang of it at my in laws!!!!



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American Girl Doll Store in NYC

11 Days

In 11 Days my little princess turns 5!

This weekend we are spoiling her rotten at the American Girl Doll store for her birthday!  Because turning 5 is a milestone!

We are spending the day in the city with the kids and we are taking them to see the tree and the shoppes and having a birthday tea at the AGD store!  Julia is getting her new doll Julie!

Seriously?  Mommy is just as excited as Julia!

 


Blog Hop 360

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 week's guest host is: Mom on the Run x2
 
There are no rules to this blog hop.  Just link up your blog's main 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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My Marvelous Mother in Law


 Let me preface today's post with this:  There will be times I choose to highlight certain people in my family, certain people in my life, or just a random stranger, that doesn't mean that I don't love everyone in my life.  It just means that since this is my blog, and since certain things are put on my heart to write about, and since some people do things that impact me greatly it inspires me to write.  I know I also have an amazing mom, but today I am choosing to highlight my fabulous MIL, just because!

 I would never use my blog as an outlet to hurt people, slander people, intentionally and unintentionally, my purpose to blog is just to write what's on my heart.  Period.  So if my blog ever offends you please remember that is not the purpose or the intention of my blog and remember chapter 1 of Purpose Driven Life says: It's Not About You!  Something I as a woman am constantly working on is to not let silly things offend me. 

This week, my mother in law babysat the kids for a few hours so I could get my hair cut and styled.  It was so lovely of her, especially during such a busy time of the year.  One thing I love about my MIL is that she is not a last minute person!  She and I are organizers, cleaners, planners and think-aheaders (pretty sure this is a made up word), and so we have a lot in common.  I gave her this date a week or two ago and she kept it open for me!

I really love asking my MIL to babysit (although it is hard for me to ask sometimes because I don't like admitting I need help, but hey, with the third on the way, let's face it, I need help!)  I love asking her to babysit because she always goes the extra mile.  She always washes the dishes, or folds the laundry or cleans something I missed and no one tells her to do it, she just does, and she is also known for spoiling our puppy Paris who is oftentimes neglected!

I also love asking her to babysit because she really really plays with the kids.  You will find her on the floor, building a tower, or coloring a picture, or watching a movie, or blowing bubbles outside.  The kids always have a fun time with her.  And let's face it, she doesn't charge me!  Finding free babysitting is a dream come true this year, especially when babysitters are $10 an hour.

This past Wednesday my poor mother in law was faced by some really tough questions from my 4 year old Julia: where do babies come from and did God marry Mary to have baby Jesus?  Oh, my poor MIL.  These questions were asked Tuesday night in the car after taekwondo and at home at bedtime with daddy.  Apparently our answers did not satisfy her.  And the poor kid gets very frustrated if you just answer: It's just a miracle honey!

I'm praising God today for extended family who is always willing to chip in and help and for smart little 4 year olds who bring me to my knees in prayer!









This Christmas



This Christmas...

* John made a manger with the kids from real wood, and a blow torch to engrave it instead of us decorating a Tree.
* We bought lots of gift cards instead of presents since Mommy's belly was too big to lug loads of shopping bags.
* We will not be giving Santa the credit for the gifts by the manger, but thanking Daddy for all his hard work in NYC and taekwondo this year so we could buy stuff for each other.
* Daddy bought Mommy a new Toyota minivan instead of tiny gifts!
*Mommy will not be hosting a boat load of company, but instead going to each grandma's house to be spoiled.
* I am so thankful to finally be "with child" just like Mary!
* We read a Christmas book each night of the month and watched a video on the weekends which emphasized the birth of our Savior.
* We will take the kids to see NYC and the big tree in Rockefeller Center and bring the kids to the American Girl Doll store for the first time!
* This Christmas I heard Julia say, "Mom, it's not about the presents, although they are nice, Christmas is all about Jesus." and I was the luckiest mom on earth.
* I am content to be right where we are with everything.  God is just so good.




Saying Goodbye


In Newton, CT children are going back to school today.

Not the children of Sandy Hook Elementary.

At that school parents are preparing funerals for their 6 year olds.  I can't even imagine preparing a funeral for a six year old.  I can't imagine the small casket and the grief.

Lord, please be with these families who were so tragically hurt on Friday by this shooter.  I also pray for the shooter's family who is left behind wondering, Why?  Why would this young man do this?  Why hurt his own mother and innocent children and faculty members?

Evil is present.  There is a spiritual battle going on that we do not see.  But God is good.  All the time.

I thank God for protecting the children who went home that day and the teachers who became heroes by protecting their students.  There are glimpses of goodness and heaven all around even in the midst of evil.

Sat*n is alive and well.  But Christ has the victory.

As CT resumes back to life as they know it, and say goodbye to friends and loved ones, I pray for healing.  And I pray for Jesus to come back quickly.


100





Beware Proud Mama on the Loose

This past weekend Julia had a make-up Chinese exam from when she had the flu.

This kid studied like she was studying for the SATs.  She would go to bed at 9:30 (which is late for her) because she wanted to practice with her dad how to say, and write her numbers.  And let me tell you, she was driven.

I was actually nervous for her when she and John left on Saturday morning to go to Chinese school.  Within an hour, Daddy texted me a picture of a smiling girl, with her exam in hand and a 100 at the top!  John said not only was he so proud of her, but the teacher was beaming (Julia is the only non-Asian in the class).  She was so happy for Julia and so proud of how well she did.  Her progress report said that she is enthusiastic, learns quickly, and works hard in class.  You have to remember, Julia is only 4 years old.  This is NOT her native tongue.  It's 3 hours every Saturday (with a break in between) and she knew NO ONE when she started this Fall.  

I am so proud of her!  I was really proud of the fact that she CARED how she did.  That my 4 year old is learning how to study and take pride in her work at such a young age.  

 
 Since we are on the topic of my baby girl...this past Tuesday we had our December MOPS meeting (Mothers of Preschoolers).  This is a christian organization nationwide.  I started when Julia was about 10 months old, and I have loved it ever since.

This past meeting was our Christmas themed get together, and the kids had a special visitor come and share the gospel story through the use of puppets.  Apparently, during the story, they needed helpers.  Now I have two very different children.  Julia has no problem raising her hand.  Mark is more timid.  But Julia is very sensitive to her brother.  They are in the same class.  During the show when the puppeteer asked for volunteers Julia saw how upset Mark was getting because he was being overlooked.  He had tears in his eyes apparently (I was with all the moms, but my friend Danielle relayed the story to me).  Julia raised her hand and said (loudly), "can you please pick my brother Mark, you have to pick Mark!"  And they did.  And all was well with the world.

SO, not only am I proud of my daughter academically this year, but also I have seen a growth in her with how lovingly, and tenderly she treats her brother (not at all times of course) but when she sees him hurt, it breaks her heart, and I love this about her.

Thank you Lord for Julia's 100 in Chinese school, her awesome progress report, and her sweet behavior she demonstrates toward her younger brother.




Deactivated

It was about time.

I just couldn't take the comments anymore.

I am officially deactivated from facebook.

I loved being able to keep in touch with friends and family all over the US but right now I need a time-out from the comments, criticism, and critics.

It's time to focus on the Lord, my family, and if I have the time, my writing.  I'm not going to be bombarded by rude people anymore.

Sadly, by biggest critics were christians.  My brothers and sisters in Christ have been the harshest.

On my blog I have a safe group of people who know me, love me, and have deep relationships with me.  They don't judge me because my family trick or treats, or doesn't believe in Santa, or is naming my son Micah.

Enough is enough.

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Planning Ahead...January Menu 2013



 January Menu
2013
Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat



1
Shepherd’s pie
2
Salmon and salad
3
Ground Turkey Taco salad


4
Homemade veggie pizza

5
Brenna’s party
6

Julia’s Party

7
Chicken cutlets and pasta
8
Shrimp, leek, and spinach pasta

9
Veg head three bean chili
10
Left over night
11
Spaghetti and meatballs
12
13
Grandpa Jack’s birthday dinner



14
Chicken cacciatore and pasta
15
Spinach
Quiche and salad
16
Leftover night
17
Ellios pizza and salad
18
Taco night
19
20



21
Chicken chili and rice
22
Leftovers
23
Pasta salad with feta, garlic and olives

24
Baked ziti
25
Sweet potato and Chicken soup in crock pot
26
27



28
Tortellini salad

29
Beef stew and corn bread
  

30
Garlic parmesan chicken
31
Salmon and salad
















Blog Hop!

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 week's guest host is: Little Homes and Big Hearts
Little Homes and Big Hearts
There are no rules to this blog hop.  Just link up your blog's main 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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She inspired me

Last week I met a woman at gymnastics who told me her story.  Her story has changed me.  The joy I see in this woman is amazing, and the life she has lived and the things she has been through would blow your mind away, especially if you are a mom.

Three years ago she found out she was pregnant.  She had a 3 year old daughter at the time and this new baby was to be a boy.  I can imagine she was thrilled to pieces when she heard this news.

Then she began having chest pains.  She was 28 weeks pregnant and went to see her doctor within a doctor's visit her life completely changed.  She found out she had hodgkins lymphoma and it was spread throughout her lungs.  By week 29 of her pregnancy she was scheduled for chemo.

Can you imagine being told you have cancer while you are pregnant?  I cannot imagine the feeling.  I would be so fearful of not only my own life but the life of my baby.

But God did amazing things for this woman.  She delivered a healthy baby boy named Aiden who is now 2 1/2 years old.  Immediately after she had the baby she started radiation treatment and within a few months the cancer stopped spreading and she is now cancer free.

First of all when you meet this woman you only see her smile.  She is full of joy and life.  She is so loving and patient with her son.  She never looks tired or frustrated.  And it got me to thinking...I bet she would never have imagined that at age 34 she would be pregnant and diagnosed with cancer, and now almost 3 years later have a healthy boy and a healthy body.  God has been so good to her and you can tell that she is thankful for life.

It made me stop and think about how blessed I am just to have life.  Just to be alive and wake up this morning is a blessing.  All of our days are numbered and I am thankful today for yet another day to celebrate life.



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