December 27, 2012

2013 Book List and 2012 Book Reflection

Here are the books that I completed in 2012.  I only recently started reading again, and I am proud of myself for jumping right in and reading so much this year. 
  • Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey
  • The 5 Love Languages of Children
  • Nonprofit Leadership in a For-Profit World: Essential Insights From 15 Christian Executives... Need to finish a couple chapters
  • Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst
  • Greater by Steven Furtick
My book list for 2013 is as follows.  I'm hoping to read at least one book per month! 
  • The Adoption Decision by Christianson
  • Let. It. Go. By Karen Ehman
  • Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst
  • What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa Terkeurst
  • Boundaries by Dr. Henry
  • A Woman’s Secret to a Balanced Life by Lysa TerKeurst
  • Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow
  • Am I Messing Up My Kids by Lysa Terkeurst
  • Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman
  • More Than a Hobby by David Green (Hobby Lobby Founder)
  • Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall
  • Good to Great by Jim Collins
  • Point Man by Steve Farrar
  • November 19, 2012

    49ers Fan

    He's ready to watch the @49ers beat the Bears! #nfl #beatthebears http://t.co/aXaZvPJs -- Alicia Pence (@apence10)

    November 11, 2012

    30 Days of Thanksgiving, Days 5-11

    So, I've missed quite a few days of my "30 Days of Thanksgiving."  I'm sorry that I haven't been devoted to posting each day.  But I feel it's worth it to pick up where I left off...

    Day 5: I'm thankful for Lucas.  He has taught me more in these past 15 months than I ever thought something so small could teach me.  My patience has taken root, my heart is more full than I ever thought possible, I am more courageous than ever before, and I have learned to live each moment to the fullest.  I am so blessed to have such a fun, adventurous little boy and I'm so looking forward to seeing him develop into the man God has planned for him to be.

    Day 6: I'm thankful for my home.  Although I love to complain about it and could rattle off a list of 100 things that are wrong with it, we are blessed to own a home at such a young age.  It keeps us safe, allows us to spend time with each other, and is all ours.  I am so thankful to have a place to rest and lay my head each night.

    Day 7: I am thankful for the modern day luxuries that we have in our society now.  Although some older people would say that some of our modern day technologies aren't needed, I am very thankful for the internet to stay up to date with news, for my microwave that allows me to spend more time with my family than over the stove each night, and for my washing machine which enables me to work outside of the home instead of multiple days each week on our laundry. 

    Day 8: So many Christians around the world are not able to worship and fellowship with each other, without the fear of getting caught and killed.  We are very blessed to be able to attend church each week, without that fear.  I am very thankful for my church family.  Although I am often quick to find problems with my church, I must be reminded often that we are SO blessed to have each other, to spur one another on and to encourage and love one another!  I'm especially grateful for my small group ladies, Danielle, Angie, and Sharon!  You ladies mean so much to me! 

    Day 9: I'm thankful for clean water.  We are SO blessed to have clean water in our country, and often forget that there are millions around the world without this simple luxury. 

    Day 10: I am so grateful for our family.  It truly takes a village to raise a child.  Travis and I have continued to be very busy people since Lucas was born and I am so thankful that finding a sitter is rarely difficult.  We are so blessed to have so many loving family members to love and encourage Lucas and us!  We love you all! 

    Day 11: In honor of today as Veteran's Day, I am thankful for the men and women who have risked their lives to keep our country safe and free.  Thank you to our military soldiers, past and present! 

    November 4, 2012

    30 Days of Thanksgiving, Day 4

    Today I am so thankful for my bestie!  We share so many similarites but are also so different.  I'm open and immodest while she's more private and modest.  I'm often loud and outgoing while she's often quiet and reserved.  But we're both givers and love Jesus passionately.  We both have a heart for hurting people and try our hardest to be wonderful wives and moms.  We are both deep thinkers, which sometimes gets us into trouble as we think deeper about some situations than we need to.  :-)

    We spur one another on, smack the other in the face with gentle honesty, and listen to each other with a loving passion for the other's opinions and desires. 

    I am so blessed to have this amazing woman in my life and thank God everyday for bringing us together!  I love you, Danielle! 

    Repost from Life With Jack: 1st Corinthians 13 for Moms

    Please, read the following repost from life with jack: 1st Corinthians 13 for Moms!  I LOVE this very honest look into how we often parent our children...


    1st Corinthians 13 for Moms

    If my child speaks in the tongues of men or of angels, masters sign language at six months and Spanish and Mandrin Chinese by six years, but does not learn to love, she is only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If he has the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge-ABCs at a year, reading by two, writing chapter books in Kindergarten-but does not have love, he is nothing. If I volunteer for every mommy ministry-MOPS, AWANA, Sunday School, and if I give all I possess to the poor (or at least bring loads of groceries to the foodbank), but do not have love, I gain nothing. 

    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy other mother's lifestyle choices or possessions, it does not boast in the areas of my children’s natural strengths (while covering for their faults), it is not proud of the way my child potty trained before your child. It does not dishonor others by insisting that my method of parenting is the best, it is not self-seeking-hoping that you’ll notice how smart, talented or well rounded I am raising my child to be. It is not easily angered by perceived slights or misjudgments, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth that all of parenting is fueled and driven by God’s grace. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    Love never fails-even where I have fallen painfully short of God’s best for my children. But where there are competitions to see whose body bounces back best after childbirth, they will cease; where there are verbal fights over the correct methods of discipline, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge about the best way to feed and clothe and nurture a child, it will pass away. For we know in part and we parent incompletely, but when they are fully grown, what we thought we knew about raising our children will disappear. When I was a new parent, I thought, spoke and reasoned with immaturity and without grace. As my children grew, I asked God to give me the wisdom to put these childish ways behind me. For now we see our children’s future as only a reflection as in a mirror; one day we will behold their adults selves face to face. Now I know in part; then we shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

    And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

    November 3, 2012

    30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 3

    Today, I thankful for the opportunities that we are offered in this country!  We are free to come up with a business idea, sell the items or services, and support ourselves through these endeavors.  Some countries do not have these freedoms, so I'm am very thankful that we live in the United States of America!! 

    Sorry this isn't a super long post, but I am worn out after today's craft fair and we are off to a neignborhood block party soon!  Have a wonderful evening! 

    God bless,
    Alicia

    Today's Craft Fair

    Here are the pictures from todays craft fair! We had a blast selling our vinyl wall art! 






    November 2, 2012

    30 Days of Thanksgiving, Day 2

    Today, I am so mindful of what an awesome husband I have been blessed with.  For those of you who do not know, Travis and I work right across the street from each other.  And lunchtime is a real bonding time for us; we purchase lunches every Monday and then spend the rest of the week's lunch breaks chowing down while trying to get some meaningful (and sometimes hilarious) conversation in.  Today, we worked on some of our vinyl business to-do's and had a great time going to Hobby Lobby and eating at KFC!  Woohoo!  I am so thankful  for our lunchtimes together! 

    Vinylicious Wall Art

    Tomorrow, our new vinyl decor business, cleverly called Vinylicious Wall Art, will be setting up for our first craft fair!  We are super excited and have been prepping for the past week to get our inventory, booth displays, and products ready!  I will most certainly post pictures of our booth after tomorrow so that you can see it! 

    We have been keeping pretty busy with our new little business!  Our website just went live this past month, which is super exciting.  Feel free to check it out at www.vinyliciouswallart.com!  I have been working on getting more and more of our premade designs online for purchase, so check back frequently! 

    Thanks for all of  your support as we take our journey into operating our own business! 

    November 1, 2012

    30 Days of Thanksgiving

    Today starts the wonderful month of November.  Fall leaves, brisk weather, turkey.  Wow!  I can't believe that we are already entering another November!  This month is, of course, a great time to remember our many blessings in life.  I will be posting each day of November with a short blurb about something I am thankful for. 

    Today, I am so very thankful for good health.  I attended our annual Alzheimer's Association conference today and it made me realize how blessed we are to still have our memories intact, our bodies in fairly good working order, and all of our senses working properly!  Thank you God for blessing my family with good health. 

    October 28, 2012

    Lucas' Surgery

    Please pray for Lucas, as he will be going into surgery tomorrow morning to get his adenoids removed and to get ear tubes put in.  He has been struggling with ear infections; he's had five rounds of antibiotics in the past three months.  He has pain, a stuffy and runny nose, and is my little grumpy gills.  We have been battling this sickness for three months constantly and his pediatrician finally said he's had enough.  We visited with the ENT last week and she wanted to get him in quickly, since he had just finished a round of antibiotics and was as healthy as he has been in awhile.  Yay!  So here we are, looking at a 30 minute operation tomorrow.  Of course, as his mom, I am nervous and a bit anxious about my baby boy being operated on.  I know this is the right thing to do, though, as I don't want these infections to cause permanent damage to his hearing or balance. 

    I keep reminding myself, as Lysa TerKeurst would say: "if this is the worst thing that happens today, it's still a good day."  Although this is a bump in his health, we are so blessed for all that we have!  He is alive, without major defects, active, and the most smiley toddler I've ever met.  We are so thankful to God that we have the good health that we have.  So, if this is the worst illness that Lucas has today, it's still a super great day!  :-) 

    Please pray for a quick recovery for him!  Thanks friends! 

    God bless,
    Alicia

    October 27, 2012

    Women's Conference and Adoption

    Danielle, Angie, and I went to see Lysa TerKeurst LIVE in Pella, IA today!!  It was such a wonderful day!  Not only did I get to spend time with my bestie and new-found friend, but we were challenged by God's amazing words spoken through Lysa.  I have been leading these ladies through Lysa's book, Unglued, and it has been a challenging study for all of us.  I tend to show all four of the "unglued" tendencies, in my various relationships- exploding and blaming others, exploding and shaming oneself, stuffing and building barriers, and stuffing and collecting retaliation rocks.  Although not much that Lysa spoke about at today's conference was new information (because we have been going through the book already in the past five weeks), one story she told deeply touched me.

    Lysa told the story of her adopted son when he still lived in Libya.  Simply put, she shared how her son only had one meal each day, but was asked one day to stand up and say why he was thankful.  He simply was unable to think of anything to be thankful for, because of the conditions he lived in and the dangers he faced.  Instead of professing a thanksgiving, her son stood up and sang a praise song to God, in the midst of his terrible circumstances.  The next day, the orphanage leader asked another boy to stand up and say what he was thankful for and the young child also couldn't think of anything, so he followed Lysa's son's lead and also sang a praise song to God.  Lysa's son joined in.  This happened each day until all of the boys were all standing singing praises to God; on that day, it just so happened that a person from America was visiting the orphanage and found a way for those beautiful-sounding boys to come to America on a tour to raise money for the orphanage.  The boys did do that tour and Lysa and her husband went to one of their concerts; that's how they met the boys that later became their sons.  Now, Lysa's church and community have adopted dozens of boys from that orphanage, changing the future for them and their country.  All this occured because one young boy sang praise songs to God!  Amazing!! 

    Re-reading the story how I speak it doesn't come close to how powerful this story really is.  Lysa's words had a profound impact on me today, especially since I have felt for some time now God tugging at my heart to consider adoption.  You see, I have been praying about it and have even researched it online.  I bought a book about it (that book is on my reading list- see yesterday's post)... I have put a great deal of thought into adoption.  But I haven't acted on what I feel is God's quiet nudge.  Travis is open to adoption.  I am very open to adoption.  So, why haven't I taken the next step?   I make excuses.

    I feel inadequate; I don't feel like I'm capable.  We don't have enough money to afford it; adoption could cost us over $20,000.  Our house isn't nice enough; it will be inspected and we will fail and get denied.  I'm too busy; I don't have enough time to devote to another child.  The list goes on and on with all the reasons why I feel like we can't adopt a child. 

    Today, it hit me that none of those excuses matter to God.  If I come to God with obedience and a willingness to do as He desires, He will provide all those other things.  With His power, he can make wonderful things happen; I just have to be willing to obey Him.  Wow! 

    I'm sitting here on my couch bawling like a baby.  I'm scared and nervous, knowing in my heart what God is calling us to do.  But I'm happy and relieved that I have finally come to accept that God will move mountains if I just obey Him.  Please pray for us.  Pray that Travis and I listen, obey, and move.  Pray that God opens doors for our family.  Pray that the right little person come into our lives at the right time. 

    Here I am, willing and ready to listen to God's calling for my life...  Let's see what He has in store...

    October 26, 2012

    2012 Book List

     I have been doing fairly well with reading over the past couple of weeks!  I have devoted some time to reading almost every night before bed, right after I do my Bible Study for the day!  Yay!  I'm trying to get better about getting into God's Word and learning from others through their writing. 
    • Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey
    • The 5 Love Languages of Children
    • Nonprofit Leadership in a For-Profit World: Essential Insights From 15 Christian Executives... Need to finish a couple chapters
    • Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst... Finishing the last two chapters tonight after I finish this blog post, hopefully! 
    Here are some books that are on my "to-read" list and I aim to read them in the next few months:
    • Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst
    • What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa Terkeurst
    • The Adoption Decision by Christianson
    • Boundaries by Dr. Henry
    • A Woman’s Secret to a Balanced Life by Lysa TerKeurst
    • Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow
    • Am I Messing Up My Kids by Lysa Terkeurst
    • Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman
    • More Than a Hobby by David Green (Hobby Lobby Founder)
    • Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall
    • Good to Great by Jim Collins
    • Let. It. Go. By Karen Ehman
    • Point Man by Steve Farrar
    Anyways, I just hadn't posted an update about how my reading is coming in awhile and wanted to share with you my new book list!  I'm excited to grow and learn through these books! 

    October 17, 2012

    Lucas' Room Is Done!!

    We had a very productive weekend and it was the perfect way to start off a great week!  The rain put a damper on our Saturday, or we thought.  It rained all day long, but because of that rain, I was able to stay inside all day and work on Lucas' room.  I finished painting the tan walls and the closet all before 10 am, so decided I was motivated enough to tackle the red wall.  It dried quickly, so I finished the second coat right away.  Then, Travis and I decided a movie would be great while the room dried completely, so we spent a couple hours watching "Forrest Gump," one of our all-time favorite movies.  In the late afternoon, we decided we wanted to buckle down and get the room finished.  We dashed off, with Lucas in his jammies, to Menards to get the necessary supplies to lay the carpet.  Lucas was hungry by the time we arrived home, so we stuck him in his highchair and placed him so he could watch some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while we diligently worked.  At one point, I went to check on him because he was too quiet and this is what I found:

    After putting him in his crib for the night, we went back to work on the room and actually got the carpet completely laid before 10:00 pm!  We are carpet laying rockstars!  :)  Anyways, his room is done and we moved him in on Sunday afternoon!  We also accomplished the dreaded task of deep cleaning and re-organizing our bedroom and living room!  Yay for a productive weekend! 

    Now, we just need to get trim made and put up and the living room and Lucas' room will look brand new!

    Here are pictures of Lucas' new bedroom.  Of course, we have to add pictures and some vinyl art to the walls!  And this is the crib that he's using for now, until we decide he's ready for his big-boy bed!  Don't you love Lucas in his jammies in the background trying to peek into his hamper?!  Cutie pie! 



    October 8, 2012

    Busyness Almost Done?!

    This weekend was filled with lots of fun and excitement... and cold air!  :)  Aunt Bonnie is back from Nashville, it was Montana's football senior night, I had my Southeast Iowa Walk to End Alzheimer's for work, we wrapped up our 2012 race season, went to visit an old friend's church to worship, and had a wonderful cookout with our family.  Although it was the coldest weekend this fall, we didn't let the weather put a damper on our fun!  I sure am glad this weekend is over, though!  :)  Running from one event to the next can be draining and tiring, despite being things we love doing. 

    Now that my final Walk is over, my work schedule will begin to slow down some, which will be a relief for our family.  And we now have our Saturday evenings back, since race season has ended.  But the holiday time is quickly approaching and I pray for strength and much patience to get through another holiday season, with our many family functions and juggling of schedules.  Trying to stay positive, though!  :) 

    My 24th birthday is also quickly approaching.  This birthday isn't a big one or anything, so I'm not really too excited about it or anything.  I did decide what I want to do, though; I will be spending Friday, October 19th scrapbooking with a group of ladies at a scrapbook shop.  I'm super excited to spend some alone time with my scrapbook, getting Lucas' 1st Year Book done!  :) 

    Have a wonderful October, friends! 
    God bless,
    Alicia

    September 13, 2012

    Help Me Organize My Life!

    Lately, I have been working long hours and I am feeling extra stress.  Juggling a toddler, husband, friends, a 50 hour work week, church commitments, keeping up with the house, and participating in all my other activities... It's all starting to take a toll on me both physically and mentally.  I need rest.  But I also need to get organized.  I think I could handle all of my life roles lots better if I had organizational tools to keep me on the right track.  My time management tools are working quite effectively; I have two google calendars, one for work and one for personal.  Both calendars are synced up with my phone and I do a great job of putting all of my activities and commitments into my phone!  :)  So that's one part of my life that is very well managed and I don't know what I would do without great time management tools!

    A part of my life that isn't so well managed, however, is my home.  We have piles of clothes in the bathroom, in the dining room, by the bed, in the kitchen, in the fridge.. lol.  Just kidding about that last one.  But literally, our house is covered in clutter and junk and I'm getting fed up of coming home to a messy house!!  I'm not sure if it would work, but I feel like if I would just take the time to put the organizational tools in place, our home would run much more effectively and we would have no excuse to not keep it organized.  Right?! 

    But I need help... I don't have much time, extra energy, or money to put into this effort.  But I know that you all are very creative, so I will start putting up pictures of my home in the coming posts and what I would like for you to do is give me suggestions on how to better manage that area.  Bookshelf, bathroom, nursery closet, upstairs storage rooms, tiny bedroom closets, tops of dressers, kitchen table, etc.  Help me, please!!! 

    Stay posted...

    August 25, 2012

    Let's Go Racing

    Picture by Brittany Brunswig
    The smell of alcohol fuel, the fresh air, the powder of dirt you receive as the cars pass by, the bonds of friendship; tonight we spend another wonderful evening at Avcom Park Speedway.  Travis and I assist each night by flagging and scoring, respectively.  I thoroughly enjoy spending the evening at the track and we are so blessed to have these great men and women in our lives to laugh and have fun with.  Why, you ask, do you enjoy racing?  What's so great about a bunch of cars making left hand turns?!  So, let me explain why we love dirt track racing:

    - Drivers are in a constant battle not only to beat others, but to beat their personal best.  Drivers are constantly working to improve things on their car and improve their skill.  Again, back to my theory that you either progress or regress.. :)
    - The bond between the men in our club is fantastic.  At some tracks, of course, it's all about money, prestige, and beating everyone at all costs.  Not in our club, though.  The men truly get to know each other and are willing to help out their buddies.  It's all for good, competitive fun.
    - Racing is a hobby that can get the whole family together.  I can't wait until Lucas is old enough to get out in the garage to fix cars with Daddy.  I'm sure we will spend many evenings together engaging in racing, whether that's fixing cars or at the track cheering on our favorite drivers. 
    - Racing is a competitive sport which lasts past your high school and college years.  You can start racing at a young age, like many sports; but you can continue racing cars into your fifties and sixties, if you desire. 
    - It's such a thrill!  Our race cars come around the front stretch of our fifth-of-a-mile track and can be a matter of inches from each other, going 60-70 mph.  How exhilarating! 

    If you still don't believe me in that racing is the best sport around, get out there and see for yourself.  Go to a race; experience the sounds, the cars, and race day for yourself! 

    August 24, 2012

    Imperfect Progress

    I came across a statement last year that I feel in love with and took it to be part of my personal mission statement and belief about living a Christian life; we either progress or regress.  We never stay where we are.  Life is constantly moving.  We can, however, make a choice as to which directions we take.  We can choose to either move forward (progress) or move backwards (regress). 

    Recently, Lysa TerKeurst published the book Unglued:Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions and I fell in love with the idea of it right away.  We as women have such strong emotions.  We cry during commercials, yell at our husbands for the slightest of errors, get impatient with the teenage employee at our favorite fast food restaurant, and take comments too personally and blow the situation out of proportion. 

    In her book, Lysa discusses the idea of "imperfect progress," which is just that; making progress despite havin setbacks and slipping now and then.  As long as we are moving forward instead of backwards.  I LOVE this concept!  It doesn't matter how slow you move, but as long as you are moving in the right direction then you are progressing.  That's all we are asked; love Jesus and work at being just like him.  Make imperfect progress towards being Christ-like.  So challenging but so real.. 

    That's really what this blog is all about.  Through looking back at past posts, I am able to see progress in my life; financially, as a wife and mom, as a Christian woman.  I am trying to make imperfect progress in so many aspects of my life and this blog allows me to look back on my progression.  Thanks for joining me! 

    I would encourage you to pick up a copy of Unglued for yourself and take the imperfect progress challenge! 

    August 23, 2012

    Second Round of Antibiotics

    I took Lucas in for his one year checkup today, fully expecting shots and a healthy bill of approval from Dr. Larson.  Lucas woke up a bit grumpy this morning and his runny nose that he has had for a few weeks was oozing green.  Those symptoms, along with his coughing on the 30 minute ride to the Dr. office, made me think that something was up.  I didn't even have to mention it to Dr. Larson, though, before she noticed it and asked me how long he had been sick.  Come to find out, he has another round of double ear infection!  :(  I win the bad mom of the week award for not noticing that he is sick!!  He hasn't been all that fussy, though.  He's sleeping great and eating fine.. just the runny nose was all I had noticed.  Poor guy!  So, here we go again with another round of antibiotics.  Please pray that his body takes it better this time and that he is back to his normal crazy self soon.  I'm working from home this afternoon, due to the daycare's policy of having at least two doses of antibiotics before coming back.  I have lots on my to-do list for work, since we have our Walks right around the corner.  Please pray for my sanity in the coming weeks!  :)  To wrap this post up, I want to give a huge shout out to Grandma Sharon- "Happy birthday!!"  We love you Granny!  Have a wonderful day, all! 
    God bless,
    Alicia

    August 19, 2012

    Financial Peace

    As you know, Travis and I have been working hard to become debt free.  This past month, we paid off our Menards credit card!!  Yay!  It's a small step, but feels so good!!  We now only have 3 more debts to pay off- my vehicle loan and two student loans.  If we stick to our budget (which we have done amazingly well at lately) then my vehicle will be paid off in January and then we will tackle those blasting student loans.  Financial peace, here we come!! 

    Peace.. "Freedom from disturbance, quiet and tranquility" (Google Dictionary Definition).  Financial Peace.. No worries about making it to pay day.  Living up to our full potential due to not having financial restrictions.  I love this guy's definition of financial peace:

    "- n. a condition where one does not have to continuously worry about their ability to meet their financial obligations; they have financial peace
    - adj. a position where one is financially set; that couple has a financial peace mindset
    - n. a financial position that allows one to pursue doing exactly what they were made to do regardless of its income potential; because he has financial peace, he is able to pursue his dream of being a major league baseball player even though he never even played high school or college baseball"

    Amazing.  I can't wait until Travis and I are able to experience that kind of peace in our lives!  Please pray for our continued strength and determination in meeting our financial goals.  God bless,
    Alicia

    August 6, 2012

    Our Family

    Travis:
    Thorough
    Reliable
    Adventurous
    Veracious
    Intelligent
    Sarcastic

    Alicia:
    Approachable
    Lively
    Insightful
    Cheerful
    Inspirational
    Agreeable

    Lucas:
    Lovable
    Upbeat
    Courageous
    Active
    Sociable

    July 30, 2012

    Ten Reasons I Love My Job

    10. Alzheimer's disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and is the only cause of death among the top 10 in the U.S. that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.  I hate this stinkin' disease and am proud to raise funds and develop programs to assist in ending Alzheimer's. 
    9. I get to wear lots of purple and it's becoming one of my favorite colors.  ;)  Silly, but true! 
    8. I get to meet lots of new, fun people and travel across Iowa! 
    7. I have the opportunity to plan events, lead committees, and take our plans out to execution. 
    6. I get to meet tons of neat elderly people and help them through tough times.
    5. My co-workers care about each other and work well as a team.
    4. The variety of my everyday tasks rock- I never get bored!  :) 
    3. I have flexibility.  The company understands that we have families and things happen.  Just as long as I'm getting my work done, they allow flexibility in when I come in and leave. 
    2. My boss is the most consistent, respectful, tactful, and caring woman in the world.  I am proud to call her my supervisor and mentor!
    1. Did I mention that Alzheimer's disease stinks hardcore and we need to work hard to end it!?!

    July 21, 2012

    My Gratitude List (In No Particular Order...)

    Travis, Small Towns, Pinterest, Eye Sight, Dave Ramsey, Cell Phones, Lucas, Big Hugs, MomBooks, Soft Blankets, My House, Jesus Christ, My Boss, My Church, Danielle, Shoes, Dogs, Cars, The Sun, Lungs to Breathe, Coffee, Smiles, Ashley, Music, Rain, Air Conditioner, Toothbrush, Nail Clippers, Laughter, Famous Daves, Roads, Calculators, Community, Memories, Safety, Freedom, Scrapping, Wisdom, Warm Showers, Health, Deodorant, Encouragment, Spring Flowers, LOVE

    July 20, 2012

    Dear Lucas,

    To my precious baby boy; I hope you never forget how much your Mommy loves and cherishes you.  The day you were born was full of excitement and joy and an overwheming sense of love for you. Over the past year, I have seen you grow and develop into a curious and happy toddler.  I love your sense of adventure and pray that you hold onto this throughout your life.  Mommy wants you to learn about the world and see how other people live.  Yesterday, your daycare called me at work to say you were sick and someone needed to come get you.  I jumped right in the car and swooped you into my arms.  I will never forget the joy I felt as you snuggled into me in the waiting room and on the couch.  Turns out, you have double ear and a throat infection.  I'm sorry I didn't take you to see Dr. Larson sooner.  You must have a real high pain tolerance like  your Daddy, because I would have been more grumpy if it was me.  Nope, not you!  You're always smiling and silly, even this morning when Grandma Sharon came through the door to watch you- you brought out that big smile.  So precious!  Lucas, I just want to remind you how passionately I love you.  Never forget it!  I know in the future you will push my buttons, cause many sleepless nights and more drama than I ever could imagine, and bring tears to my eyes because of hurt words; But there is nothing you can ever do that will cause me to stop loving you.  As I grow old and possibly start to forget you, remember that you will always be my precious baby.  Forgive me when I fail you as a parent, because I'm sure there will be moments when I'm inconsistent, crabby, or impatient.  I will try my hardest to be the best example possible for you.  I love you dear Lucas. 
    Love always,
    Mommy

    July 16, 2012

    Travel

    My second week on the job requires me to attend a two-day training in Des Moines for new staff orientation.  Today, I woke up around 5:30 to get ready, drop Lucas off with Grandma Sharon, and drive to Des Moines.  I make it here without any problems and even 10 minutes early.  I had a wonderful time learning more about my new position.  I am so excited by the variety and intensity of my tasks!  This week, my boss is taking paid-time-off and therefore when I get back to the office, I will finish the week out by myself.  My goal for this week is to recruit at least 5 Walk teams!  I have my list made of team captains to call and now I just have to put aside time to call them.  I will dive in head first on Wednesday morning!

    Tomorrow, I will finish up orientation here in Des Moines and go home to see my guys... I sure am missing them tonight!!  This is really the first time I have been away from Lucas for more than 24 hours.  I know he is being well taken care of though.. Mom and Grandma took him to the circus after daycare.  I bet he had a blast!  :)  And his Daddy will get him to bed and up for his day tomorrow.  It sure will be nice to give him big hugs tomorrow night though! 

    I am also expecting a big phone call tomorrow at 1:00!  Dave Ramsey will be calling me to interview me on our experience with Financial Peace University!  Yay!  I'm not sure if it will be live or recorded to air later, but I am super excited to have the opportunity to be an example for other young people! 

    Anyways, I have a big day tomorrow and I'm ready for bed (yes.. at 9:00).  Have a wonderful week friends!  God bless,
    Alicia

    July 13, 2012

    A Week to Remember

    Today wraps up my first week as a Program & Events Coordinator for the Alzheimer's Association.  It was a wonderful week, to say the least.  I have completed a great deal of training on what Alzheimer's Disease is, what research is currently being completed in order to add to our knowledge of this disease, and how the Alzheimer's Association makes a difference in lives of millions of caregivers and person's with dementia around the world!  I won't go into details right now, but if you are interested in learning more visit our website

    I am very blessed to have found this position!  My boss is fabulous; she is a Christian and we have a deep connection based on this alone.  We openly talk about our churches, faith, and prayer lives.  We also discovered that we have both completed Financial Peace University, which brings us closer together also.  She is a powerful and dynamic woman of God and I am super excited to have her as an example and mentor! 


    With this new position also came the day I have been dreading since giving birth to Lucas... the start of daycare. After careful planning and a great deal of prayer, I dropped Lucas off on Monday and not one tear was shed.  That is, until about two hours into the day when he realized that his Mama was missing.  The teacher said that he was quickly distracted, though, so I didn't worry too much.  While dropping him off on day two (Tuesday), he immediately knew what was happening as soon as I handed him across the half-door to his aid.  Mommy shed a few tears on her way to work that day!  Seeing him like that absolutely broke my heart.  On Tuesday when I picked him up, and the next day also, I noticed that he was in the baby swing hanging from the ceiling.  My son is 11 1/2 months, mind you.  I was sort of bothered by this and became even more heated when the aid told me that he had a good day and only threw two tantrums.  I questioned how often he threw tantrums and she said that he had been very unhappy throughout the whole week. Now, if you know my child he is the happiest baby you will ever meet.  He only gets unhappy for a very few moments- when he is tired, when he is hungry, when he is bored, or when Daddy tells him no.  Lucas simply never throws fits!  And this is not just me being a biased mom; he truly is a well mannered baby and anyone that knows him would attest to that.  Wednesday night, after venting to my Mom, Travis, Danielle, and Ashley about the situation, I decided that I needed to speak to his teacher about this in order to get it taken care of.  Well, Sarah was not in yet, as she comes in most days right at 8:00am, but the Director of the whole daycare was back from her vacation and was willing to talk.  She could tell immediately that I was upset.  I spoke sternly to her about my issues with his activity, naps, food, and the attitude of one of her staff members.  She agreed with many of my points, admitted that she had been gone and would talk to his teacher about the issues, and would get to the bottom of it.  She also assured me that in August, he would be able to start in the 1-2 year old room, where they have more schedule in their day.  Well to make a long story short, when I picked Lucas up on Thursday evening, I peeked in the window and he was on the floor playing and laughing with his teacher and peers!  :) Yay!  I hate to be 'that Mom,' but standing up and being your child's advocate is why God called us to be Moms in the first place!  I am glad that his daycare is so willing to listen to parents' concerns and check into issues! 

    To wrap up our week, Travis received a call from a local body shop known for their good work that he had applied at and had an interview with last month.  They loved his honest cover letter so much that they told him on the spot that they wanted to get him in there.  On Thursday night, he had a second interview and they offered him $3 more per hour and full benefits to be their new body technician.  What makes this position even better is that the shop is right across the street from my new job!!  :)  Woohoo!  God really knows what he's doing, huh?! 

    Our week has definitely been one to remember!  Thank you all for your prayers through this transition time.  We are grateful for such wonderful family and friends! 
    God bless,
    Alicia

    July 7, 2012

    Past, Present, Future

    Hebrews 13:8 reminds us that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."  Our lives are constantly changing and evolving; we graduate, get married, have children, lose loved ones, change jobs.  Having the ability to deal with change effectively is vital in this fast-paced, evolving world.  In my own life, I can reflect back on how I have changed over the years- my faith has deepened, my political beliefs have taken shape, my goals and vision for my life have been set, I became a wife and then mom and my whole outlook on priorities changed, deeper friendships have been formed, and I developed a passion for lifelong learning. All of these changes have been beneficial and have allowed me to become a better capital "C" Christian woman.  Whether the changes were positive or negative at the time, I developed and grew through these experiences.  However, sometimes changes just simply stink; churches change their beliefs, loved ones die and leave family to make tough choices, and friends slip away.

    I don't know about you, but it brings me comfort to know that our Best Friend, Savior, and Lord is constant.  We don't have to worry about what Christ expects from us.  The Bible says that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  He never changes!  Wow!  When I ponder this thought deeply, it takes my breath away... Think about it.  Your Creator, the One who formed you in your mother's womb, who created you to develop into more and more cells until eventually you had the human genetics you presently possess; that God never changes! 

    You ask, why does it matter that God never changes.  Why does that matter- so what?  God does not compromise or change His values.  He does not have mood swings.  God's plan is unchangable, it existed at the very beginning of creation and still exists today.  And you and me are part of that plan!  Ephesians 2:10 says "We are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago."  He has a plan for each of our lives.  We have nothing to worry about because our lives are in His hands and He knows us better than we know ourselves.  While things may change here on earth and we may worry about the future, we must cling to Christ and have faith that everything will work out to the glory of Him!  He will guide us in our decision making, as long as we will listen to His call. 

    As I move into my new position on Monday, I ask for God's guidance for both my family and FOCC.  I trust that, because this path is what I feel God had planned, He will continue to bless us for our faithfulness.  I look forward to the future with excitement and peace, as I know that "Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."  Thank you Jesus! 
    God bless,
    Alicia

    June 20, 2012

    Faithful in Prayer

    "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."  (Romans 12:10-12)

    In this verse in Romans, it speaks about our commitment to one another and how in that commitment we need to stay devoted to prayer.  Pray for one another.  Prayer is so powerful.  In our leadership roles for FOCC, Danielle and I remained very faithful in our prayer- that God would give us the right board members, that our 501c3 would get approved, that we would receive monthly sponsors and find the right location.  Christ has blessed this organization because of our commitment to serving one another through prayer.  We have also remained loyal to each other by praying for the others' family, struggles and sins, careers, and patience.  You've heard the saying "A family that prays together stays together," well I firmly believe this holds true for friendships also.  "The friends that pray together stay together."  I am thankful that I have a friend who prays for me, encourages me, listens to me vent, and gently smacks me in the face when I need it. 

    In the coming weeks, I will be super busy putting the final touches on my full-time employment at FOCC in order to jump on board with another fabulous organization- the Alzheimer's Association.  Preparing paperwork and training my team members on day-to-day functions will be stressful and will keep me busy, but I know that my best friend is there in the background cheering me on and more importantly praying for my strength, patience, and spiritual walk.  I am so glad that I have such an amazing accountability partner, and although we have not spent much time together this week, I deep-down still feel her presence as I go through my day. Thank you for praying for me, Danielle.  Know that I am praying for you too.  I love you and thanks for being my best friend! <3
    God bless,
    Alicia

    June 16, 2012

    New Beginnings?!

    A couple of days ago, I posted about how I believed God was telling me to stay put in my career with my current organization, as we had just received a grant and my salary was completely funded for this year.  On Friday, I had an interview with the Alzheimer's Association.  I had applied for this position over a month ago and had a phone interview a little over three weeks ago.  Yesterday, I had my second (and later found out my last) interview.  This position is the Program and Event Specialist and is responsible for an eleven county area in Iowa, developing new programs and strengthening the current ones and raising funds in order to have a world with no Alzheimer's disease!  I went into this interview with a stubborn heart- I was not taking this position, I would just go to brush up on my interviewing skills.  After meeting with the woman who would be my future boss and the Executive Director of the Greater Iowa chapter, I found that we had many similarities.  Not only did we speak about typical interview topics- experience, volunteerism, skills, etc., but I felt comfortable to talk about deeper and more significant topics- my faith, Dave Ramsey, adoption, Lucas, and even her son's wedding!  Can you believe that?!  We spoke of these things in an interview!  The even greater part of this story is that about two hours later I received a phone call saying that they would like to offer me to position.  Wow.  Okay.

    So, I have until Monday to determine which direction I should go.  Me, in my very simplisticness (not a word, I don't care..) decided early on that I only had two options.  1) Stay where I am at in my current organization and pass up this opportunity or 2) Quit working at FOCC and start this new path with a stable organization.  However, this is a much larger and complex decision.  You see, if I leave FOCC I fear that it will suffer.  I have built up such a strong following for the organization because of my optimistic, energetic spirit.  I have a way of getting people on board with things I'm passionate about.  I know, as does Travis, my board of directors, and my volunteers, that FOCC will not thrive without my presence.  Yes, it probably will not die.  But it will not thrive and continue to grow without its' spirited leader.  This may be an organizational issue because one person should not make the organization.  But it's true still.  The last thing I want is for FOCC to suffer because of my decision to leave.

    I want to take this position with the Alzheimer's Association unlike I have ever wanted to take any other job.  You see, I have been deeply touched by individuals with this disease, from my residents at Oaklane Nursing Home in my high school years, Travis' grandma who has the disease, and honestly from the fear of developing the disease myself.  I believe firmly in the Association's mission of a world without Alzheimer's disease!  I would love the opportunity to fundraise for and represent an organization with as great of a culture, history, and reputation as theirs.  I want to take this position because I could see myself working for them in 10 years and I love senior citizens!  And pros of this position are full benefits (which I currently do not have) and salary.  We would be breaking even with what we bring home now, after taking into consideration daycare and healthcare expenses, but with good potential of quick increases in pay and benefits.

    So, I want to take this position and I would passionately love my job.  It would require sacrifices.. I would no longer take Lucas to work with me (but to be honest, it's time for him to go to daycare anyway), I would no longer have the flexible schedule that FOCC provides, and it would be a complete change of pace for me (changes are always hard).  I would be challenged in this position like never before, as I would have a huge territory, lots of travel, and a big fundraising goal to meet.

    So, you say, what are you going to do?  As I said before, I thought this was either a black or white choice- I thought I had to either choose option 1 or option 2.  Travis challenged me in this way of thinking.  What if I could take this new position, while still staying on as the Executive Director of FOCC?  At first I thought he was absolutely nuts!  Really hunny?!  Work 40+ hours per week then go to a second office job?  When would I have time to eat?  :)  After calming me down, he explained what he meant... If I take this new position, I will not just leave FOCC.  I will continue to be my team's consultant; my new position will allow me to have my cell phone and email on all day and I will have the opportunity to assist them and direct them in their problems, events, and happenings while at my new job.  I research grants constantly as it is and this will not diminish if I take this new position; I will continue to research and write grant applications in my off hours from my new position in order to sustain FOCC for many years to come.  I would even still have time to have a scheduled team member (staff) meeting each week.  Between all of these activities (on top of assisting with fundraising and special events) I would probably still devote around 12 hours per week working on FOCC related tasks.  Why not keep the title of Executive Director, to maintain our image in our community (we have to think about how my decision to leave will effect our public relations), to not make my team nervous about having no leader, and to benefit my family by providing extra income?!

    After a full two days of prayer and discussion with Travis, we have decided to accept the new position on Monday morning.  FOCC has our monthly board meeting on Wednesday and I will give them my proposal at that time.  Please pray for this situation.  I feel strongly that God is present in this decision and He will continue to bless both these organizations and my family.  I am trying hard to allow Him to lead me, and not remain in my comfort zone any longer.

    I know this was a crazy long post.  Thank you for listening.  God bless,
    Alicia

    June 13, 2012

    Orders Out My Ears...

    Travis and I recently bought the equipment and materials to start selling vinyl wall art.  We have done a couple for friends and family and they turned out really nicely, so we took our product to Facebook.  Today, I have been back and forth talking with customers all day!  This 'business' is really beginning to take off!  We have 5 orders to complete tonight and deliver by Friday and we have quite a few other potential customers interested in special orders!  This is way exciting!  Our plan from the start was to keep our prices low so customers would keep coming back.  Last week, we started our first $5 Deal, where we have a special wall art design for just $5 plus tax and it comes in only one size and they can order in two colors.  It has been a huge hit!  And it's keeping me super busy!  Yay for starting a small business!  Please pray for us as we go forward with this.  God bless,
    Alicia

    June 12, 2012

    2012 Goals: Update

    Back in January, I posted my 2012 goals which included:
    1. Meet with God. Pray more. Study more.
    2. Do Dave Ramsey's baby steps.
    3. Make 'dating' Travis and priority.
    4. Snuggle often with Lucas.
    5. Take more pictures of Lucas and I.
    6. Be a great friend to Danielle.
    7. Make changes, not excuses.
    8. Have fun. Smile lots. <3
    It has been five months since posting these goals and I am a firm believer in holding yourself accountable and assessing your progress.  Therefore, that is exactly what I am going to do today.  I have been very focused on a few very specific things over the past few months- spending each morning in Bible study and prayer, budgeting more effectively and paying off our debt, and reading books in order to learn and grow.  I would say this means I am doing a great job with goal #1 and #2!  Yay!  As for goal #3, I would say that I could be doing a better job of 'dating' my hubby.  However, I have made a very conscious effort to speak his love languages, which are physical touch and acts of service.  I hate doing chores around the house, but have worked hard to keep a somewhat clean house in order for Travis to come home to peace and I have done a great job of touching him in public which he loves (what man doesn't love that?!).  I have done a wonderful job with #4.  I am cherishing every minute of Lucas' childhood and love being able to have him at work with me so I don't miss even a single new discovery of his!  #5 was bound for failure from the start.  Travis' picture-taking skills don't live up to my expectations and it's hard to remember to take pictures with you in them.  I have recruited a close friend of mine to be our designated 'photographer' at Lucas' first birthday party, however, and plan to make her aware that we want many pictures with me in them also!  :)  I have fallen off of the horse with #6.  With my focus on these other things I have spoke about, it's hard to have enough time in the week to spend even a little down time with my bestie.  We talk each Sunday in church and take our kids to storytime at the library each Tuesday together, but we haven't actually spent time deeply talking about our lives in over two weeks!  Crazy!  I miss our time spent over coffee, venting, and speaking the truth to each other!  I need to fix this.  I love my goal #7!  Make changes, not excuses.  So profound and such a smack in the face!  I am a natural complainer and I tend to blame problems on my circumstances.  It has been challenging to alter this, but I knew in order to be a good person, I needed to step up and realize that I excuses just don't work and aren't the answer.  I need to make changes when I mess up and I will continue to improve in this area of my life.  Finally, I have definitely been accomplishing my goal #8!  Living with Travis, it's hard not to laugh and have a good time!  :)

    So there it is... My 2012 goal assessment.  I pray that I can stay focused and continue to make strides in these 8 areas of my life.  God bless,
    Alicia

    June 11, 2012

    My Technology Hiatus

    For the past two weeks, I have been actively trying to stay away from time wasters in order to accomplish goals and focus on specific tasks.  Since starting Financial Peace University in January, Travis and I have been able to pay off over $18,000 and save almost $1000 in an emergency fund!  We are 'gazelle intense' as Dave Ramsey would say, meaning we are completely focused on becoming debt free in order to live like no one else later in our lives.  So, over the past couple of weeks, I have been actively crunching numbers and preparing for paying off our next smallest debt. 

    I have also been enjoying my time away from too much technology by putting my nose in some books.  I finally finished Dave Ramsey's Entreleadership book.  Next week, our organization will be adding our first two team members besides myself.  This is an exciting step for our nonprofit organization, as we will be able to accomplish such great things with these two ladies on board!  By adding these ladies and thinking about how I am responsible for shaping our organizational culture and motivation, I have been focusing a great deal of attention on learning how to be the best leader I can be. I developed a two-day orientation program for us where we will set both personal and organizational goals, talk about what it means to be an entreleader, and will even complete the DISC personality analysis in order to better understand each other.  I will continue to read and to pray about becoming the best Christian leader that I can be, but I feel as ready as I have ever been.  Please pray for me and my team. 

    I also had a smack in the face by God over these past few weeks.  Along with my best friend, I have been walking with Good Morning Girls.com through their Proverbs 31 Book Club.  I have been in prayer and devotional each morning like never before in my life.  After each lesson, I am encouraged to be a better wife, mother, friend, and person.  In my prayer time, I have been having passionate conversations with God about what direction He wants me to go. You see, in my nonprofit field we do not make the most significant salary and Travis and I have absolutely no benefits other than what we qualify for through Medicaid.  I have been thinking for months that I would be leaving my current position in order to pursue something with better pay and benefits.  Well, through my prayer time and a call from a grant foundation about accepting our $30,000 grant proposal, God really smacked me in the face and I am sure of where He is calling me.  He wants me to stay put and trust Him.  This is hard for me, as the budget says otherwise.  However, I know that I must remain faithful to Him and He will bless our family.  Please pray for my strength. 

    Anyways, that is what I have been doing during this technology hiatus. Thank you for remaining faithful followers of my blog and I will make a better effort to direct some attention to my blog in the coming weeks.  God bless,
    Alicia

    June 9, 2012

    Books I've Read in 2012

    1) Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey
    2) Nonprofit Leadership in a For-Profit World: Essential Insights From 15 Christian Executives

    This list will continue to grow throughout the coming months, as I am challenging myself to read at least one book per month that will challenge me to grow.

    April 12, 2012

    In 20 Years..

    These are my hopes, dreams, desires, and prayers for our lives 20 years from now...

    Lucas will be in college and will be a dedicated Christian man who treats women well.  Hopefully we would have adopted a daughter and raised her to know that we and her Heavenly Father love her dearly.  Travis and I will be 43 and living a healthy life.  Travis will be running his own auto body shop and I will be working in a position that serves our community.  Our beautiful puppy Daisy will have passed and although we will always love our first family dog, we will probably have another retriever.  We will be living in the country in our dream home that we built, with a racetrack in the big back yard.  We will be completely debt free and on our way to being millionaires when we retire, and giving to individuals who are less fortunate will be our normal. 

    April 9, 2012

    Easter Fun

    We had three Easter celebrations this weekend and boy did we sleep well last night!  On Saturday, we spent the day with Travis' Moms' family at his Grandma's house.  We started the day by eating a quick lunch and attending the community egg hunt in town.  His cousin has four kids, so after the community egg hunt, we colored eggs and opened baskets.  Lucas stayed the night at his GT's (Grandma Treasa, but she doesn't like the 'G' word) house, while Travis and I froze at the first dirt race of the year! 












    On Sunday, we woke up early for Sunrise service, had a potluck with our church family, then attended regular worship.  It was a fabulous and challenging sermon!  Then we went to Travis' Dads' side of the family.  We enjoyed looking at old pictures, searching for eggs, and ate WAY too much yummy food. 








    To end our wonderful weekend, we had my family over on Sunday evening.  We grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, opened Easter baskets, and played cards. 






    All in all, it was a fantastic Easter weekend.  We are so blessed to have such a wonderful family! 

    April 2, 2012

    Another Baby?!

    A couple people have said congrats to me in passer-by conversation for being pregnant again.  That's a surprise to even me!  :)  We are most certainly not pregnant again.  But these rumors have sparked conversation between Travis and I about when and if we want another baby. 

    Right now, we are very focused on our Dave Ramsey debt free lifestyle that it would not be financially beneficial to bring another child into our family.  In a few years when we're debt free, it won't be a financial burden to support another family member.  Having two in diapers wouldn't be a problem if we were debt free.  We are working diligently to meet our financial goals and then can consider having another baby.  I have been told that if you wait until you have enough money to have kids then you will never have them.  Although I appreciate this statement, it shows maturity in having diligence in becoming debt free and patience enough to wait until we can stand on our own two feet. 

    Lucas is our pride and joy.  We never thought we could love something or someone so much.  We enjoy being able to give him our undivided attention and spend his early childhood focusing just on him in order for him to learn all the lessons he needs to learn.  With another child in the house, we would not have the opportunity to focus as much undivided attention when he needs it the most.  Time is precious in our household, as both Travis and I work outside the home and often come home exhausted as it is.  I would feel like I am not giving Lucas all of me by having another baby. 

    Along with that time issue, sleep deprivation is a fear.  I am constantly tired as it is.  As I think back to Lucas' first few months, I know that I am certainly not ready for the lack of sleep that a baby brings.  Lucas just now, at 8 months, is sleeping through the night.  I don't think I could handle another round of sleep deprivation. 

    Throughout my early pregnancy, I slept fairly well and kind of enjoyed carrying a child.  The 'new' excitement kept me motivated and brought me through those first few months.  In the later part of my pregnancy, though, I was absolutely miserable.  And everyone around me knew about how miserable and uncomfortable I was.  You see, I'm a short woman and it was a very hot summer.  Lucas spent his last two months inside of me practicing kicking footballs.  I will be the first to say that I was not a nice pregnant lady and I was not the easiest person to be around. I'm not sure that I want to subject my family or myself to this again.  Adoption sounds like a great plan!  :)

    Finally, there's what Lucas' Aunt Tana calls 'second child syndrome.'  Montana is Travis' little sister and is the second child.  She says that for the first child, you devote so much energy and time toward getting ready for them, completing the baby book, taking pictures, journaling your pregnancy, and when they arrive it's so special and miraculous.  Then for the second child it's like "been there done that" and you tend to not do the same special things.  Although I think this is a bit silly, at the same time, I can see how this could happen.  I have documented everything of Lucas' from his first word to first bath to first time he sat in snow.  Would I would have the same time and energy to devote to a second child right now?  I don't think so.  I'm so excited to teach Lucas everything and show him the world that I feel like having another baby would not benefit him or the baby. 

    By waiting for a few years, Lucas will be old enough to understand what's happening rather than feeling like he's being replaced.  We will be able to teach him how to be gentle and take care of the baby.  He will independent enough to help with getting ready in the morning, feeding time, and will know how to follow a routine. 

    And so, obviously, we will try to wait to have a second child.  And this new baby may not even be ours biologically, but through adoption.  We will see what God has planned for our family!  :) 

    Thanks for stopping by!  Have a blessed week!

    April 1, 2012

    Spring Cleaning & Organizing

    I have committed for the month of April to do some deep cleaning and organizing.  To make it more manageable, I have created a Spring cleaning and organizing list by each day of the month.  For the next 30 days, I will focus on one messy or dirty spot in our house to get organized and cleaned.  I've told Travis to keep me accountable to this list, as it is important for my sanity to get our lives organized!  Here is my list:
    1. File Safe (Completed today!!)
    2. Bathtub/Toilet
    3. Bookcase
    4. Top of Dressers/Nightstands
    5. Scrapbook Stuff
    6. Baby Clothes In Totes
    7. Mirrors
    8. Kitchen Counters/Table Tops
    9. Bathroom Sink
    10. Microwave
    11. Bedding/Blankets
    12. The Car
    13. Windows
    14. Floors
    15. Fridge
    16. Pantry
    17. Upstairs Yardsale Stuff
    18. Desk/File Cabinet
    19. Dust Everything
    20. Kitchen-Above Cabinets
    21. Stove/Range
    22. Under Kitchen Sink
    23. Upstairs Boxes
    24. Back Entryway
    25. Upstairs Kitchen Stuff
    26. Make Mail Station
    27. Kitchen Cupboards & Drawers
    28. Movies Upstairs
    29. Diaper Bag/Purses
    30. Laundry/Make Up Day for Any Days Missed!
    I'm really motivated to get organized, as I feel our lives will be less stressful!  Please pray for my motivation to stay up as I go through this process.  I will try to take before and after pictures as I complete projects!  

    March 22, 2012

    Kitchen Utensil Sensory Box

    I have been researching early childhood developmental activities as it is my mission as a parent to teach Lucas well in the home before he gets to school.  With a little help from friends at pinterest.com, I created a hands-on-parenting workbook, full of lessons and ideas that I want to do with Lucas before he goes to school.  One of the many things that I feel will stimulate him and peak his curiosity is sensory bins. 

    Due to him only being 7 months old, I don't feel he is quite ready for regular sensory bins due to chocking hazards.  Today I gave him a kitchen utensil sensory box, filled with tupperware, spoons, bowls, and measuring cups.  He really loved the new textures and spent a good hour with his newly found treasures.  He's teething right now, so really enjoyed chewing on the rubber spatula, as you can see from the picture.  More sensory boxes will be in his future! 

    March 16, 2012

    Spring Arrives Early

    Spring arrived early this year!!  It's only mid-March and the temperature has regularly been in the 80's.  Lucas got the opportunity to spend lots of time outside recently.  These pictures document his first time sitting on grass.  He loved grabbing strands of the green grass and trying to eat it, while Mommy kept saying no!  :) 


    March 9, 2012

    Who Is That Baby In the Mirror?

    Lucas and I were bored today so we decided to pull out a new object to explore- the mirror.  He loves looking at himself in mirrors as we pass by them, but rarely does he get the opportunity to look very long.  So today I gave him a long look.  I wish these pictures were better quality, but they still show his excitement and curiosity as he looked at and talked to the other baby!


    February 20, 2012

    Life

    I am so sorry that I haven't blogged lately!  I have quite a bit going on in my personal life and I haven't had the time or patience to sit down in front of my computer and blog.  I will start back up slowly. 

    Currently...
    1. Listening... to Klove online!  It's such encouraging music and conversations.  Makes my day so much better!
    2. Wearing.. Sweatshirt, jeans, old shoes, and Reflections Lia Sophia Necklace as a headband.  I didn't get much sleep last night and just threw on an easy outfit because I was running late to work!
    3. Eating.. Aldi brand Cheddar Chex Mix.  Yummy!
    4. Feeling...Tired.  Lucas is teething and woke up 3 times last night in tears.  Poor guy!  But Mommy and Daddy didn't get much sleep.
    5. Weather.. Sunny and unseasonably nice.  It's like it's Spring!  I'm amazed how nice the weather has been.  I was kind of looking forward to taking pictures of Lucas in the snow..
    6. Needing... An afternoon nap and a stress-reducing scrapbooking day. 
    7. Dreams... Being debt free!  We are now $10,000 less in debt after this weekend!  We sold our 3rd car and paid off some debt with our tax return!  Woohoo!!

    February 1, 2012

    Worst Parent of the Day Award

    Wow!  What a ridiculous day to say the least!  Let's start from the beginning... I have been sick for a little over a month now with sinus and cold issues.  I'm always too stubborn to go to the doctor right away, in hopes that the sickness will go away on its own.  Yesterday, I decided to give in and go get checked out since it has only gotten worse.  Come to find out, I have a double ear infection and a sinus infection. He put me on antibiotics, which always mess up my body.  They make me extra tired and upset my stomach greatly. 

    That's where today starts.  I could not force myself to get out of bed this morning.. I am SO sleepy and feel like I didn't sleep at all.  And my ears hurt, yuck!  :(  When I finally decided to look at the clock, it was 8:30!  I had to be to work at 8:00- I must have turned my alarm off instead of hitting snooze.  No big deal though.. I didn't have scheduled clients or volunteers this morning.  I get up, pack Lucas' diaper bag, put chicken for supper tonight in the crockpot, get Lucas and I dressed, and head to work. 

    Lucas started grumpy around 9:45, so I go to make a bottle.  That's when my day takes a plunge for the worse!  I realized that I had not packed a bottle!  :)  LOL!  I just laugh.  I then pack Lucas up and drive back home, which is luckily only 10 miles.  It actually turned out well because I got to check the chicken and see if my W2 was in our mailbox. 

    I just keep smiling and remind myself that life could be FAR worse than this.  These are just the small struggles.  As long as I continue to have a positive attitude, I know that I can handle anything that I am faced with.  God is on my side and will see me through rough mornings!  :)  Have a great day friends!