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Monday, April 27, 2015

Moody Monday

I'm just jumping in with a quick update to keep things rolling here on the ole' blog.  It's been a doozy of a week!  As is usual for our spring, we are deeply entrenched in the soccer season.  These last two weeks are extra busy as we are making up for games rescheduled due to bad weather early in the season.  It's fun for me, but I don't know how Mr. Wonderful balances all the responsibility!

Stepdaughter #1 has made her college selection and will be heading to Furman University in the fall.  It's where her dad, mother, grandparents, aunts and uncles attended before and now she will be the first in this generation.  I'm so thrilled that the decision has been made.  As we attend all the senior ceremonies, I well-remember what it felt like to be on the cusp of adulthood with so much possibility before her.  I'm excited for her, indeed!

My firstborn is winding up his elementary school years and he's so excited about going to middle school.  I was recently reminded of the academic trouble we had early on and I'm so grateful and proud of the way he has excelled. He's on a unique team that has been invited to the Destination Imagination global competition AND he's heading out to Washington DC with classmates soon.  I'm so proud of him, my heart may explode!

My littlest guy has been battling a surprise infection for the past week.  An aggressive bacteria showed up in a wound on his face and he has missed school, activities, and has spent too much time at the doctor in the past week.  Poor little guy.  This mama hates seeing her baby's face marred, but I'm so hopeful that it seems to be on the mend.

My in-laws are arriving for a visit this week.  We have soccer games, gymnastics, school events and more.  I've still been purging every day this month and I'll do an update on that soon.  This life is full and crazy, but I love it!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Six Simple Steps to keep Smiles on the Children in Your Wedding

I was a single mama who had the amazing blessing of marrying my own Mr. Wonderful almost two years ago.  Naturally, our children were included in the wedding - the youngest two were the flower girl and ring bearer.  We also had quite a few child guests.  Here are few things I found helpful.

1) Play Dress Up with the actual wedding garments.  Little children aren't always used to wearing such fine clothing and may feel awkward.  Allowing them to wear the whole ensemble a couple of times in advance sets the stage for them to feel good and to anticipate the day.  On this same note, select garments appropriate for children - my boys loved wearing their black Chuck Taylors! 

2) Take a few formal photos during the dress-up time.  Children aren't patient for wedding photography and some of my favorite individual photos are from a week or so prior to the wedding when the kiddos were trying on their attire.  We were all more relaxed and the focus was on them rather than the bride and groom.  This will let their sweet personalities really shine!

3) Give yourself the gift of a "Children's Assistant" so that you are not feeling responsible for them on your big day.  This can be the child's parent or another family member/sibling. Let this person be in charge of the children's wardrobe, floral embellishments and wedding accessories (baskets, pillows, petals, all the works!).  The same person should be responsible for the children during photo time and be their attendant if they are included at your reception.  Speaking of photos, list all the scenes that include children and have your photographer get those done first.  This avoids wardrobe malfunctions and lets them relax before the whole thing wears them out too much.

4) Remember they are children.  This day will be exciting for them, but for reasons different than the adults.  They get to dress up!  There is unique lighting and food!  The adults are all in party-mode!  But things can feel long, boring or they have to bee too still and quiet.  Provide a space for them to relax and hang out (maybe even offer video games behind the scenes?).  Consider a children's table with unique games, coloring, bubbles, etc.  This will depend on the style of your day and venue, but if you are inviting children, it's a great memory-making opportunity for them.

5) Ask your photographer to capture their perspective.  A wedding looks and feels different when you're only waist-high and that is a fun perspective to capture.  Floors are suitable seating, candles fun for experiments and all the flowers and lighting transforms any space.  Many young children don't know all the traditions and explaining the meaning or involving them draws them into the ceremony and helps them feel special and included.

6) Let them off the hook.  It may look great in a photo, but practically speaking it isn't wise to require young children to remain still on a platform or stage throughout the ceremony.  Give them a special spot up front with someone assigned just to them to help corral the energy.  This can be the "Children's Assistant" and will be your go-to person for helping with wardrobe, monitoring their needs for snacks, playtime, naps, etc.  Choose a time during a reading, prayer or other transition for them to leave the stage and get settled.  Suggest extra cake or another 'treat' for excellent behavior to motivate them to be still and not be distracting.

Children add a multi-generational dimension to any wedding ceremony and I'm a huge fan of including them.  Work with their charming childishness instead of trying to change that will provide for the best experience for all of you!  

Yes, the shirts were untucked and unbuttoned, the flower girl
was no longer acting very lady-like, but the love and
connection are captured. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Celebrate Friendship, Mothers or Stock Up!

Faith Hope and Love Collection- now in Clearance!
And starting Tuesday, take and extra 40% off of all clearance items. Use code "40CLEAR"
40% off Clearance with code 40CLEAR Best Friends BOGO Sale
Like I said, this is the time to stock up!

(affiliate links are used, thank you!)

Friday, April 3, 2015

"Do You Really Believe That?"

I'm lucky to work for a great little company and our office is closed for Good Friday.  I'm grateful for the time to slow down and to prepare my heart for Easter.  It's privilege for me.  Recently, our company hired a man of another ethnicity and who has recently immigrated to the United States.  As I was explaining to him that this Friday was a company holiday, he asked, "What is Good Friday?"

He had heard of Jesus, and so I explained in a narrative style the cross and the resurrection.  His response to me was, "Do you really believe that?"  I said, yes I do.  I wasn't really sure how to wrap up the conversation, so I invited him to our church's service and promised him lunch is he wanted to come.  I felt awkward at this point and tried to think of a way to wrap up the conversation while leaving the door open for further discussion if it happened naturally.  "Well, I am a pagan who will celebrate the Christian holiday in order to get a day off work," he proudly stated.

It's been a long time since I've been asked whether or not I believe specific portions that are vital to our Christian faith.  I really do believe that Jesus lived a sinless life, was wrongly crucified and that his death satisfied my penalty for wrongs I cannot correct in my own life.  I believe that he rose again all those years ago and continues to live in victory over death and the fallen nature of this world.

Tonight I partook of communion to remember his sacrifice, I thought, "I'm not prepared, my heart isn't pure..." Often I feel the initial panic that I'm not good enough.  And yet, I know I am covered.  My purity isn't what I depend on in order to be in a right relationship with God.  I'm counting on Christ's covering, his purity that covers my own shortcomings.

Thank you, Lord, for this unspeakable gift.  I pray this covering for all of my children and hope my fumbling words and life will somehow point others to the One who can truly save.

What do you believe?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring Tradition

Boots, pumps, flats and sandals! 
It has become a routine of my spring cleaning to purge deeply and in my goals for the year, I declared April as the time to focus on this effort. I started early this weekend by sorting through the kiddos closets.  It was time to make the seasonal switches and in the process I culled what is getting too small.  We donated a large box of boys size 5-6 and another of girls size 6 to a friend who serves special needs children.  I listed several items on ebay and we still have more to donate.

April 1 - I purged my shoes!  Sadly, I there are some that just don't work for my weary feet but still look quite fabulous.  These I'll take to Goodwill.  I'm posting my daily purge on Instagram and I hope you'll follow along or join me! I'm labeling them #outthedoorinapril.  Even if you just purge a little bit, post your success with me.

Thank you for taking interest in our lives.  I blog because I enjoy connecting with readers in any way possible.  I love comments or Facebook friends.  Do add your voice!