Harlem Globetrotters Coming to Town!

I can still remember my first experience watching the Harlem Globetrotters. Grant it, it was pretty unique. One of my friend’s grandfathers was a retired Harlem Globetrotter. He came and did a mini exhibition at our elementary school. I think my mouth was opened the whole time. I vividly remember some of the stunts he did 20ish years later. Now that my boys are a little older, I think it is time to expose them to this insane talent. Or maybe my husband and I are using them as an excuse to go! At the bottom of this post there are links for 25% off! Hope you take advantage and take some kids/family/friends!

Celebrating 90 years of providing smiles, sportsmanship and service to millions of people worldwide, the world famous Harlem Globetrotters will bring their unrivaled family show to an arena near you during their 90th Anniversary World Tour. On the court, the Globetrotters’ 90-year celebration will feature some of the greatest athletes and entertainers on the planet. With a star-studded roster featuring Big Easy Lofton, Ant Atkinson, Hi-Lite Bruton, Thunder Law, Bull Bullard and Cheese Chisholm – plus female stars TNT Maddox and Sweet J Ekworomadu* – the Globetrotters’ one-of-a-kind show is unrivaled in the world of family entertainment. Every game will showcase incredible ball handling wizardry, rim-rattling dunks, trick shots, hilarious comedy and unequaled fan interaction. You won’t want your family to miss it – use promo code FAMFUN to save 25% off your tickets.

25% off Harlem Globetrotters 90th Anniversary World Tour – The world famous Harlem Globetrotters will bring their unrivaled family show to an arena near you during their 90th Anniversary World Tour. You won’t want your family to miss it – use promo code FAMFUN to save 25% off your tickets.
http://harlemglobetrotters.com/tickets .@usfg

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I Have a Three Year Old

T  H  R  E  E

My sweet first born is three today. He is full of love and empathy which I hope will only grow. His hair is crazy, and he can be too. He has taught me so much. I didn’t know how hard and deep I could love. I also didn’t know how impatient and imperfect I was until I was his mom. I learned some of that after I married his dad, but I learned it more fully the day he came into this world. I worked so hard for him to arrive. Pushing for so long. It was the hardest work I have ever done. After he arrived he didn’t scream or cry for several seconds. He had aspirated. It was terrifying. And then I heard him. It makes me weep thinking about it. It was the best sound I have ever heard. Then he was handed to me, and he settled immediately. His breathing calmed and his head rested on my chest. I thought I would never love so deeply. In that moment I held him my world changed. I knew more about my Father in heaven and about his fierce love for me. He loves me the way I fiercely love this little boy. But he loves me and my children and your children more because he gave up his perfect and righteous Son to save us. His Son was murdered for me. What love. What sacrifice. It hurts my heart and my mind and soul and makes me whole. It wounds me in a way that is life changing.  To know that my God gave up his son so that I may live… it is life changing. In the day to day hum drum of changing diapers and stopping my boys from killing each other and cooking and cleaning and washing… (washing poop off walls, washing clothes, washing dishes, washing e v e r t h i n g) I can forget what my life is about. I get lost in the everyday. I want to live a life that is worth of my God’s sacrifice. I want to show my boys and the world my God. My God that gave me an abundant life and grace and freedom.

Back to my son.

My son. My first baby is three. His hands are starting to loose their pudge. You still can’t see his knuckles. They are still dimples but he is starting to loose the layer of fat on the top of his hand.  Goodness I love those little hands and how expressive they can be. I’m sure I will be in disbelief every year he gets older. Watching a child grow and seeing how they soak up their world is just so fun. I love how he doesn’t see race or disabilities. He just sees kids and grownups. I love how he loves his little friends. (I know I’m saying love a lot. get over it) I love to see what he remembers after a fun day. Or how excited he is to see me when I pick him up from preschool. I love to listen to his thoughts and i absolutely love how he LOVES music. I hope I can foster that love even though neither I or his dad can play an instrument. Oh my dear son, you are a light in this world. A bright spot. Your laughter and smiles bring me so much joy. I truly love being your mother. I am so thankful for your sweet life and that you were given to me.

As much as I love this boy, I can get so frustrated with him too. His emotions are big. So that can be big love or big anger or big frustration. Motherhood is hard. It is good but it can be oh so hard. We are imperfect people trying to teach these crazies the ways of the world and sometimes we give them a broken cracker and all hell can break loose. I do feel the weight of the responsibility of raising children. I can get stressed and start to believe that is all on me if my children will be strong respectable men who love the Lord. I am so thankful that it is not. My God tells me to love Him. I have control of nothing besides what I pick out to wear and I’m not even in complete control of that. I can pray for them and I will do that all the days of my life.  I want to show my sons how to live for something greater than themselves. To live a life with their hands open free and not gripping for control. Happy Birthday my dear son. You have taught me so much in these first three years. I love you. I love you. I love you.

 

My Baby is getting big

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Buenos Aires

Exploring Buenos Aires, Argentina

It has almost been 4 years exactly since my husband and I took an excursion to South America. I find myself dreaming of another faraway adventure.  I think this wanderlust is just apart of me. We aren’t able to head overseas right now so I am going to relive our South America travels. We had been dreaming of this trip since we were first married. Almost 4 years after we were wed (his medical education got in the way), we set out on our adventure. On March 31, 2011 we boarded our plane for a 10 hour flight from Houston to Buenos Aires, Argentina. We visited Argentina, Chile, and Peru during our 6 week holiday.

Exploring Buenos Aires, Argentina

The whole trip we stayed in hostels and ate cheaply. We traveled across 3 counties all by bus. It was simply amazing. I am so thankful we got to do a trip like this before we had children. I did see several families (mainly from Europe) traveling with small kids. That was encouraging because I do want to travel with my boys. I want them to see other cultures, other nations, and other ways people live.

San Telmo. Exploring Buenos Aires, Argentina

Our first destination was Buenos Aires, Argentina. BA for short. It was beautiful. We stayed in a neighborhood called San Telmo. Back in the 1870’s it was were the elite lived, but after an epidemic the upper classed moved north and left San Telmo to the immigrants and lower class. It was charming. The buildings were beautiful with so much detailed work. There were a lot of cobble stone streets that gave it an old feel. We witnessed couples dancing the tango (BA is the home of that sexy dance).  It was enchanting. We ate amazing food. We woke up late (11am) and stayed up late. Dinner was around 11pm most nights. Actually our first night there, we showed up at a restaurant at 8 and almost no one was there. That was a little confusing because it was a place that had a great reputation. By the time we were ending our meal, people started showing up. We were just a few hours early. We survived the subte (subway). I actually caught a man stealing from me. Stephen scared him off the train! I was so mad i could have slapped him but thankfully he didn’t grab anything.  Besides that guy, the people we encountered were sweet and beautiful and always wanting to help. We would use our broken spanish and they would try and speak english. It was fun and challenging. My husband’s spanish was much better than mine. I did however fit in better. Several people stopped to ask me for directions! I think he was just too tall to look the part of an Argentinian.

San Telmo. Exploring Buenos Aires, ArgentinaExploring Buenos Aires, Argentina

The following is a portion of an email I sent to friends and family about one of my favorite South American adventures.

La Boca Game. Exploring ArgentinaOne experience in particular was unforgettable. It was a local futbol match. We watched La Boca Junior´s play El Estudiantes. The game was in La Boca (a blue color neighborhood) which we arrived via bus filled with people from hostels. We were escorted in by some locals who drove the bus and told us where to go. We sat in the south end behind one of the goals. We were packed in like a can of sardines. During the match, I actually had to work on holding my own ground. The stands put any crowd in the US to shame (granted I’ve never been to an NFL game). The fans didn’t stop singing/cussing/yelling the whole time. When we scored I was pushed down two rows… not a scary thing just crazy and funny. Stephen was embraced by all the locals when we scored and i think they didn’t know if they could hug me so they just gave me enthusiastic high fives. ha. we won (La Boca… yes we rooted for the home team bc we´re not idiots) in the last minute of the game. It was the perfect ending of the game. We learned one of the songs and tried not to look completely like fish out of water, but i´m afraid that was unavoidable.

Exploring Buenos Aires, ArgentinaThe above picture is from our last day in BA. It was a glorious afternoon spent at a Sunday market. This sandwich was delicious and cheap.

I thought maybe writing about our travel experiences would quench my thirst for travel, or at least help a little. But I think it is doing the opposite. I am however so thankful for the trips we have taken and where we are in life. I love Ann Voskamp’s words on joy and gratefulness. “Being joyful isn’t what makes you grateful. Being grateful is what makes you joyful.” As I continue to write about our travel experiences, I will keep those words in mind so that I do not take for granted this life I have been given.

Graco Simple Sway Swing + Organic Onesie Giveaway!

I am so excited to announce my first giveaway! I am partnering with Bare Feet On the Dashboard and we are giving away the Graco Simple Sway Swing and an Organic Onesie. Baby swings are such a wonderful invention. Ours was a lifesaver with our babes. Sometimes our swing was the only way our babies would sleep. This swing will be an extra set of hands for you.

Before I was a mom, I did not think a swing was necessary. In my idealistic pre-mom mind, I only wanted to have a few baby things. We were also only going to use cloth diapers and have mainly wooden toys. I can laugh at my thinking now. All of those things are great, but before you have a baby you don’t realize how much sleep you lose and how nice it is to have help. Thankfully my mom knew better and got us a swing the week before my first son was born. I have such sweet memories of getting to drink my coffee after a long night while watching my first born sleep in the swing. I also was able to cook supper and eat it with both hands because of our lovely swing. We used our swing so much when our boys were babies. Sometimes I wish I could still put them in a swing and let them be lulled to sleep, ha!

Enter bellow for your chance to win!

Graco Simple Sway Swing and Onesie Giveaway $105 Value Ends 317If you have a new baby or one on the way, we’ve got the giveaway for you. A baby swing will help soothe your little one, become the perfect place for naps, and allow you to eat dinner with BOTH hands. That, my friends, is a luxury when a new baby comes along. Enter to win an awesome Graco® Simple Sway™ Swing and organic Graco onesie from Bare Feet on the Dashboard using the Rafflecopter form below. If you have trouble seeing the giveaway entry form on your mobile device, please visit this link to enter or switch to classic mode.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Thankful Tree

Easy way to help your family be thankful

I am so on top of things. So on top in fact, that I just took down our thankful tree from this Thanksgiving.  To my credit, I have had our Christmas decorations down for a solid month. Part of the reason I left the tree was because during the winter months, the art of giving thanks is just harder for me. It was 10 degrees this morning with a windchill of -6. That means that it actually feels like -6 outside. That is bone chilling cold. My lovely and wonderful sister in law (also one of my best friends) makes fun of me for always mentioning the windchill. What can I say, she knows I’m a cold weather wimp and now you do as well. When it is cold and we can’t play outside, I start to long for spring and summer and wish these cold days away. It is easier for me to complain than to remember all that I have.

Easy way to help your family be thankful

This Thankful Tree was a craft I did during MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). I highly recommend MOPS by the way. We made the tree and then cut out some of the leaves during our crafts workshop back in October. The idea of the tree is to help promote a home that is thankful. To voice that we are thankful for each other, for time together, for sweet specific moments with our children (loved ones), for experiences we share, and for things that we already have. My children are so young that they didn’t fully grasp what it meant, but I do believe little seeds were planted. This tree was still so good for me to do. As a mom, I believe we set the tone of our home. I’m striving for contentment which is very opposite from our culture.

Easy way to help your family be thankful

I love my husband and his sense of humor. His first leaf said “Thankful for a wife that is all about that bass!”. I wrote down what my boys were thankful for. It will be fun to look back and remember how much they loved playing hide and seek and how they loved to be held close while we read to them. These things are gifts and are worth remembering. I’m actually contemplating making a Flower Thankful Wall (just doing the same thing with flowers). I may wait a month to do that because I am loving the clean wall.

Easy way to help your family be thankful

I haven’t done this yet, but I will: laminate the leaves, punch a hole in them, and put them on a ring. This will be a new ornament for our Christmas tree next year.

I would love to hear how you help set the tone for your home. Do you have any ideas to help raise kids who are thankful? I would love to hear them.

Easy way to help your family be thankful

Thanks for reading!

Lindsey

My first thankful flower will say “Thankful for my brand new baby niece born today!”

Sandwiches and How to Get Your Toddlers to Eat Them

One afternoon last spring, I was making lunch for my sons. It was a day that I was scrapping by with what groceries we had. It was just too pretty to drag them to the store that morning.  When lunch rolled around, I had to get creative. And thankfully I was hit by a sudden stroke of genius.  Neither one of my boys was a sandwich eater. I tried so many times, but they just never went for them. Well, this idea changed that forever!

Cookie cutters. A fun way to encourage toddlers to eat sandwiches

I slapped some PB and honey on bread and then used a cookie cutter to make them into fun shapes. My kids ate them up. Literally. My boys dug in and are now sandwiches eaters. Not only was it an easy way to get them to eat, but it also made for fun lunch topics. “Can you show me the elephant’s trunk?” “Can you nibble at the elephant’s leg?” “What do you think elephants eat?”.

Cookie cutters. A fun way to encourage toddlers to eat sandwiches

As time went by, I had more fun with it. We practiced our shapes when we ate sandwiches. You don’t need a cookie cutter to cut them into triangles, circles, rectangles, diamonds, and squares. I also have snowflakes for snowy days and leaves for the fall. Right now I use hearts for Valentine’s Day. Plus, we talk about where our hearts are located and what sounds they makes.

Cookie cutters. A fun way to encourage toddlers to eat sandwichesNow that both boys are a little older, they help me make the sandwiches. They love to pick which shapes to cut them into. An added bonus is now they know they like them. So if I’m in a rush, I don’t have to use a cookie cutter.

What are some creative ways you’ve gotten your kids to try new foods? What are some of your go-to table conversations? Thank you for reading!

Valentine’s Day Pictures!

 

This is such an easy Valentine's photo idea!  Make lights look like hearts with 4 simple  steps.

The end of January is here, and that means Spring is that much closer. It also means Valentine’s Day is coming up. Here is a SUPER easy Valentine’s idea. I plan on sending these pictures to Grandparents in a cute frame or maybe just in a handmade card from the boys. Here’s how you make lights look like hearts. You won’t believe how simple this is.

1.Tack up some christmas lights. I used icicle lights with white wiring so that they blends in with the wall easily. I also used clear push pins to secure the lights to the wall.

This is such an easy Valentine's photo idea!  Make lights look like hearts with 4 simple  steps.

 

This is such an easy Valentine's photo idea!  Make lights look like hearts with 4 simple  steps.

2. Cut out a lens size circle and in that circle cut out a heart.

3. Tape that on your camera lens.

This is such an easy Valentine's photo idea!  Make lights look like hearts with 4 simple  steps.

4. Set your cute models up and start snapping pictures! You might have to play around with your camera settings. I found the best results by having my boys closer to me (the camera) than the wall with the lights. I had my aperture very low (1.4-2) which does fun things with the lights in the background. After I readjusted the cut out heart (it was interfering with my camera’s auto focus), it was game time. The shots came out so cute. I am excited to send them out to my parents and in loves (my in-laws) for a fun valentine’s surprise.

This is such an easy Valentine's photo idea! Make lights look like hearts with 4 simple steps.

I practiced a bit on my pup, Mako. He was a good sport, but did get a little bored after he saw no ball throwing was involved. It was easier to practice on him since he will sit still. One of my boys will be 3 in a few months and the other is 19 months…. so they don’t sit still for long.

Valentine's Day Photo Idea! Make lights look like hearts with 4 easy steps.

This is such an easy Valentine's photo idea!  Make lights look like hearts with 4 simple  steps.

Thanks for reading.

**A quick note. You can cut out any simple shape. Try a star, christmas tree, anything. Get creative! And let me know how it turned out!**

 

 

One of My Loves

Seeing how I’m new to this blog thing, you might expect for me to talk about my faith, husband, or sweet babes. But no I chose for my first post to be about a different love.

My love of reading. I have always known that I love to read.  My mom and dad read to us most nights when we were little. I remember my dad reading the most because he used awesome voices and was so very animated. I can still hear his Reepicheep voice from Narnia.  Somehow during our first years of marriage, I just didn’t read as much.

Well this last year I made it a resolution to read more fiction. Why fiction? Because I freaking love it. I wanted to do something for the pure enjoyment of it. So fiction it was. In 2014 I read SOOO many books. January started out with some Francine Rivers goodness. A couple I had read before and then some newbies. Then I got addicted to The Outlander Series, The Divergent Series (Lord help me), and The Wingfeather Saga. Usually I read book series. It’s fun to get to know the characters on a deeper level that way (NERD ALERT!). Anyway, I think I probably aged a couple years in the last year because I would consistently stay up till 2 in the morning reading. I have 2 small boys who are 14 months apart.  So was this wise? Absolutely not. I had to be on at 7 or 730am or whatever time they woke up.  So yes, I probably aged some with lack of sleep. But I was thoroughly enjoying myself.

Recently, I read an article about how people who read fiction are better friends because they are more empathetic. My friends and husband should feel pretty blessed, ha! Anyway the article used a study from Emory University where they compared fiction readers vs non readers’ brains. Sounds pretty legit, if you ask me.

So why am I writing about this?

Hmmm, well because it’s been on my mind. That’s what I will mostly be writing about on this blog. Anything that’s been on my heart or in my head that I think is worthy of sharing. Plus I think it’s so important for us to read so that we can be examples for our kids. Both my boys LOVE to read. I think because since they were able to hold there heads up my husband and I have read to them. We want our kids to be empathetic friends right?

So here are some things we do to create this love relationship with our boys and books:

Carve out time on the daily to read.

Reading before bed is a great idea and can create a nice “bedtime routine”. Reading when they first wake up can be a nice way to get some snuggles in while they are still sleepy eyed. Really you don’t have to be schedule-y about it.

Reading provides some of the best snuggles. Tips to promote reading in toddlers.

Have books easily accessable:

It could be a fancy reading nook or a comfy pillow on the floor next to a basket of books. I have always had a basket of books next to their rocker.  We have books in a few places. I just want it to be easy for them to grab a book. It is so fun to walk into a room and see their sweet little noggins in a book.

Make Books an option instead of screen time:

Sometimes it would be so much easier to just plop them in front of a screen instead of read to them. If one of my boys is cranky, 9 out of 10 times a book will help set them back in a better mood. They love interaction with us and they love to be close to us. So reading just makes sense. And don’t get me wrong, there is definitely times where we need a little Daniel Tiger or Curious George.

Have a Book Rotation System:

This sounds complicated, but it’s just not. My kids have their favorite books that they could read over and over again. I will keep those out. I will put the books they haven’t looked at in awhile away. That way it is less clutter in your home, plus it gives the books novelty (get it, haha) when you bring them back out again.

Find a 2nd Hand Book Store

You don’t need to buy every book brand new. Find a good 2nd hand store close or go to the library. Ask for books as presents. Some of our favorite books have been given to us by friends and family. There are so many places to get books.

So what are your all time FAVORITE books? I need to add them to my list.  What about kids’ books? Any other reading thoughts?

Thanks for reading!

Lindsey