Friday, December 15, 2017

Creative Parenting

 I thought we'd take a break from all the Christmas talk today. On our most recent trip, something came up that my hubby thought might be interesting to share. He thought I should share with you some creative parenting that we've come up with due to how much we travel.

   So, little back story on this first one... Our daughter hates her car seat ( so does our son for that matter). But our daughter has figured out to push the chest strap down and get her arms out so that she can have some freedom. She is not allowed to do that, and as soon as we notice, it is very quickly fixed. She used to tell on herself and as soon as she was out she would go "Hi, dad!!" in a very mischievous tone. Now she has gotten smarter and knows that if she's quiet we may not turn around and notice as quickly. Well, in one of the times that we did notice, my husband had turned and was correcting her with me while he was driving. While turned, the van veered a little and we drove over those ridges on the side of the road. It was in that moment, the Road Monster was born.

   When she heard that sound of us driving over the ridges, she jumped and went "Dad, what that noise??".  My husband replied "That's the Road Monster. He's trying to come get you because you're out of your buckle."  She very quickly put her arms back in and started yelling "Go away, Road Monster!!".  So now she thinks there's a monster that eats bad kids in the car, and every time she tries to take her arms out or won't stop whining, the Road Monster makes an appearance. It has worked well so far. We think it's pretty genius, but I won't ask your opinion. πŸ˜‰

  Disclaimer on this next one: If you do Santa, that's between you and your kids and I don't judge you, so don't judge us for this. Although every time I see a kid who believes in Santa I think "Cute kid. Baaaad judge of character". I've realized that in the life of a two year old that watches any kind of cartoons this time of year or that even leaves the house during Christmas time, there is no possible way to hide Santa from the at all. And although we have told our daughter, she doesn't quite understand about the whole real truth about Christmas. If you have a two year old that does, your kid is a genius. Just saying. So, last night actually, we came up with a temporary solution I guess you could say. 😏

   We were driving through a park that had Christmas lights and as you would expect, half of the displays were of Santa Clause. They had a very nice nativity, but then about 15 Santa displays. So when our daughter yelled "There's Santa!", my hubby came back with "Ya, there's that bad man". We then proceeded to tell her that he was a bad man who always tried to steal all the presents that daddy and mommy would buy. Shortly after, we had her yelling "Don't touch my presents, bad man!!" πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚  Again, how you deal with Santa is up to you. This is what we're doing for now. We're like Planet Fitness here. It's a judgment free zone. So don't judge.

    I'm really curious to see how my son reacts to things. He's not quite at the understanding age that our daughter is. And I'm even more curious to see how having baby #3 is going to change things. How much more creative your parenting must get with each child. This third pregnancy has changed me much more than the last two so far. Hormones and pains and all. I'm at the stage where I go through my closet I start throwing clothes on the bed saying "Stupid. Ugly. Out of date. This is ridiculous. If I can't find something nice to wear, I'm not going!".  But in the end it's all worth it for that beautiful baby #3.

Just wanted to share this attempt at a Christmas picture. I don't know what I'd do without these boogers. 

   Don't forget about today's quote! There are actually two, but they are from the same movie. Which I happen to be watching as I write this post. If you guess White Christmas for the last quote you would be correct! But no one seemed to guess, so 2,000 meaningless points to mom since she stumped you all! They can't all be super obvious quotes so don't give up too easily, guys! 


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Christmas Shoes

So last Friday Stephanie blogged about her issues with shopping for Christmas gifts for the guys in our lives. It's not only true that it's hard to shop for them, but there's an added aspect to this whole procedure as well.

As wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, etc., we feel the pressure to not only provide a meaningful gift to the male loved ones in our lives, but we also want to surprise them. We want to give them the perfect present to help make it a perfect Christmas. Which is hard to do when we don't know what they want in the first place.

Of course, if we do surprise them with a gift that's not really something they wanted, we can tell. We get a half smile. An unenthusiastic "thanks". And then after the gift sits in the corner unused for the next three to six months, we'll ask them about it and they'll tell us that it's not really something they want or can use.

But there's a whole other side to this dilemma. Because they have to give gifts too. And in many ways, it's just as hard--if not harder--for them.

After all, it must be difficult to know what to get the women in their lives when they don't even understand the women in their lives. Add to that the fact that many men wait until December 23rd to do any shopping, and you can see what a challenging task they have.

Somehow men always manage to make their choices and be sure that they're giving the perfect gift to boot. They either have a tremendous amount of confidence, or they just don't stress that much about whether or not we'll like it. Or they give us something that they know they'll use anyway.

Women, however, not only want to make sure that they give the perfect gift, they also want to assure everyone that they received the perfect gift. We may hate it, but we'll smile. We'll exclaim how perfect it is. And then we'll even wear it or use it so that the giver can see what a perfect gift it was.

Except that it wasn't.

For instance:

Many women would probably not consider these shoes to be the perfect gift. If you do, I'm not dissing your taste ... who am I kidding? Of course I am. I'm sorry, but these shoes are ugly. And weird. They're not an athletic shoe. They're certainly not a cute casual shoe. And they most certainly are NOT my style.

However, I received these as a Christmas gift several years ago. Not wanting to hurt any feelings, I smiled brightly and exclaimed my thanks. I even wore them later that evening when we played  keep away outside. it was cold, and I wore them with socks. It was not my brightest fashion moment. I do remember being grateful that it was too dark to see my footwear, and hoping that somehow the game ruined the shoes so that they could never be worn again. As you can see, the shoes weren't ruined. They still were never worn again.

I honestly don't know what my husband was thinking when he bought these shoes. Perhaps he was thinking, "hey, she's not really athletic, but these aren't really athletic shoes, so they should be perfect for her!" More likely, though, he might have been thinking, "These shoes are the only ones in her size on the clearance rack. Score!"

Like most people, I enjoy the anticipation of gifts, both giving and receiving. But I don't want to have my Christmas ruined by unwrapping terrible gifts and then pretending I like them. So what's my solution?

I buy my own presents. Then I give them to Kylee or Stephanie to wrap. My husband will usually comment a week or two before Christmas that he hasn't even bought me anything yet. "Don't worry," I reassure him. "I already did the shopping for you. You were very generous." In his defense, he usually gets me some nice jewelry as he's pretty good at picking that out. Or he gets guidance from Kylee or Stephanie who have been coached on what things I would like.

You may think that takes all the fun out of it, but I don't think so. I end up both giving and receiving the perfect gift. Now what's not to like about that?

If you guessed the Grinch as the source of the movie quote from Monday's post, you got it right! Here's today's quote:

"I hope I can return the electric blanket!"

"Where have you got that?"

"Under the underwear."

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Christmas Tag

Christmas is almost here!

If you aren't quite in the spirit of Christmas, here is a fun little Christmas tag to help you feel a little more holly and jolly.

1. What is your favorite Christmas film?
It's a tie. Both of these are great!
If you guessed A Christmas Story for last week's movie quote. You were correct!

2. Have you ever had a White Christmas?
All of mine have been White except for the two Christmas's I had in Florida. 

3. Where do you usually spend your holiday?
Every year we trade off Thanksgiving and Christmas between Michigan and Illinois. 
Don't you wish you could be in two places at once?

4. What is your favorite Christmas song?
I love all Christmas music. Blast this Christmas music. It's joyful and triumphant. Except Christmas shoes... that one can be muted.

5. Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?
When we are home my husband usually can't wait for our girls to open presents. So he gives them each one to open. 

6. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donar, Blitzen... And The most famous reindeer of all. Rudolph. 

7. What holiday traditions are you looking forward to most this year?
This year we are home for Christmas. So  I'm looking forward to making Christmas cookies and our Christmas Eve Game. 

8. Is your Christmas tree real or fake?
It's fake with white lights.

9. What is your all-time favorite holiday food/sweet treat?
Mashed Potatoes and Fudge.

10. Be honest: do you like giving gifts or receiving gifts better?
Both. Who doesn't love getting gifts? It's also fun watching someone open their gift when you know they will love it! 

11. What is the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received?
This year is definitly one of my favorites. My husband is the best and gave me my gift early.
 New Anniversary bands, I love them!

12. Are you a pro-present wrapper, or do you fail miserably?
I actually love wrapping presents and I would say i'm pretty good at it. All the gifts I wrap have to go into boxes before I can wrap them. They have to all be perfect in shape... 

There it is folks. See, don't you just feel all merry inside? 

So, the big question is ... Real Tree or Fake Tree? White lights or Colored?

Also, don't forget about the movie quote. Think you can guess it it?

Friday, December 8, 2017

Christmas Issues

    Today, we're going to discuss the issues. Gifts for men and stocking stuffers. I don't know about you, but these are two things that stump me every year. Men always say that women are so hard to shop for, but really.... jewelry, a scarf, a purse, shoes... that's a lot to go with right there.  Now men, they are hard to shop for. When men need something, they go get it. They don't think "oh wait, Christmas is in the next couple of months. I should wait and drop hints." They just go out and get the item and go on with their life.

      My husbands hobbies are hunting or electronics. Seasonal and Expensive. Hunting is a seasonal thing. A hobby that ends right before Christmas. So really, you can't buy a hunting gift because they can't even use it for a whole year. On top of that, there are very few inexpensive hunting items. Bullets, tree stands, guns ("You'll shoot your eye out!"), bows, arrows, camouflage.  It's all expensive stuff.  Not to mention, he watches all the finances?? Explain to me how that's supposed to work with surprises? Then he likes electronics. There's nothing else to be said about that except we're not taking out a loan for a Christmas present. Maybe his gift could be that we could go window shopping at Best Buy and I'll smile and nod while he looks over all the newest gizmos. We'll see how that goes over.

     My dad has never been easy to buy for either. This year we all asked my mom what to get dad. She said ammo is always good. ok, so we all buy that and he opens 6 boxes of the exact same thing. Yaaaayyyyy πŸ˜‘ Can you say "Boring"?!?  I think growing up we would either buy him a tie or socks. That's why every guy has 101 ugly ties in his closet that he will never wear. Kids with good intentions. We all put our heads together and tried to be a little more creative this year. I'll let you know how that goes.

     Then there's the other big issue of the season. Stocking stuffers. Why is this an issue you ask? Because you can either go with big and awesome or funny and practical. I never know which to do. If you go big and awesome, why waste it on the stocking instead of putting it under the tree. On the other hand, is it super dorky for a wife to get her husband the same deodorant that he always uses? Probably.

    So, here's what I'm asking of you. What are some good stocking stuffer ideas, and how do you figure out what to buy the men in your life?

   By the way, Wednesday's quote was from 🎺🎺🎺 The Santa Clause! Jennie Howell, you get 1,000 meaningless points for guessing the correct answer. And we're going to throw in a bonus 500 points for being the only person to guess!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!  Don't forget, people, to guess today's quote. You don't want to miss out on these awesome points!


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Happy Birthday, Nick!

Eighteen years ago tomorrow, this little boy came into the world. In this particular picture, he was all dressed up for his first Sunday at church. Who would have thought that this adorable not so little bundle (9lbs., 15 oz), the last of six, would keep us so entertained throughout the years?

What can I tell you about my baby? For starters, I guess I could say that he's not such a baby anymore. At well over six feet, he could end up being the tallest of all of his brothers.

He's also got a very deep voice that he works out when he sings bass.

Most people from Madison Baptist should know when Nick's birthday is because he announced it regularly in church when they asked for birthdays and anniversaries. July or December, he had no problem reminding the congregation that he was born on December 7th. I heard that, even after we left, occasionally someone would still mention his birthdate.

When Nick was little, he kept us, as well as himself, quite entertained. Where some kids have imaginary friends, Nick had a whole imaginary village. He was friends with Bo and Lare. Beth was his girlfriend, and Rufus was the dog.

Nick also spoke in "Nicky Language", something that I think quite irritated his teacher at times. Joel interpreted occasionally, but the language was Nick's invention.

As Nick got older, his imaginary friends faded, but in the past few years some new personalities have taken root. Well, we call them personalities, but Nick quickly corrects us by telling us they're "egos" instead. The difference, if I understand his explanation correctly, is that personalities talk to each other. His egos only talk to other people. For this I guess we should be grateful.

His first ego is Gibby, a cajun from Louisiana, with a pet gator named Nippy. Gibby speaks with a heavy cajun accent (think Swamp People) and often starts a conversation with, "Back in my day ... ". He's a cheerful fellow mostly, and modest too. He often cautions young people to keep their ankles covered.

Not too long after that, Nikolai came into the picture. He speaks with a thick Russian accent, and quite often talks about putting people in front of a firing squad.

We did a pirate theme for Vacation Bible School this past summer, so I shouldn't have been surprised when a pirate ego made an appearance. I believe his name is Captain McScruffy, and he often wants to make people walk the plank. I haven't heard from the pirate recently, but Nick has informed me that ego is mostly seasonal.

This fall I had Nick helping me clean on top of the kitchen cabinets. He happened to find some contraband candy that his dad had stashed up there, and suddenly Hectare came into being. He picked up the candy and gasped, "I found the treasure, just as the legend foretold!" Hectare is soft-spoken and Finnish, although once in awhile his accent sounds Irish or Scottish.

Nick has had a low deep voice since he was little. It was often amusing to listen to him sing during Patch the Pirate Club performances because, while other kids were doing their best to sing the tunes, you could hear this low one-note tone singing jut below all the other voices. Thankfully, Nick's expanded his range beyond that one note, and now he does quite well singing bass in the choir and with his brothers.

Nick blends in well with his brothers as they all tend to be entertaining characters. It's just that Nick brings so many more personalities egos to the mix. Sometimes I do want to ask him, Can we take a direct flight back to reality, or do we have to change planes in Denver?

Still, Nick was the perfect ending to our Boyd bunch, a special group of guys that love life and each other. They make sure they get the most out of life as well. No one would ever describe our family as boring!

At any rate, this baby of the bunch is turning eighteen tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Nick! I love you, and I'm so proud of the man that you're becoming. I love the guy that brings out Gibby when situations get tense, making everyone laugh by saying, "Well that's just hurtful". I smile at the young man who always manages to calm down one of his baby nieces and get them to go to sleep. I'm proud of the guy that makes up whole stories about the adventures of Purple Girl and Pink Girl and Blue Man and keeps his nieces spellbound with his tales. You're funny, special, intelligent and soft hearted and I wouldn't have it any other way. Always remember III John 4, I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

By the way, If you guessed "Elf" as the Christmas movie that Monday's quote came from, you were right! Did you find today's quote?

Monday, December 4, 2017

5 Reasons Why I Love Christmas!

Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year isn’t it? Well, besides my birthday because it’s also wonderful. Except it’s only one day, not an entire season. Here are 5 Reasons Why I Love Christmas.

1. Family Time - I love holidays that involve more family time. Quality time with my family is something that is very important to me. God blessed me with an awesome husband and beautiful daughters. Why wouldn’t I want more time with them?

2. Decorations - I love everything about Christmas decorations. The only exception is decorations that have to do with Santa … I don’t have any of those. I love decorating our Christmas tree. It's something I get to do with my daughters who enjoy it just as much as I do. We love surprising my husband with all the decorations when he gets home. 

3. Music - Don’t tell me you haven’t had Christmas music playing on your Pandora since October. I know you have. If you’re anything like me, the moment it gets chilly outside it’s completely acceptable to turn on your music. “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”

4. Food - I feel as if everyone is more cheerful and jolly around Christmas time which makes them love cooking and baking more and more. There is just something about season that makes you think that you can turn that beautiful dessert you just saw in a magazine turn into a reality.

5. Presents. Oh, the Presents - When I was younger I was definitely one of those kids waking up early to get their parents out of bed to open presents. What kid isn’t up early? My children. That’s who. They like to sleep in, so I’m in their room waking them up to open presents. Don’t get me wrong, I still love opening presents but it’s much more enjoyable watching your children open their gifts!

Those are just 5 of the Reasons Why I love Christmas. So, what about you? What do you love most about Christmas?

If your answer to the last post's movie quote was “Jingle All the Way.” You are correct!

Today's movie quote is in bold. Can you guess it?

Friday, December 1, 2017

Christmas on the Go

   I think I mentioned in my last post that we would only be in our home for a short time this holiday season and that I wouldn't be decorating. Well, I fibbed a little. Not on purpose though. We will only be home for a short time, and I had no plans of decorating, but once we got home and I was trying to work on some of the Christmas presents that I'm making, it just didn't seem like Christmas. So, we decided to decorate just a little.
and I do mean just  a little. We put up a 24 inch tree and our little ones had tons of fun sitting on the kitchen table and decorating the tiny tree.  We even put some presents under, well more like around our tree. 
These are the books for the 24 Christmas books I mentioned last post. The kids are already asking when they get to open their presents. πŸ˜‚

      Anyways, like I said, we only have a short time home so I have a lot to do. We are still in the process of unpacking from our last trip, which was over a month long. 

Still very early in the process...  I'm procrastinating because I'm dreading the thought of putting it all away just to put it back in suitcases next week. I guess I have no choice and I'm down to a little over a week left, so "It's turbo time!!!".

     This year I am trying to do as many homemade gifts as possible. I had quite a bit of material leftover from my last project, so I'm using it to make doll accessories for my daughter and nieces. My goal is to make a diaper bag, blanket, pillow, and a couple of diapers for their baby dolls. We'll see how that goes. I'm going completely without a pattern...soo....ya.  I also have another gift that I'm making, but I can't go into detail because the receiver of the gift reads the blog. She kind of has to because she also writes on it. So, maybe you'll get pictures after Christmas! Anyways, I'm only halfway through the secret project and haven't even started on the doll accessories project. On top of that I wanted to make a skirt for myself before Christmas. Seeing all that I've written I'm beginning to wonder what I was thinking when I decided on these gifts. I guess my sewing machine will just have to travel with me until Christmas. πŸ˜•

     In other news, we went to the doctor this week and.... 

The kids are very excited, well our daughter at least said "awww, so cute!" when she saw the ultrasound picture.  My hubby may or may not be a little disappointed that him and our son will be outnumbered. I didn't have a preference either way, but I am excited that by this summer the boy to girl ratio in my family will finally be in favor of the girls!! Between my dad, brothers, and my son it was eight guys to six girls. After our daughter is born and my brother gets married we will be 9 females to 8 males! It's the little things in life. πŸ˜‚ 

Speaking of little things. My 17 month old son put together his first sentence today. "Momma, my diaper poo poo." Proud moment... I think. 

Don't forget our Christmas game! The quote is in there in bold! Leave your movie guess in the comments! 
Happy December! 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

An Announcement and A Game

I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful. Ours was pretty good.

Only good, not great.

The reason it wasn't great was because the whole family wasn't there. Every year our married children alternate the holidays they spend with their in-laws and the holidays they spend with us. This year Thanksgiving was the off holiday, so Matt and Kylee and Steph and Zack and all of their little ones were not around the table. That's okay, though, because that means everyone will be here for Christmas!

We were missing another person from the table this year as well.  This guy headed down south to spend Thanksgiving with a very charming family. We really missed him, but he said he had a good time.

He ate.

He visited.

He ate.

He fed chickens.

He ate. (I'm sensing a pattern here.)

At one point he set off an alarm and had the cops come to talk to him.

He ate.

He came close to being a person of interest in a nearby break in.

He ate.

So, you know, nice holiday, and fairly typical ... for a Boyd, anyway.

Oh! I almost forgot! He did something else while he was gone as well.

Can't wait for another episode of Boyds at a wedding:  the family ... the potato salad ... the fun ... the taco bell ... the camouflage ... the blood ... the pick up lines ... all these have been part of Boyd weddings. 

Welcome to the family, Shelby! Hang on because being a Boyd is one wild ride!

That was the announcement. And now for the game:

In case you haven't noticed, we're heading into the Christmas season. In keeping with that Christmas mood, we're going to play a game here on the blog throughout the month of December. In each post we will include a quote from a Christmas movie. The quote might be part of the post for that day, or it might be something we tack on at the end--it all depends on how creative we feel at the time.

You will always know what the quote is because we will put it in bold. Your part of the game is to post a comment on the blog with the movie that the quote came from. The winner each day will receive 1,000 meaningless points, a brief touch of Christmas magic, and the overwhelming desire to watch the movie of the day. Make sure you play along because otherwise you'll be a grinch!

See what I did there?

Monday, November 27, 2017

Future Vlogger

My big girl turns Five today!

As you watch your babies grow through each stage of your life, it seems like you can't wait until they start walking and talking.

Talking is now something Stella is very good at! So good in fact she is doing it all the time. She starts the moment she wakes up and she falls asleep talking at night. She even talks in her sleep.

She has been quite a busy little girl lately, when she isn't playing with her toys or watching my little pony. She has been hijacking my phone to take videos.

In honor of her Birthday, I've picked a few of my favorite videos to share with you. They start the same, so keep watching!

Does anyone have a questions you would like Stella to answer in her next video?

Have a great week! 

Friday, November 24, 2017

It's that time again!

  It's finally here! We'll, ok, I know that winter doesn't technically start until December 21st, but I'm pretty sure that everyone automatically shifts from mode to winter mode the day after Thanksgiving. I just can't get into the Christmas decorating and shopping for presents mood when I'm thinking fall. So, for me today winter officially begins!

  I love how Christmas really goes through the entire month of December. First you decorate your home. Then there's always the church Sunday school Christmas party which is usually at the beginning of the month so everyone can come before they start getting busy. Then for me there's my birthday so PRESENTS!!!  Then there's the groups that go caroling about midway through the month. Then there's the Christmas cantata a Sunday or two before Christmas. Then traveling to see family and finally Christmas!

  This year we won't be able to decorate for Christmas because we'll only be home for a short time in December.  It's just not worth the hassle of pulling stuff out or buying decorations for a short time. So, to get some Christmas spirit in my house I decided to do the book a day thing. You wrap 24 Christmas books and the kids get to open one each night of December up through Christmas. I'm a little behind seeing as I've only got a few books and only a week to come up with the rest. But I'm looking to ebay and some Thrift stores to come through for me. I have faith it'll come together. 😁  The hard part is finding Christmas books that aren't all about Santa Clause. I will never understand why parents want to give toy credits to a fat man in a red suit. You're also basically telling them that someone will be breaking into their house and stealing cookies every Christmas eve, but that we should like the fat cookie burglar. Don't hate me for going there, but it's the truth, people!

  We have quite a few Christmas traditions.  In our family we bake and decorate sugar cookies with the little kids... And some of the older ones πŸ˜‰.  We have appetizers and do a family game on Christmas eve. Then we have cinnamon rolls and the Christmas story on Christmas morning, followed by presents. My favorite tradition is that the guys all clean up after Christmas dinner since the ladies did all the cooking! Feel free to take that one home! So what are your Christmas traditions? And most importantly, do you get lost in  the hustle and bustle or do you take the time to slow down and enjoy what God has given you and remember what it's really all about?


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Definition of Insanity

So all my guys were either at college or off on a hunting trip last week, so I had the house to myself. I watched some TV. I read a book.

And I cleaned.

I much prefer fall cleaning to spring cleaning, and I always want a clean house for the holidays, so I scrubbed and cleaned and mopped and polished and washed and ... well you get the idea. This past Monday afternoon I headed out of town to go pick up Joel at college for Thanksgiving. The happy hunters did not get home until Monday evening

When I left, the house was spotless. The kitchen sink and the dishwasher were both empty as was the washer and dryer. The carpets were vacuumed. The floors were polished. Even the light fixtures were clean. The house positively gleamed.

When I returned twenty-four hours later, the sink was full of dishes. Hunting gear was not scattered all over the house, but it was taking over my bedroom.

I could have gotten completely upset, but instead I remembered one rule that helps me focus on everything:

That really goes for kids or just guys in the house. I had to force myself to remember the positive side:

Keep my eye on the details:

And next time I get the urge to clean, I have to set some rules down:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Turkey Talk

Happy Thanksgiving week!

Does your family have a tradition of going around the table on Thanksgiving and saying what you're thankful for? That's great if you do, but it doesn't usually take that long. So, you finish going around the table and then what? You're silent. Why? That's because you have nothing to say so you stuff your faces with turkey and pumpkin pie. Well, that's what I plan on doing. Just kidding. I've decided today that I would share with you something I found to help with the awkwardness around the table. Here are some  topics to talk about at the Thanksgiving table.

Pheew, say that there times fast.

Gobble, Gobble, here we go!

1. Would you rather cook all of Thanksgiving dinner or clean up and do all of the dishes afterwards?

2. What is one thing you appreciate about someone at the table?

3. If you could have named yourself, what name would you have picked?

4. Would you rather eat Thanksgiving dinner with your family or three celebrities of your choice?

5. If you could eat one food for an entire year, what would it be?

6. Would you rather wash your hair in mashed potatoes or take a bath in gravy?

7. Pretend you just won a million dollars, what's the first thing you would buy?

8. Would you rather lead the Thanksgiving Day Parade or have dinner with the President in the White House?

9. Who is the funniest person at this table and why?

10. What is something you really love doing as a family?

Hopefully these will help you kickstart your table talk during your Thanksgiving Dinner! 

I would love to hear some of your answers to these questions. Do you have any family tradition or a favorite memory from Thanksgiving?

Friday, November 17, 2017


  What's with the hashtag you ask? Since we all know I love hashtags so much. Well I'll tell you. I was talking to a missionary friend of mine today and she told me how her a friend will text each other and start with "#deputationstory" and then share something funny or something that only someone else on deputaition would understand. So I thought I would borrow their hashtag and share some stories of my own. Here we go.

   When you've been in a different hotel room every night that week and you start to have trouble remembering which room number is yours.

    You slept in five different states in the span of one week.

     After a month of being away from home,  the cereal and French fries found on the floor of your mini van could feed starving children in Africa for a month.

      You forgot to empty the van trash can (yes, we have one. Don't judge)  at the last stop and now the van is starting to smell like that wet diaper and yesterday's BBQ sauce.

     Your Sunday evening is gonna be rough because you didn't get to take a nap. (I have never lived for a nap more in my life than I do now on Sunday afternoons. It's like coffee. You don't skip it or bad things happen)

     You play tetris every time you pack the van.

     Your kids think McDonald's is just where you're supposed to each lunch every day.

     You stayed in one place for more than a week, and it was weird to not have somewhere to be.

     You don't know what to do with your evening when you don't have church every night.

      You know the one northern restaurant to go to where you CAN find your sweet tea.

      You have way more of these stories than anyone wants to read in  one post.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What's Yours Is Mine

So last week I told you how I was the proud owner of this wonderful new car. We got the car that Monday evening, and I greatly enjoyed driving it around town for the next three days. I had driven it less than fifty miles, and I hadn't even had to put gas in the tank yet when it happened.

My husband decided he needed to drive it.

Normally I don't have too many problems with Indiana wanting to drive my vehicle. He's a truck guy (that's his truck in the picture behind my new car), but he needed to go to a conference in Tennessee, and he decided my new car was the best vehicle for the trip.

Now in all fairness, his trip was one day down and one day back and my car would get 2.5 to 3 times better gas mileage compared to his truck. My tires were new, the car was in great shape and it could handle the 1000 miles better than his truck would.

But it was MY new car.

My NEW car.


In the space of two days he and Matt would put twenty times more miles on the car than I had. Plus, the car was clean. It had no crumbs. No dirt. No trash. No clutter.

I knew it would not come back to me in the same pristine condition.

No offense to my son or my husband, but have you ever taken a car on a trip where it did not collect trash and debris? I knew there would be crushed straw wrappers, crumpled napkins, discarded candy wrappers and an assortment of other items in my car by the time the trip was done.

Not only that, but there would also be guy smells. You know what I mean. I've lived with enough of them to know they can and do have a distinct odor at times.

Taking my car made sense from a practical standpoint, but that did not mean I was happy with the decision. While they were gone I was stuck with the truck. A cool choice from my husband's point of view, but it already had a bunch of guy stuff and discarded papers and tools and boots and things in it. It already had a guy smell. It seemed incredibly unfair to me, especially when Matt started texting me pictures of crumbs on the seat of the car while they were traveling.

This was the state of the backseat when they returned. Just exactly as I thought. Actually, not quite as bad as I thought it would be, but still ...

I felt that it was only fair to leave something behind in Terry's truck. But what? It was already full of junk stuff. 

I thought about spraying it with perfume, but I knew better. Their trip was Friday and Saturday. This Monday Terry headed up north for hunting season. All his gear and equipment would have picked up the smell of the perfume and the deer would have spotted him coming a mile away. Spraying perfume was a little too drastic.
What I needed was something clearly feminine, but also easy to get rid of after the joke was over. Just not too easy. So I made a little trip to Claire's Saturday evening. Sunday morning, Terry found his truck a little more feminine.

I hung the purse from his rearview mirror, and then I decorated the steering wheel, dashboard and rearview mirror with stick-on earrings. He had hearts and strawberries and rainbows and assorted other feminine things all over his truck. I don't have a picture of it, but I also stretched a bright feather boa of orange, red and pink across the top of the backseat in the rear window.

He was not amused, but I thought it was a fair exchange.

What do you think?

Monday, November 13, 2017


Happy Monday!

Have you ever had a bunch of random things happen but the one thing that happened isn’t enough to make a full story? Well, that’s what I’m doing here. I’m sharing all things random that have been going on in a home full of little girls!

  • A recent conversation with Stella:
     Me- Stella, did you cut your hair?
     Stella- Um, yes.
     Me- Why on earth would you cut your hair?
     Stella- I was sweaty. 
  • There was a bad character on a TV show Stella was watching. I heard her say, “that lady is stupid.” Stella we don’t say stupid. “Okay, but she’s still that."
  • Dad, Can you make a itching machine? So we can itch where ever we want.
  • Matt to the girls: No tickling. We’re going van shopping and I want you to be happy. Just not that happy.
  • One night we were watching TV and Talia runs in from the kitchen and pokes me in the eye and shouts “MOM.” I wanted to be mad because it hurt but it was so funny we all just laughed.
  • Stella was practicing words with Olivia and “butt” happened to be one of them. Of course, Olivia would be able to say that one clear as day.
  • We recently were in the car on our way home, and the girls were being so loud. So my husband said, “okay, everyone do quiet dancing.” The girls loved it. It worked for a minute or so. 
  • Olivia talks about Uncle JoJo all the time. I’m starting to think JoJo is a universal word for everything.
  • My daughters built a scare machine so they could scare their baby sister. It’s called the Thousand to One. (See photo below)
  • Talia started calling all things prettiness!
  • I was tucking Talia in for bed and I told her, “Momma is tired.” She said, “then go to bed. If you’re hungry, go to the kitchen.” Thank you so much for your wisdom, Talia!

    Last, but certainly not least ...
  • One morning, I had told my husband that I had to go to the store that day but was leaving the girls with him. Later in the day he had taken a nap and then woke up because he heard the older girls in the bathroom. He quickly said, “Where’s Livy?” Stella casually said, “she’s in the living room dad, you don’t need to panic.” I was giggling to myself, because I heard all of this as I was cuddling Olivia.
And that pretty much sums it up. My life is never dull and always an adventure with these three. 

What is one of your favorite memories from when your child/children were little?

Friday, November 10, 2017

A Lemon

I've been struggling with some vehicle problems lately. For the past almost two years I've been driving a Dodge Journey and I have to say that it's not been the most favorite vehicle I've ever had.

For starters, it had a very bad stale cigarette odor when we first got it. I bought febreeze car fresheners to clip to the air vents. I febreezed the seats. I left the windows down at every opportunity. Following an online suggestion, I even kept some coffee grounds under the seat to absorb odors. In the end, Time healed all wounds ... and odors.

Once I could draw a deep breath in vehicle, I thought things would get better. Unfortunately, that was not the case. I noticed that the temperature gauge started climbing. The longer the vehicle was in one spot while running--say, at a stoplight or in a drive through--the higher the temperature would climb. When I had the oil changed, the technician told me that I was very low on coolant, but that he couldn't spot any leaks so he topped off the tank and sent me on my way. 

It became second nature for me to set the computer screen to the temperature gauge as opposed to the speedometer or mileage screens. I also took to carrying jugs of coolant with me, and eventually it got so bad that I was adding more coolant to the tank every other day or so. We finally were able to get someone to replace a faulty thermometer and then the vehicle finally started running smoothly.

Except for the grinding noise.

We had the brakes replaced shortly after we bought the Journey. What the mechanic did NOT replace, though, was the brake pads. They were metal on metal and the squealing and grinding was quite alarming.

When we got the brake pads replaced, I finally was able to relax and enjoy my vehicle. Until the day it decided to quit on me.

While I was driving it.

In traffic.

On the expressway.

I had just merged onto I-94 and was keeping up with traffic when everything suddenly stopped. I turned on my hazard lights and steered to the shoulder (on a bridge, I might add) and called my husband. While I was waiting for him, I turned everything off and then started the car again. It started right up and drove with no problems. 

When I got home, Hubby looked over the vehicle and could find nothing wrong. I decided that perhaps it was a fluke, but then it happened again the next day. I was about to turn into our driveway when the car quit and everything shut down. The power steering went too, and I almost hit a tree as I tried to steer the dead car into the driveway. Once again it started up with no further problems.

The vehicle continued to die once or twice a day. We researched it online and found out that it had happened to quite a few owners. When they took the vehicle in, the mechanics were unable to recreate the problem, and were, therefore, unable to fix it.

Isn't that reassuring. We pretty much parked the car, taking it only on short trips nearby, and began sharing a vehicle. We both knew that couldn't last for long and we started looking for something that might work better. After a week of searching and test driving more vehicles than I care to count, I am pleased to announce that I am now the proud owner of a Kia Optima. 

For a long time I've preferred an SUV to a car, but to tell you the truth, I'm so glad to have a vehicle I don't have to worry about, I really don't care. I think my new ride looks pretty sweet.

So tell me, what kind of vehicle do you drive? Do you like it?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

One Hundredth Post - What Were We Thinking?!?!?!

Today we're celebrating because this is the 100th post of Laughing Out Loud in the Ministry. Since this is a special occasion, we decided to do a three-way conversation on the blog today. We spent almost  a full ten minutes or so trying to decided what topic to cover for such an important post. We finally decided to discuss the expectations we had with blogging versus what the actual reality is. As we discussed the topic, we also talked about changing the schedule of who posts on what day. We'll pick up in the middle of that conversation.

Kylee:  Ok. So, Mom will post this Friday, I'll have Monday, Mom will have next Wednesday and Steph on Fridays. Does that work?

Stephanie:  Works for me.

Kylee:  Mom, did you die? We haven't heard from you in two hours!

Stephanie:  She's dead.

Kylee:  I'm sending an ambulance! Should I have them use sirens or would that draw too much attention?

Jill:  Sorry. I was at the gym and then in the shower. I think we should switch days; going back to the original line up is fine; I'll post this Friday and then next Wednesday and 100 of anything is too much for one blog post. Am I all caught up now? Oh, and if I'm going anywhere in an ambulance, there should be lights and sirens. I want the whole experience.


Jill:  So ... no relief that I'm alive? Okay then.

Kylee:  Sorry, I was talking to 911 ... wait, it was Jimmy Johns. Did you know they were freaky fast? Much faster than the ambulance. Just kidding, but now Jimmy Johns sounds good.  BTW, I'm glad you're not dead.

Jill:  Next time I have a medical emergency, I'll call Jimmy Johns instead of an ambulance. I'll get to the hospital faster, and I won't have to eat hospital food.

Kylee:  Win, win!

Kylee:  So what are some expectations you've had of the blog versus realities of the blog?

Jill:  I expected it to be a lot easier blogging with three people than it was when I was doing it on my own. The reality is that I still struggle with posting on time and coming up with topics once a week. I'm beginning to wonder how I ever came up with 3-5 posts per week. What about you?

Kylee:  In the beginning I thought, "this shouldn't be too hard". And then I wrote my first blog and realized I should retake an English class.

Jill:  I'm beginning to think Steph is dead now.

Kylee:  Let me call Jimmy ... er, I mean, the ambulance!

Jill:  She's probably driving. She gets less motion sickness that way. Maybe she should dictate her answers to Zack and he can text them.

Kylee:  Steph, ya dead mon? (JamaΓ―cain accent)

Stephanie:  Sorry, Sorry. Not dead, just driving ... Although it was through NYC and I felt like I was about to die. Now we're stopped in New Jersey to go to the bathroom, and I won't be able to text long because this is a scary place to be stopped.

Kylee:  Lock the doors. And grab some coffee while ya theya. Get it? That was my jersey accent.

Jill:  What's with all the accents, Kylee?  And Steph, you're just going to have to dictate your answers to Zack so he can text them for you.

Stephanie:  Nice Jersey accent. Zack's driving now.

Kylee:  Thanks. It's not real easy to do over text. So what are some expectations you've had of the blog versus realities of the blog?

Stephanie:  My expectation vs. reality was that I thought blogging with y'all would be really easy because every time we talk we end up laughing a lot. Then I realized that, when it came to writing, the kind of the things we end up laughing about may not be so funny to other people. And now I'm really hungry btw. Jimmy Johns sounds good.

Jill:  Sometimes we end up laughing at stuff that would be inappropriate to share with the World Wide Web.

Stephanie:  Should we admit that? Although, when you have four teenage/young adult males around, I think that tends to happen.

Kylee:  Sometimes I feel really good about a blog that I write and I think it may get quite a few views, but then I look at it and it's got, like, 33 views!

Stephanie:  I know, right? The ones that I think are the funniest are the ones that have no views and no comments.

Jill:  Same here. I also thought we'd have a lot of people comment and participate, but sometimes it feels like pulling teeth to get people to say something. I have noticed that we get the most views and/or comments when we write about the guys.

Stephanie:  And our kids. We get a lot of views with adorable pictures. Not always comments, though.

Kylee:  No comments is the worst!

Stephanie:  Well if we have a hard time coming up with stuff to say, they probably do too.

Jill:  LOL is not hard to say. Or type.

Stephanie:  They probably feel like that's not enough to comment.

Kylee:  Maybe they have to decide if they want to lol or not?

Jill:  What about smiling slightly or politely. Otherwise you feel like ... *crickets*

Stephanie:  I have to say that my husband's expectation was that our only readers would be, like, Kylee's family, my in-laws, and a couple of people from our church in Madison. So when I told him we had between 200 and 300 views, he was shocked. Kind of sad to say he didn't have a lot of faith in us. How do you smile slightly or politely in a comment?

Jill:  Zack obviously does not understand the power of social media. Also, sad to say, I don't think any of our husbands ever read what we have to say.

Stephanie:  Zack reads mine ... but only because I make him. Correction. I make him proof it before I post it.

Kylee:  Matt reads mine to proof too. Well, up until the last few anyway.

Jill:  Dad said he reads them sometimes. But then he also said it's been awhile.

Stephanie:  As he's proofing, Zack usually asks me, "what grades did you get in high school?" Apparently my grammar isn't great either.

Kylee:  Matt told me I should take an English course at the beginning. He did say I'm getting better. I'm going to say it's just because I was rusty since I hadn't been in school for awhile and the only writing I did was texting.

Stephanie:  Good answer. We'll go with that for both of us.

Kylee:  My expectation for the next 100 posts would be to start making money ... but in reality, maybe just have a guest writer.

Stephanie:  My expectation is that I'll remember my day every time. Reality ... probably not.

So there you have a few of the things we had in mind when we started, and then the realities we actually faced. We've made it through 100 posts, and hopefully we make it through hundreds more. We'll occasionally do group posts, another contest in the spring, and a little game for the month of December to help us all get in a Christmas mood. In the meantime, thanks for sticking with us. We really appreciate it, and we do hope we've occasionally brightened your day.

Now about those comments ... if you're having trouble thinking of things to say (and really, who isn't?) here's a few suggestions:

LOL; HaHa; too funny; cute; I like it; that was dumb; you are so silly; I agree; I don't get it; huh?

Feel free to use any or all of the above, but keep those comments coming!