The Women Go to Mobile



If you are part of the Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod church body you most likely know what the LWML is. LWML stands for Lutheran Women's Missionary League. LWML has been around since 1942 and has raised over $100 million for missions around the world. When Nate was at seminary, I worked as the receptionist at the LWML national office in St. Louis. Since then, I've had a soft spot for the LWML.

When we moved to Hoyleton, the LWML/Ladies' Aid wanted to throw me a baby shower. Since I knew they were planning on doing this, I thought it would be nice to attend their meetings. Turns out, they have a social time with desserts at the end of every meeting. I'm there. I love hanging out with our mature in age women and I love food. They had me hooked.

Fast forward to last year sometime, my buddy Norma mentioned to me that the LWML convention would be in Mobile, AL. As a Midwesterner, I love the Gulf Coast. After all, that's where all the St. Louisans go on vacation. I told Norma we should go on a road trip! A little while later, Norma mentioned to me that our district would send me as a Young Women Representative. So this road trip became a real thing. We also enlisted our buddy Gerri to go along with us. I told them that since the both of them had surgery this year and I am pregnant, we were all prone to blood clots and would need to take some walking breaks. Needless to say, we had a hilarious time in the car.




Now, I love a good church convention because it always turns into a reunion. Because many of my friends are church workers, they are all over the country and I don't get to see them a lot. I got to spend time and catch up with some great friends when I was in Mobile. I also was able to make new friends.


Terry Keischnick and I. I love Terry so much. We got to know each other when I lived in Texas. She is a phenomenal woman and such a great support to pastor's wives.


My friends Lauren and Brianne. I worked with Lauren at Camp Wartburg in Southern Illinois and then I worked with Brianne at Camp Lakeview in Southern Indiana. Brianne and Lauren went to college together. You're only one LCMS Lutheran away from knowing them all.


These two young ladies were Young Women's Representatives with me. One is currently attending Concordia University Wisconsin and the other just graduated. We had to get a CUW ladies picture together. They made me feel old because I am at least 10 years older than they are.


Another picture of Lauren and I. 

I also was able to again see and better understand how the LWML serves the world. Most people know that the LWML's color is purple, is made up of older women and they make sure the church gets fed. The LWML is so much more. Every 2 years they have a convention to get some business done, but to most importantly, decide what mission projects they will be supporting for the next two years. These mission projects are foreign and domestic. Some of the projects selected were: a clean water project for rural schools in Kenya, a program for teaching preschoolers with special needs, outreach for at-risk women in Africa, a program that is restoring homes and living conditions for families in Detroit and the list goes on. The projects added up to a total of $2.1 Million. Then women all over the country collect funds to support these mission projects. The LWML has supported missions in 74 countries. My eyes were opened about how much our offerings from our meeting of 15-20 women in little Hoyleton, IL can support people all over the world. These women of our church body raise so much funding for so many people in need. It's incredible. Even though I worked in the national office for a year, it never really hit me how much the LWML does. This convention was very eye opening.

I am so very glad I went. I did get a break from the kids but I was very busy while I was there. I am very thankful to Nate and his parents holding down the fort while I was gone. I had a great time!


I think this guy was happy to have his mama home. He sat next to me all morning on Monday. Mama missed him too. I missed my bug but she went off to VBS on Monday so we had our snuggles the night I got home.


I introduced Norma and Gerri to Whataburger on the drive back. They, of course, loved it. I was over the moon because I LOVE Whataburger. 

That's all for now. God is good.

Riding the Summertime Mama Struggle Bus



As many of you are aware, it is summer break from school. Zoe has been out of school for two weeks already and we're feeling some adjustment pains. I think mostly Mommy is feeling those pains. I preface this post with the fact that I love my babies and am very blessed to stay at home with them. When it comes to blogging and social media I usually keep it up beat with happy pictures and stories. One day last week was was not a happy picture and story day. Nothing in particular went wrong, it was just one of those days. So I'm here to share with those of you that need to know you're not alone riding the struggle bus sometimes.

The day started out fine. The kids got up and we walked with my walking group. Zach made a mess out of some brochures in the school building so that was mildly annoying because of all the bending over my 23 week pregnant self had to do, but easily cleaned up. We then took a trip to a nearby town to get Zoe a new t-ball helmet, that is in my opinion, a pretty sweet helmet. During our time in the store Zoe kept questioning why she wasn't getting a bat and Zach wore the helmet because when he wasn't wearing it, he was screaming. (Side note: 5 year olds in the summer ask about 100 questions an hour. It is maddening.) This, however, is pretty normal for a trip to the store. We then walked to the hardware store, I came out empty handed but the kids came out with suckers. We then drove home.


Zach in Zoe's new helmet.

When we got home, we played outside for a while. Because there were no other kids to play with, my kids had to fight with each other, not play, fight. Zoe didn't want Zach using her bubbles. THEY'RE THE SAME BUBBLES!!! Zach is blowing his bubble gun in my face. Zoe is upset because her bubble gun doesn't work. Zach spills his bubble tray roughly 5 times. Zach gives up on this nonsense and wants to go inside and play with his vrooms (cars). All of this was happening while I was on the phone with my mom.


Bubble Gun Boy

We get inside and Zach eventually climbs up on my lap. He is kicking his legs around and knocks over an old cup of Diet Coke. This is when I start crying the first time. For some reason, my hormones had enough and this was the breaking point. Both kids are watching me cry. I feel dumb for crying over spilled Diet Coke (although not the first time) and a failure as a mom that I can't keep my cool over what was a seemingly normal morning. I texted a couple of friends about how I felt. One of them who has four girls, sweetly called me to talk me off the ledge. I come back from talking on the phone and my poor husband is encountering a crying wife and a two year old saying, "Diet Coke, Mommy sad." After a chat and some lunch, things were a bit better.

The afternoon was fine. Zach went down for a nap, I did some craft work on my computer and Zoe had some quiet time. After her quiet time, Zoe came and laid on my bed next to me while I took a half hour nap and she had some iPad time. I got up and around 4:30 got dinner started. Then because I forgot Nate wasn't going to be home for dinner I needed a different plan. I wasn't going to make a big dinner for my kids to pick at. So the stress is coming back. I looked in the freezer and found some chicken nuggets and tator tots. Okay, perfect, the oven was already preheating and I love tator tots. Zoe comes into the kitchen to inform me that she doesn't like tator tots and will not be eating them. This is why I think that the dinner menu should be a secret until it is on the table. So I finish browning the meat that was supposed to be for dinner and set it aside. Meanwhile I hear Zach's head hit the floor and an "owwww". Ugh, now what is going on? I peak around the wall to see that the kids are using their foam chairs as gymnastics mats and climbing all over them in a not so safe way. That's when I yelled, I yelled at Zoe because she knows that she isn't supposed to use the chairs for that and took the chairs away. Then I see her playing and smiling and get upset because I feel like nothing phases her. I made both kids sit down. And here it comes, the breaking point is hit again and I go into the kitchen and cry some more because I feel bad for yelling at Zoe. I get up and put the nuggets and tots on plates. I am reminded by Zoe that she will not be eating any tator tots and I tell her that I love them and she should really try them with some ketchup. She tried them and liked them. *insert sarcastic facial expression here* I eat my tator tots and the kids finish up.

I realize that it is probably not a good idea for us to stay inside until bedtime so we venture to the park and invite some friends along. They did really well playing in the park and I got some adult interaction with another mom. Fresh air and conversation can help many things. I realize that Zach needs a diaper change and he has informed me that he has a little cut on his finger, so I get ready to go. Of course, Zoe needs to get her shoes on before we can roll out. Zach feeling the need to get home immediately, bolts out of the park and for the road. AHHHHH I can't really run after him in flip flops so I walk as fast as I can trying not to fall in the grass and get him. He got a nice little swat on his bottom for not listening to Mommy when she asked him to come back. Running toward the road is an offense that Mommy doesn't take lightly. An employee from the Children's Home in town pulls up and tells me to keep the kids close because one of their girls with schizophrenia has escaped and they don't know if she will harm herself or others. I then worry about if I left the garage door open or not. THIS PERSON COULD BE IN MY HOUSE.

We get home and head straight for the bath. Zach, who usually loves the bath, was not having it. He just wanted a band-aid for his cut and I told him we had to wash before he could get a band-aid. This led to a full on bath time meltdown and Zach doesn't melt down often. Zoe realizing I need her to cooperate is very good at this point and gets washed fast. We get out of the bath, Zach is still unhappy until we get the band-aid on his finger. He was then just fine. I come out to the living room and Zoe is standing stark naked in front of the open window. Oh Zoe. I finally get her dressed and put on a show for them to watch for about 15 minutes while I take the towels back to the bathroom and empty the tub. I sit down and Zach crawls up for a snuggle. He reminds me of earlier and said, "Diet Coke, Mommy sad." I assure him that I'm not sad anymore and he shows me his ouchie. I get him in bed and then do Zoe's bedtime routine and get her to bed. Snuggles with Zoe at the end of the day are exhausting, but man sometimes they are just what I need as a mama. She still wants me to snuggle even though I was a grouchy mom all day long.


Nursing his finger

At 9:30pm I put some taquitos in the oven because I'm hungry and open up a stress Diet Coke. I turned on some Downton Abbey and relaxed the rest of the evening knowing that I should work on laundry, but guess what? Mama needed Diet Coke and TV. Nate got home around 10:30 and then I called it a day. A long day.

Now, was this the worst day? Not by any means. Was it unbearable? Not really. Was it a lot of work, tiring and at times frustrating? You bet. It doesn't have to be a horrible day to feel like one or to get overwhelmed. That's okay. There are a million other things swimming around in our heads besides what is actually happening, like bills, summer plans, cleaning the house, planning the meals, our jobs inside or out of the home, friendships, family. All of those things are active in the back of our minds while we are taking care of our kids. As many of my friends said to me yesterday, sometimes you just need to cry it out. It was true. I needed a good cry and boy did it help. So hang in there summer mamas. You got this.

That's all for now. God is good.

Moms in Vegas!



As some of you saw on Facebook, last week I took a trip to Las Vegas with my good friend Betsy. Betsy's husband, Mark and Nate went to seminary together. Now Betsy lives in Detroit with her family, so we don't get to see each other too often.

So why did I go to Vegas? Well, I have always been a huge Celine Dion fan. When I was 11 years old, my family went to Las Vegas and Celine Dion had just started a residency there. Sadly, we could not get tickets to see her then. Since that trip, I have always wanted to see her in Vegas. I had mentioned to Nate once that I would love to see her in Vegas. I figured that we could go some day when the kids were older. Well, Nate did some research and found out that Celine would be ending her time in Vegas this summer. So, for my Christmas gift this past year, he got together with his parents and my mom and they all chipped in for a quick trip to Vegas for me and a friend to see Celine. To say that I was excited on Christmas morning was an understatement. Nate took a video of me reading a note explaining the trip, this video will never see the light of day because I was fresh out of bed and I was so excited that I hit Zoe in the chest. If you ask her, she will reenact the scene for you. Needless to say, I was crazy excited.



When I opened my gift at Christmas!!

Betsy and I planned our flights to come into Vegas within 20 minutes of each other and then we were able to have the first of our flights back to the Midwest together. We had such an amazing time. We shopped. Betsy has two sons and two foster daughters all under age 7. We have zero time to shop without kids under foot. Outlet malls plus moms minus kids equals bliss. We ended up mostly buying stuff for the kids.

We were so excited to only have to feed ourselves on this trip and not several people. We went down to the hotel breakfast and were able to eat our food hot and fast. We had time to sleep in, read books and nap.

Of course, we were still in Vegas. We did plenty of people watching, walking on the strip and seeing the sights. We were able to walk to the Bellagio and see the famous fountains. The walking in Vegas was a lot for this pregnant lady so we ended up utilizing Uber quite a lot. Getting an Uber is an interesting adventure. The app is super easy to use. Let me tell you though, in Las Vegas, if you call and Uber you better be ready. There are several drivers and there is most likely a driver dropping someone off at your location so they will be ready in a minute. We met a lot of interesting Uber drivers. A couple of our favorites were a man from Detroit whose son works for Macklemore and Chance the Rapper and a high school teacher that is originally from Guam.


Bellagio

One of our favorite eating spots was the Peppermill. Apparently the Peppermill has been in Las Vegas for a very long time. It has HUGE portions, trees and other greenery growing in the dining room and neon everywhere. One of our waitresses was wearing an evening gown. It was a very interesting place. Everyone we talked to described it as "very much old Vegas". The food was fantastic and we were still stuffed in the morning.




Giant Portion


Betsy and I with all the indoor foliage at The Peppermill


The second night we of course saw Celine Dion and she was FABULOUS. I have seen a lot of concerts in the last year. She is one of the best. Because of the nature of her ballad type songs, I thought she would be a pretty serious performer. She was actually super goofy and quite entertaining. Along with her great ability to make everyone laugh, her voice was as clear as listening to a CD. Her song performance was beautiful. She has a fantastic orchestra, conductor and vocalists. She is going to be going on tour here soon. If she is coming to your town, you should go. She is phenomenal. If you would like a taste of her goofiness, look up Carpool Karaoke with James Corden and Celine Dion on YouTube. She was just as silly on stage.



So excited! 


Here she comes!!!


She was fantastic.

The last day, we did a little more shopping, sat by the pool and headed back to the airport.


Selfie with the Bellagio ceiling glass art.


In the Bellagio Garden


Betsy with the weird moving birds


Butterfly


Sweet floral butterfly


Obligatory picture with a slot machine


Betsy pretending she won big


Everyone needs a picture with the Las Vegas sign


When we're together we have to take a Diet Coke pic.


Many thanks to my mom and Nate's parents for chipping in on the trip. A big shout out to Mark, Betsy's husband, for wrangling their four kiddos while Betsy was gone. The biggest thanks to my husband for planning everything and giving me this gift of a dream to see Celine and a much needed mom break for my friend and I. We had a fantastic time and are so thankful for it!

That's all for now! God is good!

Zach is Two!

Last month, our handsome man turned two years old! I can't believe it. Zach is fun, crazy and loves sleep. He is growing so fast and is tall. Don't know where he's getting the tall gene but we'll take it. Unfortunately, he will probably pass up his sister in height soon, and she will not be happy.

Zach likes:

  • His family
  • Milk
  • Sleep
  • Food
  • Ice Cream
  • Cookies
  • His Bed
  • Scout
  • His bear
  • "Vrooms" - Cars
  • "Rawrs" - Dinosaurs
  • Playing with his "Shishy" (sissy)
  • Playing outside
  • Watching Cleo and Cuquin
  • Dancing
  • Running
  • Baths
  • Suckers 
  • Climbing
  • Pretending he's a ghost
Zach doesn't like:
  • Sitting in the grocery cart
  • Getting in his car seat
  • Having his hair washed
  • Having his diaper changed
  • Being woken up
  • Being given the wrong cup (his preference changes daily)
  • Zoe taking his toys
  • Zoe not sharing her toys
  • Sitting to eat (he prefers to stand)
  • Sitting still in church (If anyone wants to adopt him for church, he's all yours.)
What people say about Zach:
  • "He's so cute."
  • "He has a lot of energy."
  • "He's tall."

My Wild Thing


His First Cardinals Game


My Boy


All Boy


Mr. Personality



Every Girl's Crazy Bout A Sharp Dressed Man


His Mama is Smitten


Snow Bear


Bucket Head


He's so cool.


My miracle sleeper ready for bed.


Relaxing with a cold milk after his bath.


Celebrating two!

We are so blessed to have Zach the bear as our sweet buddy. He makes us laugh every day. He is all boy and super sweet at the same time. 

That's all for now. God is good.




A Day in the Second Trimester

According to my Baby App on my phone, the baby
is the size of an avocado.
Today, as I do every day, I had plenty of things to get done. How many of those things I would actually complete? That depended on a lot of things. See I am finally getting into the second trimester, otherwise known as the good trimester. The best trimester of them all. Usually, you're feeling a bit better and you have more energy. Well starting this weekend I could definitely see a turn around in energy. In the first trimester, all I tried to do all day was keep my eyes open. I would come home from my morning walking group, sit down in my recliner and regret that I had sat down because now I was doomed for a morning of trying to keep my eyes from shutting. Some mornings I would try to coax Zach to come sit on my lap and watch TV so I could sleep. If he was sitting on me, I knew he wasn't finding danger. Oh no, I mean it. He seeks out danger. One day he got scissors out of a drawer he is too short to look into. He just remembered that they were there.

Starting this weekend, I started to get some of my energy back, now of course, I took my afternoon nap on the weekend because mama has needs and after all I am still growing a human. They don't turn out so cute without some effort, people. However, I really tried to start tidying up our house a bit for Zach's birthday party. I cleaned his room, I straightened and did a quick clean of the bathroom sink and I changed the bedding in our bedroom. This may not seem like a lot to you but I haven't been able to do much in months. I felt so accomplished and wanted to keep it up.

Today, as usual, I walked with my walking group, then I took Zach to Walmart. We HAD to get some groceries. That place was unusually busy for a Monday morning so it took us longer than normal. When we got home, I brought the groceries in and then watched the kids play outside until lunch. Watching the kids play outside is relaxing because it's gorgeous out lately but it's also something that can turn into a lot of work really quick because of my danger loving son. He loves to bolt between the house and the church toward the road. But it was nice for all of us to get some fresh air. After lunch when Zach went down for his nap, Zoe and I spent some time outside. She played and I folded laundry. Folding laundry outside was actually great. Usually I start to fall asleep while I fold laundry on the couch but there was so much going on and it was so beautiful that I folded both of the kids clean clothes. Zoe and I then went through all of her clothes and pulled out the clothes that are too small. At this point, I had realized that I was really getting things done. Not only this, but I had a plan for dinner!!! This never happens. Usually if I am productive, dinner isn't getting cooked. It is getting ordered. I cooked dinner. Put away Zach's clothes and went through his drawers too. I put the kids to bed and now I am laying in bed writing this post. I feel so accomplished for what some people may think isn't that much.

I am hoping this is how my second trimester is going to be all trimester long. Full of energy and productivity. At this rate, I'll get the basement cleaned up before the baby is here. HAHA Hey, sometimes dreams come true.

That's all for now. God is good.