More elf mischief…

Here are a few more pictures of our elf’s antics this month. Some of these ideas came from Pinterest, some I tweaked, and some are my original ideas as I stood in the living room {bedroom, kitchen, etc} trying to think of something fun and quick because I just didn’t want to do any on my list. Ha!
 
Buddy totally messed up our school wall while trying to tell us how many days until Christmas. The boys thought this was hilarious and Gabriel asked why there was a tag on his bottom.

Easy peasy lemon squeazy. I was sick and then the baby was sick and then I was sick again so I was grateful for some easy elf mischief!
On the night of a Christmas parade, Buddy left the above note. We don’t allow gum and Buddy had a great solution! They left their gum from the parade in the bowl and in the morning…giant suckers!
This totally cracked Gabriel up. He then painted a *black hat* on the snowman’s head…while being careful to not touch Buddy.
This was another fave….and curiously, all those chocolate chips slowly disappeared as the day went on.

Probably the best one yet. Ha! They actually ate the fish in the glass jar…which had NOT been in the toilet.
With all of the sickness around our house, it was really only a matter of time before poor Buddy caught it!

Four-wheeler racing with Iron Man. They had a blast with this one. They raced and raced them all morning. Anytime Buddy would fall or slip, they would ask me {because Buddy gave me permission to touch him in cases such as this} to put him back on his four-wheeler.

I have several more to share but I’m out of time! Four days until Christmas and I still have a ton of Christmas shopping and baking to do.

If you want to see more elf mischief, click on the Elf on the Shelf label below.

Merry Christmas!

Like a lost sheep.

You know the parable of the lost sheep? {Luke 15:4-7}  A story of lost souls, Jesus loving and seeking those who don’t yet know Him, going after them relentlessly, not wanting to leave even one in danger.

I think this parable also applies to the saved who have drifted away from Him, those who also need rescuing. I can identify with this type of lost sheep because this is exactly how I have felt for months now. I didn’t even realize it until today as I drove home this afternoon. This is me…the lost sheep.

And I’m ok with this fact because I know the Shepherd is coming after me. I realized this too as I was driving.  God’s got this…He has all along.

This is a story that some of you will read and actually know what specifically I’m talking about….you know, those IRL (in real life) people who read my blog.  I’m not telling it for any other reason than I blog my feelings and I’m real about my life. A few years ago a blogger friend who I haven’t met IRL told me that I had the perfect life. Nothing wrong or bad ever happened to me. My life was fun, exciting, joyous, wonderful, blah, blah, blah. I asked if we were thinking of the same life. My life IS fun, exciting, joyous, wonderful….but plenty wrong happens in between all the good stuff, and it’s not even close to perfect. I’m just a regular person with problems and faults. Why in the world would she say that?!

Well. Because of my blog. I only talked about the good things. Fun things. Exciting things. Joyous and wonderful things. Honestly? I didn’t think anyone wanted to hear all the bad junk. Everyone has their own junk…why would anyone want to read about mine? So after that eye-opening conversation, I decided then to just be real…100% me…the good, the bad, and the ugly. {which by the way was during a time of postpartum depression so if anyone else in the bloggity world thought I had a perfectly happy go-lucky life, they learned pretty quick that I did NOT. Ha!}

That is what this post is about…real open honest 100% me.  I’m saying this because I have NO hard feelings. Honestly. I blame NOBODY. I love everyone involved. And I truly am ok with how things turned out. So there’s my disclaimer. 🙂  I love you.

So back to the lost sheep.

I was deeply involved in a ministry at my church. I loved it. A few months ago, things happened and I was no longer involved in that ministry. I was hurt, more than I thought possible. I know my calling in this life…I have since I was a little girl. I also know that it doesn’t apply specifically to one place or another.  I know the place or circumstance can change…it has before.

But I really thought this would be my place for a long time.

I became involved in another ministry at the same church {that was already in the works…can’t tell me God doesn’t look out for us!}. It wasn’t as fulfilling but it was the perfect distraction that I needed to let my heart heal before making any decisions about my family’s future at the church.

I’ll be honest….if not for the Run for God group that my husband and I led this fall, we would have left the church and I would have completely abandoned my faith…because that was my gut reaction.  My husband said he would be supportive and understanding of any decision I made but he really wanted me to hang on. I didn’t want to. I wanted to let go and pretend like none of it happened. Go back to the time when Sundays were lazy days and life was on cruise control…because that was easier. 

I can be stubborn in my thinking so God really pulled out some small miracles during the duration of our Run for God meetings. He showed up every time during our meetings and then surprised me by joining me on my personal runs. I challenged him repeatedly…and he accepted and surpassed my challenges every time. A ministry that I helped lead actually ended up ministering to me.

I laugh when I think about it now. I’m an emotional person. I cry at commercials. I cry when I think about sad things, happy things, fun things, bad things. Man…I had to try really, really hard not to cry every time I ran through the colors at the Color Run last month just because I was SO excited to be there. My emotions are right out there on my sleeve for all the world to see. Always.

So you know I cried during our first meeting when we shared our stories {mine about a struggle to get back to my healthy self} and I cried again the night after our last meeting because of something the hubs said. He told the group that last night that he “hoped they got something out of the group, be it physical or spiritual. I know Christie did.” I’m pretty sure he meant *physically* I got something out the group because, oh boy, did I!  I got my running life back AND improved on every level of it.  And maybe he knew this group was the glue holding my faith together too because we have talked it…I don’t know. The point is this group kept me from diving down somewhere I’m so thankful I didn’t go.

Now that time has come to an end…it’s only a 12 week program.  I’m back to not knowing where I fit.  I used the Run for God weeks to just hang on. No growing. No moving forward. Nothing but just simply hanging on. It’s all I could do then and I know God was ok with that. He stayed with me through it and all he asked was that I didn’t turn my back on Him.

So that’s all I did. Hang on and keep my face turned to His.

Now decisions have to be made.  Because of my experiences in this church, I can no longer be involved with a church, and NOT give my time and energy to the mission of being “the visible church.”  I have to be involved on a level deeper than just dropping myself into a chair for one hour on a Sunday morning. This has been my greatest take-away during my time here. I have to serve.

But I don’t know what to do. This church? Another church? How do I utilize my calling in this place? Do I even? If not, where do I go to be the person I know I’m called to be?  Does my calling even have anything to do with church anymore? Where do I fit in?

And would it even be fair to pull my kids away from something they love so much?

I feel detached from the church. I feel like a stranger sitting among people I know….people I love.

And of course this affects *the practicing of* my faith.  In my home, I teach my boys every day about God’s love. I read them stories from the bible. I pick scripture for them to memorize so they have God’s Word right in their hearts. I tell them that God loves them even more than I possibly can….and they know that moms love BIG! I tell them about the importance of prayer, reading our Bibles, giving Him all glory in all things.

Yet I’m on autopilot. I don’t journal like I used to. I don’t read my bible unless I’m reading to my kids. I have a ton of books all about faith on my Kindle but I can’t even make it past the first couple of chapters before I stop reading. While I’m watering the seeds of their faith, my own faith is dormant.

Like I said, God has shown up in the last few months. My lack of motivation has not stopped His persistence. We talk. A lot. My favorite thing to do is scroll down my Facebook feed and say a “God, you got this” prayer for every status{the good, the bad, and the ugly} on my feed. It’s kind of become my ritual. But I haven’t really talked about this particular problem. I didn’t know what to say or what to ask.

Sometimes….it’s just easier to pray for someone else.

So on the drive home I realized my prayer.

God, bring me back to the fold. Drag me to where I belong. I don’t know where that is but you do. I know it will happen because You are the Good Shepherd who rescues His sheep. You got this…you have all along. 

Our new elf friend, Buddy.

An Elf on the Shelf came to stay with us this year. He was so excited to spend the holiday season with us but the boys have been less than thrilled with him for the most part. Ha! They just don’t share his sense of humor I think. He’s promised to tone down the pranks if that will make them happy.

Day One: He was found dangling outside on one of my hanging baskets on the front porch. Poor guy stayed out there forever before one of the kids saw him!  Kaleb was a little leery of a tiny elf peeking in the window. He spent the day asking if we could just sent him back.

Day Two: The elf brought the boys a yummy sugary breakfast straight from the North Pole! Snow covered donuts, hot chocolate full of marshmellows, and  fun Christmas CD. He even dug out their chocolate advent calendars so they wouldn’t forget about the first day and left them a personal note on their plates.
 
 
The boys hadn’t named him yet so he asked that we figure out a name. Three of the four boys voted for Buddy.
 
You can see that Kaleb decided maybe Buddy was a good elf! 🙂
 
The rest are in no particular order. I’ve been sick with a fever so I can’t remember exactly which we did on each night.
 
One night Buddy made himself some chocolate milk.  He left a note saying he had made more than he could drink and asked the boys if they could help him out.
 
Of course they said yes!

Buddy was very naughty one night and the boys were NOT happy with him at all!!

 







Buddy was naughty yet another night.  Gabriel said it was “a waste of perfectly good toilet paper! Have you ever been stuck on the toilet with NO toilet paper?” Drake was equally upset. Ha! I think Buddy was beginning to see these guys didn’t think his pranks were as fun as he did.

 
 
 
Budddy redeemed himself by spending a little time doing one of the boys’ favorite things….hunting! The boys were very excited to see that Buddy had found the Michael Waddell doll’s bow, and they thought it was hilarious that he was using a toothpick for an arrow. What else is an elf to use?
 
 
In case you’re wondering what exactly Buddy was hunting….well, it IS deer season!!  I wonder if elves need a hunting license…
 
Lastly, another fun night for Buddy. Ziplining from the tree into a bowl of marshmellows! Thankfully nobody has attempted to copy Buddy’s little stunt.
 
 
There were a couple more fun mornings of Buddy but I’ll have to share them next time. I’ve sat up as long as this illness is going to allow…time to nap with the baby!
 
Buddy is getting used to our family and understands that the boys aren’t especially fond of pranks. I think he has them figured out now so the rest of his visit should be a lot of fun. 🙂
 
All of Buddy’s antics can be found HERE. 🙂

Christmas FUN!

After Thanksgiving, I put together a list of fun Christmas activities and thought I’d link what we’ll be doing here in case anyone else is looking for some things to do. 🙂

  • We did a Santa beard a couple years ago and the boys LOVED it so I thought we’d do another this year.  Found a free printable HERE.

  • I made an Activity Advent Calendar, using ideas from Activity Mom’s Advent post and filled in with some of my own. Some of these are a little young for all of my boys, though.  Fun stuff for a toddler or preschooler!! I don’t have a list of 24 simply because we won’t get in one activity every day. Weekends are busy, illness happens, unexpected things come up, AND I want to leave room for spontaneity.  Whatever we don’t get to this year can go on next year’s list.  Also I don’t have them listed in any kind of order. I’ll just pick one that fits our day.  The only dated activities are the movie nights {ABC Family channel}, the party, and the reindeer food activity. Here is our list of activities: {those marked with an * are from Activity Mom’s blog…the printables can be found there}
    • M&M wreath *
    • tree maze
    • Bow Painting *
    • Elf Movie Night-dinner of pancakes, syrup, pasta, coke, and marshmallows (thankfully my boys don’t react to sugar like some. Give them some artificial sweetener and they go bonkers. Sugar? Nothing!)
    • Glue Snowflakes *
    • Cinnamon dough ornaments
    • Christmas Party for the Kiddos!!! {details below}
    • Christmas Tree Fork Painting *
    • Peppermint Candy Craft *
    • Polar Express Movie Night {using these fun ideas!}
    • Ice Cream Cone Trees *
    • Pop Up Christmas Tree craft *
    • Make Gingerbread houses
    • Egg Carton Snowmen*
    • Finger Print Candy Cane*
    • Rip and Glue Christmas Tree*
    • Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt {using this printable}
    • Paper Bag Reindeer Puppet*
    • Grinch Movie Night {we may change this one as the boys just watched it after I printed out our activity schedule…}
    • Ride the Christmas train at a local park
    • Make Reindeer Food*

  • Elf on the Shelf. This is SO fun!! Google ideas, check out Pinterest, or read about our elf here!

  • Christmas Party for the Kiddos!!  We’re going to watch Charlie Brown Christmas while eating popcorn and drinking cocoa with friends. Also there will be a cookie decorating station and two craft stations. I’m thinking of having one of the crafts be card-making, and then taking all of the handmade cards to a local nursing home.

  • We picked up some chocolate Advent calendars for $1 each at Aldi. Who doesn’t love a little chocolate first thing in the morning?

  • And of course there will be baking. Lots and lots of yummy Christmas baking.

There are just TOO many Christmas ideas out there! I really had to limit myself so we don’t over do it. We’ve had so much fun already and it’s only December 4th! I’ll share pictures of our fun in the coming weeks.  Hope you all are having some fun this holiday season as well!!

Merry Christmas!

    School Catch Up Post

    It’s been weeks…..no MONTHS since my last school update! To be honest, there just hasn’t been that much to report. 🙂  Daddy was home with us five out of eight weeks so we didn’t get a whole lot of school work done. BUT that’s ok because taking time off when we WANT is the beauty of homeschooling!! 

    We did accomplish a little each week. I tried to sit down at least two days a week for a couple hours and get some math, phonics, vocab, and English done. We played some educational games, went on a couple field trips, and finished up co-op.  We enjoyed some fun times with Daddy, many of Nathan’s basketball games, late movie nights, and Thanksgiving with out of town family.

    Quick run-down of our last two months:

    Field trip to a pizza restaurant. FUN! The kiddos learned ha little pizza trivia, saw how the restaraunt makes pizzas, played with some dough, and made their very own pizza. They were even taught how to *toss* the pizza dough…old school!

    Co-op was super fun this year as usual. No pictures…as usual.

    Finished up football and both boys had their after season parties.

    Jr high basketball is in full swing. My favorite sport of all time!! I’ve enjoyed going to games.

    Fun park playdates with friend.

     
    Cloud and sky jello treat while learning about weather (which we still have to finish).

     
    

    LOVE this silly picture!!Joshua was a little confused by my flash but I love how he looks terrified by his crazy brothers!

     Surprise field trip to Snoopy the Musical. They enjoyed it and so did I!

     

    Halloween Trunk or Treat at our church. Drake who has never been old school trick or treating begged and begged so we swung by a couple neighborhoods on our way home….it was probably their favorite time in October!

    

     
    See? We did a little school work!!

     
     
    And we played in mountains of leaves, hung out with out of state family over Thanksgiving, had s’mores over the fire pit, and put up Christmas decorations.

     
    

    I’m ready to get back on track with full days and weeks of school. Since we don’t have out of town family coming in for Christmas, we’ll just take a couple days off and get back at it. Daddy will be in full swing at work so we won’t have him distracting us. 😉

    I’ve planned some fun Christmas actvities that I’m sharing later, and Buddy the Elf visiting this month. Can’t wait to post about his activities around our house!

    Hope you all have had a great October and November!!  Happy December!!