Look who's facing forward now!

(Yes, I know she's been legal for 2 mths now, but I read somewhere it was technically safer to face backwards as long as possible, so we delayed turning her around).


Her response, "Hey! Where'd my brother and sister go?  Now I have to stare at the back of Mommy and Daddy's head!"


Check out 5 Minutes for Mom for more Wordless Wednesdays.

Come back on Friday and read a guest post from my SIL!  (She's gonna give you an inside look at the circus life from outside perspective)!


The Steelers play the Ravens on Monday Night Football tonight on ESPN.

We are so psyched!  It is probably my favorite game of the year.  If there's anything I enjoy watching more than the Steelers win, it's watching them win against the Ravens.  Here's hoping for a good game!!  Go STEELERS!!!

Ya know I love holidays...we go all out with food, clothing, decor and not just for Christmas.   I'm sporting the leprechaun hat for St Patty's day, serving up enchiladas and corona on Cinco De Mayo, and partying it up on

International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

I was quite proud of myself this week when I finished buying my kids their Halloween costumes.  I mean it isn't even October yet, and we've got the Spiderman, Princess, and Lady Bug bought and hanging in the closet.

Now I didn't say anything to you all on JULY 3rd when I was shopping for last minute cookout food and saw candy corn for sale at Giant.

I am not exaggerating, my mom can back me up on this, she was with me.  HELLO... Halloween candy BEFORE the 4th of July?!?!?

But, I can't keep quiet about this....

As the kiddos and I were searching Target for trick or treating pumpkins we found Christmas lights and Christmas cards on the aisle across from Halloween decor.

We were just in the first week of fall, and already they are pushing Christmas stuff.  You gotta be careful when buying your candy, you could accidentally purchase red and green candy instead of Halloween.   And what about Thanksgiving?  Stores go from Halloween straight to Christmas.

I love Christmas.  Truly I do.  But I like to wait until I've packed away the summer clothes, and the leaves have fallen from the trees (or at least changed colors), before I start buying my Christmas cards.  I'm just saying... can't we slow down, and enjoy the season we're in without rushing and pushing for the next holiday down the line?

Last week in our Catechism Class, I taught the kids the song "This Little Light of Mine."  We talked about how we can let our lights shine and how we can hide our light.  We played a game where I would name some actions (like obeying your parents, or hitting your sister) and then the kids had to say if that action let their light shine or covered it up. (They got to turn the flashlight off or on when it was their turn to answer the question).

This week before and after preschool my son and I have discussed this.  I reminded him that when he goes to school, he needs to think about letting his light shine.  This afternoon my son said to me, "Mom, I let my light shine today."  I asked him how, and he said, "I sat criss cross applesauce when my teacher told me to."  I affirmed to him that obeying his teacher is definitely a way to let his light shine.  I plan to carry this further and have this discussion throughout the day, especially during the now common sibling fights which occur.

I am hoping that by starting this dialect early I can teach my children to think practically each day about how they can let their lights shine for Jesus in this world. I also want to teach them to analyze their actions to see if they accomplished this goal.   (And when they fail, to lead them in confessing their sins).

The same needs to be true in my life.  At the end of the day, can I list ways in which I let my light shine?  Hmmm... was I letting it shine or covering it with a basket (aka hide it under a bushel) when I was waiting in the line at the store, sopping up my flooded basement, avoiding my neighbor...

This simple children's song can be used as a tool for discipleship in my family as I strive to teach my children to live their lives as lights in the dark world and to let their lights shine for Jesus through their everyday actions.


Philippians 2:14-16 (New International Version)

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.


Weekend Thoughts:
My posts typically relate funny anecdotes about the happenings here at the circus  but, I use my last post of the week to highlight something a little more “thoughtful” and significant. If you had a thoughtful post from this last week, or choose to make a new one, please feel free to add a link in the comments section below. I’d love to hear what you are thinking.

Our two year old as gotten quite attached to her baby doll.  She mothers her in all sorts of ways.

She reads her stories at nap time.


And arranges a spot for her (and almost every one of her stuffed animals) to sleep beside her at nap time.


She gives her a nebulizer treatment because she had a bad cough.


She even started potty training her this week!


  I must say I am enjoying watching her in this stage. 

 Baptism 055 

Today is my husband's grandma's birthday.  Sadly, she isn't here to celebrate with us as the Lord took her home this past February.  

I think of her often and miss her.  She used to love to bump heads with our kids.  She'd lean forward so their foreheads touched and say, "bump."  My youngest will do it from time to time with me and every time I think to myself, "Grandma would have loved that!"  When the family's all together and I'm serving dessert I can almost here her say, "Hey that's too small a slice!" Certain frilly, pink dresses that the girls wear or bows in their hair remind me of her as I know she'd love them.   And anytime I take the girls out without their socks or shoes on I can hear her scold me as well! 

Every time this song comes on the radio, I think of Grandma and Grandpa and every time I hear it, the tears come to my eyes and start trickling down my face.

They left a rich legacy for their family of a godly marriage and love.  No one could doubt the love they had for each other.   Grandpa is a picture of a gentleman and she was a true lady.  He took care of her every need with love and grace as her health failed her near the end.   Scott sat with them both at the hospital as she died, watching his Grandpa walk his Grandma home after over 60 years of marriage.    Their love is an inspiration for us all. 

How I wish we could serve her some cake and ice cream tonight!

*When I was looking through my hard drive for pictures for our digital frame, I came across the above picture.  It was taken over four years ago at a cookout for my son's baptism.   I don't think it ever made it into a scrapbook, so I'm sharing it with all of you for Kristen's Me to You Carnival.   Unlike many of the pictures I share for this carnival, it definitely belongs in a scrapbook.

I gotta confess from the start, this is not quite Wordless.


As I was tidying up the house during nap time this week, I found this in my kitchen.  I bent down to pick them up and decided to snap a quick picture first.  Because some day, my kids will be grown and in school, and I won't find half dressed baby dolls lying on the floor beside toy guns with my vacuum attachment stuck on top to turn it into a light saber.  And when I sit alone in my clean and quiet house waiting for my teens to buzz in the door between school, and jobs, and sports, I know I am going to think back to these days (you know the ones with toys covering the floor, and Cheerios in the couch cushions)  And I will miss them, immensely.

So this picture is to remind me to cherish these fleeting days and to savor the time by playing baby doll, and ball, and army, all while cooking dinner and tidying up the house.

For less words and more pictures, check out 5 Minutes for Mom for Wordless Wednesday.

A few weeks ago my hubby and I were shopping for a big purchase.   We aren't the type to make big purchases on the fly.  They require lots of research and thinking and looking and more research then finally purchasing.  Cameras, cars, computers, TV's... they're all the same drill. 

But with three kids under 4, it's not quite as easy as it used to be. 

We made two trips to the store in one weekend and I totally felt like a traveling circus. 

As my husband tried to talk to the salesman and look at various models, I kept my eye on the kiddos and wondered why in the world I even bothered to come.  It wasn't like I was really able to concentrate on anything other than my 2 and 4 year old playing catch with my daughter's purse and my one year old running in the opposite direction from the other two, continually. 


When I was called in my by hubby for consultation, I did so with a bucking bronco in my arms and the other two bouncing around.  My 2 year old would run up and grab the legs of the salesman, startling them with her huge embrace. 

As we left the store I looked at my husband and said, "This is why I like shopping online." 

With online shopping my husband can do all the research he wants while the kiddos are in the comfort of their own homes, (or better yet their beds) and I can just come look at the screen and listen to the summary.  And my favorite part, they deliver to your home.  I don't have to haul the kiddos out of the house, find their shoes, buckle them in their car seats, unbuckle them, and keep my eye on them in the store.   Online shopping totally works for me.  And I learned by trip three to the store, that for times when we can't shop online, we make sure not to leave the stroller at home. 

Before you check out more great tips at Rocks in My Dryer, take a look at a few more pics of our traveling circus.

IMG_4386Yea...whose bright idea was it put giant red walkway through their store?  My oldest two thought it looked like a race track and my youngest treated it like the "yellow brick road" continually trying to follow the red road away from Mommy and Daddy.


We did get a reprieve when the kids found the movies.  They sat quietly looking at the movie pictures for quite awhile.  Doesn't my son look pathetic as he lays on the floor in complete boredom waiting for Mommy and Daddy to finish?


Those of you that have read my blog in the past, know I am all about keeping it real...so, this week I'm taking you behind those closed doors and showing you what I don't typically share with anyone.

Our Master Bedroom

The bedroom is supposed to be a place of calm and relaxation...where you can rest...a place of rest and rejuvenation.  I read somewhere that you should decorate it with things that are sentimental and special to the two of you, a place that is yours as a couple.  OK, so I do have some sentimental wedding and honeymoon mementos hanging in the room, but the place was FAR from a sanctuary of rest and relaxation.   To be honest, our room became the place we stashed things before company came over (hence the CLOSED doors).  Our paper trail had gotten OUT OF CONTROL.  The piles on my counter would get stashed on top of hubbies dresser when I was tidying up.  When his dresser got out of control, the stashes flowed to his dresser drawers and eventually even his bed stand drawers. 

Wondering how it got this bad?  Well, when our second child was born, we moved our son into what used to be our office and put her in his nursery.  So, we lost our office.  We moved a filing cabinet into our room to help keep the papers organized, but I didn't stay on top of filing RIGHT AWAY, and as the pile grew, it morphed out of control.  As you can see here.


I honestly started this tackle in early August.  I'd get paper sorted to be filed  IMG_4465

and then one or more kiddos would wake and I'd have to abandon ship only to end up piling them all up again that night to crawl into bed. 

So, Daddy took the kids out one evening and this allowed me to get all the papers filed and stuff put away.  See how much better it looked that night?


I'm so excited, I'm going to let you get another look at that dresser.  I moved his nightstand so that I could actually get into the file cabinet (making it MUCH easier to stay on top of filing those papers) and then I put our printer on top of it (a much better spot than on the floor).  I guess you can call our master bedroom our bedroom/office.


This left me feeling so rejuvenated and excited that I set off to tackle my dresser.





So, the next day (this was a MULTI, MULTI day project)  I decided to clean out under my bed.  The big kids were happily painting with water colors and my baby girl was enjoying playing with the many things I found under our bed.IMG_3326

The kids were being really good and quiet (smell trouble...just wait) so I decided to vacuum the TON of dog hair I discovered under my bed... Whew, I was flying high so excited by how productive I was being.   This should have triggered some warning bells in my mind.  It did, but not soon enough...

I went out to check on the big kids to find my son had splattered paint all over my wall. 


I couldn't get it to come out in a picture, thankfully b/c watercolors aren't all that bright.  I did capture my son's remorse over being caught in his disobedience.  I went down stairs very frustrated to get some paper towels to clean the paint off of the walls.  I was so close to finishing my "den of relaxation" and was quite annoyed with the additional hurdle.  IF ONLY THAT WAS IT...

However, when I went down for the paper towels, I found this mess awaiting me.


We'd had someone at our house earlier that day to install fiber optics and he had knocked the overflow tube out of place .  So when my washing machine drained, it drained all over our work room instead of down the pipes. 

Now, I was REALLY discouraged...I called my dear hubby and since it was the end of the day, he was able to come home and help me clean out the work room, and suck up the water. 

Not to be defeated, the next day I went back to the bed...


Check it out, there is NOTHING there!!  YIPPEE!

I am learning that with three kids under 4, tackles take a bit of time.  You gotta tackle things many small steps at a time.  But, I am so excited with the end result!  For more satisfying tackles, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.


IMG_8222Incase you missed it, mark your calendars for next year...this past Friday was International Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sept 19th).   I told you in my About Page that I like to celebrate holidays...you can see that I wasn't kidding!  The kids were looking forward to the big day all week long!  Daddy came home from work at lunch to join us for the mid day festivities.

The first thing on our agenda was to "raise the jolly roger up yonder pole!" (atop my son's sailboat bed). 

IMG_8195 We then ate our pirate cuisine...chicken right on the bones (aka drumsticks) with cannon ball snack puffs and pumpernickel bread (because pirates love pumpernickel my son said, but really the truth is he LOVES pumpernickel and since it was a special occasion, I treated him)!  We also ate shark fruit snacks (b/c they were the most piratey fruit snack I could find). 

IMG_8193 My son has become an "expert" on pirates through various library books over the years.  From them we've gleaned that pirates chew with their mouths full, are bad guys, stand on the table, and don't wear underwear.   My son was quite excited to talk with his mouth full (as if he never does this any other time) but I drew the line with going commando!   My favorite quote of the day was when we were getting ready to take the above family photo.  I told my son that we just needed to set the timer to take this picture real quickly and then we could eat our lunch.  He looked at me with a very serious expression and said, "Mom, we're not really pirates, we still need to pray before we eat!"  What a sweet buccaneer he is!

IMG_8202 After taking some time out for a little sword fighting (even our youngest got in on the action)Daddy returned to work. But not without a quick rendition of dancing and singing with us to "Pirates Who Don't Do Anything"  courtesy of Veggie Tales and You Tube.    After he left we took some time to read a few pirate library books and color some pirate coloring pages.   A truly good time was had by all and I think we've got the beginning of a new tradition at our house!

Our church has a catechism class for 4-9 year olds that meets weekly on Sunday evenings.  This year I will be co-teaching my sons class on the beginning catechism.  Throughout the course of the year he will work to memorize the first 48 questions in the Westminster Shorter Catechism.  

I am really excited about this because the catechism provides an easy way to teach and remember vital Biblical truths.  

For example here are the first five catechism questions.


1.  Q. Who made you?

      A. God.

2.  Q. What else did God make?

     A.  God made all things.

3.  Q. Why did God make you and all things?

      A. For his own glory.

4.  Q. How can you glorify God?

      A. By loving him and doing what he commands.

5.  Q. Why are you to glorify God?

      A. Because he made me and takes care of me.


My son knows these and my 2 year daughter even knows the first three questions.  These first three questions are so vital.  From them they learn that they were created by God with a purpose.  And the purpose for each of our lives is to glorify God.   Our family starts each day praying that each of us would bring God glory with our lives for we know that is why He created us. 

The catechism questions are a tool which help us as we raise our children.  One Sunday my son was in one of those moods.  You know those moods your children get when their answer to everything is "No" and it all comes out in a whine?  As we were getting them out of their car seats he grumbled that he didn't want to go to church.  I looked right at him and asked, "Why did God make you"  He replied "for His own glory."  Right I replied.  "And why do we glorify God?"  He answered, "because he made me and takes care of me."  Exactly I responded, and one way we can glorify God is by going to church and worshipping him even when we don't feel like it because he is worthy of our worship.  

The catechism questions are more than just a list of questions and answers to be memorized.  They provide a practical way to learn Biblical truths and apply them in our everyday life.  I am really excited about learning and applying these truths as I teach my son's class this year. 

Weekend Thoughts:
My posts typically relate funny anecdotes about the happenings here at the circus  but, I use my last post of the week to highlight something a little more “thoughtful” and significant. If you had a thoughtful post from this last week, or choose to make a new one, please feel free to add a link in the comments section below. I’d love to hear what you are thinking.

My son had his first soccer game last weekend.   I couldn't have been a more proud mom on the sideline as I watched him play.  He grinned from ear to ear the entire time he was out there.    By looking at these pictures you'd think he was the star of the game.  (of course in my eyes, he was) Check him out as he blows past the other team and heads for the goal.



Now, if you're a soccer mom you know that at games played by four year olds, you don't get shots like this.  Kids travel in huge packs swarming around the ball like a swarm of bees.

Pretty priceless pictures, huh?

Now for those thousand words...

This was my son's first soccer game.  EVER.  He'd had one practice before this.  So, the concepts of the game were lost on him.

When the coaches stopped the game due to someone falling down, my son didn't realize that meant they were no longer going for the ball.


You can see the huddle on the ground on the left and on the right you see my son and a few others seizing the opportunity to go after the ball.


Look at him go, he is so excited...as he blows past the other kids and heads down the field.  You can see the adults in the corner looking towards the left because they know what my dear son doesn't.  The game has stopped.

This is where the pictures go chronologically from the top of the post.  My son kept right on running down the field and to the goal.   Proud as can be.


This is a shot you don't often see...someone dribbling the ball back down the field away from the goal so they can restart the game.

His grin as he looked over to us on the sidelines was truly priceless.  While some intricacies of the game are lost on him, he knows you are supposed to go after the ball and take it to the goal.  Not too bad for his first game.

We took the kids to the county fair last week.   Being the suburbanites that we are my kids don't get many opportunities to see livestock up close and personal, so we make a point of going every fall to see the cows, ducks, chickens, goats, sheep, and pigs.   Since we don't exactly live in the country, it's not quite as big as I'm sure some county fairs are, but a fun learning experience none the less.

IMG_7942 This year I saw something I'd never seen before.  A calf nursing.  And as I looked over at it I thought to myself how I could relate with that poor mama cow as the life was being literally sucked right out of her in front of the whole world.  But then I watched the little calf head but it's mama as he nursed.  REPEATEDLY.  My husband laughed because he said my mouth just hung open and it was quite obvious the feelings of sympathy that were running through my mind.   My nursing days are through for now, but I'll think twice before complaining to anyone about the discomfort.  While I often did eat my meal while nursing, I NEVER had to go to the bathroom while nursing (yes, see that nice deposit down there by mama's feet, my poop loving kids got a kick outta watching that action) and thankfully I wasn't head butted repeatedly during the process. 

fun at the county fairThat is one picture and anecdote that I'll save just for my friends at THAT family's carnival.  I think I'll just put this picture in my scrapbook instead and keep the anecdote between me and you.

napping with baby doll

For more Wordless Wednesdays, visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

My husband was grilling burgers for dinner the other day.  I had set the buns out on the counter to defrost earlier in the day.  I'd also set out a stick of butter because I planned to bake cookies this weekend and knew I'd need the butter to be soft. 

I had seen my 2 year old daughter over by the counter asking about the bread, but I didn't pay that much attention. 

When I went to give the buns for my husband, this is what I found.



Nice, huh?  Anyone want a slightly mauled buttered bun for their burger?

Ah, the joys of dining with toddlers. 

My kids have a fascination with poop. 

(Have no fear no pictures included in this post)!

Every time we change our baby's diaper, the older two want to know if it is poop and if it is they want to see it. 

As odd as it is to us, it seems like an easy and harmless enough wish to comply with that my husband and I know "don't throw the diaper into the pail until you've held it up for all to see." 

I am not a mom that laughs at her kids pain.  I consider myself to be somewhat of a softy tender hearted.  

But today, I did have to turn my head to hide my chuckle as I listened in on my husband and son's conversation.

Son crying

Husband:  What is wrong?

Son:  You didn't let me see the poop

(ok for real he isn't just whining here... REAL tears are streaming down his face)

Husband:  No, you were in the room when I changed her diaper, I held it up and called for anyone who wanted to see the poopy diaper to come see

Son:  But I didn't see it

Husband:  Then it is your fault, you sister came and saw it, I told you about it. 

Son:  still crying  (I just want to point out that he isn't a cry baby who cries over every little thing...he is crying because he is genuinely distraught and utterly disappointed).

(this is my favorite line) Husband:  I knew how important this was to you, I was surprised to find you crying because I thought you had seen the poop.

Eventually the issue is resolved as Dad pointed out he did his part, he wasn't being mean, and I reminded my son that she poops pretty much every day so he can always check it out tomorrow.

My husband and I exchanged looks which communicated, "Who knew looking at poop was so important?"  and "Can you believe I just had that conversation?"

I'm just wondering....are my kids weird?  Are we alone on this?  Or do you have similar conversations in your house? 

This Thursday I began a new year of Bible Study with an organization called BSF.   One of the biggest reasons I chose this study over others is that it has a children's program unlike any other I've seen.   My kids will be going through a preschool curriculum based on the same study I will be doing.  I am so excited about talking with my older two children about what we are learning each week.

The topic for this year is the life of Moses.  As I read through my lesson this week on the overview of Moses's life, I found myself challenged.  Moses was described as a man of faith, prayer, humility, and courage.  One thing that my lesson pointed out was that he did not seem to posses this traits at the beginning of his life, but he learned them as he walked with God.  I am so excited as I start a new year, hoping that in May I can look back and see where the Lord has helped me to grow in this areas as well. 

The beginning of fall and "back to school" season often marks the beginning of new Bible studies in various churches and organizations.   What are you studying this year?  How do you hope to grow?   I'd love to hear about it!


Weekend Thoughts:
My posts typically relate funny anecdotes about the happenings here at the circus  but, I use my last post of the week to highlight something a little more “thoughtful” and significant. If you had a thoughtful post from this last week, or choose to make a new one, please feel free to add a link in the comments section below. I’d love to hear what you are thinking.

My son is an individual.  Despite the fact that his parents are crazy football fans and could care less about baseball, he decided when he was about 2 that he loved baseball.  He'd willingly sit and watch it on TV.  We've even Tivoed a few games for him or let him watch portions of Sports Center.  We've taken him to a few minor league games in the past, but tonight we took our oldest two children to their first Major League Baseball Game.  

As we drove to the ballpark, my son started singing the song and said, "Come on everyone join me" 

So please join us...

Take Me Out to the Ballgame


Take me out to the crowds (hmm...not quite)


Buy me some peanuts


and crackerjacks ballpark franks


I don't care if I never get back


Let me root, root, root for the home team


If they don't win it's a shame


For it's one, two, three strikes your out


At the old....ball....game!!!



A good time was had by all.  And the looks on my kids faces as they took in the sights, sounds, and tastes of the ball field was my absolute favorite part. 

My 2 year old daughter loves Sesame Street.

Except for this guy.


Every time he comes on the screen, she does this.


or this.



The first time he scared her, I came into the room to find her laying face down on the couch crying.  I asked her what was wrong and she said, "Cookie Monster yelled at me!"  I think she really thought he was yelling at her when he was screaming for his cookies.

Now every time he comes on, my son will quickly warn my daughter to cover her eyes because Cookie Monster is on! 

Many of you know, that my hubby and I are big Pittsburgh Steelers fans.  Sadly, many of the games are not televised here.    We didn't want to miss the big opening game on Sunday, so we took the kids to Glory Days restaurant to watch the game. 

My hubby and I were a little nervous about how well this would go down.  How would we keep 3 kids entertained sitting at a restaurant table for 3 hours? 

IMG_4364Thankfully, this isn't just any restaurant.  There are TV's all around the restaurant with speakers at each table.  You punch the number of the game you want to watch, and you can hear your game at your table.  Not only does this mean that we get to watch and hear our game, but it means the restaurant is loud... as in loud enough to cover the sounds of our 3 ring circus. 

IMG_4365  We all had a great time watching the game (helps when your team is up the entire game and wins 38-17).  My son would proudly wave his terrible towel every time we got a touch down or he heard Mommy and Daddy screaming.  (Yes, we will def have to undo the damage we've done in teaching our kids restaurant manners). 

In between screaming at touchdowns, we kept the kids occupied with food.  In addition to the kids meals, we came with reinforcements of crackers and raisins. 

I also brought along some toys for them to play with at the table when they grew restless.


Play dough was a big hit with my 2 year old.


My littlest fan enjoyed playing with a toy truck.


And I printed off coloring sheets for the oldest two (went online and found football coloring sheets...even got to specify the number 7 for the quarterback I printed off)

Since we don't yet have NFL Sunday Ticket, watching the big game at Glory Days worked for us.  Coming stocked with extra snacks and plenty of toys to occupy the kiddos, enabled us to actually watch the game while we were there.   The day was a big success in our book!  (Did I mention the Steelers won 38-17)?  Success, indeed!


Check out Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer for more helpful tips.