Sunday, April 20, 2014

HE IS RISEN!!!

Today is cause for great celebration.  Jesus Christ was crucified and buried, but in an act of victory, he triumphed over death.  HE IS ALIVE.  He is risen.  He conquered the grave and was payment for our sins.  We celebrate his victory, his all encompassing glory and power today.  Hallelujah!

I love Easter weekend.  I love celebrating it with our kids.  If there was ever a time to party, this is it!

Our traditions remain the same, but here are some updated pictures;)

On Good Friday, the table and cross are cloaked in black.   We read through the story of the crucifixion in the Jesus Storybook Bible.

Our Noelle Piper inspired calvary is the centerpiece.

Then we bury Jesus.  Since it is Christian's first Easter with us, he got to be the hands on kid this year.

Then we put Jesus in the tomb 

And roll the stone over the door way.

Next we each take the cross we decorate with our name on it and say "Jesus died for Kim (chloe, phin, etc.)" as we place it at the foot of the cross.

Our dining room remains cloaked in black and Jesus remains in the tomb all weekend.  Those days Jesus was dead had to have felt SO DARK for his friends and disciples!

BUT SUNDAY WAS COMING!!!!!!!

 Saturday we read "The Legend of the Easter Egg"

and dyed eggs

Christian was a quick learner...

Yay!


 After the kids go to bed Saturday night, we make a few changes;)  The black is gone just like our sin, and made white as snow.  Jesus is NO LONGER In the tomb, he is risen!

We make resurrection rolls first thing

We dip a marshmallow in butter and cinnamon and are reminded that oil and spices were used at Jesus burial.

We bury our marshmallow in dough just like a tomb and place our tombs in the oven...

The tomb is empty and the people are overjoyed.

So are we:)

And the tomb?  It's NOW EMPTY!  We celebrate and read the story of the resurrection as we eat.

After breakfast, we play the egg game.  It is a Lebanese tradition and in many other places with french influence.  The goal is to crack the other persons egg without cracking yours....

It gets quite competitive and has no significance whatsoever except it is fun and we laugh and we believe God loves joy and laughter- he created them after all!

 Happy Easter, friends.  He is Risen!

He is risen and because he is risen, he has conquered sin.  Death did not win.  Because of Jesus sacrifice, we are able to spend eternity with God.  We celebrate with all our hearts and souls!  If you aren't able to celebrate because you don't quite understand what that means...won't you give us a call?  We'd love to have you join us in celebrating today and in spending eternity together in heaven.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Joy

I haven't been very good about blogging, or about posting my musings, rather.  I have quite a few unpublished posts sitting waiting to be clarified.  I've just been struggling through a lot- having really hard and really good moments.  On one hand it's been hard to articulate, on another I think I've been frustrated with myself because I've been asking some of the same questions I've asked before.  Who am I?  What makes a good mom?

On top of that, we're awaiting news that would change our lives and I've struggled with what it means to follow God anywhere and be obedient with anything.  (I am not pregnant- let's just get that clear.  Marc's company may want to move us...which is uncertain and just hard to comprehend having just moved HERE!)

We've lived here 8 months and it's been a vulnerable time of transition.  It's been amazing for our marriage and we've seen God provide and lead.  For me personally, it's been a lot of ups and downs.  The long winter and my Seasonal Affective Disorder haven't helped!

I was really struggling trying to push through.  I felt defeated as a mom.  I haven't been mothering from a place of joy.  I haven't felt like I've really found "me" in this new role as an adoptive mama.

I was just telling a friend I felt empty and void of joy.  But he promises if we seek him he will be found and God just met me hugely...through alone time with him, a great women's conference, and great friends from church.

It was one of those gentle chastising weeks and yet so refreshing.  Who am I? Who am I, I ask? I know who I am.  Life has changed, sure.  Yes, I am now an adoptive mother too, but to ask "who I am"?  Who I am has not actually changed.  I am a child of the King.  I am deeply loved by my creator and I love Jesus.  I LOVE Jesus.  Kim LOVES her kids and her husband...the mad, head over heels kind of love.  I feel like in the exhaustion, I have started to believe the lie that I hate my role.  I've given into selfishness and lost focus.  God just reminded me- I actually LOVE my role as a mom.  I have been wrongly viewing it as a burden.  I've been saying and feeling like motherhood is taking too much of me.  I felt like God just said, "You're empty?  I know, dear daughter.  But Kim, isn't that the BEST place to be so that I can fill you with my Spirit?!"

I feel like Satan has been bombarding me with my insignificance and my short comings.  BOMBARDING.  I have plenty for sure, but you know what the bible says?  In Psalm 127, he says "Unless the LORD builds the house, it's builders labor in vain."  I have heard this verse so many times, but this weekend the Lord hit me with it right between the eyes.  HE is going to BUILD THIS HOUSE.  HE IS.  I do not have to labor.  I have been laboring and it's been vain.  I feel such peace.  He knows these kids.  How have I lost sight of that truth?  He is all, ALL I need.

We've lived here 8 months and on paper we shouldn't have much community or fellowship yet, but you know what?  We are beyond blessed.  Today our friends were here ALL day and we spent hours praying for one another and encouraging one another and it was just awesome.  They love Jesus and that bond is deep and the love between us is deep no matter the limited time we've had.  I am so so blessed.  The just spoke life into me today and affirmed all that God was already saying to my heart.  They affirmed my gifts and passions and they just loved on me and let me love on them.

I was struggling last week with who i am.  God reminded me- You KNOW who you are.  I was struggling with what makes a good mom and I even have a blog post half done discussing it and he gave me my answer.  HE makes a good mom- not pinterest or facebook or the myriad of good books available...and certainly not my labor.  HE makes a good mom.  HE does.  I said I wanted to parent with joy and I am filled to overflowing with joy tonight because I am loved and known.  I am saved and restored.  I am provided for...in ways I couldn't even have anticipated needing provision.

God is so good.  I am Kim Aneed and I am adopted by God.  The perfect adoptive parent, can handle leading me through the newest aspect of my role.  I am loved beyond reasoning.  He SINGS over me.  He provides for EVERY need.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I am passionate about my kids and my husband.  Most of you who know me are going, "duh!", but I'd lost sight of all that was important and this week, I just needed to be pulled back into his arms and gently, but firmly reminded, "Knock it off, you KNOW this."  He is good and joy overflows.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Unsolicited Advice for the New Mommy

My baby sister just had a baby and he is PRECIOUS...beyond precious, if I am honest.  He is a gift, a miracle and just the handsomest little thing.  I have found MYSELF having a ton of emotions this week.  First, have had some claustrophobic feelings that I've had to name and recognize.  When I held him, after about half hour, my chest started to feel tight and I had the realize I am still reeling from four kids.  The thought of having a fifth at this point in time feels so overwhelming it's paralyzing and I think when I held him too long, it felt too close to making that a reality.  WOAH- insane moment, revealing that I indeed have some more emotions to work through in this whole adjustment period.  Mostly, I have found myself almost in tears at what these next few weeks look like for Katie.  Everyone reacts differently, so I honestly don't know if it will be easy or hard.  I just know it will be a lot of change.  There may be hard moments and there will be moments that are so profoundly beautiful words couldn't begin to describe them.

I was reminded of this post I did years ago called "Unsolicited Advice for the Mommy to Be".  I wouldn't change any of that, but I'd add a couple things for the new mama.

-Take your time nesting and savoring the transition.  You don't have to feel pressured to return phone calls or get thank you notes out immediately.  Just savor the moments both with your baby and the stillness of being alone if he's sleeping.

-At the same time, don't forget who you are.  If friendships are important to you, nurture them, at your own pace, but nuture them.  Laugh, watch a movie with a friend or grab lunch.  It will do great things to your mental health to have moments that feel "normal".  It's easy to be home with baby getting used to life and then look out and feel like the world has moved on without you.  Life has changed, but you can move too- it's okay to get out.

-In the same line of thinking, GET OUT.  It is overwhelming to bundle baby up and load their tiny being into a carseat only to arrive at the mall to find they've woken up and it's time to feed.  Meet a friend there or go to a friends home that is the type of friend that will just sit with you while you nurse.  You can chat and nurse and you'll feel more alive...making the effort to get out well worth it.  Department store bathrooms usually have great nursing areas...hooter hiders work well if you want to meet a friend at starbucks;)

-Play a game or watch a movie, cuddling with your husband.  You'll easily both focus on this new change and both feel like you are grieving your old selves...your still you, just enhanced with one more and the more little ways you make time for your marriage, the easier the transition will be!  Let him hold you when you are overwhelmed and give him space to articulate his feelings on the change you've gone through together...let the experience unite you in a new way.

-Do whatever stresses you the least.  I am a firm believer that one of the worst things for a baby and marriage is a stressed out mom who is trying to live up to other's expectations.  Do your best, but give yourself the grace to not do everything perfectly!  If you need to formula feed, formula feed.  If you need to nap your baby in a swing so you can get a break from holding him/her- do it.  If you need to cosleep so you sleep, do it.  Life is short.  I think the biggest things I've learned as a mom is not everything works for every kid or every mom.  Bad habits happen and you know what- they are all fixable in about three days time.  Not a single mom of a second grader has asked me if I breast fed or used formula, or if I let her cry it out or coslept.  They all seem to be pretty well adjusted second graders and I am pretty sure we ALL did it really differently.

-Open your windows for fresh air when you can and every day put up the blinds.  You need sunshine- you need it.  It's a small step that makes you feel alive- so just do it, 'kay?

-Surround yourself with moms that are rationale and encouraging and distance yourselves from moms that want to sit around and talk passive aggressively competitively.  If someone makes you feel bad about your child or your parenting by touting their own strengths, they are not a friend.  They'll make you crazy.  We are all hard enough on ourselves.  Friendly suggestions are commonplace in friendship, but criticism and competitiveness don't have to be.

-Take people up on their offers to help.  REACH OUT.  People often want to help but don't know how- just ask.  I failed miserably at this.  I wish I could go back.  Let them grab groceries for you, bring dinner, walk your dog, or hold the baby for an hour while you nap.

-Savor, savor, savor...as difficult as transition can be, you'll look back on it sweetly.  Life goes by quickly, savor each day as it comes and in the bad moments, rest assured- they too will pass!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Whiney Winter Posts Stop here

I love the little eCard going around that says something like, "2014- The year winter defeated moms everywhere".  I mean lets face it, this winter has been hard.  It is just insane to try day after day to find ways to get out the energy of preschool children, especially when your own energy was depleted somewhere back in September.  Still, is anyone else SICK of everyone saying they are sick of winter.  I mean life is hard enough without every one's negative facebook statuses pulling you further into the pit of despair.  It takes all the energy I can muster to get out of bed and put a smile on my face.  I pat myself on the back for getting through breakfast with joy and then make the mistake of checking email and facebook only to be reminded by all these Negative Nelly's that life is horrible.  Talk about negative influence corrupting good character!  It's hard enough to stay positive people- let's help one another out!

Our children are a blessing.  I know...I know, it's March 3 and freezing cold...but it still remains true.  Just say it a few times out loud if you need to.  (I am thinking about writing it in lipstick on my mirror, myself.)  Our lives aren't as easy as when they get outside, or as when WE can get outside. But we can't really do anything about that and complaining doesn't help that much.  I personally found the more I complained about this crappo weather, the worse I feel.  Soon, I found so many swear words running through my head the minute the gust of cold hits me in the face on my way from the house to the car.  This is no way to live life.  We've all read 10,000 Gifts or at the very least have seen Oprah's episode on gratitude, and let's not fail to mention that the Bible, our guidebook to life says, "Give thanks in ALL circumstances", so how 'bout we help each other out and start spreading some positivity.   Gray attitudes certainly don't make winter any less bleak, but sunny attitudes just might.

So here are a few things I am thankful for this winter:
1) Hot tea
2) Our fireplace
3) Warm bubble baths
4) We never feel like going outside, so my husband and I have been cultivating date nights in...and lets just say our marriage is going VERY well this winter and we are finding ourselves plenty warm
5) My garage...we lived in the city for far too long to EVER take an attached garage for granted
6) My kids Swim School- it is so warm inside that it feels a little like a vacation every Monday evening
7) Clothes- I like winter clothes. I especially love my Northface Jacket I got last year on clearance and my warm boots...They are cozy, cozy.
8)  Drivethrus
9)  Warm soup and bread...I mean really, it's hard to beat on a cold day, isn't it?
10)  Children with cold, pink cheeks- it's adorable, it is just adorable.
11)  Christian saying, "Co" (his word for cold) EVERY time we go outside...and he make an adorable fake shiver every, EVERY time he says it.  I will miss it when it's hot.
12)  This Let it Go parady I saw this morning from WGN...made me happy as a snowman.
13)  Big giant snow flakes falling- it's mesmerizing and just beautiful
14)  Pizza Delivery Men
15) Pea pod (grocery delivery)
16)  I find it incredibly endearing and romantic that without fail no matter how cold it is my husband snowblows and shovels not only our drive way but the single woman's next door...his servant attitude warms my heart
17)  My kids NEVER seem to complain about the cold and get excited EVERY time it snows
18)  The cute snowman in our yard...his presence has been outside our dining room window for so long, I think I really will miss the fellow
19)  Boxes....kids do amazing things with them...amazing things with them.
20) Toys and Books...There are so many kids in the world without such things, so if we have to be stuck inside- I am seriously glad that we have our pick of things to play with.
21) Pinterest-  I have a love/hate relationship with pinterest, that is no secret.  But there are some GREAT ideas on there for inside activities.
22) Baking with kiddos...sure it is bad for my weight watchers plan, but I love it and the kids love it and it smells good AND is yummy
23) Cuddling on the couch watching movies
24) Watching Winter Olympics with my littles and then watching them pretend to ice skate or ski (I SOOO remember doing that myself as a kid...okay, perhaps I also do it as an adult;)
25)  Wii...we limit video games, but family Wii night is just hilarious and fun, particularly when your children are 7 and under.  (Chloe drives Mariokart backwards without fail EVERY time.)
26)  Toddler speak for Hot Cocoa...I believe it would be spelled something like, "Hot Cockolate"
27)  No need to mow lawn or do yard work in the winter, so aside for the mornings Marc has to snow blow, I think we have more family time in the winter.
28) sledding
29)  Guilty pleasure- the you tube video of the dad recording kids slipping on ice while waiting to pick up his daughter...I mean, this wouldn't be possible without ice,people.
30) Curling up with a good book and blanket.
31)  There are no mosquitoes in winter and therefore no itchy bug bites
32)  Minimal allergies in winter
33)  Darker mornings and therefore kids who sleep in much later (on most days) than they do when the sun is up at 5 am
34)  If you don't have time to shave your legs, there is no need to panic- no one knows!
35)  The feeling of coming to a warm house after being cold...such a comforting feeling.
36)  If I run out of room in my fridge, I can use the garage
37)  The school pick up line- don't even have to get out of the car- Yippee
38)  Valentines and Christmas were in winter--- they're my favorite holidays;)


Okay that's a start...how 'bout you?  What are you thankful for this winter?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Silly Supper- Olympic Opening Ceremonies

I got this text from my friend Christina at 12 noon yesterday.


I am thankful, because this time of year, getting motivated is sometimes the hardest step in my motherhood journey.  I love doing Silly Suppers and the truth is, at this point, I have so many different supplies in my cabinet and a folder full of ideas, not to mention a Pinterest board that I add to whenever I want to remember where something is online.  Pulling if off, really doesn't take too much work or money, just a bit of effort.

I remembered my fourth of July picnic goods I bought this summer that remained unopened because our house flooded that afternoon (I don't even remember what we ended actually eating on the fourth, I memory blockage of that day!).  They are patriotic colors and I thought, I'll just do a patriotic picnic and be done with it...and then I checked Pinterest.  Man, are there some FUN Olympic themed party ideas;)  I almost went off the cliff and planned a Russian food buffet, made of foods I've never made before.  Yes, I almost fell prey to the danger of Pinterest, people.  It sucks me in and makes me start thinking crazy things are good ideas...I mean some bloggers take really amazing photographs...really amazing and they make me think, I need to do THAT!

Thankfully, I snapped out of my Pinterest trance and I reigned it back in.  I reminded myself that it was 1:30pm and my kids are all under 7 and would never appreciate Borscht for dinner.  (Yes, I do expect a pat on the back for this one, I am proud of myself.  Reigning it in=GROWTH for me!:)  Hot dogs and Hamburgers are all American...and more importantly already in my fridge.  I quickly made gold medals and a torch, got my littles up from nap and went to pick Ava and her playdate up from school.

We had a fun and no stress evening;)  The truth is, the kids just love anything that I put effort into.  If I make an atmosphere of excitement, they jump in with both feet;) Russian food would have made cool, refined, elegant blog pictures (trust me or just look here;), but wow, am I glad this is my reality.  Silly, bright colored, grill fare- totally my speed right now!

Left over birthday streamers, in the Olympic colors and the Olympic rings made of fruit (Blueberries, Blackberries, Strawberries, Pineapple, and Grapes), I had left over gold coins from Saint Nicholas day, so I glued wrapping ribbon on them and made them into gold medals;)

I saw Cheetos torches on line, but I kind of though Doritos looked a bit more torch-like.  (Phin was supposed to have a friend over for lunch and he wanted to make sandwiches so we actually had a variety of chips in the house;)

I found these cute free  Sochi Printables from Creative Dee so I amped up my straws and made flags for my dogs and burgers


I made a Torch out of a paper towel tube and red and orange tissue paper and we had the kids relay with the torch on their way to the table;)



Our future Olympian, perhaps?

The older girls were great sports, as well;)

Ava, being oldest, got the honor of bringing the torch to light the cauldron...ie. bringing it to the table.

The official torch is lit- let the ceremonies (dinner) begin!

I used the Forth of July baskets, hot dog holders, and condiment cups and we had hot dogs and hamburgers with our chip torches.  It was our American meal in support of Team USA!

Our drinks- 7up with Olympic rings (gummy life savers at the bottom;) (They don't melt in case you are wondering.  I wondered when seeing the idea on Pinterest;)

They wore their gold medals while they ate....and though I didn't get a picture, ate them for dessert alongside ice cream cones (another nod to the torch).

Awaiting opening ceremonies, they watched some figure skating from the previous night while eating their cones (no food in the family room, means, we use this half wall as a bar whenever we want to eat and watch;)

Only Ava was interested in the opening ceremonies program.  Phin thoroughly enjoys the sports, but the opening ceremonies was not of real interest.  The youngest three went down stairs and played.  He did want to stay up for the lighting of the cauldron, but alas, they all had to watch it this morning...sleep is too precious a commodity.  We let them stay up until our athletes entered the stadium and then it was nighty night.

Thank you Christina for giving me a nod to my own strengths and helping me find joy in the day.  It's easy to get lost in "to do's" right now.  I can't remember the last time I did a silly supper.  Felt a little bit like myself...and it was wonderful.  Yippee! for another bit of normalcy that is returning as we adjust to four!  Next week is Valentines Day...I am already excited!