Friday, October 25, 2013

Around the web!

There were some great reads/listens around the web this week. They are on the "controversial" side if you can call it that. I personally am thankful that there are men in our society that are willing to stand up and defend women and children and speak truth at any cost.

I have been thinking so much lately about how our society desperately wants to believe that there is no ultimate source of truth. The whole "I'm okay, your okay" mantra. But, there is a source of truth- The Bible. And there is right and there is wrong.

That is not to say that there aren't some areas of freedom. There absolutely are. But, even in those areas we should be asking the question, "How can I glorify God in this?" instead of "What do I want to do?" (paraphrased Mark Driscoll quote that totally spoke to me today!).

Speaking of freedom in Christ... I really enjoyed this Ask Pastor John Podcast from this week on drinking alcohol.

I also loved this article from the Matt Walsh blog about government education. I think he hit the nail on the head on so much of it. We are living in a different world today now that the national government is basically controlling our schools rather than the states. I had mixed emotions about this article at first because I know so many amazing public school teachers who really do just want to teach their students subjects they are passionate about... but I am also watching these same teachers lose the freedom to actually teach their students. I also loved his obvious passion for homeschooling! Here is a quote from the article...

"And this is why people hate home schooling. They hate it because it’s against the grain. It’s too far “out there.” Almost every human being was “home schooled” for most of human civilization, but now many can’t even fathom the concept. These people have no rational or empirical case against it. By any standard or academic indicator, home schooled kids outperform their public schooled peers by wide margins. The critics might babble about how public schools are good for “socialization,” but in the next breath they’ll complain of the bullying “epidemic."

And lastly, I was very touched by this video from Mark Driscoll's series on the 10 Commandments. I love his willingness to speak truth even when it makes people uncomfortable. I am thankful for Godly men who are willing to act like men and "seek justice and love mercy" (Micah 6:8).
And I will lead you with something with zero controversy... a picture of the cutest baby on the planet... ;)

I hope you all have a great weekend! Let's seek to glorify God and stand up for His truth in all that we do!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Today is one of those days that I just feel like I am about to overflow! I am feeling so blessed in so many ways. I know that I am always blessed but today is one of those days where every blessing seems more noticeable. I feel like God has been pointing out to me specifically prayers he has answered. So, in One Thousand Gifts fashion I am going to spend a few moments counting my blessings!

  1. My husband came home this afternoon and suprised me with a Jilly's cupcake for us to share and one for the kids! I LOVE suprises. I think they might be my love language. I also love Jilly's cupcakes. A lot.
  2. My husband's new "job". It is such an amazing answer to prayer. With his old job he was away from home so much and spent so much time commuting. Now, he is able to work from home a lot of the time and has a much more flexible schedule. It has been such a blessing for our whole family but especially for me! I mean, hello, we ate a cupcake together at 1 o'clock in the afternoon on a Wednesday!
  3. God's faithfulness in answering my prayer to help me to persevere through this season of little sleep. I am up about every two hours and yet somehow I wake up fairly refreshed and am able to get through the days with my kiddos in a relatively good mood! But, more than that, with the peace that Jesus sees my needs and is sustaining me.
  4. My sweet husband. Just him. He is amazing. And wonderful. His heart for me and our kids is overwhelming sometimes. When I am having a hard moment or day he takes the time to listen and then points me straight back to Christ and the Gospel. To have a front row seat watching God transform my husband into the man he is today overwhelms me. And I know that God isn't finished with him yet (or any of us!)
  5. My sweet little red headed baby. After having three babies with dark brown hair it never crossed my mind that I would ever have anything else. And I was fine with that. Sam's hair color is such a precious little reminder of how God knits each one of us together in His own creative way. Sam's hair is a daily reminder to me of God's creativity!
  6. Our small group from church. In January all of the small groups in our church got mixed up and we were asked to sign up for the small group geographically closest to us. It was such a hard and emotional thing for me because I loved our old small group. The ladies in it were (and still are) some of my very best friends. We joined a group where basically everyone else had teenagers or adult children. I felt like the odd woman out. But, oh my goodness, the ladies in my small group have been a blessing to me more than I could ever imagine. They are TRUE Titus 2 women and they have all been willing to come along side me and love me. They are willing to share wisdom and encouragement whenever I need it... even when I don't know I do. They love on my kids! Their kids love on my kids! I know without a doubt that God put us in this small group!
  7. We live about 5 minutes from my Grandma and the "big kids" beg to go and spend time at her house, specifically without me! They have gotten to do that  few times this month and it is so much fun for them. And a blessing for me! It melts my heart to see how close my children get to be to my grandma! 
  8. It is officially Fall. I am taking full advantage of all things pumpkin, jeans and sweaters, gorgeous fall leaves falling, hot beverages around the clock. My friend Natalie posted this quote on Facebook yesterday, "I loved autumn, the one season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it." -Lee Maynard. Love,
I could go on... but my littlest blessing just woke up from his nap. I hope you have a blessed day today!

One on one time :)

Like I said, I have always wanted to have a bigger family. Since I was a little girl I have always wanted to be a mom. It is certainly a blessing to be living out my dream job! Especially alongside a husband who shares the dream!

One of the best parts about having several kiddos is having the opportunity to get to know these amazing little people as individuals. It never ceases to amaze me how children growing up in the same environment with the same parents can have such different little personalities.

I feel like since I stay at home full time and since we homeschool I get lots of opportunities to get to know my children. We are always together! Getting one on one time really isn't that challenging as long as I am intentional about it.

Some simple things I do throughout the day to have one on one time with my kiddos include;

  • Taking a child with me to run an errand. Sure, I rarely go to the store alone, but having company is more fun anyway. And the sweet little conversations make it all worth it. 
  • Doing chores together! Seems silly and not very fun, but whenever I pull one of my kiddos aside to do a job with me or to train them on a new skill we usually end up having some great quality time together. Great conversations can come when washing windows or folding laundry together!
  • Stopping to play. I make it a point to stop and play with each of my kiddos everyday. Sometimes it means saying "yes" when asked to do a puzzle or dress Calico Critters. And sometimes it means joining in on some playtime already in session when the kids are playing by themselves. I will often pop in when someone is playing Legos or playing zoo. My kids never fail to light up when I say, "Can I play too?"
Nick and I recently talked about wanting to have some good, "special" quiet time with our kiddos. As we chatted about different possibilities we realized that early on weekday mornings might be a great chance to sneak off and have some one on one time with our kiddos. 

A few weeks ago I got up early and peeked into Sophie's room and asked if she wanted to go to breakfast with me. She was thrilled and we got dressed quickly and headed off to Panera at 6 in the morning. It was wonderful.

Yesterday I decided to get away with Max. He asked to go to Panera too (since that is where his sister got to go). Our conversations ranged from chivalry, to what countries are in Asia, to college. It was precious time.

The opportunity to spend time with my kids really is priceless, it is an investment in something with eternal value! It is not a burden or something I have to do, it is my greatest privilege as a mom!

What are some of your favorite ways to spend one on one time with your kiddos?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

8 months old!

The Quote that Changed my Prayers

A few weeks back I finished reading Sally Clarkson's book "Seasons of a Mother's Heart". It was wonderful and spoke to my heart in so many ways when it comes to homeschooling. My absolute favorite quote in regards to homeschool came at the end,
Sally Clarkson on her choice to homeschool...

"I have chosen to homeschool because it is my deep, heartfelt conviction that is is God's will for my life and for my family. If I chose to homeschool because others were doing it, or because I thought it would be fulfilling, or even because I thought it would provide the best education for my children, then I would always be able to choose another option if I became too tired or overwhelmed or discouraged. But if my decision to homeschool was based on being obedient to the design for motherhood and family that I see revealed in Scripture, then I have no other options. My only choice is to obey."

That quote has been such an encouragement to me in homeschooling.

BUT, that is not the quote I wanted to post about! (But, I did want to share it in case it encouraged anyone else!)

The quote that encouraged me, though written about homeschooling, applied to a completely different area of my life...

Since Sam has been born he has not been a good sleeper. Sophie and Jack weren't good sleepers either... but Sam is especially not good. I have been handling it okay during the day but I found myself at night just crying out to God, "please help my baby to sleep! I need sleep! I can't do this!"

Then I read in my book...

"What you need is not deliverance from your difficulties, but you need to persevere."

Hebrews 10:36 says,
For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

God knows Sam isn't sleeping well. And he knows that I have three other kiddos that need my attention, and a husband, and a home to run, and homeschooling to do... He knows all of that. And yet he still has me where I am. And my part of it needs to be perseverance and endurance (through Christ)... not pleading for deliverance.

So, at night when I am up with Sam I pray for perseverance in this season. I pray for Christ to sustain me and use me and that this would be a fruitful time in my life. And I see him answering that prayer! He is so faithful to provide for us exactly what we need... and it is easier to see that when we realize that what we need is what Christ says we need... not what we think we need. Praying this prayer has completely changed my attitude and given me a better understanding of who Christ is... someone who cares deeply and is working at my sanctification. Someone who values motherhood and has placed a divine calling on my life. And someone who loves me and sustains me.

This boy might not sleep much but man do we adore him.

*Disclaimer- I know that advocates of "sleep training" will cringe at this post (I used to be one of them!)... that is okay! I am aware that we all chose to do this mom thing differently and in non-Biblical issues that is a-okay! :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Electronics-Free Weekdays

Happy Monday!

Over here we are starting week 3 of our "no electronics during the week" rule. And I am happy to report that I think it is here to stay.

We had gotten pretty good about limiting electronics and I had limited them specifically to after school time for the big kids. But, I felt like they were spending their whole day waiting for electronics... "Is it time to watch a show now?" "When is it time to play with the iPad?" "Can I play Wii after this?" I felt like they were wasting their entire day wanting to play with electronics.

So, a few weeks ago I decided to go electronics free on the weekdays after getting some inspiration from a few other blogs. It has been wonderful! I feel like my kids feel free to just play now! They don't have to worry about when it will be time for electronics. When we have a break or they are finished with school they just run to play... and usually they want to play together! I feel like it has had an awesome impact on sibling unity. My kiddos have always been creative but I feel like the creativity is reaching new levels and I love that so much of it is together.

I also feel like I notice a big change in my kids behavior on electronics vs. non-electronics days. Max especially is so much calmer (emotionally) on days without electronics. I feel like I can see him being kinder to us and his siblings and it is refreshing.

And the sneaky part is... we tend to be so busy either getting work done or playing as a family that we rarely have time on the weekends to do electronics anyway (insert evil laugh).


Friday, October 18, 2013

2013 Pumpkin Patch Pictures!

This year I asked on Facebook for some local pumpkin patch reccomedations. For the past few years we have gone to a local place called Daniel's that we love. But, I wanted to see if we were missing anything spectacular. I got some really good recommendations but the morning we decided to go there was a good chance of rain. We decided to go ahead and stick with Daniel's since 70% of it is under a roof so we would still be able to have fun. After our trip Nick and I decided to stick with Daniel's every year. It is just so cute and it is fun to see our kids come back a little older to the same place every year.

Prepare yourself for an obscene amount of pictures...
 We love the little petting zoo at Daniel's. The baby cows were just too precious.
 I am glad Jack is getting over his fear of cows (seriously, this kid would wake up screaming at night that cows were going to get him). He liked these baby ones and said that they were nice.
 Our kiddos could have spent the whole day grinding corn and been perfectly content. They were so cute just spinning the wheels... And Nick and I are now considering corn meal as a family business...;)

 We had to get everyone's measurements. Sam was feeling pretty under the weather so he spent almost our entire trip in the Ergo sleeping but I did get this little shot of him.

 I was instructed to take this picture just for Papa. Jack's Papa obsession continues... even at the pumpkin patch. Don't worry, he got to see him in person the next day..
 I have a pic like this of Sophie from a few years ago so I wanted to make sure to get a shot again this year.

 The pony rides were a big hit with all of the kids! Thankfully we got in line right when they started so we didn't have to wait in the super long line that followed...

 I really was there too... see? There are rarely pics of Mama!

After the pumpkin patch Dad suggested lunch at It's a Better Burger. I had never been before... but they have sweet potato fries that you dip in marshmallow fluff! It was amazing. Perfect family day with my favorite people.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Catching Up- Random Goings On

Just thought I would pop in with a bullet point post of some things that are currently happening in our house right now, things I am loving, thinking, etc...

 I am loving my Ergo carrier so much! I didn't really do any baby wearing when Max was born. With Sophie I had a sling carrier which I liked when she was itty bitty but after that I didn't wear her much. With Jack I bought the Moby and a Baby Bjorn. I loved the Moby! The Bjorn not so much. This go round I decided to invest in the Ergo. I wish I had done it sooner! I don't love it for itty bitty babies but after 6 months it is super easy and comfy! Sam is always so happy when he is in it. I especially love to use it when I go grocery shopping so that there is actually room in the cart for groceries.
 This is a pic from Sam's well baby check up a few weeks back. Unfortunatly this weel he has a cold and is miserable. He is barely sleeping at all (even worse than usual which is hard to imagine! ha!) He is super snotty and congested. He has been sleeping in his baby rocker which is helping a lot. But, I am ready for this cold to hit the road!
 Our washing machine bit the dust. It was a hand me down Maytag set from my parents and I loved it. It did such a good job! We had the dryer repaired a few times but when the washing machine broke the repair guy let us know that it really wasn't worth fixing. So, I spent the whole day researching what to get and decided to skip out on the front loaders. This set got great reviews and has the same capacity as a front loading set. I am really loving it... and it sings a fun jingle when the washer or dryer is done!

 This is my girl a few weeks ago on our breakfast date! I peeked into her room at 6:30 and saw that she was awake so I snuck her away for some girl time at Panera. Nick and I both love to get one on one time with our kiddos and we chatted a few weeks ago and realized that early on weekday mornings might be a good time to sneak that in. I loved my time with this precious girl.
 This guy went to the groomer last week! He needed to go badly! He was a mess. He looked so cute when he got home. They had even put a little fall bandana on him. We love our Scout!
And we love Whiskers too. I loved this picture of him all stretched out on the back of the couch the other day. He looks so comfy!
 I was cracking up at this pic yesterday. I wanted to grab a quick shot of Sam in these new jammies my mom got him and he was not having it! Unfortunately, even crying, he is just too cute!
Max wanted to read the bedtime story last night. He has totally taken off on reading and it makes my heart so happy. I think for him until he could read book that interest him it was just hard to get too excited to learn to read. He also doesn't like to take the time to sound things out so he prefers to just memorize sight words. Which is fine to some degree... but he is in a good place right now!

This past weekend we got invited to dinner by a wonderful family in our small group. Our whole family had a blast. They have 6 children and whenever I mentioned that to someone they said "whoa! That is a lot of kids!". I have been thinking about it and realized that to me that doesn't really seem like a lot of kid anymore. It used to! Maybe it is from watching the Duggars too much or just from going to our church where there are lots of families with 5, 6 or even 11 kids! It just seems normal to me now! 

I think it is interesting how strange it has become in our culture though to have a large family. I originally thought having 4 kids would be a lot but I rarely "feel" like we have a large family. I just feel like a mom with my kids! But, I do get a lot of comments on "having my hands full".

I also find it kind of interesting that after you have two kids everyone just kind of assumes you won't have more kids. I feel like when I was pregnant with Jack and Sam it was such a huge surprise to people that, especially after having a boy and a girl, that we would want more children. Especially now I feel like most people just assume we will never have more children. I don't have plans for more right now, but I just think it is really interesting that people just assume that we wouldn't want more.

Maybe it is a little different for me too because I remember always wanting to have 5 or 6 kids. I remember telling my mom that and she would always laugh and say I might change my mind! But, she did always tell me that I would be a good mom! Ha!

Well, I think that is all I have for the moment ;) I will leave you all with some Ramsey kiddos cuteness..

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A few random things and my big epiphany

I want to do a post of our little pumpkin patch adventure yesterday... but I am too lazy to go get the cord for my phone to download the pics at the moment... So, hopefully I will get to that in the next few days because I got some great pics! Here is one little sneak peak...

Sammy has a little cold so I kept him home from church to get some rest after being up all night. So, I finally got him settled and am sitting here enjoying some coffee and quiet.

I wanted to get on here and share an epiphany I had this week. I have been pretty stressed out lately... more than usual. Having 4 young kiddos and homeschooling half of them is not the easiest thing I have ever done. But, I realized this week I had been putting a lot of extra pressure on myself.

I read this article from Growing Home about 15 Good things she doesn't do... And found myself totally in tears by the end of it.

I realized I often thought so much about how I have a friend that saves so much money using coupons so I should be using lots of coupons, and how I have a friend that is in really great shape because she exercises all of the time so I should exercise all the time, and how I have a friend whose kids are in lots of fun extra curricular activities so I should have my kids in lots of activities, and a friend who decorates well, one who cooks really amazing homemade meals, one who does fun crafts with her kids all of the time... and then I realized... BUT these are all different people... not just one friend! I don't know anyone who does ALL of those things, at least not well. And yet, I had convinced myself that I needed to be doing ALL of those things ALL the time in order to be a good and Godly wife and mother.

It is hard to say no to things because there are so many good things to do! It is really good to save money and cook from scratch and exercise... but I only have so many hours in the day. And I have young children who need lots of attention...

So, for right now, I have to say "no" to a lot of good things and focus on my priorities! After God my husband and children are my #1 priority. And I know that one of the most important things to them is to have a happy wife and mama. Which means they can't have a wife and mama who is constantly stressed and comparing herself to others.

So, I am realizing I have to have some "focus areas" in my life right now that are things I do spend a little more time on and a lot of things that I just let go of for now.

  • Basic care of my family is obviously kind of #1. Making sure everyone is clean and fed and loved and snuggled and read to... that is the priority.
  • Homeschooling. We are now legally required to be logging hours and "doing school" with Max. But, this is also something we feel called by God to do and it is very high on my priority list. It takes a lot of my time and energy during the day and has meant we have had to learn to say "no" to a lot of other things.
  • Eating at home. For health and budget reasons I am making it a priority to eat at home for almost all of our meals. We eat out or grab take out maybe once a week (which is a huge step down from how often we used to!). But,  I only have so many hours in a day so meals are simple. I do a lot of freezer cooking to keep weeknights low-stress. And I don't make everything as healthy as it could be or as cheaply as I could. I just don't have time for that right now. I do the best I can but just eating at home is the goal.
  • Keeping my home relatively tidy. I have made this a priority right now because we have people over in our home quite often. We host our small group every week and then generally have people over in some capacity or another at least once a week. It is very stressful to have to take hours before people come over to get things in order. So, striving to keep things relatively neat most of the time cuts down on my stress level.
And so that will mean there are some REALLY GOOD things that I don't do!
  • I don't cook super healthy meals from scratch.
  • I don't coupon and price match and shop multiple stores.
  • I don't have my kids signed up for a lot of activities outside of the home.
  • We don't do much outside of the home during weekdays.
  • I don't go out a lot with girlfriends or by myself.
  • We don't do a lot of big art and craft projects.
  • I don't do many crafts or hobbies outside of blogging every once in awhile or doing something together as a family.
So, that is what I am learning. And I am writing this post partly so that I can remind myself of all of this when I start comparing or listening to others telling me what I "should" be doing... And then I can also look at this picture of what God has blessed ME with...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Birthday in KC!

Whew! Life in the Ramsey house has been busy lately! Maybe things will be settling down a bit soon?... 

We spent this past weekend in Kansas City with my whole family celebrating a certain boy turning 7. 7??? How can that be? I may or may not have cried the night before his birthday... 7 just sounds so old to me. 
We had so much fun going to KC. My parents went to and we all stayed at my sister's house. She has two spare bedrooms so each room had 2 kids and 2 adults and it worked pretty well. And Jack was over the moon thrilled that he was getting to sleep in "Papa's room". That boy lives and breathes for his Papa. It is sweet.

We got into Kansas City late Friday evening so we didn't do much besides get everyone ready for bed. The next day we went to the T-Rex Cafe for lunch. A perfect birthday lunch for my dino-loving boy! Here is a pic my sister took at the restaurant. 
It was a little funny because it is super loud outside the restuarnat and walking in with music and roaring. Soph and Jack both freaked out and didn't even want to go in! Nick and I both had to carry one in and took them directly to the gift shop to look around! That distracted them nicely! 

Speaking of... Sophie lucked out in the gift shop... My mom had told each kiddo they could pick something out after lunch. She said they could get something around $20. Sophie immediately saw the Build-a-Dino place and wanted to do that. I told her she would have to talk to grandma but that it was probably too expensive (they started at $20 before clothes or anything!). So she asked my mom just as we were going back to eat and my mom was distracted and didn't really hear her and said yes... So this happened...
Plus, dress, shoes, and sunglasses. Sophie is pretty in love with Sally though... :)

We were going to go to a farm after lunch but after walking around and doing some shopping we were all a little wiped out and the kids really wanted to get home and try out the Disney Infinity game my dad had got for the Wii. 

We had such a good time and are so thankful my sister and brother-in-law were willing to let our crazy bunch take over their house for the weekend. Max and Sophie are already begging to spend their next birthdays in Kansas City with Aunt Emmie and Uncle Simon!

Sidenote: I was reminded of why we don't spend big money on vacations at this point in our lives... my children are terrible sleepers away from home!! Oh my goodness I am tired!