What I’m reading – July & August

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I love reading, I always have and hopefully always will.  Zoie has recently really picked up her reading skill and I LOVE watching her sound out the words and discover them for herself.  We are big on the Library, my sister is a librarian after all. We go to the nice new library about 20 minutes away from us once a month and made a trip out of it.  I bring a huge basket and we fill that sucker to the brim! Here is what I have read recently.

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Liane Moriarty is so good. She can really draw the reader in with her storytelling and I am always sad when the book is ending. If she did a series where all the characters from her books are intertwined it would be my best day!

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If you are a mama, I can’t recommend this book enough. Kara just left this earth earlier this year after a long battle with cancer, but her legacy continues on.  This book was such an encouragement to my weary parenting soul, and its a short read! download (2)download (3)

More Liane Moriarty because duh… she’s amazing.

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I read this book because I was waiting for another Liane Moriarty book on hold at the library and it was free on Kindle.  It was a sweet story, a little too teenage drama for me, but sometimes an easy read is very much appreciated.

On deck for August is;

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I have read through this before and its awesome. A refresher is going to be greatly appreciated.
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I just finished this for book club this month.
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I love Dee Henderson. Mystery, law enforcement, and always Jesus. I’m currently flying through this one, its a page turner!

What are you reading? Any recommendations?

Have a happy day! Blessings from my family to yours.

Show and Tell Tuesday – Back to School Traditions

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I’m linking up today with Andrea for Show and Tell Tuesday. Today’s topic is Back to School Traditions.

This is Zoie’s first year of Kindergarten!! It makes me SUPER excited for her and also a little weepy. We are extremely blessed by the school she will be attending. She will only be on campus two days a week and the other three she will be homeschooling with me. Its the best of both worlds.

I have a couple traditions that I want to start this year, but I’m mostly excited to check out the link-up today and pick out some good ideas for myself!

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I came along this PIN and it had some interesting ideas!

1. A Back to School Dinner Party! How adorable! My two best friends and I are all sending kindergartners (our firsts!) off to school this year, we should totally do a kindergarten dinner with the families to celebrate these sweet little ones getting so big so fast!

2. Back to School Interview! This page is so cute and one that I know I will want to keep in their binders each year. Last year a very smart mama showed me how to put together binders for my kids with their completed work and include photos, art work, etc to document their entire year. Her other idea was at the end of each year to take it and get it bound so you have a small keepsake for each kiddo. Brilliant!

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3. First Day of School Photos! This is so adorable, and its precious to see how they grow each year.

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This past year I had them hold an empty chalkboard (they were confused) to take the picture then I used photo editing to add text, made it easy on me! This mama has cute downloads for free!

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4. Special Back to School Lunch! Zoie is SO excited to have me pack her lunch and eat at school. She is my thoughtful one and I know it would be VERY special to her if I took the extra time to add these adorable notes to her lunch the first day.

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5. First Day of School Balloons! This would just KNOCK my kids socks off! The only problem is Zoie is my late sleeper and Pennie would be the one to open the door first….maybe I’ll just fill her bunk bed up with balloons. 🙂

9877f5aaf2e13126ddf6888f210fb6a3I am having such mixed emotions about my Zoie girl going to school. I keep thinking about what those two days are going to look like. I keep thinking that I will be able to get so much done because I’ll only have 3 kids… Then it dawns on me… I’ll still have THREE kids and she is my MOST helpful one!! What am I going to do without her?!?

She is going to LOVE school and I want to make it as special as possible for her!

Happy Tuesday!

Blessings from our family to yours!

Weekend Wrap Up

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Friday was a day for projects.. The kids slept in and as soon as they were up we were off to Lowe’s for paint and supplies.

Everyone wanted to paint.

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I was meeting EVERY stay at home mom cliché. Messy hair, yoga pants, yesterdays mascara, & bonus Hadlie spit up on me as we were leaving.

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I spent the morning/ afternoon outside painting the table (post coming soon).

During nap time my neighbor comes over banging on our door. I answer and she proceeds to tell me a rattlesnake was in her yard and made its way into mine!! Y’all I don’t mess around with snakes. They are my worst nightmare on crack. Ronnie wasn’t home so I went to the next best thing, Google. Turns out if you have a venomous snake in your yard you can call the fire department to come get it. So I did. Cue the eye rolling!

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I know…it seemed a bit dramatic to me to! The fireman were SO kind to me, turns out they do this a lot. They didn’t end up finding the snake so I offered them ice cream sandwiches for their time. The worst part?!? Freddie slept through the WHOLE thing! He didn’t get to see any of it, poor guy. It would have been the highlight of his life. (p.s. i thought about waking him up early from his nap and then remembered that would be worse than a rattlesnake in my backyard.. seriously) imageI love morning cartoon snuggle time. I’m going to miss when they don’t want me to hold them anymore so I try to soak up as much of it as I can.

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I was making desserts and these three so selflessly offered to be my taste testers. It was so generous. image

Ronnie likes to go on runs around our neighborhood and the kids ALWAYS beg to go with him.  This time he took them all on a lap around our house. Out neighborhood has walking trails all around the houses and its the best thing. Freddie was so excited to go running! image

It is so adorable to watch them take off on a run with daddy! image

The trail winds behind our house so we book it out back to watch them run up the steep hill and cheer them on! image

Zoie’s turn! She actually challenges Ronnie and she is a pretty good sprinter! image

Last lap with the whole gang. I was “taking care of the baby” so obviously I couldn’t go. #obviouslyimage

Saturday I hosted my first book club meeting! It was so fun! We read “The Girl on the Train.” It was an interesting read and led to good conversation! imageSunday was Sabbath and honestly I was terrible at taking pictures. We did church, naps, VBS kick off, and family night dinner. This was snapped as we were stopping for gas on the way home (whoops!). It was a full weekend and I am so blessed by this crazy crew.

Happy Monday!

Blessings from our family to yours!

Friday Favorites

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Happy Friday!!

FridayFavorites I’m linking up today with Andrea, Narci, & Erika for Friday Favorites

We have been watching a bunch of movies this summer. There is something about swimming all day, changing in cozy jammies and snuggling up for a movie. Here are our top 5 movie picks from this summer.

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This movie is so cute! Zoie & I went on a date to the $1 movie this summer and saw this on the big screen. We couldn’t get the songs out if our head so we got it for our home. All of the kids love it (even Freddie!). The girls crack me up too, they LOVE to sing “its a hard knock life” while I’m making them clean up their room. I loved the original movie as a kid so its fun to share the story with my girls now.

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We are always a little late to the movie screen. This movie is adorable! Ronnie & I watched Big Bang Theory and I can picture Jim Parsons as he voices this character, its hilarious!

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I had forgotten how much I liked this movie until the kids found it at my parents house. I remember thinking that the mom’s super stretch super power was really cook, but now as a mom of 4 I’m wishing I had Dash’s super power. Costco would be a breeze!!

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Freddie is into everything Cars. Lightening McQueen and Mater are his two favorite toys and they go everywhere with us so its only appropriate this movie is on rotation in our house. To be completely honest the original Cars is on a lot too but the girls and I petition for this one because we can quote the other one from memory.

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We have loved this movie forever. The quirky characters and fun music draws my kids in every time…and you know how we feel about adoption so its a win!

What are your favorite kids movies? Please share with me! I’m always looking to change up our regulars!

Blessings from our family to yours.

Empty the Orphanages

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Babies. There is nothing more delicious and sweet than holding and cuddling a newborn sweet baby, to interact with a toddler and watch them discover the world, to talk with a preschooler and hear how their little brain processes the world around them.   Did you know that right now in San Diego County there are more than 1400 babies (ages 5 and under) that are in foster care? A typical county foster home can house anywhere from 1-8 children at a time depending on space and it is never guaranteed how long each child stays in the same home. What this really means is kids get bounced around never truly finding a “home.”

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Ronnie and I have always talked about adoption, but very idealistically.  The conversation was “it would be so awesome to adopt,” or “if we ever have an extra 30k we can adopt (hehe).”  Foster care was something I didn’t really want to consider, it seemed too painful to think about having to give a baby back.   About a year ago I was getting ready for bed one night and the Lord placed foster care on my heart.  It was one of those moments where I needed to sleep…. as a momma of three at the time and pregnant I NEEDED to sleep but my brain and my heart were wide awake.  I sat up on my phone for 2 more hours researching everything I could about foster care and specifically agencies here in San Diego.

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I found Angels. This agency is amazing.  They specialize in kids ages birth – 6 and they give their whole hearts to these kiddos.  They have very specific rules to allow each child to flourish with their placement families, for instance each home is only open to one child at a time (with exception for sibling sets) and their home is the ONLY home they will have until they are permanently adopted or reunited with their parents. This allows children to really create a bond with a loving parent figure and develop well.

Six months ago Ronnie and I attended their informational meeting. I was ready to sign up then and there and take a baby home #givemeallthebabies  Turns out they don’t encourage you to take on a newborn when you are already 8 months pregnant. #weirdos Just Kidding. I totally get why, but man we wanted to get started right that second!

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We are close to starting our journey in foster care. We need to fix a couple things around the house (for home inspection) and we would like Hadlie to be at least 6 months old (and sleeping through the night). We were pretty content with our plan…but it is still present on my heart. I think even more so as I look at my perfect little girl and think about how it would break my heart to be separated from her. That’s the thing about foster care, you get the chance to love on a baby and snuggle the heck out of him/her but you also have to become the parent’s biggest cheerleader. Rooting for reconciliation, praying for that family, becoming the child’s advocate and wanting what is best for HIM/HER. It’s going to be hard. like SUPER DUPER DUPER hard, but it’s a pain worth enduring.

Right now, while I can’t actually house a child I can talk about foster care with other people.  Remind them that there is such a need!! Just last week Angels foster care had to turn away EIGHT babies…EIGHT!! They need qualified families to love on these little ones.

By far the most important thing I can do right now is PRAY. Pray for these little ones, pray for their parents, pray for the families that are going to welcome them into their homes, pray for the employees in the agency that are lovingly placing these children.  God loves them far more than we can.

Will you join me in praying? ZF-7991-93505-1-001

If you are interested more in foster care please contact Angels or comment/email me. I would love to chat!

Blessings from my family to yours.

What’s Up Wednesday

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I’m linking up today with Mel, Shay, & Shaffer for What’s Up Wednesday

WHAT WE’RE EATING THIS WEEK: 

A few friends from church got together and we did a freezer meal exchange. It’s pretty much the best ever and I HIGHLY suggest getting involved in one for yourself.  Right now I have a freezer FULL of already prepped meals for my family. This week I’m pulling out Shredded BBQ Chicken, Baked Ziti, & Sweet Corn Tostadas. I just have to thaw and bake. DONE!

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WHAT I’M REMINISCING ABOUT: I’m reminiscing about my college days.  Spending time with Biola friends this past weekend made me think a lot about the good ol days.  Ronnie & I met the fist week of freshman orientation (SOS) and I am so grateful for my time there.

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WHAT I’M LOVING: All the time in the pool! Growing up one of my favorite memories of summer was endless days in the pool. I remember being so waterlogged and pruney but not wanting to get out.  Now I love the chance to really PLAY with my kiddos.  They are strong swimmers and its been a blast to start doing the silly big kid things like Martha Washington hair and playing mermaid.

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WHAT I’VE BEEN UP TO: I have been getting up early! Hadlie wakes up around 4 each morning to nurse so I have been feeding her then getting up for the day.  Some days its a little painful, like when I stay up too late watching the Bachelorette (ahem!). Honestly, I’m going to sound crazy, I love it.  It allows me to get my Bible time in when my house is actually quiet! Get some time blogging and maybe even do a 5 minute pick up around the house (gasp!).  Its my alone time with a huge cup of coffee and so far its really good.

WHAT I’M DREADING: The rain that is supposed to be coming today and tomorrow.  We have had the WEIRDEST weather this July. Here in Southern California we NEED the rain but its summer! We want to be outside and swim!

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WHAT I’M WORKING ON: I just bought a new dining room table off of Offer Up. Its darling but needs a paint job, so I’m working on getting that done!
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WHAT I’M EXCITED ABOUT: Mastermind! Every year Ronnie & I attend the Mastermind Summit Conference here in San Diego.  Its 2 1/2 days of being focused on goals and creating a successful life.  We always have the best conversations during that time together and come back feeling refreshed, driven, and ready to go!

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I obviously have to attend armed with coffee in hand because DUH!
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WHAT I’M WATCHING/READING: I just checked out a couple books from our church library and I have been really enjoying them. I like adding topical books to my quiet time periodically.
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We also started re watching the Office lately and I forgot how hilarious those first episodes were!

WHAT I’M LISTENING TO: Ronnie & I made a total splurge purchase and got a Sonos for our house.  Its AMAZING! We are listening to music non-stop around here and I love it! We are jamming a lot of DC Talk and I’ve been really getting into country music lately so that’s always on blast.

WHAT I’M WEARING:
I LOVE Shaffer’s blog and the Nordstrom sale has gotten me into some trouble. Haha. My new top is a current favorite as well as the Daniel Rainn line from Nordstrom Rack. I love the patterns and fun prints. It has spiced up my mom “uniform” of tank, jeans, and wedges.
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WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND:
I’m looking forward to this weekend! We are going down the beach with friends and I’m hosting book club. It should be really fun!!

WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH:

I’m looking forward to but also dreading Zoie starting kindergarten. She is only going two days a week but its such a big milestone!! I know some mama years will be shed but she is going to do awesome! She is already asking me daily when school is going to start.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW:

This little one has moved out of our room and in with her sisters. She is also growing out of newborn clothes. Every time one of my kiddos has grown out of the newborn clothes I allow myself some alone time to pack them up a tear up a bit that they aren’t brand new, deliciously smelling infants anymore.

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BONUS…..WHAT I’LL MISS MOST ABOUT SUMMER: 

Big surprise… Swimming & the beach!
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imageHappy Wednesday! Blessings from our family to yours!

Things that matter to Mollie – Zone Checks

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The older I get in life, the more I realize that I am quirky. I have things that really matter to me, weird things that I find important.

One of those things is Zone Checks. About a year ago I was having one of those meltdown mama moments. You know the ones where you feel like there will always be endless cars, dolls, shoes, and toys everywhere. Where your couch will NEVER have all its pillows on top….

I was in the middle of reading the book desperate with my mentor and one of the authors told a story of how she and her kiddos cleaned up the house together. Light bulb moment!!

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We divided up the house into two zones. One for each of our big girls (Freddie has a small responsibility for putting death traps… er cars & trains away). At the end if every day we spend 20 minutes or so doing Zone Checks. I turn on loud music and we all work on our zone. My zone is tabletops and the kitchen (joy…).

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Some days we all work together well and it’s all good. Other days its like beating my head with a brick to get it done without repeating myself 30x.

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Sometimes we skip it all together.

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A couple months ago I was contemplating giving up zone checks. I was tired of coaching them along through it and thought it would be so much easier for me just to do it myself. That weekend my big kids had sent with my parents and my mom complimented me on how well my kids did on picking up after themselves and how conscious they were of trying to keep her house tidy! That was the boost I needed to keep going! .
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At the end of the day its not whether my house is tidy, its about teaching them responsibility. Teaching them that we are a family team and we need each others help. So we are back at it and going strong. Zone checks all around!