Saturday, March 10, 2012

I Am Done Worrying About... LINK UP!

I've never done a link-up before, so I thought I would try one today. 

I was on the way home from the grocery store last night and the song 'Find You on My Knees' came on my I-Pod by Kari Jobe. If you haven't listened to this, I would check it out. I've listened to it over and over again, but let me tell you-- I was singing it aloud and the words 'I trust You' were being said and something hit me like a bolt of lightning. Do you ever have those moments? I was completely overwhelmed by goosebumps and it just settled me. I found such peace. Why do I worry so much about life? I TRUST YOU. It should be as simple as that right? Trust me-- I have a thick head. It isn't that simple, but boy.. it was simple for me last night! Thank You Lord for being able to trust YOU.

So, today... we are going to let go of our worries! You can just follow this example then link up so we can see what others are letting go of!

1. I am done worrying about.... my student loans. I have them and they are not going away any time. I just need to pay what I can and know that God will take care of the rest.

2. I am done worrying about.... my fears. I have a few fears that I don't want to display right now, but I am done letting them control my life. I am giving them to You!

3. I am done worrying about.... the past. I let things bother me so bad that sometimes I cannot sleep at night. They just eat away at me and it is not healthy. I need to let go of these grudges... those things that weigh me down.

I trust You, Lord!

What are you worrying about that you need to let go of? Lets do it together today!

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Project 366: Day 22 [March 9th]

I love Fridays.

Alright, alright... I know probably EVERY ONE in the world likes Fridays, but I really do. There's something freeing about them. Wouldn't you agree? I don't even work outside of the home and I feel that way, so I am sure those of you with a Monday to Friday work week feel the exact same way. But seriously-- there's just something 'relaxing' about Friday. It's a beautiful word, honestly. Probably one of my favorites in the English language. Some might say Saturday is far more precious, but just give me Friday :) 

Another reason I love Fridays is because it is my cleaning day. I grew up in a home where cleaning was habitual. I remember laying in bed on a Saturday morning and hearing the vacuum cleaner being ran. I can honestly say my mom cleaned our house EVERY Saturday. She was dedicated to it. She loved a clean house and I grew to appreciate the same thing. She loved being able to sit down Saturday afternoon and know that every thing had been dusted, swept, and cleaned. I've taken that and ran with it since becoming a married woman! :) I don't do this work on Saturday mornings.... Friday mornings are the chosen day! I LOVE it. I deep clean everything. The office desk gets scrubbed, the shoes get picked up and vacuumed under, the tables in the living room get dusted, Tayler's play room gets picked up, the dining room gets swept and mopped along with the mudroom, downstairs bathroom, and kitchen. Left overs get cleaned out of the fridge, dishes are all washed, laundry gets completely caught up, bedding gets washed, the bath tub and sink get scrubbed along with the toilet, and even the washer and dryer get a little cleaning love :) It's MY day. I crank up some music (or Yo Gabba Gabba per Tayler's request) and have it! I LOVE a clean house and I LOVE when my husband walks through the door Friday afternoon and says, "Baby, the house looks amazing!" It makes me feel good. I enjoy not worrying about individuals coming over and seeing a mess (although my house doesn't look perfect all of the time, I will admit that, haha! We do still have a toddler running around!) But it just makes me appreciate my home more when I clean it. Do any of you feel the same way?

That's our lovely kitchen! I even opened up the windows to let some natural light in. I LOVE it and I'm very thankful that we have it!

After that, Tayler and I just hung out. She took a rather long nap and I messed around with the new camera. I'm still getting used to it, but once I take some pictures with it, I will share those with you all! I'm still learning and I don't want to get made fun of, haha! :)

Ethan finally came home from work and we ate dinner (sorry guys, we just had some chicken he picked up on the way home! I was lazy today!) And then Natalie, Tayler, and I headed to the grocery store! We were meeting my momma there (I'm not brave enough to go with both of them alone, haha!) I lost my mom through part of the store and then I saw her turning a corner.. and what does she have??

Two bath ducks. Easter ones at that! She said, "I bought Tayler one, but I couldn't buy Tayler one and not buy Natalie one!" (For those of you that do not know, Natalie is the little girl I baby sit. She is so precious!) So, here's a snap shot of the girls with their new toys:

As soon as she handed the girls the toys, they immediately went to their mouths. Hilarious! Thank you Tayler's Gigi! :)

And I took a picture of a few groceries on our stair case just to symbolize our trip:

It was a 'rough' trip budget-wise this week because we were pretty much out of everything, haha! Don't you love those weeks? We needed laundry detergent, fabric softener, toilet paper... all of that happy stuff! But, I will say that I found some nail polish that I LOVE for 97 cents! I am going to try and paint my nails today so I will take a snap shot of that for you guys once it's done! :)

After dinner, I got Tayler some spaghetti o's and garlic bread again (her favorite) and I turned on some cartoons for the girls so I could get some presents taken care of. Let me tell you-- March is a busy month in the birthday department for our family and friends. I'll break it down for you:

March 1st- my cousin Brady and Tayler's friend Bentley's birthday, March 6th- My birthday, March 12th- My dad's birthday, March 15th- Tayler's friend Jaylee's birthday, March 16th- my cousin Chloe's birthday, March 18th or 19th (eek, I can't remember and my calendar isn't in front of me!) E's grandma's birthday, March 21st- My sister's birthday and E's Aunt Nancy's birthday, March 27th- my sister in law Marie's birthday, March 29th- my brother in law Jon's birthday, and March 31st- our sweet Tayler's birthday along with my Aunt Kelly's birthday and Tayler's friend Isaac's birthday!

Yes, you read that right folks! INSANE. So, at the store last night, I just went ahead and went all out. I bought 10 cards and 7 gift bags. We already purchased *most* of the gifts we are going to purchase for the month, but I wanted to get the ones taken care of that we are celebrating Saturday. We have Chloe's birthday party, a birthday luncheon for my immediate family's birthdays, and Jaylee's birthday party! Whooo! Busy day! So here are all the gifts we are taking with us tomorrow:

So, if I forget to say it later, I'll say it now:


A little impersonal, but that covers it, right? :)

After that, it was bath time and sleeper time for the girls. Tayler was an absolute mess as you could probably guess and well, Natalie was still in her clothes! So, we got them all ready for bed and then Natalie seemed hungry so I got her a bed time snack-- Strawberry Banana baby food. She ate the whooooooooole thing in like 10 minutes, haha! Must have been starving!

So precious.

And wouldn't you know it... Tayler had already eaten but was extremely jealous that I was feeding Natalie, haha! She kept coming over and butting me with her head, so I got some of her snacks and kept feeding those to her, haha! She would wander over, put one in her mouth, walk around, and then come right back. Having another child one day should be interesting.....

How was y'alls day today?? As you can see, mine was pretty adventurous, but I wouldn't have it any other way! I have a pretty blessed life! I was on the way home from the grocery store last night and the song 'Find You on My Knees' came on my I-Pod by Kari Jobe. If you haven't listened to this, I would check it out. I've listened to it over and over again, but let me tell you-- I was singing it aloud and the words 'I trust You' were being said and something hit me like a bolt of lightning. Do you ever have those moments? I was completely overwhelmed by goosebumps and it just seriously settled me. I found such peace. Why do I worry so much about life? I TRUST YOU. It should be as simple as that right? Trust me-- I have a thick head. It isn't that simple, but boy.. it was simple for me last night! Thank You Lord for being able to trust YOU.

And now, for our lesson and prayer. Almost done!

Lesson #12

Ask him how you can pray for him. We are assuming that he is a believer. If he is not, try it anyway, unless he has told you not to bring up spiritual things. For instance, if he is burdened about something at work, ask, "How can I pray for you that God will honor your good efforts?" Or, "I know that your boss has not been showing you the respect that he should, how should I pray for you?" Think of something that has been troubling him.

 And the prayer that goes along with this is:

Pray that your husband will yield his sexual drive to the Lord and practice self control. Pray that your sexual intimacy together will be fresh, positive, and a reflection of selfless love. (Prov. 5:15, 18; 1 Cor. 7:3; Song of Solomon 7:10)

The Bible verses that go along with this particular prayer are as follows:

Proverbs 5:15-16 (The Message) Do you know the saying, "Drink from your own rain barrel,
   draw water from your own spring-fed well"?
It's true. Otherwise, you may one day come home
   and find your barrel empty and your well polluted.

1 Corinthians 7:12-14 (The Message) For the rest of you who are in mixed marriages—Christian married to non-Christian—we have no explicit command from the Master. So this is what you must do. If you are a man with a wife who is not a believer but who still wants to live with you, hold on to her. If you are a woman with a husband who is not a believer but he wants to live with you, hold on to him. The unbelieving husband shares to an extent in the holiness of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is likewise touched by the holiness of her husband. Otherwise, your children would be left out; as it is, they also are included in the spiritual purposes of God.

Song of Solomon 7:9-12 (The Message) Yes, and yours are, too—my love's kisses
   flow from his lips to mine. I am my lover's.  I'm all he wants. I'm all the world to him!
Come, dear lover— let's tramp through the countryside.
Let's sleep at some wayside inn,  then rise early and listen to bird-song.
Let's look for wildflowers in bloom, blackberry bushes blossoming white,
Fruit trees festooned with cascading flowers, And there I'll give myself to you,
   my love to your love! 

Dear Jesus, Thank You for the gift of my husband. He is a gem in this world. I pray that You will guard him against the temptations of this world. Let Him yield the drive that is within each of us to You. You created these feelings and emotions and we know that it is a spiritual act as well as a physical one. This act connects two souls. Keep both of our souls clean and pure from the temptations of this world. We love You, Lord!! Amen!

God bless you all

and cheers to Project 366!

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Project 366: Day 21 [March 8th]

My munchkin turned 49 weeks old today! 3 weeks until she is one and I seriously don't think my emotions are prepared for that. I honestly cannot believe that it has been an entire year. One year ago today I was 36 weeks pregnant. I was anticipating her arrival, dreaming almost every night of the doctor holding her up and me seeing her for the first time. I would try and picture what she was going to look like, how she was going to act. I was praying that the delivery would go smoothly for both of us. And now... it's been 12 months. Where does time go? I feel like just yesterday I was playing with barbies in my pink bedroom and now we're creating a play room for our sweet girl. Here's a picture of our 49 week old:

Yes, she was watching 'Yo Gabba Gabba.' I rarely get good smiles anymore, haha! :)

Tayler and I had a really relaxing day today. It was pouring down rain, so we stayed inside all bundled up. Tayler had spaghetti o's and garlic bread for lunch. I was a bit apprehensive because I hate messes, but my mom always tells me you gotta let kids learn and have fun, soooo I let her eat it by herself today (I typically ALWAYS feed her anything messy!!) She had a blast and I'm really glad I let go and let her do it!

She ain't almost the whole container of those Gerber Graduates. I think we'll definitely be getting more of those! She's a total fan :) 

Once she got all cleaned up, it was nap time, then Daddy came home and it was time for us to eat, haha! I've been eating protein shakes for during the day and then having dinner at night. I'm sick of feeling 'hefty' all of the time. I'm ready to feel better about myself! 

My sweet Mom came over today and brought us some chili. Thankfully we live close enough that we can exchange dinners from time to time. Sometimes I make entirely too much for just the two of us, so it is nice to be able to split it between my parents as well. My mom also makes the BEST chili ever, so this was quite the treat for us!! :) I had some things for burritos so we had those with the chili. 

Now, let me tell you something here! This is one cheap meal. The tortillas were at Wal-Mart for $1.00 and the tortilla mix is also there for $1.88. I normally pair it with Fajita Rice (also at Wal-Mart for $1.00) which makes the grand total of this dinner $3.88 (without tax!) That's pretty good for two people, don't you think?

And it tastes wonderful! These are awesome for nights when you need something quick because all you have to do is heat that stuff up! :)

It was a pretty tasty meal! :)

After that, we all got cleaned up and headed out the door. We had to make a pit stop at first to pick up a few presents. More about that later! Then we went down to where we used to live to visit E's Mom! We hadn't seen her in awhile and we wanted her to see Tayler walking and all of that fun stuff! Tayler was just mesmerized by her dog Annie :)

She had a blast at Grandma Carol's house! And Carol also gave me a present for my birthday! I completely forgot to take a picture of it sooo I'm just going to show you what it is by a picture off of the internet, taken from Taylor's Gifts. 

It looks EXACTLY like that! If you can't read it very well, it says, "A Bible that's falling apart often belongs to someone who isn't." PERFECT. I can't wait to hang it up in our office :) Thank you so much, Carol!

While on our way home, Ethan started telling me this really long story about how the stereo in our basement only plays normal CDs (not burned ones) and he wants something he can hook his Zune up to. So, his friend told him about this connector at Sam's Club that he can hook up to the stereo and play his Zune through it. Of course I bought it. It sounded extremely legit. So, he asked if we could stop by Sam's Club really quick. I said, "Absolutely!" Tayler fell asleep, so I offered to stay in the car with her while he ran in. The minutes began to pass.... and next thing I know... a half hour had passed. I was getting really frustrated because by that point, Tayler had woken up and was screaaaaaaaaaaaaming. She was hungry. So, here I am in the car saying, "I know Tayler, he's making me mad too!" He told me this was going to be a QUICK process. He said his friend told him EXACTLY where it was at... I took random pictures on my cellphone because I was bored. Here's Sam's Club.. and the water dripping down our window..

And FINALLY, I see him. He opened the car door and I sarcastically said, "About time!" (I know, I'm doing the 14 Day Challenge and I was being sarcastic to him! Bad Alyssa!) He said, "I got you something..." (Yea, I felt shady!) He opens up the package and guess what he bought me?


I'm not talking about any camera. I'm talking about a BEAUTIFUL camera! He bought me a Nikon D3100. I felt terrible even being remotely frustrated with him.. I swear, that man is always thinking of me. He told me that during his adventures yesterday, he had went to a few stores alone to try and surprise me, but didn't like any of the cameras there, so he was looking online and saw some nice ones at Sam's Club. He said the sales lady was super nice and helped him pick out everything... 

He also bought me the Manfrotto tri-pod. It has an easy to adjust ball head and allows you to shoot from all angles. 

It also came with the Manfrotto back pack. This allows me to carry my laptop, my camera with my lens, and anything else that I need! It is just perfect!

And there is the gorgeous camera and lens!

I am still learning about it and how to use it! I'm totally new to all of this, but let me tell you-- my husband must believe in me a lot more than I do! I could not believe that he bought that.. especially without telling me! I was in COMPLETE SHOCK. I already have a nice camera. It doesn't have a lens like this one, but I still consider it to be nice. And then he went and did this... He said these words to me, "I saw how you lit up when you were taking pictures of Tayler and you always support me in every hobby that I have. You let me buy weight benches, cars, and anything else that I ask.. it's time you have something for yourself.. something that you really enjoy doing." Yes, I think I have been blessed with the best husband in the ENTIRE world. I could cry just thinking about it. I don't know what I did to deserve him, but boy am I glad God gave me him! 

I think Tayler thought he was the best dad ever, too! She played with that box the ENTIRE night, haha! It must have been like Christmas for her, haha! :)

Yes, Tayler.. you will find as you get older that we are two VERY lucky ladies!

Thanks E for making everything in my world amazing! I love you!

And now for our lesson and prayer today:

We're almost done with the lessons.. can you believe that?? 

Lesson #11

Ask him about his dreams & desires. Say, "Honey, if you could do anything, what would you dream of doing? More than anything else, what would energize you?" Let him joke about sex, but say, "Apart from that, what would you most love to do & why?" He may ask you why you are asking him this. Just tell him that you were just curious & you wanted to know. After all, these are the kinds of questions that you might ask someone when you are dating to get to know them better. Don't be afraid of this. By asking these questions you are not committing to help him experience this dream. This is just a fun discussion. He isn't going to act on it just because you brought it up. Since God is at work in all of us to will his good pleasure, your husband might share things with you deep from his spirit. It will honor him that you will listen. 

And the prayer that goes along with this today is:

Pray that your husband will have a humble, teachable spirit and a servant’s heart before the Lord. Pray that he will listen to God and desire to do His will. (Prov. 15:33; Eph. 6:6)

The Bible verses that accompany this prayer are as follows:

Proverbs 15:33 (The Message) Fear-of-God is a school in skilled living—
   first you learn humility, then you experience glory. 

Ephesians 6:5-8 (The Message)  Servants, respectfully obey your earthly masters but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ. Don't just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ's servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you're really serving God. Good work will get you good pay from the Master, regardless of whether you are slave or free. 

Dear Jesus, thank You for being the Savior that You are to us! You are so giving and so kind! I love You so much! Thank You for bringing my husband and I together! Thank You for allowing our love to create the wonderful person that Tayler is. God, I just ask that You bless Ethan. Give him a teachable spirit and let Him desire to follow after Your Word... Your voice. I know he loves You more than I could possibly imagine. Just bless him with what he needs to follow after Your Will! We love You and thank You!!! In Your name, Amen!!

God bless you all

and cheers to Project 366!

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Weekly Meals [3/12-3/16]

I finally got the grocery list made for the week which means the meals are ready for the week!

Monday- Chicken Bacon and Ranch Pasta
Tuesday- Confetti Spaghetti and Garlic Bread
Wednesday-Crock Pot Peperocini Sandwiches and Fries
Thursday-Roast and Mashed Potatoes
I'll post the recipes and sources each day! :)

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Project 366: Day 20 [March 7th]

What is it with packages being delivered first thing in the morning anymore?? I love it! :) As one of my sweet friends said yesterday, it feels like Christmas! I love waiting.. and then getting them! :) What came today you might be wondering?? The supplies for Tayler's first birthday! Well... a few of them! Her tablecloths, plates, cups, napkins, forks, bowls, and table decorations came today!

And we got her Brobee cup! She is going to love sipping out of this on her party day! I am so excited I cannot even stand it!

And well, all of that package opening must have worn Tayler out ;) haha! It was cuddle time. We sent this picture to Daddy. (We send him at least one picture a day. We think he really enjoys it, hehe!)

Once Daddy got home, we ran a few errands. It was a GORGEOUS day out today! Yes, we all went out of the house without coats! Of course, I took Tayler's along with us because I'm a paranoid Momma, haha, but it was just lovely out. We had the windows down in the car and we were rockin' out to some music! I took a picture of one of the spots we stopped at. It was a quick stop, so Ethan just ran in as opposed to me getting Tayler out, taking in the diaper bag, etc :) He's a good hubby!

Doesn't it look just gorgeous? Sun shining... breeze blowin'.. definitely my kind of day!

When we got home.. I was starving and so was Ethan! I laid Tayler down for a nap and I started on dinner! We were having our own version of stir fry this evening! Basically what you'll need is steak (I bought the stir fry steak at the store), 3 green peppers, 1 onion, and I threw a Serrano pepper in there because we wanted some spice! Put all of that on top of some white rice with some soy sauce, garlic powder, and pepper. (I completely forgot to take a picture of all of that. Oops!)

First, get a pot and start boiling water for rice. I used instant rice and just followed the ingredients on the side of the box :) I made enough for '4 servings' because my husband really enjoys his rice!

Chop your steak up and put it in a pan with some butter, garlic powder, pepper, and soy sauce. 

While that is browning, chop up your green  peppers, onions, and serrano pepper and throw those into the pan after the steak has browned. I threw in a little more garlic, pepper, and soy sauce, but that's because we LOVE it. Do as you please! :)

Mix all of that around and soften up those peppers as good as you can! :) 

After the rice is done and your peppers/steak are cooked to your desire, put some rice on your plate, then the lovely meat and veggies mixture and there you have it! I added more pepper and soy sauce because I LOVE it!! 

This is a favorite around here. It was a simple recipe that was passed down from my Grandpa to my mom and then to me. I hope you all enjoy it!

After dinner, we watched 'Prank My Mom.' I didn't take a picture of this, but I DVR'd it Tuesday night and let me tell you-- if you haven't seen this yet, TAPE it or WATCH it! It just premiered this past Tuesday night, so keep your eye out for it! I was laughing so hard I had tears streaming down my face and that hasn't happened in a long time, haha! :)

Then, I decided to share Tayler's 1 year old pictures with everyone. I gave this disclaimer at first:

"I posted some pictures of Tayler. I in know way claim to be a professional photographer. I have been working on these to try and make them as good as I could, but I'm still learning. All I can say is taking pictures of Tayler is what I absolutely love to do! I'm just a Mommy that wanted her baby to have some pictures taken of her... to remember this moment in time. I'm not perfect at what I do, but I know that I will cherish these pictures for as long as I live because they caught that one moment in time where my baby was a year old. I love you with all of my heart Tayler Serenity. You are the light of our lives and we wanted to see that!"

And I figured I would share a few with y'all! I know they are not perfect, but I love them and I cannot wait to share them with all of you!

I think she is the most beautiful baby in the entire world :) Biased? Nah! ;)

I caught a few pictures of Tayler playing in her play room today. She will literally go in there and play for hours. I LOVE it! I feel like she is using her imagination and just having a blast. It makes me so happy. Ethan and I talked about having a play room for her when she was still in my belly.. and now look.. she's actually big enough to play in one! Crazy, right?

She had it a mess in there today, but I figure that just means she is having a blast! :) 

Then it was bath time! And we always laugh at Tayler's hair after she gets out of the tub and we dry it, haha!

Freaking cutie.

Then... I made doughnuts. I didn't take pictures this time around because I already posted the directions on another blog, so I'm just going to share that link with you all if you are interested! Just click here.

Ethan's sister and her boyfriend came over with their new baby and we spent the rest of our evening visiting with them. It was wonderful! :) 

And now for the lesson and prayer today...

Lesson #10

Apologize. Think back over the last couple of days (or weeks) when you should have apologized for something. Say, "I was reflecting on something that I said the other day. I said that disrespectfully. What I said was wrong. I am sorry. Will you forgive me?" He may have been 90% to blame. This is not done to re-open the subject.  You are apologizing for YOUR disrespectful part. If he starts justifying himself just say, "Honey, You don't have to get into that. I am apologizing for acting disrepectfully. Will you forgive me?" When he says, "Yes," respectfully say, "Thank you," & go do something else. Walk away. Please do not use this as an occasion to rehash the conflict. The showing of respect during this two weeks is not done for the purpose of getting him to look at his failure to love. You are showing respect in obedience to God's Word.

 And now for the prayer today:

Pray that your husband will cultivate strong integrity, and not compromise his convictions. Pray that his testimony will be genuine, that he will be honest in his business dealings, and will never do anything that he needs to hide from others. (Prov. 20:7; 1 Tim. 1:5, 3:7; Eph. 6:10-12)

The Bible scriptures that go along with this particular prayer are as follows:

Proverbs 20:7 (The Message) God-loyal people, living honest lives,
   make it much easier for their children. 

1 Timothy 1:5-7 (The Message)  The whole point of what we're urging is simply love—love uncontaminated by self-interest and counterfeit faith, a life open to God. Those who fail to keep to this point soon wander off into cul-de-sacs of gossip. They set themselves up as experts on religious issues, but haven't the remotest idea of what they're holding forth with such imposing eloquence. 

1 Timothy 3:7 (The Message) For if someone is unable to handle his own affairs, how can he take care of God's church? He must not be a new believer, lest the position go to his head and the Devil trip him up. Outsiders must think well of him, or else the Devil will figure out a way to lure him into his trap. 

Ephesians 6:10-12 (The Message) And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. 

Dear God, thank You for the blessing of my husband. I ask that you guard him today. Let him live an honest, pure life. It is vital that we keep relationships healthy in our family, friends, and work places. Please let him have a clean reputation free from lying, theft, etc. Keep him strong in You! You are the one we want to model ourselves after. You are perfect, kind, gentle, meek, and honest. Lord, let us be like You!! Keep our relationship strong in You. We want to be such a good example for Tayler and our future children. We love You so much, Jesus!! I plead Your blood over Ethan and our family. In Your precious name, Amen!

God bless you all

and Cheers to Project 366!

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Project 366: Day 19 [March 6th]

I woke up this morning and realized the date was MARCH 6TH... guess what that means??

It's my BIRTHDAY!! :) That's right.. I turned a whopping 25 years old today. Crazy, right? I laid in bed talking to Ethan the night before about how I still remembered my 16th birthday.. my 18th birthday. I really remember my 18th birthday. I was a Senior in High School and I vividly remember sitting in a computer room and thinking, "Holy cow. I can do anything I want and no one can tell me otherwise." Some might think that's how ALL teenagers think, but I honestly wasn't thinking that way because I wanted to rebel. I wanted to good, but it scared me that I could make bad decisions and my parents couldn't just 'fix' it by telling me what to do. Does that make sense? It was a huge reality check for me...

And well, here I am... 7 years later. Married, with a baby, through 6 years of college with a Master's Degree, and we own our own house. God has certainly been good to me, I can say that much!! :) I had much to be thankful for this year-- including my first birthday ever spending it with my sweet daughter. I was 36 weeks pregnant with her last year during this time. It's wonderful to actually be holding her this year :)

Ethan told me he was leaving from home today for work (he does service work on pop machines in different areas.) So, I heard him leave at 730AM.. only to hear him coming back up the stairs at almost 8AM with BREAKFAST! He got me sausage gravy and biscuits, bacon, and orange juice... and he had the day off of work! That sneaky little devil! It was a WONDERFUL surprise!! :) I love days off with him! I didn't take a picture of that.. I wasn't functioning too well at 8AM haha! But after that, we got ready and we went to look at a truck for Ethan and he stopped and got me a doughnut and a coffee from Tim Hortons. We decided that it was my birthday and calories did not count ;)

Then we made a pit stop by Papaw's work so he could see Tayler for a little bit! She loves her Papaw and loves his work :)

After that,  we came home and had cuddle time. Ethan was finishing putting the door in upstairs with Bobby, so Tayler took a much needed nap on Momma while I caught up on some shows on the DVR. Ethan said I could not do any house work today even though the laundry needed done, haha, so I was lazzzy! :)

I don't think my day could have gotten any better after that point ;) I adore her cuddles!

She eventually woke up and I made me some 'lunch.' It was really just kind of a 'snack' so I would be really hungry for dinner! At the store on Friday, I bought my favorite spaghetti sauce-- Hunt's Spicy and Zesty. AMAZING. So, I warmed it up and got a bun and spread butter and garlic on it and toasted it in the oven for about 5 minutes. It was perfect and tasted amazing!

Like my socks? :) they're my favorite!

Ethan and I watched 'Pretty Little Liars' and 'The Lying Game.' We missed out on it Monday night, so today seemed like the perfect time to catch up! As for Pretty Little Liars, I am sooo ready to know who 'A' is. I'm wondering if I am going to be completely shocked.. or if it's something I've known all along! Plus, where was Ally before she met up with her friends that day she came back from Hilton Head? Hmm! And 'The Lying Game' was full of surprises last night too! That ending was incredible.. didn't you think so?? :)

Then, we got ready and went to the mall. We were going to have dinner there, but we wanted to go early so Tayler could play at the play place. She LOVES it there!! She was having a blast :)

She loves kids. She kept hugging one little boy. But we ended up taking her out of there. Even though she can walk, she's just not big enough to roll with some of those children. They kept knocking her over.. it was sad :( The one little boy was being so mean to her. I heard his dad say, "You're being mean to her on purpose" and the little boy said, "Yep!" Literally broke my heart. Ethan and I were talking about how we were going to let her go to school. She has such a sweet heart and is such a kind person. I don't want her to ever let any mean bully take that away from her. 

Papaw and Gigi arrived and we took her to play on the toys that take coins. The helicopter was a bit much at first, haha! She was getting thrown everywhere, but she soon figured out that she had to hold on :)

She was having a blast and pitched a fit when we took her out, haha! So, we put her in the airplane next and Daddy took a few pictures of her :) She was absolutely loving it! We are definitely going to have to take her back!

Then we went and shopped for a little bit while we waited til 6pm-- our scheduled eating time (and I was sooo ready, haha! I was starving!) But Ethan and I went to Rue21 while Mom and Dad walked around with Tayler! Ethan bought me 4 new shirts and some perfume.

The t-shirts have quotes on them that I ALWAYS say, haha! 'Fo Sho' and 'Mo' Money, Mo' Problems!" I HAD to get them. Plus, I only have like 2 t-shirts to my name. Sometimes it's nice to just lounge in those with some jeans! Then he bought me 2 tank tops... the blue one in the picture and a pink one just like it that I am currently wearing ;) Oops! And that perfume is called 'Etc.' and let me tell you... it smells amazing! I am ready to get ready for the day already just so I can wear it!! :) Thanks Ethan! 

While we were shopping, Dad and Mom had Tayler out on the massage chairs and Mom took some pictures of her. She is just too cute for words! I think they were having a blast with her :)

THEN. It was eating time! We went to....

I was so excited! We got an appetizer... the triple combo. It had chicken quesadillas (that Tayler thoroughly enjoyed), mozzarella sticks, and potato skins! :) I think Tayler liked the sour cream more than anything, haha! I ordered the Chicken Tender basket with fries and it came with Buffalo Sauce. It was tasty! And I got a strawberry margarita! 

Hey, I was the birthday girl and I wasn't driving home, hehe! They let me do it! :) And it tasted AMAZING as always!! :)

Brittany and Natalie came with us and Brittany bought me a present... a 'Birthday Diva' hat that she made me wear... even when the entire restaurant sang to me. They're all brats for even telling them!

But it looked cute, huh? :)

And here's a few pictures of everyone that went with us. Of course, my sweet hubby and Tayler were there. And Papaw and Gigi came along with Britt and Natalie:

I love those guys and I am so grateful to have them in my life! :)

After everyone sang, they brought me out a dessert.. .ice cream with a whipped topping. Ethan, of course, ate the cherry off of the top like he always does and then Tayler and I split the ice cream. She LOVED it, obviously, haha!

She was just a mess, but it was SO cute :) I can't wait to see her doing this in 3 weeks on her 1st birthday!! It's quickly approaching!

We had a great time at Garfields! We came home and I wanted to get a few pictures of our mud room. If you've been to our house recently, you'll know it was a mess! We were basically using it as storage, but we got it all cleaned out and decorations put up and I love the 'softness' I feel with it now. I just want to curl up with a book on the floor and enjoy it!

I just love it! It does have our cleaning supplies hangin' there, haha, but we are moving those to the top of the basement stairs as soon as my husband gets something built for it! But other than that, I really do love it! I love the decorations, I love the curtains, and I love the 'feeling' that it gives. Ethan and I just stood there for the longest time looking at it. I know that sounds silly, but it just feels 'cozy.' Plus, we looked at a mess there long enough. It was nice to see something look 'peaceful.' :)

Today was just a wonderful day! I had a great 25th birthday! Thanks to everyone that made me feel special!

And now, for our lesson and prayer today! 

Lesson #9

Ask his opinion on some issue related to his expertise or interests. Phillipians 2:4 says, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." If he is a political junkie, ask a political question. If he is a sports enthusiast, ask a sports question. Ask a question in an area that interests him. You are also letting him know that you respect his insights.

If you can get him to really get excited & you have several questions prepared, look out. He will be more than happy to talk about his interests with you. Go for it!
 And the prayer for today is:

Pray that your husband handle finances wisely, will have discernment concerning budgeting and investments, and will be a good steward of his money in regard to giving to the Lord’s work. Pray that money will not become a source of discord in your family. (Prov. 23:4-5; Rom. 12:13; Heb. 13:5)
The scriptures that go along with this prayer are as follows:
Proverbs 23:4-5 (The Message) Don't wear yourself out trying to get rich;
   restrain yourself! Riches disappear in the blink of an eye;
   wealth sprouts wings  and flies off into the wild blue yonder.   
Romans 12:11-13 (The Message)  Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. 
Hebrews 13:5-6 (The Message)  Don't be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, "I'll never let you down, never walk off and leave you," we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help;
   I'm fearless no matter what.  Who or what can get to me? 
Dear Jesus, thank You for a husband that works hard like he does! I have been blessed beyond what I ever thought was possible. He works hard so that I can have the privilege of being a stay at home mommy. Please help both of us be wise with our money. Let us know how to budget and not spend our money on things that we do not need or have use of. Give us peace in our finances and let us trust you if we are going through a hard time. Thank You so much for giving us the blessings that you have and help us create a wonderful life for Tayler and our future children. In Your name, Amen!
God bless you all
and cheers to Project 366!

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