Note To Self

Ugh!  Another day gone by I have seemingly accomplished nothing.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me these days but I just can’t seem to pull it together.  I’m not on top of things, I just can’t get caught up, and I’ve been having a hard time remembering.  The more I think that I’m going to get everything organized and put purpose to my actions, the more I find myself spinning my wheels.  But enough is enough!  It’s time to shift gears and get some traction.  So here are some thoughts, reminders of what I already know, but will hopefully get me refocused.

1.  Go to bed on time.  I can’t function without enough sleep – PERIOD.

2.  Start my day with prayer.  There is no other way.

3.  Prioritize my tasks.  At the end of the day what has to be accomplished, and what can wait?

4.  Reevaluate my goals and reorganize my schedule.  Am I spending my time working towards the right things?

5.  Stop and pray.  Never let too much time pass without prayer.

6.  Remember that people are more important that things.  The kids should always come before the laundry.

7.  Am I having fun?  Seems childish, but it’s always a relevant need for everyone.

8.  Pray again.  Gotta stay on track.

9.  Let my motivation be love, and only love.

10.  Pray, pray, and pray some more.

And now I believe it is time for me to pray.

Minnie’s First Week Home

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a week now, a long with several others, but it has just been one of those weeks.  Bringing a puppy home is a lot like bringing a newborn baby home – they need constant care and supervision and lots of love and affection.  And while they don’t eat as often as a baby, they do need to be taken out just as often as diapers need to be changed.  But it’s been a good week for all of that.  Allergies and strep throat have visited our house as well, and while in some ways made it a little more difficult, it also gave us plenty of laying around time to bond with our new family member.

So…Minnie is home!  We got to bring her home last Saturday and she is everything that we wanted in a puppy.  She is the typical miniature schnauzer – happy, peppy, friendly, super smart, a quick learner, obedient and eager to please, and a natural with family connections.  She is also affectionate, playful, and a very good cuddler.  She has brought us all the joys that a new puppy does, but for us, even more so.

So without further adieu, here are some snapshots of our first week with Minnie Mia Lulu

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The Newest Addition to the Graham Fam

It’s exciting times for us these days.  We are getting a puppy!  It’s true, and we are bringing her home this Sunday.  Now, this might not seem like that big of a deal to some, but to a mom with 3 small kids, who has listened to her children ask Jesus for a puppy night after night for far too long, it’s an answered prayer – a miracle, even. 


So this is her at 4 weeks.  She was our Valentine gift.  I say “our” because I’ve wanted her just as much as the kids.  With all that we’ve had to let go of recently, a puppy could be just what we need.  I need to see my kids happy and excited again, and I’ve needed to be able to provide that for them.  So much of my heartache hasn’t just been from the loss of my baby, but from the loss of my children’s baby sister.  It’s hard enough to suffer the grief that it brings, but to have to endure your children’s sorrow too, well, it’s just unbearable at times.  So this puppy is a Godsend in more ways than one.

Her name is Minnie…Minnie Mia Lulu, and she is a Miniature Schnauzer, just like the dog I grew up with.  And I am so happy that my kids will get to have all the fun I had making all  the same memories with a dog of their very own.     


This is her at 6 weeks.

My Dream…probably not what you would expect

I’ve just finished reading Prince Caspian,  of the Chronicles of Narnia, to the kids, and in so doing, I’m in a pretty dreamy mood.  So I figure that taking some time to let my mind run away with itself would be the basis of my blog today.

My dream is to live on a farm.  Not what some of you might have guessed, but I would absolutely love farm life.  To wake up to our rooster crowing just at the break of dawn with the birds singing their morning , and the smell of sweet fruit growing from our trees with the sound of water flowing softly close by - that is my dream.  Not anything too big or commercial…just a quaint little property with a cozy home, and plenty of room for all of our gardening needs and all of the adorable animals I want to raise.

I am not unhappy with our current home by any means, or its location.  In fact, I am more than content with all that we’ve been blessed with, but with all the things that God has placed on mine and Jason’s hearts, we are finding ourselves, wanting, more and more, room outside of a subdivision.  I love the house that God has given us.  You would never see it on Million Dollar Homes, and it’s not a mansion by any stretch of the imagination, but it is everything I’ve ever wanted.  (And the story of how God worked everything out for us to get our home is one of my favorites, but you’ll have to read that in an earlier blog.)  If I could just transplant our house onto some land somewhere I would, but alas, I cannot.  We are, by no means, searching for another place to live, but if a nice-size, beautiful piece of land, with some woods and a creek, came available to us…well let’s just say that I would think twice about it, and maybe 3 or 4 more times after that, and then discuss it further with Jason, and then…

I am a farm-girl at heart, and have always been so, mostly due to my love for nature and just about any little (but big too) critter.  Jason’s desires have grown more recently - a true working of the Holy Spirit, I believe, but that will have to be a whole other blog too, and one that maybe should come straight from him.  Nevertheless, we find ourselves on a daily basis thinking, and talking, and planning, for if and when we have more land, and even what we can start doing now with just our 1 acre lot.

So this is what I want…I would like to find about 15 acres (I think, I’m not really a numbers kind of person) nestled in a nice little wood front with a little creek streaming through it.  And perhaps a big, beautiful willow tree just overshadowing the creek, along with plenty of Dogwoods (they’re my favorite) and some Oaks and Maples too.  We’d have all the fresh fruits and vegetables we could ever want right outside our door for picking every day, and all the trees and water would bring the wildlife right to our back door for endless pleasure.  I’d like to start out raising chickens, along with a couple of pygmy goats and a baby pig.  We’d, of course have a dog or two, preferably a Redbone hound and a Weimaraner, and maybe a tomcat roaming the property (but just strictly for mousing and for Bella’s sake…she wants a cat so bad).  And eventually we might add some horses and a cow.  All the animals would be mostly for enjoyment, although they would all serve other useful purposes, and all the produce would just be to provide for our family and sharing with others, not to make a fortune.  So like I said before, nothing too big, just enough to get us and our kids out in the middle of God’s creation and living life the way he intended – abundantly.

Happy Homeschooler

I am currently reading the Joyful Home Schooler, and the author, Mary Hood, does make a good point in the area of literacy.  She emphasizes that learning to read and write is as natural of a process as learning to walk, as long as we create an environment of literacy in our homes.  In other words, our children will have a desire to learn to read and write if they see mom & dad reading and writing on a regular basis.  Of course, that being said, it does taking coaching from mom and dad.  Just like we have to show our babies to take steps, and our toddlers how to use the potty, reading and writing also requires teaching.  But it certainly does not have to be in the form of formal lessons; it can come simply by answers to “Mommy what’s that word?” and “Daddy what sound does that letter make?”  If bedtime stories are a cherished part of your daily routine, as they are ours, then your child’s own curiosity will begin the process of learning to read.

On a side note, I am enjoying home schooling my children.  We made the decision to go this way with our children’s education for so many reasons that I don’t want to go into right now…but let me just say it has been a joy to me.  I can’t quite explain how, but it just feels like it completes the picture for our family.

We first started home schooling in early spring this year.  I wanted to start Judah in Kindergarten early so that if we decided we needed to enroll him in public school we would still have plenty of time.  We took our own little “summer break” through the month of July because we had so many special activities going on with us and our extended families.  So, we’ve been back at it the past week and a half and I have to say I definitely prefer having a regular routine.  I can really relate to young children who need a consistent schedule and stability.  I need it just as much as them.  I feel myself being happier throughout the day when I know that there’s a purpose to all of our goings on.

I’ve added doing PreK with Bella now, and I’m really pleased with how things are going with her, and Judah.  I’ve tried my best to correlate both of their work so that we can all still study the same theme every week:  same letter sound, same bible lessons, same science and art projects.  And Justice jumps in on all the songs and games, and then spends the rest of the time coloring (a lot…he loves to color) and doing centers, which equates to playing with blocks or cars mostly.

We’ve also joined the FAITH home school group which gives us even more opportunities for learning and connecting with our community.  I’m really excited about this year, and I’m really happy with how everything is going.


Spiderman Birthday Party

Our Amazing Judah turned 5 this year and we just had  to celebrate Spidey style.  Judah has been in love with Spiderman since some time around last summer-fall, but not because he had seen any of the movies or comics or cartoons; Judah fell in love with Spiderman when he saw a costume in the store.  So for 9 months, he had been asking for a Spiderman birthday party.

Now that he’s 5, and has a much stronger opinion about everything, I wanted to throw Judah a “super cool” party – one that he would say was cool.  In May we gave Justice an Elmo party that involved turning our entire dining room into Elmo’s World using butcher paper and crayons.  It was a huge hit with the kids, so I wanted to do something just as big and special for Judah’s party.

Of course, my first and foremost goal is to make my child’s day special without blowing our budget, so I try to make most of the decorations…this is where it takes a lot of creativity, and it helps that my mother-in-law has the Cricut and is a really good sport for all my ideas.  I also found a couple of blogs out there that had some cool ideas that I incorporated into our party.  I just searched “spiderman birthday party.”  So here are all of my ideas, almost all homemade:

For the invitations I got this idea from a blog I found.  I printed a free online coloring page of spiderman’s head on red cardstock and cut it out.  Then I cut a slightly smaller shape from spiderman comic books and glued on the back side.  I got some used, inexpensive comics from a local comic store for this.  Then I printed the party info on vellum and stuck on top of the comics.  I had to use special vellum tape  = $6.

  My first idea for decorating was to make a giant web and have it suspended in the air…some black yarn and time was all I needed for this…a big impression for cheap = huge success.  I then added to my original thought by connecting the web to a spiderman cut-out to make it look like Spiderman was shooting the web.  I accomplished this in two ways.  The first was made with a spiderman poster and some foam board = $7.  The second was made from a spiderman gift bag I had leftover from another birthday party.  I simply cut the spiderman figure out and glued it to a poster board I already had = free!  Here’s how they turned out

As far as other decorations go, I made pom-poms out of tissue paper, as well as bought a couple of lanterns. My mother-in-law made webs and call-out sign with her Cricut. She also had a cartridge that made cityscapes that I used. And I did buy a banner and spiderman cups (they held candy) that was on clearance at our local party store.

I also incorporated a large cityscape painted on a poster board. I just used a small cityscape that was cut out with the Cricut, and a projector, and traced and painted. I put the large cityscape on the party favor table.

As far as party favors, I try to keep them simple and not spend too much money on them because, as a mom of 3 little kids, I know where they end up…lost or in the trash. So, I got the idea to make these fry boxes from a blog I found, also made with the Cricut, so all we had to do was fold and glue them. I decorated them with a tiny cityscape, a call-out, and a sticker. I made the boy and girl boxes a little different, but that was mostly because I could only find 1 pack of spiderman masks. So I gave those to the boys, and made girl masks from a foam kit I found at Walmart. Then I threw in some spidey tattoos, spiderman pinata candy, and a spiderman coloring page.

For food we had Doc Ock hot dogs, with chili to go along with it. Bugles in honor of the Daily Bugle, the newspaper that Peter Parker photographs for. My husband made our own copy of the newspaper for this special occasion. As far as the cake goes, I just have to say I have an amazing cake lady. She gets all the credit for her work.

Here are just a few extra photos to complete the picture

All in all, everything turned out very nice. I think all the kids had fun, and Judah was very happy with everything. All the hard work paid off with another successful party.

Cheer-up Cookies

This is how I spent naptime today. We were talking about cheering people up today in school, and Bella and Judah both said they needed cheering up, and honestly, so did I. So I thought this might do the trick. Family cookies~Daddy, Mommy, Judah, Bella, & Justice. Letter A and Number 4 in a repeating pattern. Baseball cookies for the boys. Heart cookies for Bella. Everyone loved them, even Daddy and his “perfect women” who is sweet and doesn’t nag ;)  Success…happy family = happy mommy :D


I’m feeling a little guilty for neglecting my blog.  Life has gotten eventful in recent weeks, and every time I would sit down to write, something would pull me away.  But, however bad this turns out to be, I promised myself I’d actually finish this time.

Bella played her last soccer game last night, which as fun as it was, I have to say I am relieved.  I loved watching her play (when she actually did), but in the meantime, T Ball started.  So for a little while, we had sports 4 nights a week.  But that wasn’t so bad…until Judah’s games were rescheduled on the same night as Bella’s soccer practice.  So I would have to tell myself it was okay to miss his game to coach Bella’s soccer team, but it didn’t make it any easier.

Also, during all of our running around Justice got strep throat.  Nothing to serious or anything we couldn’t handle.  We caught it early, and he was feeling better soon.  However, just a week later Judah got sick and we found out that he has asthma :( It was rough for a while, a little scary for this mommy, but all is fine now.  And he played awesome at his first game.

Mother’s Day was great this year.  After spending time with most of my family, I got to do my favorite thing…come home and get in my pjs and spend the night with my favorite people.

Last Saturday was the most eventful.  After staying up all night getting things ready for Justice’s birthday party, we headed to Radcliff at 8:30 am to the Walk for Life, a fundraiser we participate in every year for our local pregnancy crisis center.  My mom and I walked 2 miles, pulling a wagon that contained my 3 kids and weighed roughly 80 pounds.  We then grabbed something to eat before Judah’s baseball game, went to Judah’s baseball game, then ran a few last-minute errands for the big birthday party…all in the blazing heat.  I finally got home that evening to finish some yard work and decorating, so that, thanks to Brandon and Shannon, we turned our dining room into Elmo’s World for Justice’s Elmo Party.

Brought to you by the Letter J and the Number 2

So we had Justice’s big Elmo Birthday Party on Sunday, which was a huge success!  Everything turned our perfect, and we all had fun, especially the birthday boy.  But that’s a whole other blog that will come later.  Here’s just a preview

Also this month, Jason got sick, I got poison ivy (still have it :( ), and my dad had surgery.  We’ve had our fair share of soccer games, baseball games, doctor visits, hospital visits, weddings, birthdays, and everything in between.  It’s been eventful, and exhausting, to say the least.  But this month is almost over, and we just have 3 birthdays and 1 holiday weekend to go.  If I could, I’d hibernate for the summer…but as it is, I’ll just have to settle for letting this day be pajama day.

Homeschool: Judah starts Kindergarten

Our adventure with Homeschool has begun; Judah started Kindergarten last week! Homeschool is something I’ve always wanted to, and we are loving it!  We are having such a great time, and Judah is doing exceptionally well…and Bella and Justice too.

Judah's 1st Day of Kindergarten

Judah wanted to dress “like Daddy” on his first day of school, meaning he wanted to wear a shirt and tie.  He’s so stickin’ cute!  

  Bella got to participate too.  



Along with our first week of school, we also took our first trip to the library.  The kids loved it!  They each got their own card and checked our their own books.  

And of course we couldn’t leave Justice out!  He wanted in on all the learning fun too.  


 Judah has already had a desire to read and write, so we had already been working with him on these skills for some time.  We are so proud of him and how well he is doing! 

One of the projects he worked on was the Creation Story.  He made a poster out of the numbers 1-7 that told the story of how God created everything.  And Bella made one too.


Judah's Creation poster


Another project Judah is working on is Things God Created vs. Things Made by Men.  He took photos of things in our back yard and is classifying them into 2 categories:  Things God Created and Things Made by Men.  He did such a good job, and he took all the pictures on his own.