Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bella's Day with Daddy

So in my absence during the summer I missed an opportunity to share a sweet memory maker for Bella. Bella turned eight this year and was able to celebrate her birthday with her best friend, Joelle. Randy and Scott, Joelle's Dad, took the birthday girls and Joelle's sister Avery on an overnight stay in Dallas. They rented a cool hotel room, dressed up for a fancy dinner, went swimming, bought candy from a candy shop, and went ice skating! The girls had a blast, but truth be told I think the Dad's may have had more fun.

Daddy Daughter Date

Hamming it up, because that's how we roll!

 Silly girls, ready for some swimming!

Best Friends!

Ready for some Ice Skating!

Daddy, you're SO silly!

I was so thankful for this weekend in so many ways.  I think it is SO important for us to model for our children what a healthy relationship is.  I think it's important to 'date' our children, in this case Daddy's date your daughters.  Hear me theory is we should be the model of an appropriate help mate.  Bella's husband will not be a mirror image of her Daddy.  But, I pray that, what she sees modeled for her will leave a lasting impression of how her husband should love her, care for her, honor her, respect her, and prefer her.  Spending this one on one time with your child places value on them and impacts them in a very unique way.  Bella was more excited when she got home, than when she left & that cemented the importance of this practice in our home.

While Daddy was off with Bella, Caleb and I shared time together, too.  He wanted to go to dinner and a movie the night we had together. We had a pretty fun time ourselves.  As we talked I asked him what he thought was important to look for in a wife.  He shrugged his shoulder's & very innocently says, "Well, I want a wife who is pretty, cleans the house & cooks & stuff."  I nearly choked I laughed so hard!  Out of the mouths of babes!  I guess if I apply my theory I come out on top, being pretty, a good housekeeper, & a good cook.....but, since we all know better, I guess I have some work to do!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I had an awesome weekend with my family and want to share all the ways I was GRATEFUL for such sweet times!

I started Friday night off with some sister time, or seester as we call it, with my only sister, Jackie. We were able to sneak away, sans hubby's & kiddos and chilax. We enjoyed great coffee & music at a local coffee shop, Common Grounds. I love this little's were Randy and I spent many a date night planning our future and love to go there every chance we get.

Saturday was soccer time! I'm coaching Bella's team this year & know diddly squat about soccer. The kids are having a blast, so that's what counts. And, by penalty of...something pretty intimidating...DO NOT ASK ABOUT OUR WIN/LOSS RATIO!

Bella and I got to have some quality time at a local Fall Craft Fair & then lunch, while Caleb played at Grandma's.

And then we...Cates clan...most of us anyway, went to Kaska Family Farms, Saturday night. SO FUN! We played in haystacks, shot corn with a corn gun, went through a corn maze, went on a hay ride, played laughed & created fun memories!

Bella and Caleb


Caleb, Bella and cousin Claire

Group Shot of MOST of us!

Mom and kiddos, who WERE NOT interested in being photographed!

Then we played baseball as a family at my brother, Jason's house. This was the second Sunday we gathered and we liked it enough, so we are planning to play again next Sunday! Growing up we were pretty much forced to play together. With 6 brothers and a sister, I was very lucky for a traveling play date. And although I wasn't always excited about the idea then, I'm loving hanging with with them now! We had an absolute blast!

Jackie sporting a HOT Catcher's get up!

Cousin, William SO OVER this picture with Bella!

Even with all our fun, we still missed Daddy. He was working so hard for our family all day & resting up at night! He is an amazing Daddy & we are SO GRATEFUL for him! We had some fun time with him when we visited our annual fair, earlier this month. We rode some rides, bought some fun stuff from a few booths & dined on scrumptious corn dogs & funnel cake! Woo Hoo!

I'm a pretty darn blessed girl and pretty grateful for it!

This is linked to Heavenly Homemaker....take a look and link up!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Christmas Cravings

I know, I know most people haven't put any thoughts towards their Thanksgiving meal, much less Christmas plans. But, I LOVE Christmas and because my family is HUGE , preparations are well underway! And just so we're clear when I say HUGE, I mean HUGE! My kiddos have 3 sets of Grandparents, 11 Uncles, 7 Aunts, & 10 cousins w/one on the way...that's HUGE baby! (That's just the immediate family!)

So planning for Christmas is a must. We live near most of our family and split the day most years. This year we are having three separate celebrations and I can't wait! What I can do without is all the hoopla centered around gifts. I shop year round for deals and typically have Christmas done before the summer time...this year it was Valentine's Day with the exception of the new baby! However, we are aiming for a homemade Christmas with the adults. Time and planning will be the factor if I can pull it off. I would love to share my ideas, but some gift recipients read my blog (at least I think so even though 'they' do not leave me any comment love!) .

Randy and I really wanted to try harder to emphasize Christmas being about Jesus and not gifts, so we mulled over ideas that would have greater impact. One idea was to purchase TOMS shoes explaining the effects of the purchase. TOMS provides one free pair of shoes for each pair purchased to kids in underdeveloped countries. I also read a post @ My Litter of Six, where Tiffany shared her idea of giving each child three gifts symbolizing the three gifts Jesus received from the Wise Men. I LOVE that & think we will start it as a tradition this year!

So, I wanted to share some sites that I thought were great opportunities to bring impact to your Christmas purchases.

I also, would love you to share your thoughts, tips, & favorite Christmas recipes. So let's have it...share & share alike!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Catalyst 2009 Compassion Moment from Catalyst on Vimeo.
Loved this when another friend a time when we are preparing for Thanksgiving, there is no greater gift to give than to share our feast and bounty with another. If you would like more information about Compassion International, select the link on my page. I promise you won't be sorry, just thankful!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

brain is in slow mo, calendar in full swing

I am a yes kinda girl. Every social, church, family, kid, volunteer, random opportunity that comes my way is typically met with a resounding yes. It's not a bad thing until it mucks up my priorities. Lately, I've had to learn to force my hand down...visualize me fighting myself against the urge to raise my hand, yep actually wrestling myself to the ground...that's me. I find myself telling people two things...OFTEN. 1. I'm twice (if not more than that) as busy as when I was working full time. And, 2. We are still trying to find our rhythm. I'm okay with that, with in reason. I'm working toward not over stretching myself and my family and in turn it's helping me build substance to our schedule. It definitely feels unnatural, but is so worth it.

I'm loving homeschooling. I love teaching my kiddos. I love investing in their future. I love creating a haven out of my home for my kiddos and my hubby. I love being the one who cheers along victories and sweeps away tears! It's an awesome feeling, when each tender moment I share with my children God reminds me of two things. 1. I made you to do this, be this, experience this...awesome! And, 2. If I wasn't home I would miss it all...whoa! I'm in awe everyday, of how I feel myself being shaped into who God has called me to be. These last few months have been a spiritual journey that has ignited a fresh peace over my life!

I've really felt the nudge to press in, hear his voice and hold open my hands to the manna that he is dropping from Heaven. I feel nourished, like never before and I love it! I would love nuggets of wisdom on how you do these things with God. With this new season, I think my worship, quiet time, and hopefully my walk will be different.

So, with that I hope to blog more...I really started this to connect with other believers and share my heart. In the process I have developed a few ideas about a side business, so stay tuned for a roll out. In the meantime, thank you very much Julia for the blog award (check it out on my side bar)...made me smile and gave me the boost of motivation I needed!

Happy Thursday!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Photo By: Margo C

Where have I been? Did you notice my absence? I've been lurking in the shadows of the blogsphere trying to find my way. Life has been hectic, amazing, trying, life giving, and precious. I've learned that I am no closer to mastering marriage, motherhood, friendship, or servanthood than I was two months ago. The difference is I've learned to be okay with it. Not comfort in mediocrity, but confidence in the fact that God made me in his image. I am not called to be anyone other than what God called me to be. Unique, albeit quirky, and blissfullly made by the potter's hand.

This week I was challenged to grasp the Father's love. To sit still and make out his voice in the silence. I heard him as I waited to hear good news from Carter's visit to Boston. And as we rejoiced that Randy's uncle was not severely injured in a four car accident. And I surely heard it when my nephew, Riley made it out of ICU and home without a visit to meet Jesus. I've cried, I've rejoiced, and I've prayed enough to invest in knee pads. Today as I held Bella sick from a stomach bug, I relished my call to be her mother. I thought of what it was to be God's child and how his heart aches when we are hurt, or sick, or lost.

This week was also one of affirmation. A friend built up truth as she shared God wanted to tell me I was making the right choice in home schooling. I read this post and then this post and was deeply encouraged as a Mother. But the times (I'm working on consistency) I spent with Jesus were the purest gems & are best described as LIFE.