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a little family update….

6 Aug

I know, I know…. it’s been a while… try over a year since visiting this tiny corner on the web. Once we started homeschooling. blogging just took a backseat.  Forget that, it got lost in the trunk. I’ve thought about it many times, with much in my head to type and say; yet the time and drive to do it just eluded me.  I don’t know if signing into WordPress today will inspire more posts in the future, or if it’ll be a once a year thing, but I place my fingers on the keyboard today with news to share. Most news is best said, yet when you have snippets of Facebook statuses or 140 characters on Twitter, it makes it hard to share news. Some news requires information or disclaimers, or like this one – a little back story. 

As most of you know, we have three precious children – Cade (9), Benjamin (7), and Harper (4). At the beginning of this year we were feeling that we weren’t quite done having children yet. We went back and forth, not really sure where God was bringing us to in our thinking. We finally concluded that our family would be richer with having one last babe. Unfortunately, God had other plans for us as we dealt with an early miscarriage in February and again another one in April. We didn’t share the news with hardly anyone – I think we felt disappointed and I can identify with feeling a sense of shame at my body failing. It was a rough time but we knew that we were okay and we just dealt through it and moved on. 

Just as we decided that we weren’t going to risk going through that again, we found out in June that we were expecting again. Yesterday we had an ultrasound that showed a moving and kicking baby with a strong heartbeat. Sweet baby # 4 will be arriving to the Richards family estimated March 1st. We are ecstatic to have another arrow that God has gifted us with, now we are praying for a healthy baby and an easy pregnancy. 

And yes, we know what causes it. It’s already crazy around here. My hands are full but so is my heart. And if you wait until you can afford kids, you won’t have them. Are we done? Probably, but we don’t need to have an answer to that now. Any other questions?? 🙂

 

taking care of mama

12 Jan

Starting 2012, I had a list of resolutions, or “intentions” as I like to call them. Doesn’t seem so weighty then. 🙂 As I reflected over them, I saw a common theme amongst many items; items like “make time to create weekly,” “go to bed early, wake early,” “go to yoga 2 times a week,” etc. The common theme was that I am craving caring for myself. As I get carried away, from the moment I awake, to the demands of mom, wife, housekeeper, educator – I forget to make time or priority to care for me.

However, if I don’t care for my needs:

  • physical
  • spiritual
  • emotional
  • intellectually

then I can’t possibly be caring for the needs of others in the best way possible. BUT, I find it SO hard to take care of me! Why? Before I had kids, I thought nothing of reading a book in the middle of the day or going to the gym. Confession: I like my family and being with them. I feel guilty at doing my own thing while everyone is together. But I NEED to be okay with it. I NEED to be okay with my husband taking the kids to the park while I have quiet time at home. I NEED to be okay with going to Starbucks a few hours on Saturday to do planning while he has the kids at home. I NEED to be okay with letting go of tidying up for the night so I can go to bed early. Once I actually break away and do it, I feel more relaxed and rejuvenated. I know I respond better to those around me and show my family my best, when I’ve given some of “me’ to me.

Some ways I plan on being more proactive in this area for the year are: planning a girls weekend away to refresh and relax, spend a few hours each weekend away from the house – planning for the week ahead, and creating time in my week to sew, create, craft, read, for yoga, and homemaking. The first thing was to decide it was a necessity for me and the second thing was to get my husband’s support.

Mama’s we don’t have to do it all ourselves. Go out, take a break, slow down, and take care of yourself. You’ll feel better for it and your family will appreciate it.

What?! What?!

1 Jan

I’m blogging! I know it’s a crazy thing, since most of you think I’ve fallen off the face of the earth or something. But you know, New Year’s Resolutions and all…. I’m going to try to be more consistent with writing. You know when life gets busy, something has gotta give. And for me the past 6 month, that has been blogging. But I miss you guys. I miss the conversations, the encouragement, the dialogue between us. I love knowing that my words inspired someone. Or that I was encouraged by a comment left. So. although it’s been crazy around here — I can see a light at the end of the tunnel (I hope!). I love sharing about our family, my crazy kiddos, my heart , and what the Lord is doing. I will continue to do so in 2012. Call it a resolution or something. I actually call my long list of things “intentions.” That way I don’t feel so bad when I don’t carrying them out. 🙂 Hehe. No really though, I feel more give about working on them, not such a failure on January 10th. You know that feeling….

Anyways, Happy New Years, Merry Christmas, Happy Thanksgiving, and all the other sentiments I missed wishing you. 🙂

Let’s catch up…

seasons of life

7 Aug

At the beginning of summer we knew we would be busy. We had 4 scheduled trips for our family to embark upon: a working week at a camp in Tennessee, a family reunion in New York, a family reunion in Michigan, and a beach trip to Amelia Island, Florida. Little did we know that within those weeks we would also have our church, that my husband planted 6 months ago assume another church in our area that was closing its doors and that we would attend a funeral for my husband’s grandmother.

Our summer of crazy and busy just turned into a summer of almost unmanageable. We would drive 13 hours for a trip to have my husband fly out of that airport 24 hours later to go back to church to do what he had to do. Then he’d fly back into town 24 hours later for us to drive the 13 hours back home at 6 am the next morning. Not even an hour after his grandmother’s service for her funeral, he flew home to be there for church. That time I decided to stay on with his family with the littles for the week and had a much needed respite.

I remember my sweet husband turning to me as we drove back from Michigan asking me if our life would always be so crazy. “Was this the new normal?” I couldn’t imagine that.

Today as I sat on the beach, watching my littles love the water, my husband relax in a chair to the tune of the ocean waves, and my family that I love so dearly around me, I realized that this is a season of life. I know Ecclesiastes 3 tells me that “there is a time for everything and a season for every activity.” To this I have to hold firm to. Things will change and we’ll find ourselves in either a new season or back to where we were. I won’t feel overwhelmed, broken, lost, and wanting. Hopefully by the end of this season I will embrace the conviction I’ve had this summer that I need full reliance on Him, the one who created me, the one who knows these are fine details, not the big picture – on God. Maybe we’ve had the chaos this season to remind me I cannot do it without Him. I need HIm. I need to get back to my reliance on Him.

I’m going to embrace this season and learn all I can from it. I know as I sit on the beach these last days that summer is coming to a close and soon it will be a new season. I will embrace it. I will turn to Him. And I will learn. Learn from it, more about me, more about Him, and more about my need for someone I can depend on.

 

traveling with kids: some creative ideas & a giveaway

10 Jul

I feel like I’ve spent the better part of the past few days at home doing laundry to prepare for our trip this week to Michigan. Whew! Once this summer is finished and we’re home for good I’ll be so thankful. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved our family time and trips and all, but home is home sweet home. In preparation for our trip to New York last week I put together some GREAT travel boxes for the littles to do in the car and they had a great time with them. I highly suggest making some like them if you’re traveling with littles.

My children are 2, 5.5, and 7. In my boxes I put the following:

     For the baby – stickers (as seen above!), paper, a toy microphone, a travel magna doodle pad, a book, post-it notes, fruit snacks, a few candy treats, and a toy horse

     For the biggers – stickers, a notepad, colored pencils, a roll of aluminum foil (for sculpting). a pack of  pipe cleaners, a roll of tape, post-it notes, dry erase markers (for window art and a laminated Bingo game I made), a new book, a hidden pictures book, a book of mazes, fruit snacks, fruit roll ups, and a few candy treats

Some of the items I wrapped for the joy of opening them. I used the plastic shoebox sized boxes from the dollar store and I wrote each child’s name on the lid with a marker. When we go on trip 3 out of 4 of the Richards Family Tour next week, I’ll definitely be loading their boxes back up for our long car drive!

I also had read about doing a fun thing to help the kids pass the time and not ask “how much longer?” every 10 minutes. Out of colored paper I cut rectangles. On each rectangle I wrote “Travel Ticket.” Then I put a travel ticket for every 30 min. of our travel time in a plastic bag for each child. Every 30 minutes I would ask for a “travel ticket” and the kids would hand me one. You could even have them trade them in for a treat. It was great because they’d realize that they had 4 left in the bag and that would be 2 hours until we got to our destination. I don’t think they asked “how much longer” a single time. They were able to see how much time had passed and how much time was still left.

Hopefully some of these ideas will help you in traveling this summer with your littles. I think after we finish our 4th trip next month, I could write a book about traveling with kids!

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NOTE: Don’t forget to go to THIS post and listen to Erin Elisabeth Aubrey’s music! I will be giving her CD away tonight at 10pm to one of my blog readers who comments on THIS post. There haven’t been that many comments so your odds are GREAT!! 

back in town

6 Jul

Part 2 of our 4 part Richards Family Tour has been completed. We returned last night after 15 hours in the car, from a 1450 mile round-trip to New York. My husband has family in New York and we went for a great family reunion. Being that we’ve never had the resources before, either time or money, we felt that this year we needed to make it a priority to be there and we were happy we did! Our kids had a blast playing with cousins, seeing family, and exploring new sights. On the way to New York we were able to stop and stay in DC for the night. While we were there, we went to two of the Smithsonian museums – the Museum of Natural History and the Air and Space Museum. They were great!

the US Capitol

We also saw the US Capitol building, the Washington Monument, and the White House. A crazy thing that happened was that we had best friends, Steve & Elizabeth Martin that lived here in Columbia, SC. They moved several years ago to Texas. Well thanks to Facebook, we found out they were flying into DC the same night; they were going to be there on vacation. We got to meet up with them before we left and had lunch. So great!

Times Square

After DC we went on to New York where we spent 4 nights with family. We went into the city on Saturday and brought our kids with us to Toys R’Us, Times Square, Central Park, on the Staten Island Ferry, and to see the Statue of Liberty. It was awesome! The train driver from Long Island (where we were staying) into downtown Manhattan, let us sit in the front with him and he gave us a tour as we entered the city. We really had a great time! Between DC and NYC we rode a bus, taxi, subway, ferry, train, and walked 10 miles.

riding the Staten Island Ferry after being in NYC all day

cousins

We’re home for a week and a half before heading to another family reunion in Michigan for my family. Today I feel like I have vacation hangover. I’m tired and just trying to get things back in order. of course, 3 hours at the pool helped with that some! I’m looking forward to routine and regular day to day living!

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Tomorrow on the blog I will have a giveaway for you! While on our first trip to Tennessee, I met a young musician, Erin Elisabeth Aubrey. She shared a CD of hers with me for you to have! Tomorrow we’ll meet Erin, hear what she has, and have a chance to win her CD. Trust me: you don’t want to miss this! So come back tomorrow and be ready to leave a comment or two!

a look at our Tennessee trip

28 Jun
WARNING: A lot of fluff ahead!!

Benjamin at Lake Watauga

Of course, one is always not looking!

I miss this scene!

Looking at rocks with Daddy in Jonesborough

church in Jonesborough

A rare shot

This is more like it!