Tuesday, August 23, 2011


326. Feeling organized.
327. For rain every day for our garden
328. For a schedule that totally helps with my stress level!
329. For opportunities
330. For a lovely new teacher in my new classroom assignment for this year.
331. Kindermusik again!!! More on that later...
332. For the third comment in a week re: Caiden's copious vocabulary.
333. For new shoes
334. For some awesome school supplies from my Mom.
335. That my sister Kristin, husband Aaron, and daughter Eliana (still in utero) are in town for a few days!!
336. For some family time this week!
337. My baby brother is graduating from the Police Academy at the head of his class!
338. For sweet quotes from my children that make me smile.
339. For an outlet to record those quotes.
340. For some new info from my Neurology appt yesterday- trusting Jesus for the rest.

So...guess what? The Director of Kindermusik contacted me and asked if we would be participating this semester. I sent back a nice email thanking her for last semester and sharing with her how much the girls learned and enjoyed it and told her it wasn't in the budget for us this semester, but maybe after Christmas. And then....dun dun DUN...she said that she would be willing to scholarship us (baring the supplies fee) if we could fill in some spots in a class that wasn't very well attended and teach them some sign language in class. WHAT?! Are you kidding me?! Thank you JESUS! I'm doing a little dance over here right now! So exciting!

Some funny quotes this week: Addison was singing to herself a song she learned at Sunday School. It sounded like this:"The B-I-B-L-E, yes that's the book for me. I step up on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E." =)

While I was sick and on the couch, Addison walked over with her baby and said, "Just close your eyes and 'hurlax' Mama. We will take care of you. But first, can you change my baby's poopy diaper?" Just for the record- when she gives birth to REAL grandbabies, SHE will be doing the majority of those diaper changes!! ;)

As for the Neuro appt, I feel like I'm still processing it. My appt lasted an hour and 45 minutes. I did get new information about my migraines and I did feel like I was heard. My last Neurologist told me he couldn't help me and to go to the ER when I had a severe migraine. After that I lost hope in what the medical field had to offer me. Yesterday my hope was renewed a little bit. Pray for Jeff and I as we pursue some suggestions he had and also as I undergo an MRI, and a two day EEG. If there's anything to be seen, it would be helpful for it to be found.

That's all for now folks!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


'I cannot go to school today,'
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
'I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox
And there's one more-that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut-my eyes are blue-
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke-
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is-what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is...Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play! '

Unfortunately, it's not Saturday. And unfortunately I feel like I have as many maladies as Miss Peggy Ann McKay. The Doctor who saw me today diagnosed me with a sinus infection, tonsillitis, pink eye and bordering on an ear infection. She said I was an overachiever.

I'm a Mama to two little girls. I'm a homeschooling Mama to two little girls. I'm a homeschooling Mama to two little girls who committed to attending an interpreting class on Wednesday and to go back to work on Friday. I have a lot going on. I've looked at my manual several times and I've yet to find the code that gets me out of this. Parlay? Uncle? Mercy?

Okay. I'm finished whining. =) Now back to your regular scheduled programming.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. II Corinthians 12:9. =)

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I stayed home from church today because I have a killer sore throat and cold symptoms. I didn't want to "share the love" so I sent the girls with Jeff and I nursed a smoothie- the only thing nutritionally valuable that sounded good to me. Thankfully, our church has this really cool thing where you can tune in to a live feed and watch the service live as it's happening. We've been going through the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20 for the last few weeks, and today we were on number 4- "Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy"...

I'm sitting on the back porch watching the rain come down and saturate our garden and listening to the squirrels duke it out over who is more thankful that the rain came to cool things off a little. Well, it sounds like they are anyway. Wow! An orange Tabby just came bounding across my back yard totally oblivious to my presence in hot pursuit of something tasty. I think we about scared the snot out of each other!

There are lines of green all over our raised garden bed today. It's amazing how fast that happened. It's been four days since planting.

Jeff and I both are eating up what Pastor David said today on God's design for the Sabbath. No, he's not home yet, but since Jeff was in on the planning meeting for this week's sermon (one of his favorite parts of his job) we've had the chance to mull over the topic this week. The main gist of the sermon today was that God gave us the Sabbath as a gift. He built it in to the rhythm of our bodies, our lives, our spirituality. The scripture itself addresses three aspects: work (abstain or cease from it for a time), rest (disconnect in order to RE-connect with those in relationship with you: family and friends), and finally, worship (this day was given as a gift of time for us to enter in to a meaningful, purposeful time of worship both individually and corporately) . So, come, sit down and dream with me for a second.

What if we took this command seriously and got creative with how we observe the Sabbath as a family and as a community of believers? What if we got into the rhythm of preparing on Saturday for Sunday and Monday? What if we met in homes, or parks for times of worship all across the city? What if family time was re-established and re-claimed? What if we began sharing meals together as the Body and spending time getting to know each other and encourage each other in our walks? What if we disconnected from texting, and Facebook, and email, and other social media and instead re-connected with our Creator and His creation? What if instead of observing the LAW of the Sabbath, it became a new way of life, reclaiming our innate rhythm and inviting our friends to join us as we live more healthy, happy lives , more in tune with Jesus, enjoying our families, connecting with and strengthening our brothers and sisters in Christ. If Sunday isn't your Sabbath, make it Saturday. If not Saturday, make it Wednesday. The point is, remember. Because you know, following Jesus' plan for our lives is the best possible way to live!

For more on what Pastor David had to say about the Sabbath, check back here for the podcast. You may have to wait for a few days so they can get it up and running.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Life with Littles

Life with little ones is an adventure. I'm cherishing these days. Here's a peek.

I can't decide on quote of that day:

Caiden: "I like to eat my tears. If I'm hungry at nap time or bed time, I just stick my tongue up there and lick them. Problem solved."

You never know what is going to come out of her mouth. That statement was followed by questions about why her tears are salty, and what salt tastes like, and helps me to understand why she has perfected the art of waterworks at any given moment, and her fascination with watching herself cry. She also uses words like "thrilling" and "dazzling" and classifies animals into mammal or birds correctly 98% of the time.

Or Addison's response to my silly question,
"Why did you hit your sister? "
"For no good reason."

She usually doesn't hit unless provoked, which I have caught her big sister doing a few times lately just to watch Addison get in trouble. But, sometimes she does it just to get attention. Or for this... She loves puzzles still, reading books, and singing everything and anything. She joins us for school time and often reminds us that it's time for "reading lesson" which she is fascinated by and totally digs it when her sister decodes those letters on a page. She continues to be quite the comedian and often causes her sister and I to laugh out loud.

And no, our days are not all rainbows and roses. We are struggling hard core with disrespect and disobedience. It's not called child-training for nothing. We are all learning and growing together by God's grace smothered in a lot of prayer.

(We took these pics for Jeff for Father's Day. My Mom did a good job!)

Monday, August 08, 2011

Happy Birthday G-Ma

Happy birthday to an amazing G-ma, wonderful beyond compare Mother in Love, creative educator and most generous woman! I could go on, but I don't want to embarrass her. We are incredibly blessed to be in your family! We love you!!!

In other news, we will be starting our first day with a real, regimented schedule! Trying to find a way to get more done in a day. It began with this girl going to bed at 10 (gasp!) last night and awaking at 6 with Jeff to work out. Heeerrreee, weeee goooo!!!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Loving like Christ

"When I don’t live love, others live homeless. When I don’t love like Christ, I evict souls."

I've been ruminating on this quote from Ann Voskamp. It rings true as I stand in line at the grocery store, as I correct and discipline my children, as I endure continued migraine pain and carry on with all the responsibilities of motherhood. Where does it meet you today?

Ann Voskamp is the same Mama of 6, farmer's wife, and lover of Jesus who challenged the readers of her blog and more recently the readers of her book, One Thousand Gifts, to daily keep a journal documenting all of the good gifts that God gives us (and that we rarely even notice and rarely still thank God for). The premise is that our good God gives good gifts to His children. If we are not in the practice of thanking God for the good things, how are we to be thankful in the midst of circumstances that we don't fully understand?

I have been really consistent at keeping up with my list of gifts, but it's been a while since I posted some on here. May my own (very personal) list bring to mind all of the gifts in your own life and motivate you to thank your loving Father. I left off at number 300 on here...

301. For sweet moments singing This Little Light of Mine with C tonight before bed. What a wonderful feeling knowing that she drifted off to sleep with a full cup!
302. That Jeff is back home after 4 days away at FBO's children's camp.
303. That I didn't have one migraine while he was away!
304. For a time to laugh at a parenting mistake with my siblings. Sometimes you have to have grace with yourself and move on.
305. For a John Wayne movie with my hubby tonight.
306. That A. was not hurt when she pulled her dresser over on top of herself today and effectively scared the snot out of me.
307. We have grass on the side of our house for the first time since we moved in!
308. That Jeff was able to lead a little girl to Jesus at camp!!!
309. C. read Hop on Pop to as many people at my parent's house the other night as she could manage. Thankful for such patience and love from her aunts and uncles (and Jphnny too!)- that book is LONG.
310. Looking forward to a date with my hubby tomorrow!
311. For an unexpected check for a training at school when I was only expecting comp time.
312. For our first week of Kindergarden work coming to a close. We studied Blueberries with Sal with Before Five in A Row.
313. For our first lapbook completed today!
314. For a few bow orders that will cover our field trip to the Safety Village with our old homeschool co-op. (We are not participating in it this year.)
315. For duck and raccoon families, a turtle and various butterflies that have found their way into our yard in the last week.
316. Watching A snuggle with her Daddy before bed. Sweetness!
317. The joy that comes from contentment with following an old Pioneer proverb- "Fix it up, wear it out, make it do or do without."
318. For so many answers to prayer.
319. For an answer to C's prayer that she really understands.
320. Listening to A. recite a poem that we learned at Kindermusik (thanks again Big Grandma and Big Grandpa!)
321. For the chance to share my love and knowledge of childbirth with a friend- I hope I didn't scare her away with my excitement and passion!
322. For colorful cloth diapers hanging up to dry. (we are using cloth during the day and "sposies" at night and on Sundays when we are typically away from home all day.
323. That those diapers still fit her even though this child is now in size 4 disposable diapers!
324. That I got to meet the teacher I am working with this year (still working part time as an Interpreter of the Deaf at an elementary school )- knowing this early where I am working is a first for me!
325. Learning to trust Jesus with all of the things that are on the "lists" in my head and that try and keep me up at night.

Okay, it's bed time. Tomorrow, may you live a life of love that welcomes the world in from the cold and may the reality of His love compel them to stay a while! Good night!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Catch up!

Say you pulled up to my house after a long separation, I welcome you into my home, serve you some ice water and invite you to curl up on my couch with me to catch up on all the happenings of the McLaughlin family over the last few months. We have been busy, and our conversation bounces from one topic to the next fluidly, effortlessly, as old friendships do.

What have we been up to? Wow, where to start? Yes, before I get started, I DO love my real wood flooring. I love what it does for our home, I love how much healthier I feel, knowing I can SEE any dirt or dust that we gather as we live our lives in and out of this house. It is easy to care for, but it does demand attention on a daily basis. I love how I can hear Addison's flat feet running around on it. I love how Caiden dons socks for the sole purpose of spinning and twirling "just like a ballerina". Yes, I do highly recommend it and learning to lay it yourself is well worth the time in the money it will save you!

Hey, check out this tent some friends gave us! Yes, it's only for inside. The girls like reading in it. Isn't it fun? They gave us a Gymboree parachute too. We haven't played with that yet, but there are so many options for learning with that thing. It's amazing how God provides. You know, our income is the lowest it's been in our married life, but there is absolutely no shortage of surprises, and gifts of things that we don't NEED. God is so good, providing for us even beyond our needs, and according to His riches and Glory! Remind me to tell you about Caiden's answer to prayer later...

So, I guess the biggest change has been our new church. As you know, Jeff began a new job at First Baptist Orlando in May. We are super thrilled to be a part of this church and are so excited about where they are headed as a community of believers. You've probably heard about the 5.6 million the members pledged for Love Orlando- the ministry to Orlando's "new homeless". Jeff is getting to be a part of assisting a team of people creating protocol and procedures and establishing teams to work with different aspects of this ministry. He is also working some with singles, and young marrieds. Needless to say he is BUSY during the work week, but we are enjoying seeing him more than in recent years. In fact, I told him the other day that I SO needed this reprieve. His presence the last few months has been healing to my soul. The past four years I have often played a single parent as he pastored an amazing group of youth in Winter Park, but it has been exhausting. So, amazingly enough, our time so far at this very large church has been refreshing and reviving to our souls.

All of that to say, this transition has not been without bumps and bruises along the way. We really struggled the first month or more of our time there. Jeff was struggling to find a place and discern what his role would be- there was so much that he could do! But we had also come straight from our last church where we had served and "done life" over the last 7 years. In retrospect, we should have taken a little time off in between job. I think we experienced a bit of a mourning period. All of our lives were wrapped up in that church, our friends, and "family" over the last 7 years. They were (and in some ways, still are) an amazing support base. Our family!! We had only been married about a year and half when we started at All Saints, and we brought two children into the world there, and to suddenly find yourself in a different, larger pond where you are both unknown and don't know anyone yourselves, it was a bit of a transition to say the least. =) Things are in a much better place these days, and we are learning SO MUCH. If I even attempted to share all of those details they could fill multiple posts! Glory to God!

We started school with Caiden on Monday! We are loving it! We have decided to use Five in A Row which is a literature based unit study curriculum along with continuing our Teach a Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, and supplemental Math work. Remind me and I will share with you our first unit based on Blueberries for Sal by McCloskey.

Wow, look! There's a Mama raccoon and her three babies crossing our backyard! Two days ago there was a Mama duck and her passel of duckling playing around back there. They were so cute and fluffy and all so close together I couldn't count how many there were. Well, we can add that to our list of wildlife that we've seen actually IN our backyard: bears (often), owls, snakes, ducks, wild turkeys, raccoons, hawks, armadillo....hmm, I guess that's all. At least that's all I can think of at the moment.

Anyway, so. How are YOU?? Seriously, I'm inviting you to share your heart with me. How are you doing? What is God teaching you? What is a fun thing your family has done this summer? How can I pray for you? We have all the time in the world....