Around the Colvin Cottage: Beating the Heat

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It is hot! Welcome to July!  The heat of summer finally hit us!

The theme for this week was find a way to stay cool!  We spent our week eating freeze pops and playing in the sprinkler.  During the hottest part of the day, we stayed inside with the air conditioner on!

Here are a few pics of the kids from our week!

Darling Daughter loves the little pool!

Darling Daughter loves the little pool!

New favorite game....dump the crayons out, then pick them up.

New favorite game….dump the crayons out, then pick them up.

This kids loves spaghetti night.

This kids loves spaghetti night.

Superhero Son said he was relaxing in the sun.

Superhero Son said he was relaxing in the sun.

 

Last fall, our family sponsored a Compassion kid.  His name is Leonardo, and he is from El Salvador.  We have talked about his life a lot this week.  We are very thankful for our air conditioning, comfortable home, and fresh food from gardens and farmers’ markets.  

As always, we hope you are taking time today to enjoy your blessings!

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Around the Colvin Cottage: Two Weeks of Family Time!

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The past two weeks have FLOWN by!  I suppose the entire summer will follow just as quickly.

We began our summer break with the mad rush to finish the book.  IT IS FINISHED!  The book shipped to the publisher a little more than a week ago.  With Unveiled Face will be released this fall, probably around October.

Finished manuscript!

Finished manuscript!

Trying to compile the pages manually before I arranged them on the computer.

Trying to compile the pages manually before I arranged them on the computer.

To celebrate the book, the end of school, and my husbands hard work recently, we headed to the lake for a long weekend!  Our kids love water, pools, boats, and all things related to vacation!

Darling Daughter's first boat ride.  Yes, her vest is inside out!

Darling Daughter’s first boat ride. Yes, her vest is inside out!

Superhero Son is quite the pirate.  His paper towel roll was a perfect accessory.

Superhero Son is quite the pirate. His paper towel roll was a perfect accessory.

Having fun in the pool with the kids.

Having fun in the pool with the kids.

On our way back home, we stopped at the Safari Park at Natural Bridge.  This drive thru zoo allowed us to feed the animals as they approached the car.  Some were friendlier than others.

Big Daddy poses with an elk cow.

Big Daddy poses with an elk cow.

After our day with tigers, cheetahs, kangaroos, and giraffes, we headed back to our home, sweet home.

Each day, Superhero Son does his “work.”  Basically, this is preschool activities to prepare him for kindergarten.

Superhero Son loves his fingerpaints.

Superhero Son loves his fingerpaints.

We also spent a couple days visiting family.  One of my uncles has been ill with a series of strokes.  Thankfully, he is now home and resting.  The remainder of our summer has promise of more fun for our family.

What has your family been up to this week?

Blessings!

Around the Colvin Cottage: Are the Berries Ripe Yet?

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It is no secret that our family likes to eat!  My husband and I first bonded over all-you-can-eat spaghetti, our favorite family gatherings involve meals, I love to cook, and we are teaching our children the same.

One of Superhero’s favorite things to do in the summer is pick ripe berries.  I usually make something out of them: pancakes, cobblers, or just put them in smoothies.  This week has been especially warm, and Superhero Son desperately wants the berries to be ripe.

We took several walks this week and found blooms on the raspberries and blackberries.  He got all excited!  Then!  Yes, then! We stumbled upon the mulberry tree.  It is loaded!

The Mulberry Tree

The Mulberry Tree

Superhero Son is now anxiously awaiting the time when we walk to the tree and find ripe berries instead of green.

Since he was so bummed, we made black forest brownies.  They were yummy! Darling Daughter especially loved them.

Yummy!

Yummy!

Darling Daughter LOVES brownies!

Darling Daughter LOVES brownies!

We also had to relieve the heat somehow, so we pulled the crab pool and sprinkler out when my in-laws came over.  Now that June is here, school is almost out, and the temps are rising, BRING ON SUMMER!

I caught the kids off-guard with the photo.  They love their pool and sprinkler and didn't want to be disturbed.

I caught the kids off-guard with the photo. They love their pool and sprinkler and didn’t want to be disturbed.

What is your family up to this week?

Blessings!

Around the Colvin Cottage: Motivation by Mercy Me

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The finish line is in sight!  I have two weeks left of school, the house goes on the market this week, the book is ALMOST finished!  I am scurrying around like crazy trying to finish everything.

Whenever I run out of energy, my go-to song has been Mercy Me’s Move.  Here is a video with the lyrics.  It is kind of like a cup of coffee for my motivation!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WKzIqjqhbk

And now, just for fun, we have pictures of the past couple of weeks!

Darling Daughter's hair is always a mess!  It matches her personality!

Darling Daughter’s hair is always a mess! It matches her personality!

This is where the kids played, ate snacks, and read their book this weekend!  They love the turtle tent!

This is where the kids played, ate snacks, and read their book this weekend! They love the turtle tent!

Parenting Inadequacies: My Kid is Better Than Yours!

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You know the way this story goes.  It happens to parents ALL THE TIME!  Someone stops you in the grocery store line, at church, or at the playground.  They ask your child’s age.  You expect a compliment on how cute they are in that outfit you picked out just for today.  Instead you get a question about a milestone.

Example A:  Saturday I was in the Target checkout line with Superhero Son and Darling Daughter.  A lady asked Darling Daughter’s age.  I explained that it was her first birthday, fully expecting her to reply, “Oh Happy Birthday, beautiful girl!”  Instead she said, “Oh!  One year old!  Can she walk?  All three of my kids were walking by their first birthday!”

Cue parental cringe!  No, she cannot walk.  My son didn’t walk until 15 months.

Example B:  I was at t-ball practice with Superhero Son.  An acquaintance that is actually a friend of a friend asked what preschool Superhero Son attends.  I explained that he doesn’t. He goes to a private sitter.  Her follow up question, with a snooty, shocked tone, “Well!  Can he write all of his letters?  Our preschool requires the three year olds to be able to adequately form all of their letters.  The four year old class will focus on writing complete sentences.  Our child is excelling!  Won’t your son fall behind?”

Again, cue parental cringe! No, he can only write a few letters.

My pediatrician is paid to tell me if my kids are behind.  I work in an elementary school. I am a certified Pk-5 teachers.  I have a masters degree in Reading Education.  I am a writing teacher.  Why do I feel inadequate as a parent?  Why do we try to “one-up” each other as parents?

I seriously doubt the Proverbs 31 woman tried to boast her parental skills.  Others probably admired her because of her confidence, not her comments about other kids falling behind.  I bet she was strong enough in her convictions to know that her children were just fine when others tried to make her feel inadequate.  She probably prayed for her children, and left the rest to God to handle.

Don’t be discouraged by others!  Don’t try to discourage others!  We are all in this parenting thing together!

Blessings!

Around the Colvin Cottage: Busy With Our Own Agenda

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Happy Sunday everyone!  Today is family day!  We haven’t had one in a while, so we are looking forward to some time together today.

On Tuesday, we finished t-ball!

t-ballawards5.4.13

Superhero Son is very proud of his certificate and his medal.  By Friday, he wanted to know when he could play again.  I think we may try swimming lessons next to get ready for summer.  If we get the new house we want, we will have a pool. We really need to teach him to swim before then!

We also spent a huge percentage of our time packing and moving boxes into storage.

Packing the kids' things.  Then packing the kids!

Packing the kids’ things. Then packing the kids!

I think we are almost finished getting things out of the house in preparation for house showings to prospective buyers!

The rest of my time at home was spent working on the house.  We are almost finished with the deck and porch thanks to Josh’s family and a hired painter.  Of course the kids had to help paint!

Eating in Daddy's truck.

Eating in Daddy’s truck.

We had to take a break and eat lunch yesterday.  Notice the healthy food my kids had!  At least they ate apples, too!

After all that, all we have left of cleaning!  Hopefully that will happen after we spend a little time together just relaxing!

What’s your family been up to this week?

Blessings!

Strength and Dignity…Lord, Help Me With This One!

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Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future. Proverbs 31:25 NASB

Strength has several meanings for me.  First, I obviously admire the physical strength of women who have much more time to workout than I do.  I wish I could hit the gym every single day.  I would love to be able to run and strength train more regularly.  Unfortunately I only get to run 3-4 days a week.

Mental strength, however, is even more difficult.  I believe that God is constantly working on me.  I feel that each trial He presents in my life is an opportunity to shape me into the person He wants me to be.  That doesn’t make life easy!

My mental strength wavered tonight.  As I mentioned yesterday, our house is going on the market. In TWO WEEKS!  I spent all of yesterday evening painting the upstairs bathroom, thanks to a girlfriend who helped paint and watch kids.  After she left, I touched up paint on the kitchen cabinets that I refinished two years ago.  They are a lovely white!  Well… They were!

Whoever thought getting a house ready for market with a nearly one-year old and a preschooler was crazy!  I will blame my husband!  Darling daughter dumped an entire tray of paint on the bathroom floor yesterday.  (Again, thank goodness for my friend who was helping!)  Tonight she cut her finger.   On a bowl. (Not sure how.) And bled. On the …. Yep! White kitchen cabinets!  My strength was TESTED!

In the moment, all I could do was check to see how bad the cut was.  Her finger is so tiny.  It is the first time I have actually seen a person shoot blood from a body part.  (Sorry for the grossness.)

Once she was bandaged, all I could do was sit on the floor beside her and look at the blood.  I prayed to God that He would grant me the strength to keep this house showable once it hits the market.  I prayed that I would not become overly tired and bitter.

My husband’s words filled my head.  On the way home from church Sunday, he told me that his goal for this move was to not get stressed out.  I laughed and told him it was too late.

Sitting on the floor with a crying baby, wiping up little puddles of blood, trying to clean my kitchen cabinets, I thought of my husband’s words.  Instead of stressing about the cut, I picked myself up off the floor, picked Darling Daughter up off the floor, and thanked God that, with strength, we receive dignity.  From strength and dignity comes the ability to smile, even when things go wrong.

The Proverbs 31 woman didn’t have an easy life.  However, she was able to pick herself up after a fall.  She could hold her head high, knowing she was doing her best.  With her strength and dignity, came her smiles.  Undoubtedly her smiles carried over to her husband and children.

We all need God to grant us strength to get through the rough times.  Today, remember to smile when you feel His strength!

Blessings!