Rock Hunting

We hunted for rocks this Easter. Yes, rocks.  And it was so much more fun and valuable then any Easter egg hunt I've ever been a part of!

My friend Vanessa, who obviously knows me well, sent me {this} link about a family who filled their baskets with rocks before Easter. I loved the symbolism so much that I had to steal her idea and take my family rock hunting.

We grabbed Brody and Adelyn's baskets {and some target bags to keep the cloth liners from getting too dirty). Then we set out on a long bike ride around our neighborhood, scoping every spot we thought might have some rocks the perfect size for their basket.

The kids followed their Daddy like little ducklings most of the time as Jonathan {ever so secretly} put rocks in their paths to find.

Our neighborhood has a lot of playgrounds which occasionally proved to be a huge distraction to the mission, but it only made for more fun and memories of our great adventure. 

Once we found enough rocks to fill up each of their baskets we took our rocks home and explained to the kids why we had them hunting for rocks. The rocks represent our sins. We talked about what sin is and all the different ways we sin each and every day. Brody wrote {Adelyn scribbled} those sins on his rocks: lying, cheating, stealing, disobeying parents, etc.

We talked about how much fun we had hunting for rocks and how sin can often be very fun first. But, if we allow it to overtake our hearts it can become a heavy burden to bear and weigh our hearts down, just like the baskets were hard to carry once they started to fill up with rocks. 

Then we talked about how Jesus came down to earth to die on the cross and take away the weight of our sins. He took our sins out of our baskets and put them all in his basket. He took the heavy burden away from us; and if we believe in him and trust him as our Savior then we will see him one day in heaven along with everyone else who believes. 

So, the kids left their baskets full of rocks that night. The next morning, Easter Sunday, they awoke to see their baskets had been emptied of their rocks and replaced with gifts. Their rocks {sins} were now in Jesus' basket. 

The gifts in their baskets {from "The Easter Bunny"...because we can still have fun!} serve to represent the sacrifice Jesus made for us over 2,000 years ago and the gift of salvation he offers to us if we just trust in him. He is the greatest gift and the true reason we celebrate Easter. The eggs, the bunny, the candy, and the new clothes are all fun but we are missing the true joy of Easter if we do not set our hearts and our focus on Jesus.

This year was extra special to us as it was Brody's first year to really be able to celebrate the true meaning of Easter with us. He prayed and accepted Christ as his Savior this past October 20th {2014}.  After many, many questions and long discussions about what we believe, he decided he too wanted to ask Jesus to come into his heart.  

It was tough for Jonathan and I to accept he was ready...and to be honest we kept him from praying the prayer several times much earlier in the year. Jonathan and I were both saved at a young age; and while we both believe our decisions were pure and true, we have learned so much over the years and have really grown {and continue to grow} into a full heart-knowledge of what it means to surrender our lives to him and trust him above all else.  

So, it was hard to let our 5 year old make that decision...knowing he didn't know what we have come to know over 25+ years in the faith. But, we had to remind ourselves that obtaining salvation in Christ is simple: 

Admit you are a sinner. 
Believe Jesus is God's only son and he came to earth to die on the cross for our sins. 
Confess and repent that you are a sinner in need of a savior...and come to Jesus by faith, knowing you cannot work your way into heaven. You are already forgiven and the gift of eternal life in heaven is already yours...all you have to do is accept it. 

While the A, B, C's of salvation are the "fire insurance policy" to get you into heaven and keep you from hell, it takes time and maturity to learn to truly commit your life to him and trust God's will and plan for our life is so much better than any plans of our own. 

We know this. We live this. Now we are trusting that Brody took out his "fire insurance policy" back in October, and we are praying he will grow to follow Jesus and serve him by serving others.

Sharing with Things I Can't Say

Creating Space

RUSHING! I'm always rushing.

And I've always been everything. No matter how hard I try, I cannot be on time. Something always happens and I end up strolling running in after everyone else has arrived and settled in.  I was late even before I had kids, but now that I have kids...oh my!  It's so bad that anyone who truly knows me, knows to tell me to be somewhere 15 minutes earlier than they actually want me there...and they laugh as they watch me running in, still late and frazzled.

Can anyone relate? Am I alone in this?

I have a strong feeling I am not alone.

For me, it's a matter of trying to cram everything I possibly can into my day.  If I find I'm running ahead of schedule, instead of just leaving early I will try to fit one more thing in before I leave...which ends up making me late. I've known this about myself for a long time now.

My husband has known this about me for even longer. He is always telling me to prioritize my "to-do" list {which is actually funny, coming from him} and allot realistic time into my schedule.  I've always brushed off his advice, arguing that I am making the most of my time by getting as much done on my "to do" list as I possibly can.

Pushing the limits. That's what I do.

That is, until it finally occurred to me that the reason I keep stressing out and yelling at my kids {and regretting it later} is because I'm rushed for time...ALL THE TIME. Kids don't hustle. No matter how much I want them to hustle they won't. Instead, they can't find their shoes. They don't want to brush their teeth. The toddler who refuses to potty train has decided to soil her diaper right before it's time to go.  They just look at me with glazed eyes when I tell them we are going to be late. Time is a foreign concept to them.

So I've learned I can't depend on them to jump on board with my overwhelmed schedule. They aren't going to rush when I say we are late.  No, quite the opposite. They are going to slow down the pace and watch with their "deer caught in the headlight" eyes as I explode.  I have to allot time for their shenanigans, for their missing shoes, for the not-so-convenient dirty diapers, for the temper tantrums...

And you know what I've found? We aren't as stressed. We laugh more. We connect more. They don't resist leaving the house as much. They can find their shoes when I'm not yelling like a drill sergeant. The temper tantrums? They still happen, but I can calmly divert attention to something else as we walk out of the house...with smiles on our faces.

Am I always on time now? Yeah, right.

But, we are working on it.

Oh Shooooot!

We spent our Valentines day doing something unusual {at least for me}, but I loved every moment of it! My love language is definitely quality time, and there is nothing more quality than being out in nature with only the one you love by your side and your iPhone turned off...except to take pictures, of course!

Hope your Valentine's Day was just as quality! ;)

A Father's Day Video Card from the Littles

For Father's Day this year, the kids and I made a special video card for Jonathan. Since Brody is only 5 years old and Adelyn is not quite 2 years old, I figured this would be a much better way to tell Jonathan how much the kids love him than buying a card and signing it from them. I think we nailed it too because he was tearing up while he watched it and then asked us to replay it. Success! It's looking like we have a new tradition. :) 
And speaking of new traditions, I haven't shared the adorable new Mother's Day tradition that Jonathan started for me this year. He purchased a beautiful, handmade journal from our Fair Trade Market at church and had each of the kids design their own page for me. This way, instead of cards that are sure to get lost in the mix, I will have a journal with all of their Mother's Day messages compiled together throughout the years! I love how I will be able to see their writings and drawings change over the years to come. What a special present! 

Adelyn's {1st} Birthday Party

Adelyn's 1st Birthday Party was so much fun to plan. As most of you know, one of my favorite things to do is plan a cute party.  That's why I have a Birthday Party Link-up Page right here at Happily Mother After...and many of you have already linked up! 

This party was, by far, one of my absolute favorites since it was my little girl's very first. Boy parties are fun to plan. I certainly enjoyed planning Brody's Bug Party, Train Party, and Airplane Party; but there is something inside that makes me abundantly giddy when planning girly parties. I chose a lemonade-themed party for Adelyn's first, and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. 

As always, the first order of business was to find a cute party invitation to set the mood. Thanks to Monica from the Lemonade Design Studio, I found the perfect invite for all of our guests. Monica captured the theme perfectly and was so easy to work with.

Created by Lemonade Design Studio

Since I had a ton of leftover fabric from all of the weekly photos I took of Adelyn over the first year of her life, I decided to put the scrap fabric to good use and incorporated it throughout the party as much as possible. 

Though I can take credit for making most of the decorations at Adelyn's party, I cannot take credit for the most memorable and talked about item at the party.  One of the biggest uses of all the fabrics was this quilt made by Kristy from The Vintage Clothespin. Kristy's Etsy shop is one of my favorites. Her work is flawless, and I would definitely use her again.  I couldn't be happier with how Adelyn's keepsake quilt turned out. It's something we both will cherish for years to come. Plus, it made a great backdrop for Adelyn's first taste of cake!

Quilt created by The Vintage Clothespin

She was a little unsure of what to do with the birthday cake, but after a little persuading she cautiously dug in.

And, of course, after your belly is full of birthday cake the only thing left to do is rip through some presents and make a huge mess.

We are so thankful for family and friends that made this a very special birthday party for Adelyn. It was a bittersweet day of celebrating as we also said our final goodbyes {before moving to Texas} to some of the dearest people we have been blessed to call friends.

Oh! And I cannot forget this precious birthday outfit my mom made for Adelyn's first birthday party. It, too, was made out of the scrap fabric from some of her weekly photos. I am so blessed to have such a talented mother who, each year, is so willing to jump into the birthday-party-craziness with me! Love you, Mom!

The first year is always a blur with so many special moments to remember. That's why I wanted to capture as much as I could through pictures and keepsakes.  My wish is that each of my children will enjoy reminiscing with me through this blog one day when they are older.  They are both so very precious to me, and each moment that passes is something worth holding onto.

Happy 1st Birthday, my sweet little girl!

Created by Our Little Moments

Linking up with the following:
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savy Southern Style
DIY by Design
Green Willow Pond
Wake Up Wednesday
The DIY Dreamer
Your Whims Wednesday
The Style Sisters
Ginger Snap Crafts
Someday Crafts
Snap! Creativity
The Happy Housie
Life with the Crust Cut Off
Practically Functional
Anything Goes


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