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***Note to anyone who comes by here to listen to the music ...You will now have to scroll down to the player on the right side and press play yourself. This is to accommodate those who only come to read and are distracted by the music;}

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Surprise Shower

My beautiful teammates (as you can see pictured below) had a surprise shower. It was an incredibly special time and I am so blessed to have them! I didn't think I'd be surprised this time around, but I was and it was fun!
Left to right: Laurie, Kristie (my mommy mentor:), Kaye, Me, Shannon and Jeannine
Opening up's fun to be getting pink things:)
Kaye has 3 girls and had the idea to decorate letters for Susie as she has done with her girls. Since there were five of them, each one took a letter. On the back, Kaye had them come with a Bible verse for Susie that they wrote on the back. This is what the final project looked like.

Here's my first belly shot since I was very early along...everything else is just candids. I'm glad that we took this one:)
As I said, it was a beautiful time...We also had a party for JJ with his friends here on Saturday...between these things, we marvel at how blessed we are to have been given so many wonderful friends in just one year!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Parenting Advice

Two things have come up recently that I wanted to ask my fellow mama's and parents for advice.

1) After a spanking (which we really just began), JJ wants to hit himself. We tell him it's ok--he needs to be nice to himself, but I think he's confused about what we are doing. We know that in certain situations we do want to use this form of discipline, but we also want to make sure it's effective. So, is this normal? What can we do to clarify what we are doing to help his little 2 year-old brain understand better??

2) Picky eating: I would say JJ's been a pretty good eater--especially at dinner time where he'll eat almost anything I make. Recently, he's been refusing to eat dinner (I have made a couple of different things). We've disciplined him for it, but it doesn't seem to be too effective and of course we hate the thought of a two year-old growing boy not getting enough to eat. Any thoughts??

I know there's alot of wisdom and those who have gone through this age before, so please respond when you can.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Following Post

The following post is an a great video of our time at Sea World yesterday with our Florida Family, the Farr's. Thank you to Jamie and Anita and their kids for a great time together. We sort of went to celebrate JJ's birthday, but it was great timing for all of us to get back there and since we have annual passes--no pressure--we can stay as long as we like and when it's time to go, it's time to go!
A highlight to this visit was getting to see a Dolphin Show at the Wale and Dolphin Theatre. All of the kids loved it and were just great!
We think our kids have it great to be living in Orlando--close to so many great things!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Guess Who Turned "Doo!!!" Today??!!

Jared Jonathan Alleman
born TWO years ago TODAY
August 21st, 2007
6lbs. 12oz. 18 inches

Two years later:
August 21st, 2009
32 lbs. 35-36 inches
(Only about 5 times as much weight and twice the height!)

I think it's pretty symbolic how much physical change happens in two years, because SO MUCH life and developmental, personality, etc. just keeps happening...I can't say that the whole day (very rainy afternoon) was filled with grand excitement, but I felt so blessed at so many points just celebrating this priceless life. Knowing those who have lost or whose struggle is great with the little ones they have, it is never far from my heart what a precious blessing it is to have a wonderfully developing, healthy and full-of-life little one. These are the things I so need to remember when I can so easily feel overwhelmed by what lies ahead and can just lose my joy and SHAME ON ME to stay there...there is so much for which to be thankful.

I can't say I had any grand plan for a cake when I woke up this morning. I had a really bad night's sleep and felt SO TIRED. JJ has taken really short naps the last 2 days(VERY unusual) and I just didn't know what to expect, but when he couldn't even lift fish crackers into his mouth at lunch and was asleep for his nap in seconds, I really hoped and believed he'd sleep a good 2 hours. So I went to work on a cake that I knew would involve his favorite--BASKETBALLS! I didn't have a plan when I made up the cake but because I only have 1-12 cup muffin tin, I decided to use that for some basketball cupcakes. Then, with the round cake pan, I had I figured I could do something with a hoop and later decided to cut out a hoop and the small cupcakes were because I had some leftover batter. Well, how sweet that it worked out like this! Much thanks to my friend Anita for her cake decorating supplies. What do you think??

Another great last minute idea was from Jared. We were hoping to share dessert with our neighbor Anita and her three kids. But since her husband is out of town, Jared suggested getting pizza and bringing it to them along with the cake. IT WAS PERFECT! Our kids just love each other and have so much fun and excitement being together. Anita had decorated this chair and JJ was beside himself with excitement to be with his mommy and daddy and his best buddies and Miss Anita.
(I think he looks so old here! I felt like he looked older as soon as he woke up! I also think he looks so much like Jared's family right now too!)
In the bottom right photo I have no idea what is going on, but with 4 kids 3 and under, cupcakes and ice cream...anything can happen!

Speaking of this, after pizza and before the cake, little Abby had run in to show me her pink Princess Pull-ups. Before we know it there is a Pull-up confetti celebration going on in the other room. Everyone was getting in on the action, but Abby definitely started this one. It was hilarious because when Anita asked Abby who would be cleaning up, she imediately said "Big JJ!" That's our JJ as she also has a little brother "Little JJ". Well, JJ definitely threw a couple pull-ups, but he was definitely a the end Abby was great to clean up with Mr. Jared.

I think that I am married to and the mother of 2 of the cutest, sweetest Jared's in the WHOLE WORLD!
Seriously, I am one blessed wife and mama and we are a SUPER blessed family! Thank You Jesus!
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Empty and Beautiful

I have been loving this song on the radio and just put it on "My Playlist" as #1.
Here are the lyrics...HOPE YOU ENJOY!
Empty And Beautiful by Matt Maher :
My past won't stop haunting me
In this prison there's a fight between
Who I am and who I used to be
This thorn in my side is of grace
For because of it the flesh and blood of God
Was offered in my place, my place
You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me
Where did my best friends go?
In my defense they disappeared
Just like Your friends did to You, oh Lord
But You were there, You gave me strength
So this little one might come to know
The glory of Your name, Your name
You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me
Awaiting, set apart like incense to Your heart
A libation I'm pouring out
Empty and beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me
You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me
Jesus You kept the faith in me
Savior, You kept the faith in me

Thanks Jules!

Thanks Julie, for helping me fix my blog posting screen! It was simple. In case it happens to you I had selected the "Edit html" in the top right instead of the "Compose" button. So simple, but I had lost my font colors (really tough for me to lose colors!!!), and alot of other things and couldn't see my pictures when I was writing the post!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Staff Retreat

(Julie, or anyone can you help me? My pictures aren't showing up--only http's. I think I hit something and I can't find where to change it. Thankfully, it posts ok!)

Here are a few random pictures from our Staff Retreat.

Top left and bottom center are JJ with his buddy Jake. It's fun since Jake is older, that they can interact a little more. Jake reminds us of JJ when he was a CHUNKY!!!

Top right is JJ on the bed in the house where we stayed with Gloria. She is one of the three girls of Scott and Kaye on our team...We stayed in a house with them and it was one of the highlights of the retreat to be able to spend time after meetings and in the mornings with them.

Bottom left is Jake with his Dad, Jeremy, our director. Jeremy was really tired and had "sacked out" on the couch while we were all talking. His mom, Shannon, gave him to Jeremy to hold and Jeremy briefly woke up only to fall back asleep and Jake was still hanging out on Jeremy, thinking "Dada, whatcha doin'? Why aren't your eyes open??"

Bottom right are Jared and JJ "pretending" to blow out candles on their joint cake--the same one I made for Jared's birthday that we celebrated during Bible Study (previous post). It was a hit at the Retreat too!

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Friday, August 14, 2009

"Never a Dull Moment..."

You may recognize this as a hospital bracelet with my name on it!...

Two nights ago (Wednesday night) found me without sleep throwing up every 1/2 hour and it was diagnosis was food poisoning:( That was what I thought...thankfully it was a leftover (I think) that only I had so my dear J's did not get it too, then, I really don't know what I would have done!

At one point in the night Jared wanted to take me to the ER considering I am 8+ months pregnant! but I wanted to try to make it until morning...hoping it would all stop or at least, we wouldn't have to wake JJ up and I wouldn't have to be throwing up in an ER waiting room but rather, in the "comfort" of my own home...

So when about 6am rolled around and it was coming out both ends (I know-GROSS!), I finally gave in and said we needed to get to a hospital. I started to worry it was Sao Manila poisoning and What would that do to the baby!!?? I texted one of my friends, Carrie, to see which ER/Urgent Care she thought I should go to and she said I should go to Winnie Palmer Hospital because I am pregnant. This is where I will deliver Susie and I had already pre-registered there! I am so thankful she suggested it because I wouldn't have thought of there first myself! After dropping JJ off at my friend/surrogate sister, Anita's house, we were at the hospital at about 7:30am. They were able to see us quickly, not before I threw up and "went" in their bathroom. I was quickly assessed and the doctor on call from my ob's office (another blessing, since it's where they deliver, the doctor is right there, on call and the nurses know them too!) gave orders for an IV for hydration to be poured into me (really quickly given) with anti-nausea medicine which made me feel better instantly. After that, I was given a 4 hour 2nd IV with more anti-nausea meds. The nurse was concerned because I was contracting so much when I was first hooked up. The baby's heart rate was fine (a little high to start, but calmed quickly), but I was having pretty good contractions every 2 minutes...I honestly wasn't worried I would go into labor...perhaps if I hadn't gone to the hospital and had gotten even more dehydrated at home...I think these were Braxton-Hicks brought on from dehydration, but still shouldn't be played around with.

Well, for as horrible of a thing as it was, I saw so many blessings. We got to do a "dry run" to the new hospital where I'll deliver. I have great friends here like Carrie and Anita who helped immensely in their different roles. I was given such great care with a wonderful nurse, Sylvia, who loves the Lord and was just so caring and wonderful. Jared was able to hear our baby girl's heartbeat as he hasn't since very early on, if at all in this pregnancy. And, of course, just sensing the Lord's peace that the baby was fine and He would take care of us, was such a blessing.

I was able to eat bland foods when I got home in the afternoon and have mostly had bland foods today with some soup and I'm working up. I was able to get good rest yesterday and most of today, which is important as we have our staff retreat that we leave for tomorrow.

This pregnancy has been interesting with lots of "bumps" I didn't have with JJ--I wonder if it's an indication of how this girl is going to keep us on our toes?? or maybe just lots of learning to trust and let go and concentrate on what's most important--and not stress about everything that I can't get done because I keep getting sick...

So, as my title says and my mother would say there's "never a dull moment" especially in this pregnancy for me, and "when it rains, it pours" but also, Abby, "this too shall pass." I can hear her say--priceless wisdom and the reminder of so many moms, friends, sisters, etc. who have had their share of adventures in this great homespun journey of mothering and well, just life.

Happy Belated Birthday to Jared:)

Ok, so my whole blogging screen just "changed" and got really weird...well, I'll have to figure that out later...

We celebrated Jared's birthday at our last summer Bible Study with students this was definitely a great place to celebrate it as it's been special for us to host a great group of kids on Monday evenings this summer...

As you can see, Jared is having a hard time blowing out the candles...

And he still is...

Yep, you guessed it, they were the trick candles. I have NEVER used them, but they are what I had on hand...I guess at 32, my hubby is "losing a little wind"! HaHa never!

Jared's birthday was August 2nd and I was still recovering from our trip to Colorado and a stomach bug I got the day after we got back, so, that day was a complete wash for him:( I did make it up to him and cook his favorite meal (or one of them), Taco Pie! And then I made this ice cream cake with Mint Choc Chip ice cream and Jared says it may have become a new favorite! It's so easy, so that's great!

I love my husband so immensely and how he is just so "easy to please" and never makes me feel like I let him down, even though I feel that way. He really is the best and I couldn't imagine being married to a better man (seriously!)

I love you Jared!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

First Sentence

This collage above is a clue...


He started to say it a couple of days ago, "lost it" then started to say it when he was on the bed with me and we cracked up over and over...

It is so fun for me right now with all that JJ is learning and with each day having so many new words. Again, not a surprise that his first sentence involved his first word after "mama" and "dada" which was "ball!"

He quickly added to it a second sentence:

"I SEE A DOGGY!" Another one of his favorite things:)

We are just enjoying him so much these days! I am so thankful that he is communicating better and better because with his baby sister coming, HOPEFULLY, he will be able to communicate what's going on in that transition.

Again, priceless days...

Romans 8--COMPLETED!

I actually finished this the day before we went to Colorado. It was pretty exciting and has been great each time I've gone back over it since then.

Romans 8

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set YOU FREE, in Christ Jesus, from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law, indeed it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

"You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if, in fact, the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him. But, if Christ in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

"So then, brothers (and sisters), we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die. But, if, by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have have received the spirit of adoption as sons (and daughters)by whom we cry "Abba Father". The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. And if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creations waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope, that the creation itself will be freed from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation is groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons (and daughters), the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

"Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us who can be against us? He who did not spare His own son, but gave him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? Who can bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is it to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or danger, or nakedness, or sword? As it is written:

"'For your sake we are being killed all the day long. We are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.'

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I know that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor heighth nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Amen and Amen--PRAISE YOU LORD!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

"You are my witnesses..."

Being Joyful Witnesses

To speak about Jesus and his divine work of salvation shouldn't be a burden or a heavy obligation. When we go to people feeling that unless they accept our way of knowing Jesus, they are lost and we are failures, it is hardly possible to be true witnesses.

It is a great joy when people recognise through our witness that Jesus is the divine redeemer who opened for them the way to God. It is a true cause for gratitude and celebration. But we should also be able to live joyful and grateful lives when our witness with deeds and words does not lead people to accept Jesus in the way we do.

I'm finding again that I want to re-claim that "joy of my salvation" that flows out spontaneously...this makes me think of "the Great Divorce" by C.S. Lewis and the lady who comes to her husband who hasn't come to Christ. She speaks with a compassion to him of the joy she knows and he keeps wanting to pull her into his dwarfed colorless world...observing this, C.S. Lewis as narrator cannot believe that he isn't changed, but is also taken when the woman sees the impass that remains between them and is compelled onward in the unspeakable joy of the Heaven and God that she knows...

Obviously, the tears are not all dried here and hearts that burn for the lost are so needed and so rare these days...but just as in any relationship, to let a hallmark of salvation, our joy, be robbed because we do not see these ones come to Jesus is not God's Best for us. I think as witnesses of the Good News we can't help but be so overflowing with the hope and beauty of this message that it overpowers all other things...

One of the recent connections in Global Media Outreach is a young woman from Colombia who I've been able to share the gospel with as she has shared her desire to be "special", to be able to rise above the hate in her world and just the honest searching of one who longs for relationship with the Lord...please pray for this woman who the Lord knows by name and prayerfully will be "His Own" soon.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

JJ...the Baller

Well, it's becoming quite apparent that the whole "baller" idea with JJ is "no joke". As you can see he looks like quite the little athletic one in his Adidas basketball outfit. As a bonus you get to see me in my preggo belly which is also "no joke" at this point...

JJ has his own "oop" to "doot" the ball in now thanks to his friend Shelby, from church, letting him borrow it! We are so glad to have it and he goes out for a few minutes each day and practices shooting:) I went out with him just today and was amazed at how good he's become at shooting it in there from various angles...seriously, he just wants to get it like nothing else!

So Jared and I have already talked about not being "those parents" who push things on their you all can keep us accountable in the years to come that we just let him "be JJ".
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These were the only pictures that I got at CSU for myself. That was pretty indicative of how, when my battery ran out on my camera, I was too tired to re-charge it and think about more pictures...though, if I had, I would have gotten JJ with his new friend, Trenton, and our new friends, Alan and Stephanie, and JJ's Kids' Care place with his "teachers" especially Amy who he really came to love by the end...Hopefully I will post some pictures on here from facebook of all of these neat people.

Now, on to what I DO have...below, is JJ in the "choo, choo" with his Daddy. This was quite fun for him to ride. He was just taking it all in. In the top left picture you can see a smaller, bright-colored train that kids could ride by themselves. We didn't try him there but I'm curious how he would have done...(side note, bottom center is JJ with his "plane buddy" Cannon who he sat behind on the way out to was a great entertainment until they both konked out in the last 45 minutes or so of the flight:)

...however, considering that JJ, while seated in bottom left in the car, did not actually ride this ride because he was too scared of being by himself (or with a friend from church later), I don't think he was quite ready to go it without Daddy on these rides.
I don't blame him with these cars, because they moved around pretty fast! In the top left in the front seat of the car are Grace (not quite 2) and Gloria (19 months) from our team who rode the ride together. Some brave girls!

I think these pictures are just adorable! JJ rode on a horse (with Daddy's you can see, he wasn't too steady) and really did great. I don't think he would have done it without Daddy, but thankfully Daddy could walk right with him. It was sort of a "live carousel" with the horses attached around a center ring by chains.

My friend Erin from church planned this Carnival and I think she did a great job! Go Erin!!
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CSU Photo Overview

Well, since the only photos that I got at CSU were of the Carnival on the first night, I decided to see if I could find some on the internet to give you a picture of where we spent the 10 days in late July '09.

CSU: Colorado State University

This is actually a really good view of the mountains that we saw just outside of the dorm where we stayed. (just looked longingly at them this time...INTEND to hike them next time!) This is probably the best view of what we experienced. All of the main sessions were held in Moby Arena. There were thousands of fellow staff from all over the U.S. in all sorts of ministries who we worshipped with and were encouraged truly was special to be with so many linked by a common calling--something that all of us have sacrificed for and believed the Lord to do. From those who just joined staff to those on staff 50+ years, it truly was a life-giving time of refreshing that we don't want to come home and forget...