Friday, November 28, 2008

Belated Anniversary Post

Posted by Mandy at 11:23 AM 4 comments Links to this post
My week has been pleasantly busy, so I'm just now getting around to posting that Clayton and I celebrated our 8 year wedding anniversary on the 25th. I cannot believe how quickly 8 years has gone by! It is so strange how, when I think back to how we were when we married, we seem so much the same, yet so vastly different. I love how everyone makes you believe that your first year of marriage is the happiest, and you're only happy together because you're in Newlywed Land. Isn't that lovely how often newly married couples are told how incredibly unhappy, boring, and stressful their lives are soon to be? I look back and cannot help but laugh. (Bwahahaha...)

I can honestly say that we are happier and more fulfilled with each other now than ever before. I am sure it is more because of what an amazing man, father, and husband Clayton is than because of anything I have done over the years. He loves peace and harmony, and I love him for that. He loves being a good provider, a good comforter, a good listener, and most importantly, he loves making me happy!

We read a book by Joyce Meyer called Help Me, I'm Married! several years ago. One thing that we both deeply internalized from the book was the seemingly simple advice, "Live each day to make each other happy." Practicing this advice has proven to be much more difficult than it first seemed.

When I'm tired, and he's tired, and Samuel needs a diaper change - changing it myself just to let my husband rest is a small, yet sometimes difficult, act of love I can share.

When I know he's had a horrid day at work, and worked much harder that day than I have, and he still happily cleans up the dishes after supper - it is a huge act of love from him to me.

When I decide I want to do dog rescue and adoption, and he doesn't really even want ONE dog, and he still agrees to support me in my quest - it fills me with joy.

I jokingly said to our good friends, Taylor and LeeAnn, a few nights ago, in regards to a shopping trip I had gone on with my mom and sister, "It's beneficial to him that I go shopping while he watches the kids because it makes me happy. I'm a happier wife and he gets to be happier husband!"

While I said this laughing and a bit snotty, it really is the truth. Doing those small, daily acts of love and kindness for each other, even when we might not want to, goes a very long way in keeping a marriage HAPPY and strong.

I am so blessed to be married to my husband. Having a man like him that makes me feel secure, loved, beautiful, appreciated, and safe is such a gift from God. Our marriage is certainly not without its times of struggle - but I'm so happy to see that as the years go on, and we practice being loving to each other, the struggles become less and pass much more quickly.

I am also happy to report that we someone managed to miss the "Seven Year Itch." I hope it wasn't just delayed... ;)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Canine Corrections

Posted by Mandy at 7:44 AM 3 comments Links to this post
I finally got up my courage and created my own Dog Behavior business - Canine Corrections. Taylor created an amazing poster and some super cute business cards for the cause. I will show them off as soon as I get my scanner to work properly.

I had my first client visit this past Sunday. Our first session with their two Standard Poodles went great! Their main problems were with the puppy - who is 15 weeks old. He is simply an overly excited guy that turns a bit dominent when in that state. He was jumping, nipping, pulling and zigzagging on the leash.. you name it. Within the first 2 minutes of our walk, he was at a heel and walked like the prize Poodle he is! After our hour and a half long session, he was the picture perfect, calm-submissive, young guy. His behavior was so good, that they asked me to come back this coming Sunday to work with the older Poodle. Before, they thought she was perfect. :)

This Thanksgiving I will be keeping a young pup for another client while they go away for a few days for some intensive, in-home, training. He's a power breed seeing to be a German Shephard/Rottie mix and is already showing some signs of being overly powerful and dominent during play, which can QUICKLY turn into aggression as he ages. I'm excited to have a puppy in the house.. the kids are going to love him!

So, Canine Corrections is open for business! Need help and want to set up an appt? Call me at (870)308-1403 or email - caninecorrections(at)gmail(dot)com

I'd love to help!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What Are Siblings Good For?

Posted by Mandy at 8:57 AM 4 comments Links to this post


Being silly around a campfire...




Spinning with until you want to puke...



Eating popcorn and acting completely ridiculous with in the fort...

Keeping Mommy on her toes and on the look-out for the newest weapons...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Debate: Gender Selection

Posted by Mandy at 8:04 AM 6 comments Links to this post
Technology has done amazing things in the lives of many that have struggled with infertility. From medications that help a woman's body finally mature and release an egg to procedures to actually fertilize egg with sperm outside of the body and then place an embryo into the mother's womb. When does technology go to far?

There is a procedure now where infertility specialists can analyze and take a 'xy' (male) or a 'xx' (female) sperm with the specific purpose of giving a couple a child with the gender they request.

Debate: Should couples be allowed to choose their child's gender when undergoing IVF?

Rules:
1. Play Nice
2. Stay on Topic - only debate the question presented and do not go into other areas of the topic.
3. Debate format - no fighting.
4. HAVE FUN!

Monday, November 17, 2008

You Know You're Succeeding As A Parent When...

Posted by Mandy at 8:35 AM 5 comments Links to this post


  • You hear your 7 year old say to your 4 year old, in the back of the van, "You better stop aggravating me before I hit you and get in trouble!"

  • You tell your 4 year old not to pick the cat up by the throat and he asks, "Why?"

  • Your daughter's friend says, upon entering your van, "Wow, you're car is even messier than ours!" That prompted a mandatory once a week internal van cleaning.

  • Even the largest of the dogs fears for his safety at the mere sight of your 1 year old.

  • Everyone in the house fears for their safety at the sight of your 1 year old.

  • Your 4 year old routinely makes crowds of people shake their heads and laugh.

  • Your 7 year old still has to be reminded, hourly, to say "ma'am" and "sir."

  • You have to say to your 4 year old, hourly, "How do you ask?"

  • You find yourself yelling, "NO YELLING IN THE HOUSE!"

  • You wonder why your daughter is so short and bossy with her brother as you scold her, "Stop bossing him!" You cannot figure out where she learns to speak to him that way...


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Asking For Bigger Things

Posted by Mandy at 5:37 AM 1 comments Links to this post
Monday - Wednesday we had a time of renewel at Journey. It was a fantastic few evenings spent in prayer, worship, and scripture. We sat in candlelight and spent our time seeking God desperately. Not only asking him to show up, but expecting him to.

Last night, I realized that often times I am settling for "lesser things." My wants and my desires are probably often times not the same wants and desires God has for me. I had an awakening of sorts. I need to spend some time seriously talking to God and reading his word to get more in line with his will for me. While I'm asking him for small financial desires to help us reach certain goals or praying feverishly for our children at Journey, he's likely shaking his head wondering, "Is that all ya got? Is this 'really' all you are asking of me?"

While God can really never be challenged, I realized last night that so often we really do ask so little of him. I thought of this while we were driving home and I had to tell Clayton that I know that often times I hesitate to ask big things of God. For some reason, I become afraid. What if I pray this heart-felt prayer, asking God to work a miracle (be it financial, relationship, church-related, etc) and he doesn't? What do I do with that? Can I handle it if he simply says, "No."?

I've decided that I simply need to make sure that I am praying that HIS will is done. That HIS wants for me are my wants for me. That he equips me to handle whatever path he sends me down.

I've realized that, though I trust God much more than I ever have in my life, I still cling to the false sense of control I have. I am afraid to truly turn my entire self over to him. Doing such a thing would mean I would have to possibly give up things that have become far too important to me, it might mean having to leave my comfort zone and do things like talk to strangers about Christ, or even travel abroad to talk to complete unbelievers about him. It might mean something as simple as cutting out a much loved hour of TV to spend an hour with him.

I have to laugh at myself.. and my silly worries. Isn't it odd how easily we trade time with The Creator of Heaven and Earth, The Messiah, The Almighty... for an hour of mindless television. The time has come, for me, to become more devoted to what really matters. Now, for God to show me what really matters.. I fear I really have no idea!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Debate: Seat Belt Laws

Posted by Mandy at 10:07 AM 6 comments Links to this post
This is a debate that even my husband and I have had, so I thought others might enjoy telling their views on the topic.

Debate: Are seat belt laws fair? Do you feel the government has the right to tell you that you must wear your seat belt or face a fine, or do you believe it should be each individual's choice to take the risk to not wear his or her seat belt?

Different note: As soon as my computer will upload it, I will have a picture of our newest foster dog. A gorgeous, white, Border Collie mix.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Sad But True

Posted by Mandy at 7:18 AM 2 comments Links to this post
I try to avoid posting too much of the sad realities of dog shelter and rescue... I like to keep a positive attitude with the few dogs that we are able to save. However, a good friend and fellow dog rescuer emailed me this article and I had to at least link it. If you can ignore the poor writing quality and simply listen to the message, I think the impact will be great. Everything this person is writing is what I am seeing myself in our small town. I can only imagine how much worse the problem gets in bigger cities.

You can read the article here if you are interested.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Girls Are So Fun!

Posted by Mandy at 3:19 PM 5 comments Links to this post
The past few months have really packed a big punch to my brain that my daughter is turning into a big girl - with real friends. Our van serves as a taxi for many of her bestest buds a few days each week, and our home a fun house for after school playtime. When Madison was a toddler, I used to try to imagine how this point in parenthood would be. It's more fun than I could have ever imagined!

Sunday we brought home two of Madison's favorite gal pals, Rachael and Adelyn, from church. Those three were simply hilarious! They giggled, sang, and chit-chatted the entire way to our house. It brought back memories of my own friends riding home with me for play-days.

Once here, they took off to the back yard. Clayton has built a "playhouse" (more like "play-mansion") for the kids and it has been a huge hit with all of the boys and girls we've had over. Actually, even our own friends have enjoyed it! The girls had a field day sweeping each room, decorating the ramp railings, and sitting down to discuss all things girl. They even let Carter tag-a-long and were super sweet to him the entire afternoon.

Today we brought home another of Madison's best friends, Gracen. Gracen is actually Madison's first friend ever! They met when they were a little over a year old, and have been best buds since.

Before making the drive home, I had to take all of the kids to Wally World to pick up some things. The girls each had their little coin bags to carry in. They had a great plan to combine their money to buy something incredible! Upon entering the store, we took some time so they could sit on a bench and count their cash, only to discover that Madison's $2 and Gracen's $0.14 really did not buy very much. I told them that between now and next week, maybe they could do a little extra around their homes to earn some spending money and we'd come back when they had some more green to go around.

Even though they could not buy much more than a pack of gum - to share - they still asked to look at everything. So, we did. For the first time, I took Madison down the hair and make-up aisle as a big girl. Not because she's a tiny tot that just things it's fun to be like Mommy, but because she's growing up and wants things of her own - things her friends have. They picked out every shade of pink lip gloss to be found and every make-up bag with a bit of sparkle on it. We looked at head bands, pony-tail holders, clips, nail polish, YOU NAME IT. It was a blast! Thankfully, the boys are young enough to enjoy seeing pretty girly stuff, too.

It is just so amazing to see the transformation Madison is making right now. She's still so much my little girl. I am clinging to that! At the same time, her friends are becoming very important to her. She wants them here with her, or to be with them in their homes. She has no idea right now how incredibly blessed she is to be starting out in life with such good friends. Friends from stable, loving, Christian homes. Friends that will no doubt help keep her on the right track in those tough teen years. Friends that will hopefully always be there to laugh with, pray with, and pick out pink lip gloss with.

The fun is really just beginning with her. I am both excited, and scared to death, to see what the next several years bring!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Post Election Day

Posted by Mandy at 6:40 AM 4 comments Links to this post
And the winner is.... OBAMA!

Wow, history was made last night as the first African American was selected by the folks to be our next President. I watched the numbers roll in and his electoral votes go beyond 270 with a mixed feeling of excitement and disappointment.

Excitement because of how far our country has come. Excitement because this man might truly make some needed changes - especially in regards to environmental issues and hopefully he will reform health care in a positive way. Excitement because years from now I will be able to tell my children how I remember watching the first African American President, Barrack Obama, be elected into the position. It fits right into my brain with other major events that have happened in my, life like when the Twin Towers were taken down... you will always remember seeing it, where you were, and how you felt. Watching history unfold is an amazing experience!

Disappointment because he wasn't "my" guy. Disappointment because I'm unsure of what's about to happen to our Supreme Court. Fear over what will happen with several important issues to me like abortion, gay marriage, and gun control. What is to happen in the next four years? Is it "change we can believe in" or "change to fear"? I suppose only time will tell.

Clayton and I, both a little disappointed with the new President, but optimistic because we have to trust the majority of America, decided last night that we would simply pray. Praying for our upcoming President and the people he is about to elect as his "go-to-guys" is extremely important. Praying that he selects grounded judges and not extreme left-wing crazies, that he is able to help us with health care costs without making it government run, and that he is praying.

My main prayer is that he is a true Christian man that is not only praying in front of the cameras, but in his daily life. That he is close with Christ and is led by him. Having a President that really desires to do God's will... wow! What a great country we would be!

Monday, November 03, 2008

November?

Posted by Mandy at 2:42 PM 6 comments Links to this post
I don't know where time is going. I was shocked a few days ago when I had to flip the calendar page over to a new month. I got a bit stressed when I realized that we're soon to be on the Christmas countdown and I'm behind on my shopping. How behind? Oh, you know, behind as in I have not bought ONE thing for anyone yet.

I do this every single year. For one reason or another (lack of time, lack of funds, lack of wanting to take three kids shopping due to my husbands lack of days off...) I always seem to wait until the last few weeks before Christmas to start shopping. This makes life much too crazy for someone like me! I do not enjoy chaos and avoid it if at all possible. Being in any store with every other Christmas-shopping-procrastinator like me is not my ideal scenario.

In all honesty, I haven't even given much thought to what we'll be getting the kids this year. Madison is easy - books. That's her only request. She loves to read, and she wants a million books for Christmas. Carter, I have no clue. He's so easy going that he really never gets very much into anything. He likes books, he likes sports, he likes some toys... but he doesn't seem to just LOVE any one thing. The good news is, he'll be completely thrilled with anything he unwraps. I can almost guarantee an equally giddy reaction from a new pack of plain, white socks or from the biggest and coolest toy ever created.

Samuel, he couldn't care less. He'll likely just throw his own gifts down to try to take away Madison and Carter's. He is going to be 17 months going on 2 years old by then. I can, however, already picture him completely enthralled with tearing open packages and finding the prize inside!

So, the next few weeks will hopefully open up an opportunity for me to at least start on some gift buying. Per the kids' request we have already pulled out their favorite Christmas CD in the van, and I am already growing weary of Carter's favorite, "Number 1!" which happens to be the Disney characters overly-excitedly singing "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town." Thanksgiving hasn't even hit yet and we all have Christmas-brain already! It is the best holiday of the year... I suppose starting the celebrations extremely early is acceptable.
 

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