Friday, December 30, 2011

Cleaning Schedules...

To first start off with a cute little quote from my son, Cyrus as I was typing out my cleaning schedule.

Cyrus, "I like schedules.  I like schedules but not the cleaning kind."  Clearly he doesn't get it ;)

When I first married my prince-charming of a husband, I had NO clue of my lack of organization.  Heck!  Let's get real people!  I didn't care if I tried on 7 outfits and decided to go with the 8th!  You'd see the previous 7 all over the place.  And when I went back into my room, I hardly noticed.  But oh did my mother ;)

When it came time to really clean my room, which I actually really loved to do when it wasn't taking time away from riding bikes, hanging out with friends, cheerleading practice or anything WAY more fun, I was kind of obsessed.  Obsessed to the point that my clothes that were folded had to be lined perfectly.  And when one of my sisters would try to barrow any clothes, I would FREAK OUT because it would ruin all the time I spent on organizing.  I'm not bitter or anything, I just need to get it out ;) ha!

Anyway, back to the marriage thing.  My husband previously lived in a small dorm at seminary where everything had a perfect, little space for his perfect, little books for his perfect, geeky (and awfully handsome) self.  Blah.  Made my spontaneous, unorganized and free-as-a-bird skin crawl.  And I know he felt the same way about me.

So, it caused a few fights in the first couple of years of marraige.  I actually struggled a lot with it and it has been really hard for me to get a good cleaning schedule down.  I didn't really like schedules, or so I thought.  The fear of them is that I'll feel cramped and like I have to be obediant and follow these strict rules.  I'm a free-bird, remember ;)

The lie is that it will make me feel confined.  But, I have to believe it will actually make me feel free and full of accomplishment every day!  I have been researching blogs and anytime I see the words "organize" I tend to go over and read some more!  It's taken me years to figure out something that works but I think I've finally found it!

Let's see why a schedule is so important to me... 
1. I naturally see a mess and become overwhelmed and do not know where to start....actually, I've overcome this by literally telling myself, "find something and put it away.  Find another thing and put it away." ha!
2. I have had 4 kids in the span of a little over 5 years.  Yeah.
3. I homeschool.
4. I have a really sweet and gets-into-everything 2-year-old.
5. I actually want it to get done.
6. I want to shoot lasers from my eyes when the kids see me cleaning and say, "Who's coming over?" "No one, SWEET CHEEKS!  MOMMY JUST LIKES A CLEAN FREAKING HOUSE, OKAY?!" 
7. My husband appreciates it.

Clover Lane has been SUCH A blessing for me to read.  She's very real and for some reason, her cleaning and organizing posts do not stress me out.  These kinds of articles/blogs always made me want to run away from my computer, grab a bag of Dove Dark Chocolate on the way over to the corner and cry my little eyes out.

So, I did it! <---Not cry my eyes out, silly but I ate Dove Dark Chocolate and finally made a cleaning schedule!  Go, me!  I haven't started yet (it's not the new-year, judger!) but I will!  I plan to stick to it and see how it goes.  If I'm daring, I may even change it up a bit as I see what works and doesn't but even just saying that stresses me out.  I don't trust myself to change it up.  I trust, Sarah from Clover Lane and that's it people! ;)

Working on a daily one as well.  I'll keep you posted!    What are your cleaning schedules like?  Do you have one?  Do you stick to it?  Lie to me and tell me that once you actually make the schedule, you naturally follow all that it tells you ;) 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pretty Trends

Pretty fashion. Enjoy.
She's got swag
Loving the color
I love NYC.


You'll find all of these on my "Fab Fashion" board.

Hearing God's Voice...

I'm a feeler for sure.  Actually, I'm a sniffer, too but that's a whole other post! ;)  I feel a peace when I am seeking God in His will.  Even if it's during a trial.  It's like I hear God saying, "Be still and know that I am God."  I find rest in that.

So, since I feel a peace at times, I also feel a major tension when things are not right.  Almost physical, but not.  When I feel this way,  I picture a war going on with my flesh and The Spirit in me.  It's been like this since I can remember.  I'm actually very thankful for it, because I use this a lot in decisions whether they are easy or difficult.

And when I'm  not sure, it's usually because my desires are too strong and I haven't let them go to allow God's desire for me to sink in.  And that's a hard place to be because at that point, I will go back and forth with what I think God's trying to say.  It's like I really do want to follow God's will for me but I can't seem to let go of whatever it is I want.

And so, I'm feeling a tension.  In a few things, actually.  Mostly with things I've verbally processed (gosh, I wish I were not a verbal processor but I am!) and now I want to take back my words.  I verbally process my exact feelings at that exact time.  But this also means I haven't given it to God yet and I haven't let Him speak to me.

So, I feel wishy-washy and I feel I do not even know what I want.  Clearly, I THINK I know what I want and I let all know it...but then, I get a little "tension" going on in my heart and I know God's trying to talk to me.

And with my kids being sick for so long, I feel God's using this time to really speak to me.  He's opening my eyes and molding me to be more of who He wants me to be.  Actually, I see my old, untainted desires coming alive again in more ways than I've even shared.  It's scary and I'm afraid.  I'm afraid to do these things I feel God's calling me to because it's not going to be easy. But, as I listen to Him more, he's changing me and my heart.  He's telling me that when things get difficult, that's not His way of saying to quit.

Ugh.  One day I'll share...God's got a lot of work to do in me because my fears are strong and my ways seem right.  I know He's stronger ;)

My prayer is that God would show me the way, His way and that my fears and desires would dissolve as I lean in close to Him.  Amen.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Our God Is A Jealous God...

I'm reminded of how much God loves us.  He loves us enough to sometimes allow things happen to us that aren't fun but bring us to our knees, reminding us of our need for Him.

God's jealousy is being played out in someone who I love deeply.  But the cool thing is, I'm watching God's love win over this person's sin.  And I'm seeing God's jealousy for this this person to love the One who created him, come alive and become reedemed.

Every time I have listened to the song, "Slow Your Breath Down" by Future of Forestry, I've thought of this person.  God will fight for you and love you even when you're looking away from him and doing your own thing.  And if you do not believe me, go ahead and ask Him.  Pray to God and ask Him to reveal himself to you.  He will because, He loves you.  Won't you accept?

Take a listen and read these amazing lyrics.    

This chest is full of memories
Of gold and silver tears
I'll give you more to own than All of this
And I'll give you more than years
For you were once a child of innocence
And I see you just the same
Your burdens couldn't win or
Lose a thing
Oh, I'd tell you once again
But you're always on the run

Slow your breath down Just take it slow
Find your heart now, oh
You can trust and love again
Slow your breath down, just take it slow
Find your smile now, oh
You can trust and love again, oh...

If you leave I'll still be close to you
When all your fears rain down
I'll take you back a thousand times again
I'll take you as my own

I would sing you songs of innocence
'Til the light of morning comes
'Til the rays of gold and honey cover you
In the sweetness of the dawn
But you're always on the run

Slow your breath down
Just take it slow
Find your heart now, oh
You can trust and love again
Slow your breath down,
just take it slow
Find your smile now, oh
You can trust and love again, oh

You're not alone!
You're now a part of me
You feel the cure
I'll feel the toil it brought you
You're not alone!
You're now a part of me
You feel the cure
I'll feel the toil it brought you

Good, eh?

A Lauren Lewis Christmas Tradition...

This beautiful gal is such a blessing to our lives.  She's been like family since Eisley was about 4 months old.  She asked Andy if she could babysit and knowing me he responds, "Um, Yeah, I'll have to ask my wife."  hahah!  I was pretty picky!

Well, what a blessing!  She didn't stay a babysitter, she became family!  She loves on my kids as if they're her own and we're really great friends, too!  I've laughed with her, cried with her and soon going to sew with her! 

So thankful to God for this beautiful woman of God!  I just can't imagine life without her in it and I'm sure my kids would concur! 

 Here's a tradition we started a couple of years ago.  Christmas with Lauren!

2009 Look how little Eisley was!

2009 And Lauren ALWAYS bring donuts ;)
2009 Cyrus got an easel! 

Christmas 2010

2011 He LOVES this!

You can imagine how much Eisley loves her lip-gloss :)

Zekey's first drum :)
And Bexley joined us this year!!

 Thank you, Lauren for being such an amazing part of our lives!  We love this tradition and we love you!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Breakfast Blessings...

This morning, Cyrus said, "Mom, I want to live to be one hundred.  Will you be alive when I'm one hundred?"

Me, "No, bud.  I'll be gone then."

Cy getting choked up, "But then I won't have a mommy and daddy."

Me, "Cyrus, remember!?  When Jesus died on the cross he made a way for us to go to heaven with him!  So, if you love Jesus, you get to come and meet me and daddy and Jesus and everyone else who loves Jesus when you die, too!"

Cyrus, "Yeah!  I love Jesus!"

Eisley, "Yeah!  Me too!  I love Jesus!"

Me, "I know you do."

Andy, "Actually, we can hope that Jesus comes back before we die."

Me, "Yes, and we'll meet him in the air!"

Cy, "Why the air?  That's silly."

Andy getting all theological, "And we'll usher him back to earth and we'll all reign for 1,000 years as kings and queens!"

Me knowing that the kids were thinking "rain", "Andy please explain what reign means."

Andy, "That means that we are going to all live as kings and queens on the earth with Jesus for 1,000 years!"

Cyrus and Eisley start talking about how Andy and I will be the king and queen and they will be the prince and princess.

Wait for it....

Cyrus, "I can't WAIT to die!!!!  I want to be a king with Jesus!  Even though Jesus is the BIG king."

After and Andy and I have a good laugh I ask, "Do you know why we live on earth awhile before we go to heaven?  Why we are not born and then go right to heaven?"

Cy and Eisley, "Yes."  And then they wait for the answer ;)

Me, "Jesus wants us to try and live like him.  He wants us to get better every day.  And as we do that, we can also share the love of Jesus to other people, so they can go with us in heaven!"

Cy, "Yeah, I want to tell people about Jesus!"

Eisley, "Yeah, me too!"

And there ya have opportunity in sharing the gospel even with my kids!  There are SO many opportunities throughout the day to bring Jesus in.  When the kids are fighting, when they say "potty words" and even when I mess up and go to them with a repentant heart and tell them my need for Jesus, too.

Be blessed and encouraged today!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Fail?

Gosh was I challenged this year.  I was challenged to focus on Jesus so much this Christmas season.  As you may have read in my last blog post, I was trying really hard to get the kids to remember what Christmas was really about.  Whenever one of them whined about presents or started acting unthankful, I gently reminded them why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.

And with every reminder I gave, I feel I may have gone through a little trial so I could be challenged, too.  Sickness after sickness, lack of sleep for months all winding down to little time to shop for presents and very little alone time with Andy.  It's been survival mode for a few months and we all know that with sick kids, sometimes that means working on a "great" marriage and not just a "peaceful" one, takes backseat. 

Today, because of Zeke's 3rd sickness in 2 months and how miserable he was, we were unable to go to Toledo to be with family.  I held it together (snapping a couple of times but with quick recovery!) so that I could make Christmas special even with the curve-ball thrown.

We had a special breakfast this morning, the kids played with their toys and Zekey gave lots of cuddles. My dad felt bad that we weren't going to have something special for dinner so he bought us Fridays!  So sweet he is ;)

We planned to get chocolate shakes and drive around to see Christmas lights but right before we left, Andy got a stomach thingy.  So, I got to take the kids around...*sarcastic* yay!  I really wanted to give them the best Christmas I could!

We bought the shakes courtesy of McDonald's and off we went!  The Christmas music was blaring and Bexley chimed in with her crying ;)  I am not as good at finding Christmas lights as Andy, so he was quite missed!  As I pointed to lights and said, "Look, guys!  Look how pretty!" I look back and see the kids all sleeping.

I let the tears fall.  I just wanted let it out and cry out to God telling Him how sucky this Christmas was, but I didn't.  I let God speak to me, instead.

I was reminded that Christmas traditions can fail but that doesn't take away from the fact that the best gift of all was given to us this day.  A baby, so sweet and gentle.  To live a perfect life teaching us that even though He was the king of the world, he wanted us to love and serve others as He did in this imperfect world and to imperfect people. Only to die so we could be with Him again.  That is what Christmas is about. 

I unpacked the sleepy and now crying kids.  Andy and I were tucking the kids in and I asked, "Did you guys have a Merry Christmas this year?"  Eisley started telling me about her favorite presents and Cyrus joined in telling us his favorites as well.  I smiled and said, "I'm so glad you love your presents, but let's remember, today is the day we celebrate the best gift of all...Jesus."

Eisley responds quickly with her face all distorted, "Wait!  I didn't get God anything for Christmas!  I know He doesn't want Monster Truck Legos or any girl toys.  I will give him a heart."

Oh my heart leaped for joy!  "Eisley, that is really sweet!  Remember when you asked Jesus into your heart, that was giving him your heart and it was the BEST Christmas present you could give God."  Cyrus, "yeah, yeah and I will give him love and hearts because I know God likes hearts."

Christmas hadn't failed this year...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

We Must Be On the Naughty List Because Santa Doesn't Visit the Holts...

I often get asked if my kids believe in Santa Clause and so as I process my reasons why and answer this question, I feel I should write it out.

I know the story of St. Nickolas is actually a very good one when all of the fairy tale is taken away.  But, if we are being honest, that's not who we celebrate today in America.

Americans celebrate the magic of Santa, the mystery in how he gives gifts to every child all in one night.  How he has flying reindeer and how he somehow fits down a chimney after eating all of those Christmas cookies! ;)

Growing up,  we didn't celebrate Santa.  I remember every Christmas morning, I really wanted to be excited and thankful that Jesus was what we were really celebrating.  I would feel guilty for being more excited about my presents then the fact that God sent the ultimate gift, Jesus.  <--I was pretty much a perfect daughter.  ha!

I remember in kindergarten, I wouldn't even color a Santa Clause in school.  Don't worry, my parents told me that it was okay to color a Santa and I felt sillly.  I just really wanted to make my parents proud!  I also remember telling my close friends, "No, he's NOT real!  Your parents are LYING to you!"  ha!  Yes, I was that kid.  A friends' mom nicely took me aside and said, "I know you know Santa is not real but it's just a fun thing we like to do, so let this be our little secret."  It was a fabulous way of getting me to keep my mouth shut because I felt special for "knowing the secret".

I actually think that the story of Santa is really fun!  I loved watching Rudolf in clay figures and still do!  
Best songs ever!!!

During Christmas time, we celebrate by making cookies, ginger bread houses, gift-giving, looking at Christmas lights, etc. 

And, to be honest, I'm feeling a little left out with the whole creepy-looking "Elf on a Shelf".  My friend, Andrea posted this picture...


Maybe I could copy the idea but use this...
"Remember kids...Jesus is always watching, Muwahahahaha!"  Oh, I already say that ;)  KIDDING!

Yeah, I'm sure that would be some sort of blaspheme. haha!

So, why do we not celebrate the story of Santa?  Here's why.  I know my kids pretty well.  I know what it takes for them to grasp the fact that they get punished because I love them.  I know how hard it is for them to understand that when they say "SORRY!"it doesn't actually mean their heart is sorry.  I know how much of a puzzle it is explain "why" Jesus would do what he did for us on the cross...because, that's just crazy!

As their momma, I also know how much my kids love the idea of Christmas because of the presents.  It's hard enough to get them to focus on the real meaning of Christmas without Santa and his reindeer involved.  I mean, I have literally had to say to Eisley, "No, honey.  Santa is not going to bring you presents." haha!

I've worked my butt off in constantly reminding the kids why we celebrate Christmas.  It's just really important to me that they get it.  I know I did as a young girl and I'm thankful to my old church and my parents for making that important.
Just this morning we celebrated Christmas with our close family friend, Lauren and I was SO happy to see my efforts being blessed.  I mean, it truly meant a lot.  Cyrus saw Lauren and he said something like, "I'm not more excited about the presents and the donuts than seeing you, Lauren."  And he just kept on saying things that let her know he was happy to just be with her.

There is so much wonder and awe in the Christmas story.  The miracle of Mary being conceived by the Holy Spirit and was told so by an actual Angel.  God loving us enough to send His son, Jesus to an imperfect world, knowing He would do no wrong and yet still be put on a cross to die for the sins of the world.  What a beautiful story to be apart of.  So humbling.   

My hope is that with all of the fun things you do during this wonderful Christmas holiday, Jesus would be apart of it.  Let's be honest and corny all at the same time, no matter what "Jesus is the reason for the season."  

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Well, Pinterest found me.
Is it funny that I pronounced Pinterest Pine-trest and just didn't get it?! ;)  hehehe...It's true!  
And like you, I'm obsessed and have far too many craft ideas and sewing projects to catch up on. 
But, it's fun!  And I'm not going to stop.  Why?  Because, I don't wanna!
If you haven't joined, you will.
And for those of you who already know what I'm talking about, don't forget PE #2 (Pinterest Etiquette).  Give credit where credit is due and "repin". ;)
P.S. This is a FAB place to find any last minute gifts...just check their Pinterest page!

Gingerbread House-Not

Last week I decided to take advantage of Cyrus' home-school program's recipe to make gingerbread houses! I was extremely nervous because I had never made gingerbread anything before but to my surprise and with the help of my friend, Kristy, we totally did it!  
Eisley and Cyrus excited to help!

Zeke knows what to to :)

Used the extra dough to make the first letters of the kids' names!

They smelled so good!

Eisley excited for her E

So yummy!

C me? ;)


We had to make one for Bexley!

And of course, we made Mater teeth

Hardy, Har, Har!

Zekey already has big teeth like his momma ;)

And what would an adventure in baking be without a disaster somewhere? Those are Skittles...taste the rainbow!

 Oh, and you will not see any pictures of the actual gingerbread house because Zeke found those pieces and ate those too!  But we all eventually joined it, so it's all good.  Next year, mayhaps! ;)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Demolishing Fears Vs. Demolishing Dreams

Last night I read a story to the kids called "Wagon Wheels".  It was apart of Cyrus' Language Arts lesson.  I like to gather all of the kids around when I can, so we can get some reading time in. Here's a summery of the story.

Wagon Wheels is about a man and his 3 sons who took advantage of the Homestead Act in 1878 which promised free land to anyone who was willing to settle the West.  Ed Muldie and his boys moved or "pioneered" from Kentucky to Kansas.

They went to the city of Nicodemus which is where they had originally planned to live.  But the father wasn't content there.  He thought the land was too flat and he wanted to search for land with more trees and hills.

The next part floors me.  Ed, the father, left his boys who were 11, 8 and 3 to go and search for land "more his liking." I mean, who leaves 3 children alone with only a dugout for a home?!  Then it sunk in...their times were not our times.  You had to risk your life just to survive and I'm quite certain the kids were more mature at younger ages than our children.  They learned things I will probably never learn in my lifetime.  Such as how to keep from getting mauled by wild animals, or how to hunt a fish or rabbit and then cook it to eat.  Ew.

As I kept reading, something reminded me how my words as a mother can demolish any fears in my children.  Here is the letter they received from their daddy when he had found land to live...

"Dear Boys,
I have found fine free land
near Solomon City.
There is wood here to build a house,
and good, black dirt for growing corn and beans.
There is a map with this letter.
The map shows where I am 
and where you are.
Follow the map.
Stay close to the Solomon River
until you come to the deer trail.
You will find me.
I know you can do it
because you are my fine big boys.

Love to you all, Daddy."

In bold is what stuck out to me most.  There is no hesitation there, only belief and confidence.  Of course those boys were afraid, but I mean, look at what their daddy told them!  He believed in those "fine big boys."  

Families who lived near the Muldie boys couldn't believe that Ed, their father, was going to make them travel alone.  I mean, I would TOTALLY be one of those families!  It's crazy!  Here is what the boys thought when they heard the other families saying those things, "But we knew we could do it.  Our daddy told us so."

And guess what?!  They DID it!  They traveled 150 miles and had to hunt, cook and keep themselves and each other alive.  Did I mention there were wild animals?!

I can remember, not long ago when Cyrus wanted me to draw the Detroit Tigers' D.  I told him "no.  You need to draw it."  He replied, "Nooo!!!  I can't draw that!  I don't know how to draw."  

He walked away and started practicing.  He brought it back to me and it was pretty good!  I told him how proud I was of him.  He replied, "But it's not really good."  I responded with a story.  I think I told him about how I didn't always know how to draw well but when I believed in myself and tried really hard, I saw myself get better and better.  I told him, "Just draw what you see."  That's what my daddy always told me :)

So, Cyrus took my advice and now he can draw a Detroit D in 3 minutes and it's fantastic!  From there, he started becoming quite obsessed with logos and draws them really well!  I'm so proud of him!

The power of my words as a mother can demolish their fears or demolish their dreams.  And that is scary because I'm imperfect.  I'm cranky and tired and cranky and I'm awesome at reacting instead of being patient and did I mention I'm a verbal processor?!?  SO yeah.  

This is why I'm thankful for grace and you should be, too.  Because I know that as a mom, no matter how many kids you have, it's flippin' hard!  And I want you to know that your words are extremely powerful.  So accept grace today but please, always remember to tell your kids you are not perfect and you fail, too.  Always apologize and ask for forgiveness because there is power in that, too.  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Family Pictures 2011

We are so blessed to have a couple of family and friends who are great photographers!  This year, we were able to get some time with my sister-in-law from GreyLake Photo & Design.  It was fun and we had a lot of fun having her in town!

Merry Christmas!

Our happy Holt family :)
Bexley Jane, our newest addition!
Cyrus having fun on the trampoline!
Eisley Bree so pretty :)

Zekey boy...full of mischief and cuteness!

My babies!!!

My handsome men
The ladies

          The love of my life!  He makes everything okay :)        

Friday, December 16, 2011

Letting Kids Explore Their Love Of...

I believe it's so important to let my kids explore what they love.
Photography (courtesy of Cyrus)

 Forgot "automatic focus" 

 Me and Bexley...pretty good!

 Outside playing....

 Eisley...nice shot!

There is that handsome boy behind the camera! (and his much adored sister)

 It can be scary (expensive camera) but it helps them to figure out what they love...and it helps ME to be patient, and not care so much about the things of this world.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

To Never Forget How Close God Is...

I, nor anyone else could have painted such a beautiful morning.

My eldest son, he saw it first. The red, orange and blue painted sky.

I was far too busy. Until I heard the excitement and awe in his voice.

I looked up, and I saw it too! We all did. How could we miss it now?

I sat next to my favorite man and opened the bible.

God spoke to me, and this time I heard Him.

He told me to love, to pray for others and how the love of money can lead you astray.

That's what I remember, anyway.

The sky, it had changed. Grey. A very, light grey.

Flashes of lightning and rolls of thunder filled the air.

Both which kept the kids on their toes, in wonder.

Peanut butter toast served to us all. Orange juice too, please!

My husband, our leader the one God put as head,

he read us some more of God's word.

"God is love." And we all agreed.

...and He does not love sin. Simple, yet understandable for their little ears and mine.

The morning wrapped up, and I became fearful.

How could this day go on? It was far too perfect for anyone else to finish the painting.

And yet, He told me. God said, "Here, let's do this together. I am always with you."

I want to believe, but feel a failure is bound to happen.

As i was reminded that it was impossible to do it on my own, the fear left.

I held on to that truth. And leaned in closer to my savior. My very best friend.

This day will be beautiful.

This beautifully painted morning, was just the beginning.

~Breena Ra'cee Holt August 4th, 2009

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I'm Such A Rookie...

The day after I received my sewing machine, I NEEDED to start sewing.  My little guy, Cyrus had been really sad that his Thomas the Train shirt was too small for him.  Actually, he was becoming VERY sentimental when it came to growing out of things.  Sweet boy.
I went to Sew N Save (where my hubby bought my sewing machine) and picked up some red thread for my first project.  I was going to save that shirt so Cyguy could wear it one way or another! 
I found a red shirt in his drawer....

Then I cut out the images from his old shirt that he had outgrown...

 And I sewed them onto his red shirt!  Look how proud he is! 

Ta-da!  I'm so green. ;)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Recently, I was reminded of how important it is to get your kids outside, even when it's cold.  
Read this.
It's important and completely healthy to get out in the sun without sunscreen for 15 minutes a day!  Vitamin D, baby!
So the kids, even with slight colds were bundled up and sent outside (and daddy took pics as I took care of Bexley-girl inside our warm, cozy house).  

 Guess what?!  THEY LOVED IT!  

 They found frozen ice and wanted to bring it in and put it next to the heater and watch it melt!  ha!

Zekey fell and got really dirty...LOVE THIS! 

 And Eisley was proud to wear her momma's hat! 

I thought I'd have to "make" them stay out for 15 minutes but they stayed out for an hour!!!  Made this momma quite, we'll try again tomorrow! 
What about you?!  Do you try and get outside everyday? A couple of times a week?

How May I Help You?

Good customer service vs. bad customer service.  I have learned that, if you let it, it can totally make or break your night.  

I was in good company tonight...actually GREAT company.  A new friendship that has been a complete blessing in my life.  Anywho, we were hanging out with Bexley in tow (the sweetest tow you could have!) and came accross a little bit of bad customer service...make that a lotta bit.  

I will refrain from where because that's not the point I'm eventually, hopefully going to make.  I went to a store to get supplies for a sewing project I'm working on.  Curtians.  For the kids' rooms.  It's been 2 and some change years that we have been in our house and they still do not have curtians.  But not for long!

Focus, breena!  Okay, so I was excited to buy a few things to get this project going.  That changed.  The workers at this store were snickering about a customer who had to walk away for a second to get something.  Like, they were talking bad about her.  I stood there and waited for my turn while there was another worker doing nothing.  She didn't even look up but just ignored me.  

I looked at my friend and said, "Okay, glad we're being helped."  If my husband were there he would have said, "Babe, be nice.  I'm sure they heard you."  hehehe...but it wasn't my husband.  he.he.he.  It was my friend.  My friend who had already had bad experiences from rude workers everytime she went to this store.  So, she got it.  

I then hear, "Number 45."  Ha!  There was NO ONE IN LINE...I thought, okay so maybe I actually said under my breath, "Thanks for directing me to get a number."  

So I ignore the fact that I had been ignored and I go to get a number.  I say out loud, "Oh, there are no more numbers."  At this point, I'm actually kind of nervous with how rude they are being.  One of the workers who is clearly annoyed with my need of help (psh?!) says, "lift up the red thing."  So I lift up the black lever out of being nervous."  She sounds annoyed, "NO.  The RED thing."  I think, "Okay?  I guess I'm taking apart the machine?!"  

Low and behold I lift the red machine and it's jammed.  I wasn't crazy!  No, the woman was expecting that I KNEW the machine was jammed and didn't explain that...she just ordered for me to fix it, basically.  I nervously  <--watch out cranky-worker-lady...mother bird is here.

Number 46.  So weird.  There was no line.  Just really weird.  But at least it wasn't with "that" cranky-worker-lady.  No, just the ignore-the-customer-lady.

I needed to get fabric from a place in the store I had never needed to before.  I didn't think I could take it off of the wall.  So I get up there and say, "So I need fabric from the wall.  How do I do that?  Do you take me to cut it?"  She just stares at me.  Then she says, "Well, what fabric?"  Me, "It's on the wall, for curtain lining."  The "other" cranky-worker-lady chimes in, of course, with a smirk on her face and says, "No, no no.  You do not cut it."  

Great, now she REALLY thinks I'm an idiot.  I try really hard to respond nicely, "Oh, I know.  I just didn't know if I was supposed to get it cut there."

So, I get my fabric.  THEN, it continues.  Bexley is tired and crying.  I wait in line to purchase my things and a this grinch-like man motions, yes puts his hand in the air, also annoyed and MOTIONS for me to go to him.  I'm thinking, "Is this really happening?!"

I'm really nice to him and he's not talking.  Now, it's not like he was nervous or an introvert.  Yeah, maybe a bad day, but completely rude.  He rang my stuff up and sent me on my way...whatev.

Then, my friend purchases her things.  I just wait by the door.  He's making small talk with her.  I assumed he was flirting b/c small talk wasn't had with the girl with the baby (me!)...annnd, my friends really pretty ;)  

Then, as she walks away she says, "Jerk."  I started to jog my memory and thought, "Wait, was he talking about me?!"   She says, "Yeah, like saying things about you having a baby here.  And he said, why doesn't she have a pacifier for the baby?  And I told him that the baby just doesn't like being out and he said that you shouldn't have brought her then."  

Oh H-NO HE DI-IN'T?!  I look back at him and say, "Are you serious?!"  He looks up and I know he was thinking.  "S***.  She's with her!"  You are in BIG trouble, mister!

I ask for a manager.  I'm sorry.  It was just TOO much.  And I promise, it wasn't just because I was being treated badly.  It's not fair that other people are being treated like this!  It's not right! 

I talked to the manager really calmly and nicely.  But I was shaking.  I was really mad and I swear if I were pregnant or on my period, I would have cried as I told her.  

I explained, "Hi, I'm sorry.  I have just had really bad customer service tonight.  The women cutting the fabric were snickering about a customer when she walked away, and then they were really short and rude to me.  And when I checked out, that man wasn't very friendly.  And then my friend, who he clearly didn't realize was with me, started talking bad about me for bringing a baby in the store?!  I mean, he told her I should have brought a pacifier or not brought her at all?!" 

She said, "I'm so embarrassed that they treated you like that.  I'm so sorry.  That's not right.  Did you find everyting you needed?"  I say, "I know.  Thank you, and I don't usually do this but I just thought that you would care about how your workers were treating people.  I'm not going to ask for anything, I just thought you should know."  She thanked me and I told her to have a good night and we left.

I was so upset!  Mother's shouldn't feel bad for wanting to get out EVEN if they know their 2-month-old is going to cry most of the time!  It's for sanities sake, people!

Our next venture was Target.  Bexley was really crying by the time we got to the checkout and the woman was really nice.  She even talked to Bexley.  I was so thankful...I needed that.

Then, we finally picked up dinner at Firehouse Subs.  A-mazing!  That pop machine?!  Genious!  Focus.  Okay, so the guys working there were 19-20ish and were SO nice!  and NO, they were not flirting, just really kind.  They were chatting, being friendly, willing to help and wait on us as we decided.  

So, I thanked them.  I told them a little bit about the customer service we had earlier and that they didn't have to be so nice, but I was thankful for it.  

You could tell they were proud of the way they were treating us.  To top it off, one of them opened the door for us.  It gave me hope!  And confidence to take Bexley out again.

I'm quite passionate about customer service.  Not in a "You owe me to be nice because you are working for me" attitude.  I guess when I worked at Dairy Queen, American Eagle or Caribou Coffee (mmm!) I went above and beyond in customer service.  I took care of people.  I turned frowns upside down for gosh sakes!  ;)  And I loved it...

You made it this far?!  Good for you!  ha ha!  All of this to say, customer service...good customer service is important.  And one day when I'm out selling the things I've created, I will take good care of you as my customer :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!

Growing up, my family has always gone to the same tree farm since I can remember to purchase our Christmas tree.  Such a fun tradition!  And we all still go with them but since it's all the way up in Michigan, we choose to get our Christmas tree here, in town...

 Me and Zeke boy!
 The boys wrestling
Cyrus being a goof ;)
Eisley Bree and her beloved "doggy"
Who needs mistletoe when you're kissing a baby THIS cute! ;)

Central College Church sells Christmas trees and the profits go to the high school kids' mission trips!  I think it's a fabulous idea!  Everyone is so kind and helpful.  Even though they don't give us free popcorn and hot chocolate, we still have fun ;)