Monday, February 27, 2012

Blog Catch Up

There is no way I could really completely get the blog caught up but I did want to quickly post some pictures and some happenings from February.

February, this year, was a busy month for our family. We already have several birthdays during this month and then Valentine's Day so every year we tend to do a lot of "celebrating" in February. It seemed we had even more going on this year.

I co-chaired a church event for the first time on February 3rd. My friend Beth and I planned Winter Family Fun Night, a night for the whole family to have some fun together at the church. Sorry, I didn't think to take pictures or to even take my camera. I was just so busy and nervous with helping to plan the evening I couldn't think of anything else. We had about 6-8 games for the families to play followed with popcorn and hot chocolate bar to snack on while watching a Veggie Tales movie. Everyone wore their pajamas and brought their pillows and blankets for movie time. We try to support some sort of mission with all of our events at our church and for this particular one Beth and I decided Backpack Buddies. There are Backpack Buddies programs all over and if you have never heard of it before a quick Google search will provide all the details. Basically it is a program that provides children living in poverty with a backpack full of easy to prepare food, snacks and drinks on Friday to get them through the weekend until they return to school on Monday. For these kids, without this program they probably would get very little food over the weekend. Can you imagine? We truly are so blessed. The night was a hit. Everyone had fun and we had a table full of food for Backpack Buddies.

The very next weekend was super exciting for me. I had the opportunity to go see Lysa TerKeurst speak at a church in Greenville along with three friends from church and Bible study. Not only was it a fantastic experience to hear Lysa speak but it was a very nice treat for me to go on an overnight trip without my family. While I was gone Ed and the girls had a great time just the three of them.

Then of course Valentine's Day. We don't typically do anything real big for this occasion. We have gone out to dinner in the past but always as a family, not a romantic kind of date with just me and Ed. But the majority of the time I try to cook a special dinner at home. We typically exchange cards and give cards and a little candy to the girls, maybe a small stuffed animal or toy, but nothing crazy. Per tradition I made a special dinner of lobster and shrimp ravioli for me and Ed, just plain cheese ravioli for the girls. We set the table a little fancier than usual. (On a side note, one of the moms in Samantha's ballet class told me they also have a special family dinner at home for Valentine's Day but they all, including mom and dad, get dressed up for dinner. I think I may have to steal this idea for next year. The girls would love a super fancy, dress up kind of dinner!)

This year was a little different as far as gifts thanks to Ed. He had called me a couple of weeks prior to Valentine's while I was on my way to my sister's house for a visit. He simply asked if I had gotten the girls anything yet and I told him just cards and a little box of chocolates. He then told me not to get anything else,  he had taken care of it, but refused to even give me a hint. So when he brought a big red box in the house a day or two before Valentine's Day I was dying to know what he could have gotten! 

I'll be honest, the next morning I had to examine the present a little further. I knew it was professionally wrapped, there was definitely no way Ed had wrapped that present! And then there was this interesting little label with a letter and number hand written on the bottom corner of the back of the present. Long story short, I had no idea what it was and I was dying to know. It did not take much convincing myself or Ed, we let the girls open this gift the night before Valentine's. Ha! I was so shocked. I don't think I would have ever guessed that my sweet hubby would have thought to get the girls America Girl Bitty Baby Twins!

Gabrielle has been asking for an American Girl doll for a while now but these dolls are a bit of an investment and we had decided - or at least I thought we had decided - to wait until she was a little bit older. Gabrielle named her doll Lindsay and has been taking very good care of her. Samantha has not quite hit the doll phase. She loves her little Belle baby she got for Christmas when she was one but that is the only doll she really pays any attention. For now the American girl doll is sitting on her dresser and I'm sure she will love her once she is a little older.

This is the Valentine Gabrielle made me and Ed at school.

Target had a special story time on Saturday morning to celebrate the upcoming release of 
"The Lorax" movie and also Dr. Seuss's birthday in March. Both girls enjoyed story time 
and their goody bags but Samantha was the only one willing to get near the Cat in the Hat.

I came home with two little Loraxes thanks to the mustaches in the goody bags.

And finally I took the girls to get their hair trimmed on Saturday. Gabrielle has been asking for bangs for a while now, especially since I had mine cut a month ago. Ed was hesitant but agreed if it was okay with me. I think bangs make her look a little older but I still think they are super cute on her!

Samantha wanted to show off her hair cut in pictures too. We just barely trimmed hers for now. I think the next hair cut might have to be a bit more dramatic and get it just above her shoulders. She still has a lot of fine baby hair and a lot of new hair growing in. With fine, thin hair, the longer it gets the stringier I think it looks as well it is constantly tangled and difficult to really do anything with. I think a little bob just touching her shoulders would do a world of good. I did the same with Gabrielle when she was about this age. It must be that Samantha is the "baby" and our last child because Ed for some reason is hesitant to get her hair cut that short yet. Or maybe I just didn't ask for his opinion with Gabrielle!

She is definitely the silly one. She enjoys getting a laugh out of us.

Well, not quite the quick short blog post I had planned but at least I feel like I've caught you up a little bit with the Lingg family happenings!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Oh Honey...Oh Sugar, Sugar...


For me, sugar is the epitome of something one can both love and hate equally.

I love sweets. Cookies, cake, brownies, candy. Sweetened coffee, sweet tea, sweet everything. I love it all and cannot ever get enough. It just tastes so good and brings such temporary satisfaction to my taste buds.

I hate the feeling I'm left with after the sugar rush is gone though. I hate the sick, tired feeling I get after overindulging. As I said before, I cannot ever get enough. I don't stop with one chocolate or one piece of candy or one cookie or one piece of cake. It is rarely, if ever at all, just one of anything. 

For me, it's an addiction. I really, truly believe it is an addiction and a problem. Something I feel like I have very little control over. Something that often causes me to feel guilt and shame.

For a couple of years now I have felt compelled to participate in Lent with giving something up, sacrificing. And for at least a year now I have really felt convicted to give up sugar at least temporarily. And so this year, for this Lenten season, I am going to do just that - give up sugar.

I am terrified to be honest. Scared that I'll fail. Nervous that people reading this or people I tell this to will think I am just completely crazy. And already I have had someone ask how this is even possible.

Believe me, I have thought all these things myself.
"This is impossible. There is no way I can give up sugar."
"Sugar is in everything. Maybe I should just cut back."
"People are going to think I am crazy. They are going to tell me it is silly and stupid and pointless."
 "What if I fail? What if I can't do it? What if I make this decision and can't even make it a day?"
Those are only  a few of the thoughts going through my mind the past couple of weeks, especially the past couple of days. But for the past couple of weeks I have really felt the Lord leading me, asking me, to make this leap of faith, to trust Him, to rely and depend on His strength and make this little sacrifice. Because while giving up sugar for the next 40 days seems like such a daunting task, really isn't it such a small sacrifice in comparison to the one He made for us?

I'm still terrified. I'm still scared of failing, of not following through. But the Lord has already squashed some of my doubts in just the day since making this decision, this commitment. For starters, after doing some research, I'm realizing that while giving up sugar is by no means going to be easy, a sugar-free diet is not impossible. And you know what else? People are not going to think I am completely out of my mind, not everyone anyway. I have surprisingly received such incredible encouragement and support from the few people I have told thus far. 

If I try to do this entirely with my own strength, I will undoubtedly fail. The idea of sacrificing at Lent is not to prove to the world that "Yes, I can do this!" or to even prove it to myself. Instead it is a time for me to grow closer to God, to learn to rely on Him completely, to remember what great sacrifice was made for someone so totally unworthy. God wants me to read His word, to go to Him in prayer with everything, to cry out to Him when it gets just too tough. I imagine there will be lots of crying in general in the beginning!!

I don't look forward to the moments of saying no to something I want so bad or the moments in which I am angry or upset or even sad about not being able to have something I want so bad. I don't look forward to the terrible withdrawal I'm certain I will experience or all the work of planning and preparing food and meals that are sugar free. But I do look forward to seeing what great things our great God may have in store by me making this trivial sacrifice in order to grow closer to Him.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine Crafts with Gabrielle

Last week Samantha and I worked on Valentines for her PMO class. This week was Gabrielle's turn. The weekend ended up being very busy and packed full of other activities so we were a bit last minute getting started on her class Valentines. Fortunately the ones we chose to do were fairly simple.

Gabrielle did not want to do butterflies just like Samantha's but wanted hearts instead. She said the Tootsie Roll pops looked like arrows in the hearts. 

The next ones were a little more time consuming but a good activity for teaching Gabrielle how to braid. We made friendship bracelets for all her school friends. I ended up making all of the bracelets for the Valentines myself but while I was braiding the bracelets, Gabrielle was practicing her braiding technique. She has the steps down but just needs more practice with keeping all three pieces taut.

Both Samantha and Gabrielle also worked on their Valentines they had picked out for Ed.

Can  you tell which bear belongs to which daughter? I was impressed with how well Samantha actually did for her age and considering her less than detailed approach to crafts.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Getting Crafty

I love crafts! I love creating whether it is sewing, paper crafts, drawing or digital design - I just love crafting and creating. Do you know what I love even more? Searching online for more brilliant ideas. Ha! But I have a confession to make. I have a mental list of what must be hundreds of "things to make", a fairly large stack of half-completed projects and probably an even larger pile of materials I purchased for certain projects but never even started!!

For 2012 I decided to set a goal of completing one project each month. I will not buy any materials for any project until I know I am going to sit down, start and finish the project. Well, it is February (already?!?!?) so theoretically I should be on my second project. Unfortunately my January project has not quite been completed. And yes, I went against the rules and bought all the materials, but actually I have a good excuse for not completing it yet and that is I, as well as both of the girls, got sick the week after I bought all of my materials. And then February arrived and I knew I needed to get the February project(s) done in a more  timely manner since they are Valentine's related.

Okay, enough of the rambling, the whole point of this post was supposed to be sharing my COMPLETED February projects.

Project #1 - Valentine Shirts for the Girls
When I saw this idea in my Family Fun magazine I knew I wanted to try these Adoily-able t-shirts for the girls. And here they are:

Projects 2 & 3: Valentine Cards (for Samantha's PMO friends)
One morning a week Samantha attends our church's Parents Morning Out, a cooperative childcare program. Samantha and I worked on her cards for her friends today. I wanted to keep them fairly simple. Samantha does not have the attention span to sit and color for too long or really sit and do anything for more than 10 minutes. Both of these projects were simple and took very little time for me to assemble.

Butterfly Tootsie Roll Pops - I found a template online here so these were a quick cinch. I printed them out, cut them out, inserted the tootsie roll pop and glued on some squiggly eyes.

Heart Crayons - These were super simple too but a little more time consuming with the prep work. We've been collecting our broken crayons for a while now but peeling the paper off these suckers is no easy task. Samantha seems to enjoy tearing the paper off crayons when I don't particularly want her to. I figured this would be the perfect job for her.

She did not disappoint. She sat for quite a while peeling her little heart out. After all the crayons were naked of paper I had to cut them all up into little pieces. I skipped this step the last time I made crayons and they did not turn out very well. My last batch of crayons, Gingerbread ones at Christmas, had huge chunks of un-melted crayons because the pieces had not started out the same size. Trust me, do not skip this step!!

This time the crayons turned out with much better results. The only thing I wish I could change is the color. I wish we had had more reds and pinks and purples but we had a lot of dark blues and even browns. I would have preferred them to be a little more vibrant and cheerful.

Not too bad for one afternoon! Gabrielle still needs to make her Valentines but since she loves crafting as much (maybe even more than) me I won't have nearly as much work to do on those. Maybe I'll finally get around to making my January project while she works on her Valentines this weekend.