Monday, August 31, 2009

My life recently

Have you ever seen a sweeter, cuter, more precious baby??? Love my MK!
What's been happening in the Rich household?
Now that school is back in session, I am trying to get really scheduled in many areas of my life. I will admit I have not always been Mom-of-the year when it comes to school mornings. I used to be very anti-getting out of bed before 8 am. My husband would get up and get Taylor in the shower, dry her hair when she got out and took her to school. All while I was usually snuggled up in my bed. Well, this year, no more!! I have decided that when the alarm goes off at 6:15, I'm getting up. Last week, I thought it would be so hard, but I honestly loved it! The quiet was so amazing! I would get up, get Taylor in the shower, make myself a cup of tea and just sit and read or pray and enjoy the total silence in my house. This is such a rarity!!! My plan is to keep it up! I am now on a mission to find a time to work out on a regular basis. If I will put it into my routine I can do it. I just have to make myself do it!
Taylor on the first day of school. My big 4th grader!

What does Leslie do with all her time now that she's not working??
Funny you should ask! I am really enjoying my life right now. I am once again excited about writing music. I have always had a love/hate relationship with songwriting, and right now I'm in the love zone. I think because I've made it part of my routine I am enjoying it more. Am I the only one who can't focus on things unless everything is taken care of and I don't have to worry about anything else during that designated time? I have found that if I want to work on music I can't just drop everything and do it whenever I get an idea or feel inspired. I have to set aside time, get a babysitter or let Alan occupy the girls so I can just focus on whatever ideas I have at the time. So far, it seems to be working. I'm really excited that the little girls will start Children's Day Out next week so I will have lots of time to work on music!!
Alan and Landon working in the studio!
What am I looking forward to in the next few weeks??
1. Ava's 3rd birthday! I can't believe my little girl is almost 3!! Where does the time go?? This week I have to get everything ready for her Dora birthday party.
2. Leading praise and worship! I'm going to be helping out the worship team at Church on the Rock Labor Day weekend. I am also leading for the COTR Women's conference September 18th-19th. I am really excited about it! I know God has some great things in store for both of these weekends and I'm excited to be a part of it!
3. Pajama Party!! During the COTR Women's Conference I am hosting a Pajama Party for all of the Jr. High and High School girls on Friday night! I am really excited to do this. I really have a heart for these girls because I know how hard it can be to be a teenage girl. I was once there!! I will be talking about friendship, and we are just going to have lots of fun. I have asked some of my friends to help me with it and I can't wait to see what all God does!!

4. Road trip to Dallas!! I am going to meet my cousin Angie in Dallas in a few weeks for some shopping, catching up, and some fun!! The really exciting part is that I get to go all by myself!!! I am super jazzed about having some alone time on the drive and spending time with Angie. Thanks to my wonderful husband for letting me go! He's really excited to keep the girls. He's such a great dad. I can't guarantee that they will have a bath everyday or that they will eat anything healthy while I'm gone, but I've just learned that as long as they're having fun and bonding, that's ok.
Finally, I will leave you with a few pictures of what's been going on. Some are of our fun, quick trip to Dallas last week. Alan and I went with some friends to see Hillsong United. It was super fun, and of course the concert was amazing!!

Alan and I waiting outside to get in!
Love these girls!
We have great friends. Patrick was squatting so he could be in the picture, and we could not stop laughing at him.

Hooray for awesome worship with Hillsong United!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The World According to Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart is such an interesting place. I go to Wal-Mart often and it never ceases to amaze me. On my last visit a few days ago, I was reminded of so many universal rules, but somehow the Wal-Mart atmosphere just brings it all home. Like, for example, I was reminded again that there is someone for everyone out there. I was standing in the checkout line and the couple behind me were just so made for eachother!! They were so strange and I don't even want to share what their conversation was about, but they were such a perfect match for one another. It reminded me of the couple I saw a few months ago at Wal-Mart who both had the biggest wads of chewing tobacco in their mouths. That's right, the girl's wad was actually slightly larger than the guys. And of course I don't realize it until I ask them a question from behind and they turn around to reveal the disgusting hunk of nasty stuffed in their lower lips. Only at Wal-Mart.

On another recent trip, I realized that kids can sleep anywhere, especially a Wal-Mart shopping cart. I was slighty alarmed to see one boy passed out on the bottom of the basket covered in stuff! I guess because it was mainly toilet paper and spray cans of cheese his parents thought he wouldn't get too squished. I'm telling you, no matter what time of day you go, you can find a sleeping kid in a basket somewhere in the store. It has always amazed me the number of small children that get dragged out to the store way past a normal bedtime! And they are never happy. What 3 year old would be? Who wouldn't be upset if their mom got them all dressed for bed in their comyf little pj's and then said, "Ok kids, get in the car! We're going to Wal-Mart! Yes, I know it's after 11:00 pm, but we are running low on toothpaste and motor oil. Let's go!"

Ok, now that I'm sitting here reflecting (judging) on my Wal-Mart experiences, I can only wonder, am I one of these "Wal-Mart people"?? Let's go through the list: 1. I don't dip. 2. I never take my kids to Wal-Mart past 8:00 pm. 3. I've never covered up one of my kids in spray cheese. I think I'm good!!

I must say, for all of it's craziness and quirks, I enjoy shopping at Wal-Mart. It's really close to my house. I always save money when I shop there opposed to other stores. I love that I can go to one place and buy groceries, toiletries, electronics, clothes, lightbulbs, and anything else I might possibly need, all at the same time!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

This is starting to catch on...Where I am...

In the style of my fabulous big sister, I'm going to write a "Where I Am" blog. I always enjoy reading hers, and have enjoyed others lately in the same style. So, here goes!

Where I Am- Saturday, August 15, 5:37 pm

I am sitting in "my chair" on our sectional. Does everyone else have unwritten but understood seats on their furniture? I really love my couch/sectional. We've had it for a about a year and a half. It's the first "real" piece of furniture we've owned/bought ourselves. Everything else we've had has been hand-me-downs (which we are super grateful for, don't get me wrong!). I am watching my two little girls play on the floor, although I have to keep a very watchful eye on Ava
since she loves to torment MK for some reason. She starts out nice enough, but you can see it in her face when she's starting to get too "excited" and ready to pounce! Alan is asleep in "his chair" next to me and Taylor is crashed out in her room. She had her first slumber party at a school friend's house last night. I was a little nervous! I had met the girl's parents and they are very nice people, I just don't know them as well as I would like yet. But when is the appropriate time to grill people on their beliefs, personal family history, rules, regulations, blood type, mother's maiden name, credit score, etc.???

What I'm listening to:
This one is going first since I'm usually ALWAYS listening to something! Yesterday, I bought the new Hillsong Live CD: Faith:Hope:Love. It's pretty good. Here's the thing: I am the biggest Hillsong fan there is, but every time I get a new CD of theirs I have to listen to it several times before I'm a fan. I think it's because I have to learn the songs a little bit. I guess that's true about all music. Hillsong though always has songs that I learn and they get inside of me and become truth and life and then I really start loving the CD because I can worship with it instead of just listen to it. Every new CD they come out with I always say after the first listen, "It's not as good as the last one" and then a few weeks later I'm saying "It's even better than the last one!" All that to say, I still listen to the Hillsong United CD Across the Earth more, and it is my FAVORITE!!! Ok, other than Hillsong, there is a new live worship CD called Generations Unleashed and it is really good. I just love a good live worship CD. Something about capturing the dynamic of a corporate worship time. If done well, it's just so powerful!

What I'm reading:
This section will be short, because I'm not much of a reader. Alan and I have been reading "Crazy Love" by Frances Chan. We are both really liking it. It's one that makes you think. The most interesting thing I've read lately is my cousin Angie's blog.

What I'm watching:
I am probably more of a TV watcher than I should be. Right now, I am totally into Top Chef Masters and Design Star! Just finished up another season of The Next Food Network Star. I love competition reality shows, especially cooking shows! I also love Food Network Challenges. The ones where they make these incredible cakes that should take days in 8 hours. Love it!

What I'm doing:
Lately, I'm doing a lot of cooking. I think the TV shows are inspiring me. I've always enjoyed cooking and baking, but I've really found it therapeutic in some ways. Thursday night I hosted a Batch-Cooking Night at my house and we had about 20 ladies here! I couldn't believe we had such a great turn-out. I'm anxious to see how many ladies start batch cooking.

Alan and I have been spending a lot more time in the studio. We are writing songs and trying to find time to record them. I'm honestly VERY ready for school to start. I love the routine of it and I need a break! Is that horrible to say? Now that I'm not working I'm with my girls all day, every day. Please don't read this the wrong way! I love my kids! I know it is a huge blessing that I am able to stay home with them and I don't have to work a full-time job to pay the bills and have my kids in daycare everyday. I love my time with them. I think I need the mental break more than anything. It's hard for me to stop everything and work on music when I know there are 3 little people that must be attended to. It's hard to just shut myself off and not think about the laundry or feeding the girls or whatever else might need to be done at the time. This is not hard for Alan at all!! I'm sure anyone with a husband understands this! I'm just not wired that way, and I think that's ok. It will just be nice to have a routine where I can schedule music time when I know my kids are being well taken care of at school. The little girls will go to Children's Day Out 2 days a week and Taylor will be in 4th grade!

What I've been thinking about:
I think I've shared (or perhaps overshared) in another blog about adopting Taylor. This week we've had some issues come up with this. I don't really want to say a lot about it other than we just need prayer. Actually, just pray for Taylor. I will never understand all that she has to deal with and go through concerning the situation, but she is amazingly mature and thoughtful in the way that she handles it all. Regardless of what we want and the fight that may lay ahead, I just want God's will to be done. I think I'm still trying to decide what that is. The good thing is, I don't have to figure it all out. That's why He's God and I'm not.

What I'm excited about:
Alan and I are going to Dallas August 25th with some friends to see Hillsong United! I've been to 2 conferences and several worship nights of theirs over the past few years and I always get so excited to see them. It feels weird to say "see" them, because it's not like a concert at all. It's an amazing night of powerful worship that I always walk away from refreshed and refocused on what it means to experience His presence. Honestly, it's sad that I can't seem to achieve this sort of thing on a more regular basis, but I'm working on it.

Well, I'm off to make some Sloppy Joe's!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Batch Cooking Night!

I am very excited about Thursday night! I am hosting a Batch-Cooking "Tell All" night at my house. I have batch cooked for a while now, but this last time I did it, I cooked with someone new. She was fabulous! So organized, so together, it just made it even more fun! And when we were finished I came home with 46 meals to put in my freezer. We have saved SOOOOO much money just by eating at home more. And the food is good and much healthier than eating out all the time. After sharing a little about my cooking madness (on Facebook and Twitter) there was an overwhelming response to Missy and myself for pointers, recipes, tips, etc. So after thinking about it for a while, I thought, "Why not??" This may sound crazy, but I am actually very nervous about it!! I am no expert, so I am doing everything I can to be prepared and get all my thoughts straight so I can sound like I know what I'm talking about!

I think the reason I am most excited to do this is because I know it will bless others families. I know how much it has blessed mine! And not just all the food. It's a blessing of more time. Even though the two days of planning, shopping, and crazy amounts of cooking are a lot of time away from my family, the time that I save scrambling to get dinner on the table everyday is huge! It has also been a blessing for me to get to spend lots of time with different ladies. My first batch cook was several years ago with a dear friend, Jenifer. She showed me the ropes, and eased me into it. I realized that I could do it, even though it seemed like an overwhelming task. She is super mom by the way, raising four kids and all that goes along with that. But she made it seem easy and attainable. Now four years later, I'm still doing it! I've cooked several times with my sister-in-law and it has been good bonding time for us. You will talk about everything under the sun with a batch cooking partner!! After 14 hours of cooking chicken, browning meat, and opening cans, there's no telling what you will be talking about!! I found that to be true after cooking with Missy this last time. I also found Missy to be extremely gracious, putting up with my multiple mistakes. Note: It is important to "seal" the bottom of the bag BEFORE you begin pouring in the apricot chicken marinde!

It is a blessing to know that I am contributing to my family's well being. Now that I'm not working, I feel the need even more to "contribute." I feel like it is now my job to save us even more money, now that I'm not bringing home a paycheck! So all that to say, this Thursday I am excited about sharing the blessing that batch cooking has been in my life with friends. It's not too late! Let me know if you want to come and I will give you more details!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Nine Years Ago...

Nine years ago today I was probably hanging out with some friends or my family. I could have been at the movies or the mall or the grocery store. I have no idea what I was doing exactly nine years ago today. I had no idea that my sweet, precious Taylor would be born the next day. I had no idea that one of my greatest heroes in life was about to make her big entrance on this earth. I had no idea that my life would be changing forever, but it did. Taylor will turn 9 tomorrow and even though I do not have the precious memories of her birth and seeing her for the first time as a little baby, she's still my sweet daughter. I do remember the first time I ever saw Taylor. It was a Sunday night about 7 1/2 years ago. I walked into the church foyer and saw the cutest little girl tottling around. I asked who she was and someone pointed down at the end of the room to a ping pong table that was set up and said, "That's Taylor. She's Alan's daughter." My next question was, "Who's Alan?" The person with all the information informed me that he was the guy playing ping pong. That was the first time I ever saw Alan or Taylor (at least that I know of) but I knew that little girl was special. I remember the months following when I got to know her better. I knew we had a special bond, me and Taylor. Every Sunday night, we would lead worship for the college ministry and after every service she would run up to me and ask, "Horsies?" We would go for long walks outside and look at the horses behind the church. She named them, Stick and Ball. I would bring her coloring books and crayons and little toys to play with while we practiced. I loved that little girl and I didn't even know then that one day she would be my daughter. It was impossible not to love her. She was just so precious! I have so many amazing memories of Taylor. Her 4 year old flamingo birthday party that I got to help plan. The first time she came and had a sleepover at my house after Alan and I were dating. The way she totally blew the marriage proposal by asking "Hey Dad, when are you gonna give her that ring like we practiced?" I love all these memories. Taylor is the strongest little girl I know. In her 9 short years she has been through more than I probably ever will in a lifetime. She has showed me the beauty of being flexible by adapting to whatever situation she was put in. She has showed me a quiet grace and thoughtfulness in her sincere desire to protect others feelings. She has had every reason to grow bitter or angry at certain situations, but instead she just chooses love. Despite all reasons against it, she still chooses love, and I know she always will. This week, I have the amazing honor of signing papers that will set the process of adoption in motion. I am so overjoyed to get to give this gift to Taylor. The gift of choosing her. I just always want her to know that someone did choose her. Really she is the one who is the gift to me. I couldn't think of a greater gift than being her mom. And even though I have considered myself her mom for over 4 years now, there's just something about making it official. Happy birthday sweet Taylor! I love you more than you will ever know. You teach me so many lessons every day and I am honored to call you my daughter.

Taylor and Alan
Taylor and Ava...she's the best big sister!!!
Taylor and Pepa
Birthday girl just having fun!