• Dear mother-in-law,

    Dear mother-in-law,

    Dear mother-in-law,

    It has been a whole year since you left us. A year full of changes and growth. A year filled with laughter and tears. An entire year has gone by that we have not been able to share with you or ask you for advice. I barely got to know you, and I miss you. I have to admit I wish I would had so much more time with you. I wish all of us would have had more time with you.

     

    I thought about you when I found out I would be carrying your grandchild. I knew how much joy you would have been filled with if you had been able to hold them in your arms and teach them everything you know.

    I thought about you often when Elijah asked me hard questions and I wasn’t sure how to answer him in a way an 8 year old would understand. You were so good with handling his fragile heart and understanding how to communicate with children, and I miss that.

    I missed getting to celebrate you in the way most people got to celebrate their mother-in-laws on mothers day. I would have loved to have written you a pretty card and brought you flowers or taken you to dinner. I wish I could have honored you on that day the way I had always planned to.

    At Christmas I did my best to bring memories of you to our family. I asked your son what items you made during the holidays that he would miss, and I did my best to execute making them. I am sure they missed the special flavor of a mothers love, but I tried.

    It’s hard going to your house and you aren’t there.

    You aren’t around to help me in understanding how to love your son well and be a good wife to him. I wish so badly I could still call you and ask you how in the world you managed to raise this difficult man, whom I love so dearly.

    I think of you when I see Josh play the piano. I think of you when I hear David sing your praises. I think of you when I see the tender heart of Daniel. I think of you when I see Zach and his love for Jesus and children. I think of you when I see your sisters and hear them talk about memories with you. You touched every single person you came in contact with, so I see you all around.

    There is so much I didn’t get to ask you.

    There is so much wisdom you didn’t get to share with me. So many memories we missed out on making together. I am truly so sad that you aren’t here, but I have to rejoice.

    _You showed me how to have strength in God’s love, even in the middle of fighting cancer.
    _You showed me how to have grace and mercy to your children and husband.
    _You warned me about the Dumbleton men and how much I was getting myself into coming into your family.
    _You shared recipes with me.
    _You adored each of your children equally, but uniquely.
    _You took Elijah in immediately as your own grandson.

    I have to rejoice in the time and moments we did share together. In the years of life you spent raising the man I married, you gave me a piece of you I will have forever. I have to rejoice because I know that no matter how much I miss you, you are with your heavenly Father. You are in the midst of perfection and you are not sad or missing us at all. 

    I will rejoice, because I know your lips are rejoicing for all eternity.

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  • Summertime 4!

    Summertime 4!

    I really hope you guys have enjoyed the summertime bucket list blogs so far!

    Today is another totally free post! I have made a point time and time again to advise you to make. Your bucket list according to what your kids are interested in! It makes it so much more for them and for you as well! So let’s get started.

    _MOM TIP #1 Get a library card

    Most of you with school aged kids have seen the papers that come home where you are able to log your reading time each day. In our house we aim to read at least 20 minutes a day. Getting a library card has been one of the best things I have done! It has saved us so much money because of how many books we go through. Whether it be Elijah reading books to me or the other way around. We read simple stories we get from the library, we read chapter books, and we read the bible. It really doesn’t matter to me what we read as long as we are spending some time with each other each day! It is a way for us to connect and have fun! During the school year Elijah earned SO many rewards for all of his reading and most of them came in the form of food. Whataburger coupons, Pizza Hut, Papa Murphy’s, and Braum’s to name a few! We collected them up and use them when the budget was tight! So on this day we used the free ice cream from Braum’s coupons to get a little sweet treat!  

    _MOM TIP #2 Find free museums

    Elijah has always loved anything to do with the military. Ever since he was a toddler he has been infatuated with the little plastic army men and setting them up for battles. I truly think it began because his biological dad was in the National Guard Reserves, so naturally he thought it was really cool. I have never discouraged his interest in this but more so encouraged it.

    To serve in the military is a huge responsibility and a great honor. If you have served, or are serving currently, thank you.
    He still finds great joy in all things military so I thought what better place to take him to than to The 45th Infantry Museum.

    Museums are a fabulous way to spend your day, which is why I said to choose things that interest your child. If your kid doesn’t enjoy things about the military I wouldn’t take them to a museum that offers nothing but military artifacts! You will get worn out and frustrated super fast and the point is to have fun not to do something just to say you did it.

    We walked in and signed our names in the book and asked the man at the front which way we should start. We walked through and I have to say for someone who has grown up interested in history it was very neat. I am the kind of person who gets distracted easily but the information and all of the artillery and guns were fascinating to look at.

    It was interesting to read about the different wars.

    To know that the things we were looking at were legitimately used by men who served was very cool. We took our time and Elijah had fun telling me what guns were AK-47’s and which ones were used for certain battles. His knowledge about these things blew me away! He has my dad to thank for that.

    _MOM TIP #3 Avoid unnecessary expenses

    We finished up inside in the gift store which is the only place we spent money. I bought Elijah another collection of plastic army men for $10 which isn’t a bad price at all. This was an optional expense so you could easily avoid the gift shop if you need to! Outside they have big tanks and various forms of transportation. By the time we got out there we had just enough time to walk around and look at them before it started to rain on us! Overall it was a short afternoon and we both really enjoyed our time here!

    Make sure and subscribe below to keep receiving the best mom tips and summer bucket list ideas! Please leave comments and share any of your own summer bucket list adventures as well! Maybe I will feature you and your kids!
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  • Summertime 3!

    Summertime 3!

    So I’m back with another Summer Bucket List update!

    This is another low cost- basically free bucket list post! Let’s recap on a few of our key survival tips so far! And I will add to it in this post. When making your bucket list be sure to include things that actually interest your kids or that you would like to teach them about. Also, don’t worry about making every single option extravagant, keep it simple! Choose a friend that your child gets along well with to take with you on some of your adventures. Look for deals on the supplies you will need for your outings and coupons for activities or discount days. Pack your lunches! And don’t forget to put down your phones and actually engage in the activities!

    _MOM TIP #1
     Teach your kids they don’t need a lot to have fun!

    As most of you Oklahomans know the beginning of summer was full of rain, rain, and more rain! I was so sick of trying to find things to do inside that finally one day I said “Forget it! I don’t care if he ruins his clothes or makes a mess when he comes in, he is going outside!”. So, what did a desperate mom do? She called and invited a friend over and sent the two of them out into the pouring rain in their bathing suits. I’ve never seen Elijah so excited to get outside and get dirty in my life. He typically doesn’t really like getting dirty, he’s the type of kid who needs to put on flip flops just to walk through the grass. It honestly drives me crazy! I didn’t hear aa knock at the door or a yell to come inside not even one time! When I finally called them to the back door and hosed them off with the water hose, it was quite the sight to see! Covered in mud! But it was so fun to hose them down!

    _MOM TIP #2
    Find a local VBS and SEND THEM! It’s free, and they learn about Jesus!

    One of the parents on our baseball team is a pastor and his church was hosting VBS this week. We decided to send the boys to that which started at 6:30 and ended at 8:30. On this particular night after VBS was over they were showing The Lion King and serving hot dogs and popcorn! So not only is VBS a great learning experience… it can provide you and your husband a few hours alone together. Did I mention it’s free? Bonus! The double bonus for us this night was that both boys had dinner we did not have to pay for. TRIPLE BONUS is that we scored an extra two hours of alone time because of the movie night! Zach picked them up around 10:30 and they were exhausted!

    _MOM TIP #3
    Plan an evening like this at the end of the month, or end of the pay period when money is kind of tight.

    I had decided since it would be a late night Landen could spend the night… another one to mark off our Summer Bucket List! We pulled the extra mattress from the trundle bed and moved it into Elijah’s bedroom which is how we always do when extra kids stay over! I love having the trundle bed for that exact reason! We got it super cheap online from Wal-Mart. Another thing kids love to do for sleepovers is build a pallet or fort and sleep in it! Supply them with blankets and pillows and flashlights and there is another special memory for them that really didn’t cost you anything at all! When they woke up in the morning they turned on cartoons and I brought them cinnamon rolls for breakfast in bed. Overall the only thing we payed for was the cinnamon rolls and I did a little extra cleaning of the laundry room from them coming inside, but they both had a blast and Elijah was able to mark off 3 things from his list!

    Remember to subscribe so you can follow along and score all of the mom tips for your OWN Summer Bucket List! Thanks for reading!
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  • Summertime 2!

    Summertime 2!

    We are trying to keep our kids entertained this summer without breaking the bank, right?

     

    In my last Summer Bucket List post we talked about how boredom kicks in way too fast once we hit summer break and all we really want Is our kids to be thankful for their break and have fun! When you have a tight budget this can be something that seems nearly impossible, so in this specific blog I am going to talk about one of the cheaper days we had so far.

    One of the best things ever I remember as a kid

    was doing things with my friends. I loved that my parents were really involved in my life and activities and always welcomed having our friends over to the house! They were so willing to pick them up and take them with us to do whatever it was we were doing. I remember countless times when my parents would LOAD up the suburban with our friends to take them to the lake or pick them up for church events. I remember late night taco bell runs when I was still unable to drive. Most of my memories are very simple but I hold them so close to my heart. I know that growing up with parents who were willing to lose some sleep and have a messy house made a tremendous impact on me and how I want my kids to grow up. With that in mind, I like to try and include Elijah’s friends in our activities!

    _MOM TIP #1

    Choose a friend who wont drive you to insanity! Don’t hate me because I speak the truth. Some kids just don’t play well together!

    We decided to bring along Landen, who you will see in a lot of these posts because Elijah and him get along so well! We wanted to do three things on this day. Our itinerary looked something like this: Go to the park, have a picnic, and get snow-cones! You guys, local parks get overlooked so often! We think kids need some super extravagant play place when in all reality most kids can have fun anywhere, especially if you bring along a friend they enjoy spending time with!

    _MOM TIP #2

    Go buy an outdoor blanket from Wal Mart! The brand is mainstays and it cost around $10. It is a padded quilt that folds up and zips so it’s easy to carry and doesn’t take up a ton of room.

    We live in Midwest City so we decided to go to Joe B. Barnes. Regional Park on Reno and Douglas. I love this park because there are plenty of things for them to do and I can sit back and relax because it’s small enough to see them as they run around. They also have a dog park on one side so you can bring your doggies along as well! The walking trail really isn’t too bad either, but today was more about the kids! So first we set out our picnic under some shade and ate it because two 8 year old boys are ALWAYS hungry! Our lunch was simple too! Sandwiches, apple sauce packs, fruit, gatorades, and some bubble gum! No need to go buy McDonald’s or pizza when you’ve already spent money on groceries!

    _MOM TIP #3

    Take advantage of the fact that your child has a friend with them and take something with you FOR YOU to enjoy while they play. I took a book! But you could color or listen to an audiobook or journal. Or maybe you just want to sit quietly. But PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE! Unless it’s for pictures of course!

    After lunch they ran off with the soccer ball and I got to sit in the shade and read. They played for a couple of hours and decided they were in DESPERATE need for a snow-cone. So that’s what we ended with! This park has a snow-cone stand available right near the play area so that’s super convenient. I sent them up with their money and they joined me back on the blanket to enjoy it and cool off. The boys were hot, sweaty, and stinky when we left but we had a virtually free (besides the $5 on snow-cones) fun day! And even I got to relax!

    Just remember as you’re planning your bucket list the most important thing is making memories. It doesn’t have to be expensive or something extremely out of the ordinary. Most kids will just appreciate it that you want to spend time doing things that they enjoy!
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  • Skinny Pregnancy.

    Skinny Pregnancy.

    After I had Elijah

    I had to work really hard to get healthy again. I knew absolutely nothing about nutrition or working out so I literally had to start from the bottom. I had my dad come alongside me and eventually I hired a trainer at the gym. I taught myself about nutrition and stuck to a plan I made for myself that truly worked. I gained self-confidence and I lost all of the baby weight, and then some. At this time in my life I was also in and out of an abusive relationship with Elijah’s dad who liked to make comments about my weight and my appearance. It was something I was fighting internally with my own voice, and then his on top of that, and don’t forget the images in the world that tell you what you are supposed to look like.

    Parts of this journey were fun and exciting but parts of it were miserable.

    The anxiety set in when I found out I was pregnant again. Remembering how hard it is to lose weight with a newborn by your side. You are tired and exhausted. You eat whatever is available and whenever you can fit it in. I have come so far in being able to wear clothes that fit and be confident in my own skin. I had dropped down to 120 pounds at one point because of how strict I was on my diet and how much time I spent in the gym. How in the world am I going to do that with a newborn baby and a husband and 8 year old to take care of? And work too?

    The first trimester is hard enough with the constant nausea and having absolutely no energy.

    But to make it worse I would wake up in the morning dying to want to get up and go to the gym. It’s just what I do. I would want to eat oatmeal and salads and veggies but all I could manage were crackers and dry cereal. The agony of knowing how I was unable to stick to my healthy routine was really a battle in my mind. The dread of weight gain haunted me as I lay there just wanting to have enough energy to take a walk.

    Even now as I move forward in my pregnancy I fight cravings and have had to change my workouts dramatically.

    I still go just not every day. I don’t spend 1.5 hours there and I don’t do more than my body allows me to do. I work out for an average of 45 minutes 4 or 5 days a week. Some days I do weights and some days I just walk or jog on the treadmill. I don’t always eat a salad and quite honestly we have added some meat and eggs back into our diet as well. I’m approaching this pregnancy differently in a lot of ways.

    I realize now that I am more than my size.

    I realize the most important thing is to be healthy. I know that my body was created to prepare this child for the world. I also know that if I miss a day at the gym because my body needed to rest the world won’t end. I won’t allow my own thoughts destroy the beautiful pregnancy GOD has gifted me with. I could sit around and agonize over the weight gain that is sure to come or I can rejoice that my body has the responsibility to provide nutrients and a healthy environment to grow and develop my child. 

    The LORD knew what He was doing when He created the body to hold a child and I will choose to honor Him and thank Him that he chose me to carry his plan out. I will honor Him in my heart and not allow negative thoughts about any part of this journey. I’m not saying I have overcome this battle, I’m telling you I am currently fighting in it. 

     

     

    If you fight yourself on your image or weight know that you are not alone. We oftentimes only think overweight people are struggling but you would never realize how many people with the body you want obsess over their looks and are truly in agony over their diets and exercise routines.

    It is a miserable place to be trapped in, and you my sister are not alone.
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