• Summertime 5!

    Summertime 5!

    Well we have dedicated most blog posts in the series so far to one bucket list experience per post, but this time we are going to include 3! 

     

    I am sure most of you who live in Oklahoma have spent a day at the OKC Zoo & Botanical Gardens. We all know after being at least once what to expect.  You can expect a relatively cheap entry price at the gate for $8 per person, a humid reptile room, and some smelly rhinceros’ as you walk the semi shaded hilly pathways. You can also expect to spend a lot of money on all the extra’s if you aren’t prepared! I packed up Elijah and Landen for the day and we took off to go experience all the zoo has to offer. We packed our lunches so we saved money on that and we even got to see the King of the Jungle! He is rarely sited, at least from my experience. We didn’t play in the splash pad area or the playgrounds because by the time we had walked the ENTIRE zoo, I was completely zonked. We usually skip walking all the way back to the giraffes because there is not much to see on the way out there, its not a shaded walk, and it’s uphill. No thank you! But this time, we made the trek. You could say I was a warrior on this day because I was still in my first trimester of pregnancy!

    _MOM TIP #1

    If you want to experience the WHOLE zoo and everything they have to offer, they have passes that accomodate extra activities which will make it cheaper than getting inside and buying it all separate!

    Another fun thing Elijah and I did this summer was we went out to the Martin Nature Park in Edmond.

    This was of course after we grabbed burgers at a new place in Chisholm Creek called Hopdoddy Burger Bar! I ordered the Goodnight/Good Cause burger which has angus beef, Tillamook cheddar, caramelized onions, jalapeños, caffeinated BBQ, their special sassy sauce, Lettuce, and Tomato. Let me tell you! It was delicious!! If you haven’t eaten there yet, you must! So after our bellies were full we headed down memorial a few miles and went into Martin Nature Park! This was such a neat little park with a small play area, ponds with lots of turtles, and a few exhibits inside. One of the best parts we enjoyed were the walking trails that go all through the park. We hunted for some bugs and enjoyed a nice shaded walk. Overall, fun afternoon and the Martin Nature Park is totally free!

    _MOM TIP #2 

    I suggest bringing a friend or a few here because Elijah probably would have enjoyed the park area more if we had! First trimester moms aren’t too much fun to play with on the playground!

    On our way home from Martin Nature Park, we stopped at Hobby Lobby.

    Elijah had been complaining so much about all of the flies in the house and who am I kidding, I was sick of them to! So his idea was to get one of those Venus fly trap plants! At Hobby Lobby we found one that he could plant with everything included for $14.99. It came with a glass jar, little rocks, and the “soil” type thing we put the seeds in. A couple things that were frustrating were the fact that we had to go buy distilled water at Walgreens after reading the instructions. That’s the kind of water you have to use to water it, so we had a bit of a delay on getting to plant it! But once we got back from Walgreens with our water, assembling the plant and planting the seeds was relatively easy besides the fact that they are TINY! We finished planting them all and thats when Elijah realized it would take 1-3 months for any seeds to sprout. That’s one of the problems with living in a society where you can get everything pretty much whenever you want it! PS: we still have yet to see any seeds sprouting! Eek.

    _MOM TIP #3

    Anytime you go to Hobby Lobby, always pull up their 40% off any item coupon on your phone! As long as what you are purchasing isn’t already on sale, it’s a quick way to save almost 1/2 off what you planned on purchasing!

    I hope this gave you a few new ideas that you can incorporate into the last couple of weeks of Summer!

    And if we can’t fit them all in, maybe they can be fun weekend ideas after the school year begins! As always, thank you for reading & please subscribe to follow along with the Dumbleton’s!

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  • Big Sad.

    Big Sad.

    It is such a happy time in our family right now with a new baby on the way!

    We are almost to the halfway mark! Elijah is excited as well, but I know that with a new baby means big changes for him in his life again. Over the last week or so we’ve been starting to see how our happy little boy is actually feeling some really big sad’s.

    We have a bedtime routine with Elijah and it’s been in place since before Zach and I got married. It carried on into our marriage and Zach is just now apart of it. We always spend the last hour of the day together typically watching some corny cartoon Elijah likes on netflix and have a snack. Then we do the usual brush your teeth, feed the fish, get in bed. We have memorized a few verses that we always repeat and then pray.

    This has been no issue up until the last week. We do all of the usual things but a few minutes after leaving his room he comes into ours crying.

    “I miss my daddy, and I’m sad.”

    “Every night when I go to bed I start thinking about him and I get sad.”

    “I prayed to God to make me not sad, but I still am… why?”
    So many questions began to fill my head and most of them are still unanswered.

    Like, why now? Why all of the sudden is this bothering him so deeply, causing him anxiety and to not be able to go to sleep? Why is it only at night time? I started to think maybe it has something to do with the new baby coming, another huge life change.

    In the last year and a half he lost relationship with his biological dad, gained a new dad in the household, and experienced gaining a grandma and then losing her to cancer in only a matter of 3 days. Then trying to sort through all of the emotions this brings on while starting a new school year, not to mention the background of abuse he has had. My mommy heart breaks for my son when I think about everything he has had to adjust to. I knew all of these things would always play a part in his life but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to watch your child have to walk through them.

    After discussing each night and everyday we did find out a little more about his heart.

    He is concerned that with the new baby he won’t get as much love. Bingo. It really does relate back to his dad and a lot of the loss he has experienced. The joy of a new baby is so exciting and fun but he is still learning to process how to grieve. In the back of his mind he thinks he is going to lose us in a sense when the baby gets here just like he lost his dad and his grandma and the security of the routine he had always known.

    The hardest question to answer was , “I prayed to God and I’m still sad, why?” I explained to him the difference between “big sad” and “little sad”. We have these momentary sadnesses that can pop up at any moment like when we thought a friend was coming over and then we find out they can’t. We are sad, disappointed, let down… but it isn’t that big of a deal. Losing a parent is a big deal, I would consider it a “big sad”. The “big sad’s” in our lives take more time to heal. They take more prayer and more trust that God knows what is best for us. A big sad may never be completely healed, but our God never leaves us no matter how big the sad is. 

    So as a mom, what do I do?

    We stand on who GOD is. The perfect Father. I reassure my son that he never did a thing to earn my love, just like we do nothing to earn God’s. He can never do anything to lose His love, nor mine. We remember when we are sad that, “The Joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10, and we pray that at bedtime. We admit this is a “big sad” in his life and lean on God even when it feels like maybe He doesn’t hear or answer us.

    I learn so much from being a mom. Being a mom has humbled me and God has used it to show me how to listen and be discerning and gracious. Let me tell you it isn’t easy when you are pregnant and exhausted to sit in your little ones bed for 30 minutes to an hour dealing with deep rooted issues knowing that when you finally do get in bed, he is going to come in crying and needing you. But we do it. I cannot leave my son to struggle alone. I have to give him the tools and grace and assurance he needs to walk through the pain in life.

    God the Father is the same with us. While he doesn’t always take away our negative situations, mainly because he allowed them there to begin with, He will never leave you to struggle through them alone either.
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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 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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  • Identity.

    Identity.
    I recently asked facebook what topic they wanted me to write on and my dear friend Amber said “The importance of identity”.

     

    I see this all around our culture. People seeking to find their identity and once they feel they have found it they will do anything to keep it. We need so desperately to know who we are. We identify with different cultural groups. We identify with different political parties. We identify with different religions and then even within those religions there are different groups of people as well.

    When speaking of religion, there is always talk in the Christian religion of “knowing who I am in Christ.”

    I have found one problem with this that can create a multitude of other problems for us. You see, when I focus only on my identity in Christ it is easy to become puffed up. First and foremost I think it is important to realize who I am without Christ. The realization of my identity before He chose to lavish His truth and love and grace and mercy on me. Our identity before He gave me the gift of faith, so I could believe on Him and Him alone.

    I believe it is important to know that Christ brought me redemption and freedom from my sins. I believe it is vital to know the Holy Spirit resides in me to empower me in walking out the life of holiness and righteousness that I am called to live. At the same time, let me never ever forsake the one who gifted me in the first place.

    When I focus so much on “who GOD made me now” and less on “WHO made me who I am now” I create an idol even of my faith. I idolize the gift and not the Giver, the created not the Creator.

     

    There is no greater sadness to our HOLY LORD than for me to forget who He is before He ever did a single thing for me. If He never did a single thing for me, would I still fall at His feet just because He is GOD and He deserves it?

    As I sit and listen to sermons about how I’m able to speak to my mountains and they have to bow, I must remember that I am not the one they bow to.

    I cannot forget that my disease was not miraculously healed because I declared it. Any good deed I am enabled to do was nothing by my own provision. No money I give, no kind word, not a single positive thought was my own. All things are from Him and to Him and through Him. I must be very careful how I see myself. There is something pleasing to the LORD when I bow low before Him in adoration and wonder of how the GOD of the Universe could save such a soul like mine.

    This is the gospel.

    My identity was stained. It was covered in sinfulness and imperfection. It was dirty and unworthy of ANY good gift. Jesus Christ was sent by GOD to relieve me from all my sinfulness and give me freedom from a life of death. The Holy Spirit lives in me, as a gift from the LORD, to empower me to walk out a life of repentance. He has poured His beautiful crimson blood over my stained identity and that is what the Father sees when He looks at me. The perfection of Christ’s blood covers me. 

    I am the beloved of the Father, the One who created the Heavens and the Earth. A Holy GOD who could destroy the entire universe with one thought chose me.

    He has just as much wrath stored up in Him as He has love.

    I know that I am truly nothing short of evil without Him living inside of me. He alone is good. The identity I choose to keep in the front of my mind is the identity of my Father, of His son, and of His Holy Spirit. 

    I must have a reverence for HIS identity before my own. I must know that I am nothing apart from Him. That is my identity.
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