Category Archives: Funny Kid Stories/Family time

Embracing a simple summer…..

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“Mom….just ten more minutes to ride my bike”…

“Maybe later”.

“How about you play barbies with me in the basement?

“Maybe later”.

Maybe later….maybe later (sigh)……I can’t tell you how often I’ve used this phrase with my two youngest. I’ll tell you….the “mom guilt” is strong. Strong because, as parents, we constantly are reevaluating our decisions and the life that we are providing our children.

As hard as my children work during the school year, I need to work just as hard to make sure that we “live it up” in the summer. I have spent the past three weeks thinking about this….and all these questions come to mind:

Are my little girls getting the same childhood as their older siblings?

What happened to the simple joys of childhood?……and can I get that back?

If I am going to demand hard work during the school year, I will have to let my kids just “hang out” for the summer…..

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I often think back to the days of creek jumping, and endless picnics. When my oldest wasn’t yet schooling, we filled our days with endless fun. She was too young for school and still too young for structured activities, so our day included afternoon walks with leaf collecting and puddle jumping. I sat in attendance for many a puppet show, or “culinary experience” from our play kitchen. Life wasn’t too “busy” to just have fun and “play” with my children.

And yet…..my little girls fall second to the three older children and their academic success in homeschooling. I know I need to find the balance for this coming fall, but for now…I can plunge right into summer with this simplistic mentality.

So…I made a few phone calls. No piano lessons for the summer. No dance class. Nothing that would require the kids and I to have a schedule.  Two vacation bible schools and one overnight camp…but that’s it. The rest of the summer is totally up to us!

It means late night and late mornings.

It means extra snuggles at bedtime and cuddles in the morning.

It means staying late at the pool and grabbing takeout for dinner.

It means last minute playdates with friends, and endless nights on the porch.

So….how exactly will we spend our summer? I’ve got a few ideas……

So I have decided to include a printable of some simple summer suggestions here:

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It’s my first free printable!  Trust me as I learn how to perfect these…they will get better. haha

Take a few minutes to print off that printable and let your mind start sailing off…..

So that you can enjoy having beach days and surfing parties:

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Or maybe your kids can ride in a space ship…made of table chairs…

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or stay in your pajamas and play….

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Life’s too short to spend your summer driving kids around to activities. Spend your days cuddling in the sun, and picking yummy fruit.

Spend your summer days reminding your kids how make fun YOU ARE!!!

Allow yourself to “slow down” and soak in the laughter of your children.

God bless,

Tammi

 

 

 

10 ways to be the “Worst Mom Ever” this Summer!

Was about to write a similar post….but here you go…enjoy the summer!!!

Chasing time and Drinking wine

It’s already starting in my house..

“this is the worst day ever!”

“I’m so bored.”

“I have nothing to do.”

“I’m hungry.”

Oh…the sounds of children who need direction and some activities. So…how can you survive this summer with your kiddos home?

I’ve got 10 ways for you to be the “Worst Mom Ever” this summer.

So let’s get started…….

Give them two weeks of college life.

For the first two weeks after school lets out, just let them do whatever they want. Let them wake up when they want and just hang out. Watch their mannerisms, weaknesses, and see what the summer holds for you. This is your “gathering information” session for the summer. You will quickly find out what goals you have for each of them and what behaviors are not going to “work” for your summer home with them. (You will then use this information to set…

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Bows, tights, toothpaste……surviving the Sunday morning craziness…..

Ok moms….grab that big cup of joe, or that large glass of wine and let’s “chat”:

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Sunday Morning Craziness

Sunday Morning Craziness is defined as the crazy time in the morning that preludes attending Sunday morning service/Mass.

In honor of this quite frustrating time…I have parodied a song you might enjoy….

Move over Julie Andrews…haha…...

These are a few annoying things (to the tune of “favorite things”)….

tights that have holes, and teeth that need brushing,

can’t find a hairbrush, and God knows we’re rushing,

kids slow as molasses, and daddy’s unseen

these are a few annoying things.

When the zipper breaks, when the baby cries,

when I’m feeling sad…

I simply remember I’m meeting our Lord

….and then I don’t feel….. sooooooooo bad.

hahaha…..

Seriously……

Now…I don’t plan to run off and become the next big song writer…but that did get you thinking, huh?

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So, how do you feel when you look at a picture like this?

Does the thought of getting all these kids ready overwhelm you?

Do you dread the “Sunday morning shuffle”??!!

Because if it does, that’s ok…….

I used to feel the same way.

I have often heard that we learn more from our mistakes than from our successes.

And…that’s why I blog…hahahaha. 

That’s why I wanted to give you a few pieces of advice that have allowed me a smoothier Sunday morning.

*****Disclaimer: Maybe, you are awesome at this and want to leave some advice for the rest of us…please feel free to write some suggestions in the comment section.*******

When I had three children and was trying to get them ready for Church,  No one could have convinced me that I would one day have five children, be able to get them ready for church, and still enjoy a nice sit down breakfast with my family before. I was practically losing my mind…and my faith in my mothering abilities every Sunday.  I was rushing around trashing my bathrooms, leaving a trail of clothes behind and a huge post-Mass mess.

I would soon learn the key to end this craziness: planning ahead. 

When I was a young child, I dreaded the “sunday morning craziness”….trying to make it to church on time. Six people trying to get into one bathroom and get ready for Mass on Sunday. My mom would get us dressed for church, and then we would sit on the couch in front of the TV with my dad. Then she would run around with little time to get herself dressed. We were always a few minutes late.

As I grew older, I would practically lose my mind waiting in the car with my dad. I had inherited his love for timeliness and order, and saw being late as a complete sign of disrespect. We would go out to the car together, with plenty of time to spare, until the rest of our family would make their way outside….often holding socks, shoes, or jackets in their arms. My mom, on the other hand, moved for “no one” and somehow thought that time would “stand still” while she got ready. If you asked her, we only lived “5 minutes” from the church….however, that was only true if we made all the lights and never fully “stopped” at a stop sign…haha.

I took this same “frustrated” mentality into my early marriage. My husband didn’t share my love for “timeliness” and would often wait until the last minute to jump up, take a “5 minute” shower (those don’t exist) and throw something on for church. I would be in the car already in a terrible, anxious mood for church.

I couldn’t understand why is was so tough. Wake up, get ready….it was the same thing every week. However, when you add gettting “little people” into the mix, your life just got a lot tougher. In addition, if you have kiddos that insist on picking out their own outfits, it can get downright insane…haha.

So after several unsuccessful Mass attempts and several years of messes, I have developed these “sanity savers” ……

Pick out your kids clothes the night before…..

We check the weather and lay everything out the night before. I mean…everything.  The girls typically hang their dresses on their closet doors complete with tights hanging, bows clipped, shoes on the ground, and underwear tucked around the hanger. This avoids any last minute…”I don’t have any socks. or “I’m out of underwear” issues. It also prevents a certain boy from thinking he can pick out shorts in fall weather. However, Mini me did try to attend Mass this morning with brown sandals over black tights…good gosh. 

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Bathe the little ones the night before. Have older kids shower before, if possible. 

My “mini me” has gorgeous curly hair…that needs to be brushed out and “set”. I like to give her a shower on Sunday mornings or else she will definitely be rocking a ponytail.  However, my son and oldest daughter have straight hair and I will often have them shower the night before. The Fashionista likes to shower in the morning verses the night so she showers the same day too. The hubs and I are definitely Sunday morning showerers. Having three of my children shower the night before saves me time and hot water the next morning. It also allows them to go straight to getting ready.

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Get up early and shower yourself.

Yes! Do this! You have to! I used to get up early and start breakfast for everyone. However, I realized that if I got up a little earlier and got myself ready….it was easier to make breakfast in my robe with all my undergarments on. I would put on my jewelry and lay out my clothes so I needed minutes to get ready. I don’t want my clothes smelling like bacon so I will often put on lounge pants and a shirt but my hair and makeup is often done..and my clothes are laid out on my bed.

Serve a nice hot breakfast so no one needs to eat after they are dressed for church. Our family loves to attend the 11:30 Mass at our parish. Since we live about 30 minutes away, my kiddos can still sleep in til around 8/8:30…we can have a nice breakfast between 9-10:00 and head out the door by 10:50/11:00. Cereal or frozen waffles will send my little ones begging for a snack right about during the homily so breakfast is always eggs and some other kind of protein to keep them full.

breakfast

Tell your spouse to “give you 15 minutes of time” before the time you need to leave. I have found that this fact was CRUCIAL when I had a baby or toddler. My husband would get ready and then find me for that last 15 minutes. Sometimes it was to find a missing shoe. Sometimes it would be to double check that I had a few outfits, diapers, and wipes for the diaper bag…..but often it was to help me put on a necklace or fasten my dress. If we were ready, he would pile the kiddos in their car seats so I could give the house a quick “tidy” before leaving.

Store a neutral bow and several ponytails in your purse.  This tip is especially necessary if you have a child that likes to pull out their bows. Several of my girls, I wouldn’t even style their hair until we were in the parking lot of the church. If you keep a neutral bow like a white or a black, you are always good. Ponytails can help the worst of hair days….just trust me on that one. 

A couple of stored “mints” will prevent you embarrassment in one of your older kids “forgets” to brush their teeth. I would LOVE to say that this seldom happens but I have a preteen who is obsessed with eye rolling and anything remotely hygienic …yep…we have turned to those mints to save embarrassment.

Take a deep breath as you get in the car. There is nothing more you can do. Anything that wasn’t done…can’t be done. Prepare yourself to meet the Lord and be present.

Most of all, try to put yourself at ease. Your kids are adorable even if they drive you insane getting out the door. And Lord knows, the other moms are too worried about their own child’s hair to notice that this is the fifth Sunday in a row that you are rocking a ponytail.

Please see these tips for what they are…..”sanity savers”. I’m not insinuating that my family is “perfect”…sometimes we oversleep or have a late night on Saturday night and all my “planning” goes out the door.  However, we have several “sanity savers” to help us the next week.

May your Sunday become calmer and more peaceful.

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God bless,

Tammi

Ways to love your ONLY son…..

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The minute I heard the basketball hit the pavement, I made a dart for the kitchen door. The hubs was supposedly taking out the trash but I knew better…he was going to try and get in a few “hoops” and I wanted in. We were out for only 5 minutes when I heard the door open….

“wait??!! What??!!! I’m playing!!!”…..said DDD.

“nope…go get ready for bed. It’s just your mom and I.”

And with that…I heard the door shut…and minutes later, the living room window open.

“Wow, dad…looks like you should just hand the ball to mom!”

“Ouch, mom…I thought you said that was your “money shot”!

“Seriously…..you old people are terrible.”

The child is a serious heckler…but…I gotta forgive him because it’s in his genes. Few things make my heart flutter like the hubs when he gets in a great “one liner”…and knows it. And DDD is no different. As soon as he delivers a good liner, he throws his head back and explosive laughter ensues.

I had to duck behind the garage door so I could bend over, I was laughing so hard at some of his comments to us.

This kid….he is really one of a kind.

dj collage

I am often asked what it is like to be raising a son with four girls. I’m not really sure how to answer that. A few words come to mind….amazing…hysterical….joyfilled…..annoying…exhausting….just to name a few. I guess half of the battle is realizing that he’s totally different than each of this sisters down to even his biological makeup. And with that….he has to be parented differently.

To put it simply, he’s my rock…..in my basket of eggs.IMG_7319

Stay with me….I am sure it will get clearer.

My girls are the eggs. Their feelings are fragile. I never know what will throw them into tears or some kind of drama. They need to be cuddled and comforted. They want to be hugged and protected. They like to be “sat on” by the momma hen….cared for and comforted. They can’t seem to get close enough and yet they always need that caring and sensitive hand to reach out to them. Small criticisms about the state of their hair can cause them to burst into tears, and one loving complement on their “stylish” outfit can make their day. Even the biggest tomboy needs the reassurance of mom and dad.

Then there’s my rock. He wants to knock stuff off the shelves and be thrown to break stuff. He has rough edges and can be too rough without knowing it. He’s rough and yet steady. He is the first object you pick up to defend yourself and the annoying object in your shoe causing you discomfort. There is a reason that boys love to “skip rocks” at the creek…..

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I will never forget when DDD was a toddler. He brought so much imagination and pretend play to our house. Sweet Pea watched in awe as her “broom” became a toy horse…and her pots and pans from the kitchen became perfect hats for his head. She was memorized by his ability to find everything fun. He would often sit and stare at the wall in our hallway…..and she could be found sitting next to him, knowing that if he found it fun…than it was.

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He is the “master fort builder” in these parts and his games leave little to be imagined. He is the ultimate “spy” as he has covert spies helping him all the time.

For the past few years, he has begged us for a brother…a gift we have not yet been able to give him. However, in the way that he always has made lemonade out of lemons, he is the ultimate “big brother” cousin to all his little cousins. He is constantly looking out for them and always ready and willing for the next fun thing to play. He can be found holding a “shot gun” and wearing a Daniel Boone hat one minute, and cuddling with a young cousin on the couch the next.

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So…how do I handle life with a “rock”….well….I can only offer 9 years experience, but here is what I have found to be successful:

  • Most attitudes/or personality difficulties are a phase. However difficult, he likes to know when he has been “impressive” or a “huge help”. I grab him his favorite treat for a helpful week or give him extra kindle or TV time.
  • I wrestle him….as often as possible….. (my shoulders are often sore from him hanging on them, and my legs bruised)
  • I pin him down at nighttime to sneak in a kiss (because I know he wants one but fights me for it)
  • I sneak up on him to capture cool moments on video…because I know he will want to view them later.
  • I let him “stall” and hug me ten times at bedtime so he can watch the last 10 minutes of a show, because I need those hugs more than he does and there will come a time when they are not there….
  • I memorize lyrics to songs that he loves so I can sing louder than him and he can learn the words…..
  • I DVR his favorite shows and quietly watch while he does…so I can ask him questions about his favorite characters.
  • I steal the ball from him while he is shooting hoops so he knows that I want to spend time with him.
  • I look up jokes on the internet so I can “slam him” but really…I’m just providing him with good material….
  • I sign him up for engineering or science classes that play on his strengths of creativity and building.

Most of all, I am constantly seeking guidance from the Lord in how to love this kid with all I have. Some days are tough, but he’s a clown and I can get all “I’m on a mission and your antics are driving me batty” and some days I just want to put him in my pocket to entertain me all day.

My prayer is that I can continue to mold him into the man that God envisions. That, being surrounded by women that love him, he may truly be a man that loves and respects women.

That by seeking the man whom his dad is…he might seek that same Godly character for his life.

dan and dj

God Bless,

Tammi

Summer Vacation: What are you giving your kids this summer?

It’s midnight and I’m sitting in my bed with my laptop. It’s been a long past two days. And well…. I felt compelled to  share it with you.

So…lucky you…haha.

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When I started blogging a few years ago, I wanted to share my life experiences with others. Not because I am “an expert” on anything but because I love life. I am a natural extravert. I pride myself on “bringing the fun” to any situation and I’m always up for a good party or a cozy night with wine on the couch. I love watching people be transformed by God’s love, some good advice, or the love of family. My blog is about sharing my heart with friends everywhere. Some blogs are lighthearted…and some blogs are a little heavier. However, that’s very reflective of my life and where God has me at any given moment.

So…..moving on to yesterday….this picture says it all….

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Yesterday, was a physically tough day. My husband left for a business trip on the same day that I started one of the toughest days of my cycle. To give a brief history, I have struggled with endometriosis for years. After having three years of infertility and a surgery to remove endometriosis tissue, I was able to naturally conceive my first daughter, Sweet Pea.  Five children and 12 years later, my body has finally returned to those infertile days and all the terrible side effects that come with it. To say that I felt terrible would be an understatement.

Nausea, dizziness, painful cramping, diarrhea, heavy bleeding…and five kiddos who just want to tackle and love all over me. My first thought was just to cry…but …crying was not going to help everyone get through the day, nor make dinner, or put kids to bed.

So I decided to take everything slow.

I called the kiddos in and explained that I wasn’t feeling well. I needed them to “step up” and help each other. And then…I just started doing everything in slow motion. My son brought me a glass of water and my oldest daughter helped make me comfy on the couch. I laid on the couch with a pillow and blanket and watched them play. It was something close to the kitchen scene in “Nanny McPhee”…They used their “imaginations” and like several hurricanes they “devastated” my house. There was pots and pans for their “bakery” filled with legos. I watched them mix large bowls of “cake mix” with my vacuum, and they danced around to music. Their outfits changed constantly as did the activities they were playing. My house was decorated with puzzles, and music sheets, and tons and tons of barbies!!!

found these in the fridge.

found these in the fridge.

I didn’t have the strength to yell at them…so I didn’t. I spoke slow and deliberately. I didn’t care if someone came by and saw my house….I was in survival mode.

I wasn’t rushing around meeting the demands of a schedule…I was just trying to get through the day. There was no TV on in the background, so the children could hear me when I called.

When it was time to leave for piano lessons, I gave plenty of notice about needing to leave. There was no yelling, or rushing out the door since I was just trying to find the strength to drive. I paired the little girls up with the bigger kids and asked them to help them in the van. I watched as they helped put on shoes and grab water bottles. My directions were clear and concise…and the kids met my expectations.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because I realized something important about yesterday….

I need to slow down.

My kids need a mom who slows down.

Life is passing me by and I’m missing so much. I’m trying so hard to give them the best of everything that I am missing what they really need which is …..me….

In the words of Jon Legend:

         “All of me loves all of you….all your perfect imperfections. Give your all to me, I’ll give my all to you.”

My kids really don’t need to do more…they need more of me.

  • I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve actually said, “We have to get in the car. You have about 3 seconds to say what you want to say…
  • I’ve watched my younger two daughters grow in frustration as they feel ignored.
  • I’ve put the TV on to “entertain” my crew so I could fit it more time to get stuff done.
  • I’ve heard countless times “you NEVER listen to me”!!!

So what are my kids getting this summer…..a mom that slows down and enjoys every minute. Instead of sitting down with my checklist and my “bucket list” for the summer, I have decided to slow it down…and give my kiddos the best “me” this summer. A mom who lives “in the moment” not awaiting the “next big thing”……

A Mom:

  • who sits down and enjoys a cup of tea.
  • who wants to watch endless ballet and karaoke performances.
  • who listens to an endless supply of the worst jokes and provides some of her own.
  • who thinks that dinner can be ice cream at 7pm because we were having too much fun at the pool.
  • Who tries to “out swing” her kids at the park.
  • Who plays hide and seek
  • Who wants to sit on a blanket and watch the stars
  • Who teaches her kids silly songs to make them laugh
  • Who just wants to make memories…and soak them in.

I’m eager to see what beautiful blessings will come out of this  new “mindset” in parenting. I am certain that God will continue to strengthen our family and draw us closer to him.

May God show you what path you need to take this summer and throughout the year.

God bless,

Tammi

It’s coming!!! Snow day prep….chasing wine style!!!

I love snow days!

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I love watching the magical white fluffiness fall from the sky!

I love bundling up my kiddos for the 30 minutes of outside time..haha. Well….the big kids last a little longer than that.

And I love the shear excitement of planning for the snow to fall…teasing the news coverage about the actual accumulations that will far verses what is predicted.

I remember, as a kid, getting up early and waiting for the snow closings at the bottom of the TV screen…getting lathered up with Vaseline on my face to handle the chilly wind as I ran outside with mix-matched mittens. I remember waiting for the right moment to “accidentally” knock my little brother face-first in the snow….hahaha….

great memories….but the joy only gets better as a mom.

So…here’s what went on this week and today to get ready for the snow tomorrow:

Laundry

Momma is doing TONS of laundry today…like 3/4 loads so I can chill out tomorrow. Gotta make sure we have plenty of our favorite sweatsuits, and comfy blankets cleaned for cuddle time. We will spend the next few days in fluffy socks and sweats so we need to make sure everyone is set! Plus…I want to be able to go sledding too, so I’m maxing out my work for today.

Grocery Run

The kids and I hit the grocery store on Sunday for the essentials: milk, eggs, bread, cereal. But when I got a text from the hubs offering to make a quick grocery run on his way home from an appt….you better believe I hollered…”heck yeah!” We need two cans of condensed milk (for snow cream, of course), a few boxes of hot chocolate mix, American cheese for grilled cheeses, and momma needs more ….Prosecco!!!!

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I definitely see these in our future!

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Library Run

The kiddos and I hit the library on Friday to grab a few new books. Right now, the Fashionista is plowing through the Junie B. Jones series, and she begged me to load her up.  The littles are enjoying Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter Collection.

Product Details

There is nothing better than being cozy on the couch with a new book after playing in the snow. We were delighted, as well, to see these new little friends there too! Looks like they have no worries with the upcoming snow!

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Work-less meals

Snow also means pulling out the good ole crockpot! Whether I am going to be sledding or reading 20 books to the little ones, I won’t have to be caught in the kitchen. So the next few days will be about making use of the crockpot. We will wake up to some apple cinnamon oatmeal, and then dinner with include this awesome balsamic chuck roast! I might have to add in this chicken taco chili that one of my girlfriends had on her FB today too.

Family Time

Nothing says snow days like family time! There will be plenty of time for family charades, movie nights and board games! The hubs has been teaching the kiddos the games of Monopoly and Risk. They are loving it!

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 Whatever you do….live it up!!! The snow won’t be here for long!

Before we know it, we will be basking in the sun!

God bless,

Tammi

Calgon….take me away!!!

Bipolar Work Disorder

Maybe I am aging myself but I used to love that commercial….

the woman who just seemed so overwhelmed that all she could think about was a hot bath.

Yep….I’m there.

IMG_5487Exhausted….check.

emotional drained….check.

Physically sore….check.

irritable…check, check, check.

I figured since one reader was talking about how “great” my little family life is that maybe I don’t do enough to describe the craziness that life can throw our way too.

We are not a perfect family.

And as much as my kids love me, they know that I’m not the perfect mom.

I continually apologize for my bouts with frustration; my rants about housework; or my need for everyone to “listen to me”.

This blog is not about perfection but about reality.

Its about connecting with someone “across the way” by sharing the same struggles, and holding on to the same desires. Its about wanting as parents to be “the best” for our kids but falling short.

This morning…I am not going very deep….

I just desire to be by myself for a few minutes.

It wouldn’t hurt if I was stuck on a beach somewhere….with a great cocktail….some praise and worship music on my ipod….and a great book……..(insert 5 minutes of picturing myself there)

However, God seems to have me here with these little noisy cherubs who are fighting about everything; crying about headaches and sore throats; and yet must eat.

Sigh…..

IMG_5810This morning, I actually went out and applied miracle gro to my garden and watered it…..in my pajamas.

Why you ask?

To take a step outside of the craziness that is my house this morning.

Sometimes, I just have to walk away before i lose it.

If you are unsure what “lose it” means, do you recall that scene in The Incredibles where the baby gets so mad when he is kidnapped by Sid that he goes through several emotions at one time….

sheer panic/fear:

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anger:

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and then the fiery temper:

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I exaggerate only slightly…haha

I can only handle children doped up on tylenol and sick with fevers for so long. It seems just when one is getting better another one comes along with the same symptoms.

In the past two days, I have made two visits to the ER: one for a child with an acute UTI and one for a child who had a 15 minute febrile seizure; made an insane amount of hot tea; dispensed too many “shots” of antibiotics and tylenol; and held numerous hot children for hours at a time.

Did I mention the husband has had walking pneumonia? that he has had three different antibiotics that have yet to kick it? Did I also mention that he sprained his foot and has been on crutches for the past week? Not sure how not having another adult that can help would make me feel more burdened…but it does.

I can’t help but wish I was out with the kids checking things off our bucket list. I want to be sitting in the summer sun watching the kids swim in the pool. I want to be picking baskets full of strawberries and learning how to make strawberry jam.

What I didn’t want was this.

Somehow in my last conversation with God, He must have misunderstood what I was praying for. I asked for more time to devote to the menu planning and housework.

Ouch….thanks…..for the answer to prayer.

I guess all I can do is be thankful for the down time. Be thankful that maybe this blog post is made to touch that mom who is feeling alone in her misery right now.

No worries, girlfriend….I feel ya. haha

My prayers are going out today to all those mommas whose children are terminally ill or who deal with this on a regular basis. I have no idea how you handle that cross. My guess is that you are far more gracious about it than I.

Looks like tonight this momma is going to be

pouring the wine…and the calgon.

Here’s to hoping that I remember to lock the door…and turn up the music.

They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength,

they will soar as with the wings of eagles”.- Isaiah: 40:31

God bless,

Tammi