Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Even at McDonalds

This post contains personal opinions, I completely understand that is all they are, opinions, not facts or reality, just my viewpoint.

I went to McDonalds with the kids today. 

I feel like that is a confession in it's self.

That is the first time in Sister's 3 years of existence, that I have taken her there. Papa and Gigi have taken her twice, but I have not stepped foot on the premise. It might be the fact that I watched "Super Size Me" 6 times in a row while teaching high school nutrition, or that I never recall my parents taking me there myself. I am not judging anyone who takes their children there, I just have some filter in me that doesn't allow it. Make sure you hear that non-judgmental tone, I don't want any ticked off mom's thinking I am judging because I know I have friends who frequent the joint.

So today I felt sick, almost like I was getting the flu. Achy body, fatigue and upset stomach. Thankfully I never threw up, but I felt off the whole day. We were supposed to have community group at our house tonight and with Steve still gone I cancelled group because I knew I would be pushing myself too much to have it. Long story short, I decided to take the kids to the park after naps. They both napped long and I wanted a chai on the way. Well Starbucks is right across the street from McDonalds and we were already pushing dinner time (sonic was my only other close option). I was trying to search for the Kids menu online, as I hated to pull up and decide that nothing looked healthy enough, then pull away. To no avail could not find the menu.

We pulled in the parking lot and Sister started talking all about the playground and the blue ball where she sat and could see Papa, Gigi and Uncle Benny (they took her there in January when I was really sick). It was so so so windy today here in good ole' Kansas, so I let her choose to go inside and play or take our food to the park. She choose to go inside. I asked her a few times, and unfortunately she never changed her mind.

Now I am sure that Chick-fil-a has just as many germs as McDonalds. I do really believe their chicken nuggets contain real chicken, not nastiness like McDonalds. But my own stereotype, I felt like I needed to wear a sanitation suit inside. I know this is completely in my head, but it felt real to me. 

So the main reason for the post is not to express my dislike for McDonalds (that was a side benefit). And since sister had a meltdown because she didn't get ice cream (somehow "treat" sounds like "normal" to her) unfortunately we will not be able to go back to McYuck for a very long time.

So the real point of the story (for those who are still reading) is God showed up in McDonalds. I really believe that it wasn't an accident that today I decided to take the kids there. As I sat down, I heard 2 ladies next to me discussing God, Religions, and all the world's problems. Actually it was 1 lady (who I think did say she was an atheist) doing most of the talking and the other lady (obviously a Christian) listening and speaking some. The atheist is so searching. She was searching for answers to everything (suffering, wars, politics, signs, miracles, our beginning, etc). She was all over the map. She said that most Christians are just brainwashed as children and only believe what their parents believe and taught them (or brainwashed as she kept saying).  I am not sure if she really knew what she was saying, she really was all over the place.

Those are the conversations I really don't like getting in to. Someone who doesn't believe God and wants to talk about all the reasons He can't exist. The other lady (a grandma) really was doing a great job listening and speaking truth, so I was more just eavesdropping.

Then I heard God say, tell her your story (no not audible, I knew it in my spirit). I was really fighting it, I did not want to get in the conversation. But God wasn't letting down. So after awhile, I politely said I wasn't sure exactly what they were talking about, but I had heard pieces and wanted to know if she would mind if I told her my story really quickly. 

She agreed and I gave her the condense version of what happened 7 weeks ago and how God's hand of protection saved my life. I don't have all her answers, I do not believe out human minds can even handle trying to comprehend him, but I do know that I am here today, because my God cares about me, He has a plan for me and He loves me so much. Yes there is pain in this world (I lost a baby in this process) but God is good, He is alive and active. 

I am not sure what she heard and what resonated with her spirit. We did talk some more and she really has some very very interesting view points on things (something with rich people, mostly celebrities and signs - Madonna was mentioned in there). In her mind the power people of this world (the rich to her) all have something to do with this sign thing. She did have an opinion about one company here in Olathe that I personally know the back-story to and I believe she was surprised when I spoke factual truth to her that disproved her "signs theory."

Like I said, I don't debate with those people (I really don't get in those conversations often) but I calmly share my story and what God has done for me (not just recently but my life in general). 

Somehow she asked which church I attended and I told her ICCC and invited her. She said she would like to try a church for her kids sake. She doesn't want to brainwash them, they can decide on their own, but she would like to expose them. She just wants to know the truth.

So if you have read all this and go to ICCC and meet Tabitha, her husband who works for Garmin and their 4 kids at church, make sure you let her know Erin said she was coming. I told her to find me on Sunday. I said I would look for her. I also told her that I believe it was a God thing that I came to McDonalds today. I did share that was my first time ever coming there (I didn't tell her it would probably be my last). Who knows what will come of Tabitha's story, she is searching and wants a lot of answers. Christ is her answer, his death on a cross and the power of his resurrection allows us to have a personal relationship with the maker of the universe, I am biased, but it doesn't get any better than that.

 If you think about it, say a prayer for Tabitha, that she experiences God in an undeniable way.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

30 before Thirty follow-up

I am officially 30! I really have to say that I am almost giddy about turning 30, actually I am stoked. So many people dread the day, not me, I really have been looking forward to starting life in the 30's.

I was thinking about it about I have completed 1/3 of my life (the women in my family tend to live into their 90's). 0-30 was great, but I believe this next 1/3 that I am entering will be my best. 30-60, I can't even imagine how many wonderful things will happen during that time. Sure there will be heartache as well, this is life and we do live on planet earth, our suffering will not end until we meet our maker, but I get so excited about the next 30 year's

gain wisdom and experience
experience the Lord's work in me and through me
grow in my marriage
learn more about myself and how God sees me
more kids
kids growing up
kids moving out
kids getting married
kids having kids

I want to thank everyone for the sweet birthday wishes. Steve is gone doing this

So my sweet girlfriends took care of me with a nice dinner to Bonefish

My sweet friend Jessica spoiled me with a pedicure.  Nevermind we had 5 kids under 4 screaming their heads off while we were doing this, not as quiet at the spa, but wonderful nonetheless.

Sister was watching me get dressed and proceeded to get her wedge heals, jacket and purse and told me she was ready to go to dinner with the big girls. I told her it was for my birthday and she said she had a birthday too so she should be able to go.

I had a girlfriend come over for lunch yesterday and another girlfriend take me to breakfast today. I am so thankful for the wonderful ladies in my life.

So some have asked, how have you done on your 30 before Thirty goals. Well I got about half done, I am very gracious with myself, so would like to complete most of them before 30 is over (before my next birthday). I often break the rules that I make :) The highlighted ones are the ones I have accomplished. If you care, I have notes listed below

30 before Thirty

1. Sub-5 min mile
2. Sew something for myself
3. Use an electric saw to make something
4. Gourmet picnic with Steve
5. Play a soccer game
6. Paint an "artistic" piece
7. Return to pre-baby weight 125
8. Go to a museum
9. Watch a play/musical
10. Go through a home tour
11. Stay at a B&B
12. Learn how to use camera on manual
13. Huge purge of every room/cabinet/closet/basement
14. Organize and paint laundry room
15. Paint a decorate 1/2 bath
16. Have an adorable family picture taken
17. Clean out clothes and start philosophy of buying less quantity and more quality
18. Make wedding photo book
19. Reread Redeeming Love
20. Write a letter to each immediate family member
21. Reupholster chair
22. Make sushi
23. Memorize 24 scriptures
24. Financially support/give to 2 new sources (people/mission/org)
25. Start "ladies at the creek"
26. Intentionally following through with God promptings to encourage/love on/challenge others
27. Vacation with just Steve
28. Do a Daniel fast with Steve
29. Take piano lessons
30. Learn to curl my hair the way I like it

30 before Thirty

1. Sub-5 min mile - this one probably won't happen, I am ok with that
2. Sew something for myself - I started a few projects and never completed them
3. Use an electric saw to make something - never found something I wanted to make, still will do this
4. Gourmet picnic with Steve
5. Play a soccer game - have spoken to a few people about a league
6. Paint an "artistic" piece
7. Return to pre-baby weight 125  I gave myself grace here, I got to 127 before I got pregnant again
8. Go to a museum
9. Watch a play/musical
10. Go through a home tour - want to find a home tour for older homes
11. Stay at a B&B
12. Learn how to use camera on manual - I have decided I might not do this either, automatic has worked well for me :)
13. Huge purge of every room/cabinet/closet/basement
14. Organize and paint laundry room - never posted pictures because this room seems to stay a mess
15. Paint a decorate 1/2 bath
16. Have an adorable family picture taken
17. Clean out clothes and start philosophy of buying less quantity and more quality
18. Make wedding photo book
19. Reread Redeeming Love
20. Write a letter to each immediate family member
21. Reupholster chair - just found fabric and style I want about 3 weeks ago, one of my next projects
22. Make sushi - I have a girlfriend going to help me with this, just need to get a date
23. Memorize 24 scriptures - memorizing scriptures from James this year
24. Financially support/give to 2 new sources (people/mission/org)
25. Start "ladies at the creek"
26. Intentionally following through with God promptings to encourage/love on/challenge others
27. Vacation with just Steve
28. Do a Daniel fast with Steve
29. Take piano lessons - I have a girlfriend ready to give me lessons, again just need to get on calendar
30. Learn to curl my hair the way I like it

Thursday, February 23, 2012

DIY Artwork and Master bedroom updates

I am 4 days away from turning 30. I still have a goals on my 30 Before Thirty list that I haven't accomplished. Some of the crafty ones are just waiting to be done. I have had the supplies, just not the time. Well, I crossed one off this week. I did my "Paint an artistic piece."

Our master bedroom has had a large bare wall for a long time.  I have changed things since the post on our master bedroom makeover, you can see HERE, that the mirror was moved and I had a blank wall starting at me every morning when I woke up.

I bought a 36x48 canvas from Michael's awhile back for really cheap. I asked my neighbor Hil who is an actual artist some tips on technique and supplies. I looked for a long time online for inspiration. I knew I wanted circles and multiple colors, but wasn't sure what else. Long story short, I ended up using my a Martha Stewart stencil (from Michael's) because I didn't trust my free hand. I was so excited with the results. If you are a real artist, you might cringe and not call this artwork, but it is to me :)

I couldn't be happier with what it adds to my bedroom.

Speaking of my bedroom, I never posted pictures of changing from jewel tone colors to yellow as my accent in the grey room. I resisted yellow in my initial make-over because I felt like it was so overused, but after spending time with the other colors, I see why it is used so much, because it is so cute. Yes those are Dwell Studio pillows from Target that you see ALL over blogland. You will also notice I brought more beach decor (shells, coral reef and some weird thing on my bedside table). I accented the yellow/grey with sea green and light turquoise (colors I used in my painting).

These crosses got a spray painted face lift too. They were originally mossy green, have been white for a long time, and just got a little more punch. I am still considering what to put where the frame it, I threw that up there for the time being.

One more close up of my artwork. For fun I added pink in the top corner. It is a bright pink, the picture doesn't show the color well.

Thanks for checking my updates. I have so many other house projects in my mind right now. The big one is reupholstering my chair that will not be done before I turn 30 Monday, but I will be starting on that soon. 

Steve is hunting in Texas, so the kids are I are leaving for my in-laws in St. Louis today for the weekend. I am thankful we will be able to spend time with them. Sister can't wait to see Uncle Benny


Monday, February 20, 2012

All because 2 people fell in love

Taken in January when we were in Florida
This is my family, my parents, my 2 brothers and their families. 

I am so thankful for each and everyone of them, we all bring something unique to the family. 
I am thankful for my parents hard work on their marriage, what a great example to us.
I am thankful for my father who loves me, sacrifices for his family, shows me how a man should lead his wife and kids.
I am thankful for my mom, my best friend in this world, who provides me an amazing example of being a wife, mother and daughter.
I am thankful for brothers and sister-in-laws who love the Lord.
I am thankful for the wives my brothers chose, they each make them better.
I am thankful for my niece and nephew, for their health and personalities.

Relationships are one of the most important things in this life, I am thankful for the Wiens family

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A little more lovin

I have been asked for my sugar cookies recipe. I make these for many holidays as they are easy cut-out chewy sugar cookies. The recipe is from my mom. I made over 10 dozen for the father/daughter dance.

Extra Chewy Sugar Cookies

1 C shortening (I use butter)
1 C sugar
 2 eggs beaten
2 t vanilla
1 C sour cream
5 C flour
2 t bk powder
1 1/4 t salt
1 t bk soda

1. Cream shortening and sugar
2. Add eggs and vanilla to sour cream
3. Sift together flour, bk powder, salt and soda
4. Add flour and liquid alternating to shortening and sugar mixture
5. Chill thoroughly
6. Roll out 1/4 in thick and cut with cookie cutters (you can do whatever thickness you prefer, the thicker you make them the chewier they are)
7. Bake 350 degrees 7-8 min
8. Do not over bake, leave only slightly brown


1 stick margarine/butter
1 T water
1 t vanilla
3 C powdered sugar
1 T milk

Combine and add food coloring if desired

I also forgot to mention about sister's first valentine. Her boyfriend E-man stopped by on Valentines Evening with a rose in hand. It was so cute watching him walk in the door to give it to her.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Father/Daughter Dance

Tonight was the Father/Daughter Dance at church. I helped out, so got to sneak a peak at how adorable the girls were. Girls were smiling ear to ear as they walked in holding their daddy's hand. They sure felt like princesses. 

Steve took Payton to Chick-a-la (how she says it). He let her pick his shirt (which I think is the same shirt from last dance). Here are some pics from the evening

Paul and Miss Grace

Sister's BFF

Lots of adorable cheeks!

I love the girls dancing in the middle and the dad's on the outside watching

I love Payton's daddy!

Friday, February 17, 2012

My abs after having children

Torn Up!

That is exactly what my stomach and abs have experienced since having children. Really it was Sister who did the damage. Remember this picture

May I remind you that I went a whole month longer than that picture. Yes 4 weeks, 30-something days. And you all know how you grow at the end. So I try not to wonder what would have happened if my doctor didn't let me go 16 days over my due date. I can't blame him for my belly button that has been completely deformed and sticks it nose out like an ant-eater. Really the fact that I have extra skin hanging off my belly like a fat person who lost an extreme amount of weight, I can't say for sure that it is from going way pass my due date. I know my tone is sarcastic, and I really don't blame anyone (even my child) but it has crossed my mind.

Instead of worrying about the past and damage, I am doing my best to move forward (and at this time buying really cute one-piece and tankini swimsuits). My abs separated during pregnancy. How do you know, can you stick you hand up inside your belly? I can :) I still can :) Surgery is an option, I really question if I have a hernia because of my bulging around my belly button, but those all don't really matter until I am done having kids. You can not do much until that time in regards to surgery. So I have researched some ways to really strengthen those muscles the best I can. Little did I know, that I have been working my abs incorrectly most of my life. I found a website from a young mom with 3 kids. Yes she does have a 6-pack after 3 kids, but remember, fitness is what she does for a living. The website has been really informational, especially in regards to ab workout, so I thought I would share it with you. She has an 8-minute ab workout video I am doing once a day for a month, to jump start those muscles back into shape. She is also daring enough to show you her body in a swimsuit the whole way up and down from pregnancy weight. 

 Check out Lindsay

This one explains separated abs and proper ab workout

This one is the workout I am doing

Ok fellow moms, let's get those abs back the proper way :)

UPDATE - I wrote this post earlier in the week and was at my family doctor Tuesday and Steve made me show him my belly. Long story short, he sent me to a general surgeon who I saw yesterday. I do have a hernia and Diastasis Recti (separated abs). He could do the surgery for the hernia now (before I am done having kids) but he said that the surgery for the abs (which is often done at the same time) would need to wait until after children. As of January we had already met our insurance deductible (thanks to surgery and an ICU stay) so the hernia surgery wouldn't cost much at all, but he suggested I wait if I want the abs fixed as well. So for a fleeting moment I thought pretty soon I would have my stomach back to somewhat of a normal state. 

I asked about doing my exercises for the abs and he said those are good, but won't solve the problem, surgery will. Now I do understand that this is a surgeon saying this. 

Anyone have any experience or insight on the subject?


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Little Stinker

Buster has a new nickname "little stinker." He is in to every thing. He has really started to take off walking this past week. He probably walks as much as he crawls. He has walked across the house, has stood in the middle of the room by himself, has walked across the room, turned around and walked back, all while holding something. He was cruising about 8-9 months so I was sure he would walk early. Not so much, looks like he is right on target for a Southards' kid. Sister walked right before 15 months. 

We tried teaching him to walk by standing him against the wall

Sister liked to pretend she was learning to talk walk as well (I did notice how filthy my vents were in these pics and they have since been cleaned).

The other day sister was sleeping and Buster had full reign of the kitchen, he was eating it up. Sister thinks that he isn't old enough to play with her in there yet

Taking steps

Little stinker it is a good thing you are so cute, because you do drive me crazy :)

Loving on mama :)


Tuesday, February 14, 2012


It is a little crazy that our first somewhat decent snow came mid-February, no complaining here. I will take this kind of winter all the time. The kids and I got out to enjoy the day yesterday.

Sister loved sledding! The kind of sledding that involves mom running back and forth between houses. We did have to slow down when brother joined us.

Sister also delighted in helping shovel the driveway with her princess shovel from papa and gigi.

We were outside about an hour, we ended putting Buster inside where he watched us behind the glass door, he wasn't too excited about that, but he didn't have as good snow gear as sister.  Sister did make it back outside when daddy got home for round 2 :)

Sunny and 40's here today, melting away most of the snow. It was fun while it lasted :)

"I still do" - conflict

We are in the second week of our marriage series at church called "I still do." This week Steve focused on commitment to working through conflict. Every couple has conflict, every couple fights. Here are my cliff notes :)

The root or causes of conflict
1. Unmet expectations - your spouse is not doing what you want or "expect"
2. Selfishness - "what about what I want?"
3. Pride - "I am always right and my spouse is always wrong" (He made the comment here that if you keep thinking, "I hope my spouse is listening to this sermon." You might have some pride, look within you for change first).

When 2 people are fully surrendered to God, there is no relationship too far gone to heal. We have heard so many stories of couples going through some terrible experiences, who have persevered, and have loving, committed relationships today.  It takes 2 though.

The commitment we made

I promise to act and not react, to focus on the good and not the bad, and to talk and not walk.

Act and not react
No matter what they have done against you in the past, you do not have the license to sin against them today
Focus on good and not bad
During dating opposites often ATTRACT, the problem when that relationship moves into marriage, opposites begin to ATTACK. Choose to focus on the good.

Talk and not Walk
To make it for the long haul, you need to make it through the wintery seasons. Every couple has them, and will have many, commit to working through them.

United vs Untied
The placement of the "I" makes all the difference. If the "I" is in the wrong place, the relationship becomes UNTIED, if the "I" is in the proper place, first fully surrendered to God, the relationship stays UNITED.

I am reading a book called I Lay My Isaac Down about Carol Kent, a Christian women whose only child, her son, known to be a wonderful Christian man and a Naval Academy graduate, lost his mind and killed the father of his stepdaughters, out of protection for them. He was 25 years old when he committed the crime and is serving life without parole. The book is her story, but an encouragement and challenge to everyone who has their "Isaac" moments.  The point of sharing this book is that there is a story of a Christian family who the father sexually abused the oldest daughter (somewhere in her preteen years). By God's grace and mercy this family, after years and years of work, were restored to each other. Individually they all received help, the couple worked for years on their marriage (the father wasn't even allowed to enter the home for over 4 years), then the younger daughter was reconciled, then eventually, with the help of a caring youth pastor who was also sexually abused as a child, the oldest daughter too forgave her father and the whole family was reunited. The "I" was in the right place with everyone in this family, fully surrendered to God. That story blows my mind, that does not make sense by the world's standards, that is allowing God to heal and move, committing to the long haul, working through the wintery season.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Back at it

Last week I had my follow-up doctors appointment and it looks like my iron and blood are back to good. I got the thumbs up from the doctor to resume life as normal. 

The most exciting thing about that is I was cleared to exercise again. Back to my early morning boot camp with my ladies. I am so thankful for other women who like to get up way before the sun and and meet to work out. My days seem more productive when I add a couple hours to the morning that are full of exercise and quiet time. I notice a different attitude towards most everything that comes my way. 
Sunday I even went for a run. It was only a couple miles but I really haven't run consistently since moving to KC 4 years ago. Before then, it was my primary source of exercise. I love my boot camp with my ladies (I have seen better results from incorporating weights into my regime) but I miss the road. I started running at 14 years old, and it is part of me. It is therapy. I run alone.

The doctor said to wait 2 months until we try to get pregnant again. If history repeats itself, getting pregnant hasn't been a problem. This is the first time in almost 4 years that I haven't had a child growing in my body, or sucking milk from it. I might just take time for myself, for my body to just be. I am looking for a road race to sign up for (I am much more diligent about training when a race is on the calendar). So we will probably wait 6 months or so. I do know though that I am not in control. That was a great reminder with our recent happenings. 

So we will see, see what the next few months have in store. I don't want to try to plan everything out, but I want to be as healthy as possible before we get pregnant again. Somehow I weigh more now than I did pregnant. It might be that I abruptly stopped breastfeeding, that my body is thrown off, who knows. I am not going to stress too much, just watch what I put in my body and take care of it. I am thankful for a healthy body, I am thankful for life. Yesterday morning at Bible Study I surprised myself with getting emotional when sharing with the ladies my gratitude for God's goodness, His mercy, His grace, His hand over my life. I don't tend towards tears often, but it is good for the soul to be grateful to the point of emotion, my God is so good!

Monday, February 6, 2012

So glad to be #2

Yesterday we started a new series at church called "I still do." This week was about priorities in marriage. The big takeaway was the God needs to be the #1 and your spouse #2. I would bet that most struggling marriages do not have God as the top priority.

The statistics are stacked against thriving, loving, enduring marriages. I want to defy statistics. 

Steve challenged the guys and he allowed me to speak to the women (via video) about how to make God #1 and then your spouse #2.

I would say one of the biggest competition for priorities for women is time and children. Many women are all pulled so thin, over-committed, over-taxed, and feel under appreciated. As a family we have learned to say No to many great things, to allow us the time as a family.

It saddens me as well, when women make children their top priority. Children are important, but not everything. The best gift you can give your kids is an example of a living and breathing relationship with Christ, and a healthy, growing, loving marriage that lasts.

Check out the link below to watch the sermon online.

By no means do Steve and I have this marriage thing figured out. We are on a journey, but we are passionate about that journey. We read books, go to conferences, get away the two of us. I actually love that I am Steve's #2 and not #1. That takes a lot of pressure off me. I know I will fail him, I will not live up to all his expectations, but I have peace knowing that the one he relies the most on will never fail him, He (Christ) is perfect and I don't have to be.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

No moms allowed

It is that time of year, Payton has been talking about it since last year....

Steve and Payton went last year for the first time, and she really does talk about it all the time. What a great opportunity for Dad to take their daughters on a date. They will be going to dinner first, then to the dance. They have been practicing their moves and talk about their plans daily. Our church has done this for years and there are all ages represented. One of my girlfriends even had her Dad come into town and take her last year. 

If you are local and have a daughter,  I would highly encourage you consider this event. You don't have to go to our church to attend, it is open for anyone. We all know how important the Father/Daughter relationship is, sometimes Dad's just don't know what to do with their girls. Here you go, no excuses. 

Mark it down, Saturday February 18th

For those that are interested, you can sign-up online. Check the link out below. 

Here is last year's picture (it was summer last year, the normal date will be around Valentine's Day)