A Long Overdue Post

Outside of family members, I doubt there are many people reading this long forgotten blog anymore! However, recently I was reminded of what a blessing it is to go back and read previous entries as a sort of family journal. Since I am prone to forget the mundane moments amidst everything going on, I am going to try and post a bit more frequently (it can't get much worse than a year, ha!). I even have an app now to make it easy to post from the iPad so we will see if that helps.

A little recap of our past year:

In the spring, we celebrated a wedding in the Herr family – Callie and Emma were thrilled to be flower girls!


We enjoyed a glorious summer living by our new pool. We absolutely loved it and all five of our kiddos turned into fish. If you ever need a good laugh, just ask me about what one of my children told severmy friends last summer.
In August, we started school back up. For the first time, all five kiddos are school age – 7th, 6th, 4th, 1st, and kindergarten (this might have something to do with my lack of posting). We absolutely love our homeschool group, Classical Conversations. Hailey has moved into the Challenge program and it has been a joy to see her excel and become self disciplined as she learns time management.

In September, Brian and I celebrated 14 wonderful years of marriage. I am incredibly blessed to have this guy as my husband.

In October, we took our annual OBX trip and had beautiful weather.

Later that month, Hailey turned 13! I am blessed to have this girl in my life. She is gifted in many areas, which include a servant's heart, diligence, abundant joy, and a desire to help out in any way she is able amidst a very full school load. She is a beauty, both inside and out!

 

In December, Sydney hit double digits! In our family, turning ten is the lucky number when you are allowed to get your ears pierced so we headed out for a mommy/daughter date on her birthday. This girl is a baby/kid magnet – she has a wonderful heart of compassion, gentleness, and love for all children and it is beautiful to see. What a joy to watch these kiddos grow up into big kids and see them use the gifts that Gid has given them.

That brings us to the current season: winter! Similarly to last year, I am surviving by enjoying my grapefruit, book reading by the fire, hot drinks, comfort food, candles, essential oils, and anything that helps to keep me warm!

I am all for the snow in the winter so the blizzard was very welcomed in our home! The kiddos spent a crazy amount of hours outside every day and thoroughly enjoyed building their massive igloo.
During the Super Bowl, we welcomed another addition to the Mellinger family! Another cousin for the kiddos and another nephew for us.

While life is full, there is nothing I would rather be doing than spending my days with these blessings …

And my evenings/weekends with this guy

 

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14 days of valentines

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Last year, after finding a neat idea on pinterest, I created 14 days of valentines for Brian.  I printed out cute labels and bought something small to go along with each valentine.  He loved it!  I’m pretty sure even though his co-workers thought we are the sappiest couple out there, they were secretly wishing for their own 14 days of valentines, ha!  Surprisingly, the kids were so excited each day to hear all about which valentine I gave him and loved talking to him about his surprise each day.  So this year, I thought it would be a blast to not only do the 14 days of valentines for my hubby, but also for the kiddos!  I bought cute little Target dollar bin mailboxes and then used scrapbooking paper and stickers to decorate them.  I also came up with ideas for each valentine and then bought something small for each day to put inside the mailbox.  Here is what I came up with (some are original and some I discovered online):

In no particular order, except for Feb. 14th, I will use the M&M’s for a treat!
1.  You “color” my world with happiness – crayons or markers
2.  Life is a “circus” with you around and I love it! – animal crackers
3.  Hope your day is “marvelous and magnificent,” just like you! – M&M’s
4.  You make life a little “sweeter” – lollipop (or other candy)
5.  I love you “more than chocolate,” and that’s very much! – chocolate chip granola bar
6.  You “knock my socks off” – a pair of socks
7.  You “blow” me away – bubbles
8.  I love all of your “bear” hugs – gummy bears (teddy grahams)
9.  It’s “o-fish-al,” you’re the best kid ever! – goldfish crackers
10.  Have a “ball” today! – bouncy ball
11.  I “wheelie” love playing with you! – matchbox car
12.  Some “bunny” loves you – Annie’s bunnies
13.  You are “extra” special and I love you! – Extra gum
14.  You are just the “write” kiddo for this family! – pencils and note cards
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In case anyone is interested in the valentines that I am using this year for Brian, here they are (these are actually a combination of some that I used last year and new ones that I am using this year, but I thought I would include them all):
1.  You have ofishally stolen my heart OR you are ofishally the best husband ever – Goldfish or Swedish fish
2.  You are the apple of my eye – An apple or apple candy
3.  You are one hot tamale – Box of hot tamales
4.  I’m nuts about you – Pistachios or any other kind of nut
5.  I wouldn’t chews anyone but you – Any kind of gum
6.  I think you are sodaamazing – Favorite soda
7.  We were mint to be together – Mints
8.  We make a great combo – Combos
9.  Thanks for sticking by my side – Lip balm
10.  I would be so mixed up without you – Homemade chex mix
11.  Life would be unbearable without you – Gummy bears
12.  You color my world – Skittles
13.  It’s a joy being married to you – Almond Joy
14.  I want you now and later – Now and Later candy
15.  Thank you for working extra hard for us! – Extra gum
16.  I’d fall to pieces OR I love you to pieces – Reese’s Pieces
17.  It’s as plain as black and white, we’re meant for each other – TJ’s Joe-Joe’s or Oreo’s
18.  I love you more than chocolate, and that’s a lot! – His favorite chocolate candy – TJ’s almond clusters

For the kiddos, I put the valentine and small item in their mailboxes (that will be on the island every morning) after they are in bed each night.  For Brian, I try to sneakily lay out his valentine with his keys/wallet before we go up to bed each night (or quick run down while he is brushing his teeth, ha!).  Sometimes I also try to put it in his car without him noticing.  On the weekends I often leave it on his pillow for him to find.
I realize that February 1st is today, but I only finished making the mailboxes this week while my hubby was out of town and I didn’t get a chance to post until now.  But I figure there is always next year that you can start planning for if you can’t pull together something this year!  And for the record, if you are only planning to surprise your hubby OR the kiddos, I would go with the hubby!!   

::11::

Eleven years ago I married my best friend.  In some ways it is hard to believe that we have been married for 11 years, and yet in other ways being married to the love of my life is all I remember.  Sometimes we look at each other and wonder how we ever got here, with 5 kiddos, in this house, blessed beyond what we ever would have imagined.  And then we always come back to marveling at the amazing grace of God upon our lives and thanking Him for all He has blessed us with.  We don’t ever want to take the blessings we’ve been given for granted. 

I thank God for bringing Brian into my life, sweeping me off my feet, proposing to me, and marrying me.  I am blessed indeed.  I could not imagine having a better husband, father, and best friend … I love that I get to live life with him by my side! 

Here are 11 things that make me love and respect Brian more every day:
1.  His desire to grow in becoming more like Christ.  Over the past 6 months I have seen Brian grow tremendously in his desire to pursue the Word of God, have an extended period of time in the Word each morning, and read books that challenge him.  I respect him so much for these areas of growth and thank God for how He is at work!
2.   His love for people.  Although Brian has always been (and probably always will be!) a homebody, I love his desire to grow in fellowship and relationships with those we are surrounded by. 
3.  His humility.  I adore the open, transparent way that Brian shares about his life to others.  He regularly shares struggles and patterns of sin with others, and also invites accountability and input.  I love and respect his desire to live his life as an open book to others. 
4.  His servant’s heart.  I have been blessed with a guy who can pretty much fix and build anything.  Instead of using his talents and gifts to only benefit his own family, he regularly uses those gifts to bless others.  He also has a heart to serve our local church and does so with much joy. 
5.  His desire to bless others.  It is a privilege to observe the many ways that Brian blesses others, including myself.  My hubby thoroughly enjoys making what I do as a wife, mother, and homemaker as efficient and enjoyable as possible and therefore loves to bless me with kitchen gadgets, his computer skills, and resources that make homeschooling and homemaking easier. 
6.  His sense of humor.  We have a tremendous amount of fun with one another and laugh often.  And let’s face it, with everything on my plate these days, laughter is the perfect medicine!
7.  His work ethic.  Brian is one of the hardest working guys I know.  He works hard and diligently while at work, and then he comes home and works hard to make our house a haven of rest.  He loves checking things off of my “honey-do” list, and I love that he is willing and capable!  I am so thankful that our children have such a great example of not only what a hard worker looks like, but also what a hard worker who loves the Lord and loves his family looks like!
8.   His Leadership.  I get to observe on a daily basis the many ways that Brian seeks to lead our family in a way that brings honor to God.  By leading our family in devotions, telling the kiddos about the wonderful news of the Gospel, loving and cherishing me, and prayerfully considering his priorities, Brian excels at leading our family.
9.  His wisdom.  I regularly benefit from the wisdom that God has given Brian.  I am often challenged, provoked, and encouraged by the words that he speaks to me and love how he is gentle, kind, compassionate, and loving when he speaks to me.  I know that I am not the only one who benefits from his wisdom, but I thank God that I am one of the primary beneficiaries! 
10.  His love for our kiddos.  Our 5 children are wonderfully blessed to have Brian as their dad.  I love how he interacts with each of our children in a unique way, takes interest in their hobbies, instructs and teaches them, has fun with them, and most importantly how he continually points them to the Gospel.
11.  His love for me.  God knew exactly what I needed in a husband and I am so thankful that I get to be the recipient of Brian’s love.  The countless ways in which he leads me, cherishes me, encourages me, honors me, and loves me all display and remind me how incredibly blessed I am to married to him. 

My love, I am so glad you asked me to marry you.  I would gladly say yes again in a heartbeat!