Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Zick Experiment . . .

Not too long ago Caitlin Zick and I were hanging out talking mom talk while our kids were playing at the park after a Capital MOMS event. As we were catching up on life, she told me about her last date with Cole. She explained to Cole how every mom desires to have some alone time in the aisles of Target (well almost every- I'm sure there are some exceptions to the rule). Trying to please his wife, he came up with a great date idea. They headed to target with one goal in mind. Each had $10 to spend on each other in a 30 minute time period. (If you think about it - it's the basic cost of going to a movie but a little more memorable.) Then they were to meet back at the Starbucks in the front of the store and exchange gifts. Cole ended up getting Cait a new shirt and she got him a new DVD to add to his collection. They both were thrilled with the surprise gifts and it made for a great way to express love, appreciation and just enjoy time spent together.

That date idea sounded like so much fun, I thought we should give it a whirl. We were out for dinner and a movie (we had a gift card from Christmas) and had a few minutes to kill and there just happened to be a Target within walking distance. So I gave Joe the challenge and he accepted. We set the rules for $10 in 10 minutes (we had a limited time before the movie started) and we were off. Confession: I actually got distracted in the first minute in the dollar spot with items for the kids and had to remind myself what I was there for.

I've been thinking about what I would get Joe in Target ever since my conversation with Cait. Literally the only items I've ever bought for him from this store were necessities. I've bought food, deodorant, cleaning supplies (yes for him not for me), shaving gel and that's about it. I could think of several items to get for myself (aren't we all so selfish in nature) and for the kids, but I was having the hardest time with him. If you know my husband at all, he kind of has expensive taste (sorry babe). He doesn't really tend to buy knick knack things and if he ever wanted anything- he would just go out and get it for himself. I wracked my brain. Do I get him a new book? (We used to enjoy reading before kids) Do I get him some type of workout paraphernalia? (He's kind of into that right now) I could get him a card? (But I would need more than 10 minutes to write something good in it to make it worthwhile for this experiment). Should I go to the clothing section? (He loves clothes, but I didn't have enough time to go through the target racks).

So, in my lame attempt to grab something special I hijacked Caitlin's idea to get a movie. (I don't know the last time I've ever bought a movie. Joe really doesn't have a movie collection he's aspiring to create- but I went with it.) We had talked at dinner about how we both had wanted to see the movie "Moneyball" with Brad Pitt. We missed it while it was in the theaters and it just came out on dvd. If you are thinking ahead, you are right. As a new release it was over the $10 budget. So not only did I hijack Caitlin's idea for her husband, I went over the limit for the experiment. Good news is - I have the Target debit card so I saved 5% (still didn't hit the spending limit) but I convinced Joe I did my best. He seemed authentically happy with my purchase. Hopefully it's a good movie. He was into baseball growing up- that was his sport- so it should be at least semi-interesting.

I have to admit- my husband more than passed on the experiment for me. I got to take home some new note cards and a super cute package of journals that I totally would have picked out. He then went on to brag that he finished the whole thing in 2 minutes time. I tried to justify his greatness with the fact that Target is way easier to shop for women than men- and then I gave up and realized that he's just great no matter what the circumstances.

Regardless, we had a fun time with the Zick Experiment and I would highly suggest testing it out yourself. You will be surprised with what you come up with I'm sure. If you do test it out- comment back on here and let me know what your purchase was!

Enjoy your next date night and make sure to stop by Target!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rare and Beautiful Treasures

Do you freak out when things don't go as planned? How do you respond to the unknown?

I don't always understand why life happens the way it does, but I'm super grateful for my supportive family and a God who has it all figured out and cares about our unique situations.

I can distinctly remember two incidents in my married life when it seemed like we lost everything. The first occurred right before I had Judah and the second right before Ireland. I think God liked messing with my already hormonal self during both pregnancies.

Joe was blessed with the ability to purchase his first home before we got married. It was (what we thought at the time) our dream home. We had all the upgrades, space and luxury that we wanted. There was so much room we couldn't even fill the house with the stuff we had. We were doing our best to budget our money wisely, tithe, and save for furniture items to complete our lavish home. That's when the economy decided to take a turn and the job that was providing for us became a little dry.

My mom had given me a cd on continuing to put your trust in God with your money and there was a verse that stuck out to me that I decided to cling to. Proverbs 24:4 "through wisdom and knowledge a home is filled with rare and beautiful treasures" (I paraphrased)...but decided to make it a prayer of mine through the hard times. It was our first year of marriage, and what we thought would be an easy street turned out to be financially difficult. We were warned in premarital counseling that finances can be tricky in a marriage but neither of us had any issues prior to being married. The story is long and I could go into more detail, but we ended up losing our home and moving into a townhouse 2 weeks before I had Judah. I was super pregnant and hauling items up and down stairs (I thought for sure it was going to induce me- but I ended up being late and getting induced in the hospital- it was a great experience and a whole other blog)...all of this to say- I ended up rocking Judah in the middle of the night in our new townhouse when I heard God say (not audibly but in my head)- "Laine- I have filled your home with a rare and beautiful treasure- I've been listening- your prayer is answered"...Yep, I cried as I sat there with my little man in my arms thinking how amazing God was and how his answers were far better than mine.

Now, fast forward 2 years, I was 9 months pregnant with Ireland when I got a phone call from Joe that he was let go from what we thought again was a dream job. It was a whirlwind of emotions. We had just switched all of our health insurance over to Joe's job, our gas was covered and we had a steady income. We luckily had been meeting with a financial planner a few months prior to this experience and had a emergency fund together- and for some strange reason- I just had a complete peace during the whole situation. Here we were about to welcome our second child into our family not quite sure how all of our financial needs would be met. We both clung to the fact that God was in control and must have better plans.

We are so blessed by Joe's job offer a month later - and I'm so grateful that God always provides at the right time. He literally allowed Joe to be home with me during the last month of being extremely prego with a wild, active 2 year old. Joe was able to say home with me for two weeks after Ireland was born and started his new job on October 10. It's just crazy how when I don't stress out and just cling to what God says in his Word- everything works out for the better!

Fast forward again to Thanksgiving 2011 when I'm up in the middle of the night feeding Ireland on Thursday, November 24 when I scroll threw Proverbs on my phone and read "with wisdom and knowledge a home is filled with rare and beautiful treasures." I couldn't help but wipe the tears from my eyes at 3am just sitting in God's presence thinking- "Wow, God you really have it all under control- I don't have to worry about tomorrow- your ways are far greater than mine and you continue to make me smile as I cling to your truth in times when I could really get bummed out..."

All of this to say (and sorry I'm long winded and on a spiritual talk today), run to God when it doesn't make sense. Run to Him and read TRUTH in His word. He will never leave you or forsake you. His plans are far greater than yours.

My rare and beautiful treasures:

Hope this read encourages you today wherever you are at on your journey! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gymnastics debut . . .

In an effort to get out of the house on Mondays and Fridays (my days at home with the kids) I decided to sign Judah up for gymnastics. We tested out our first class today at Trick's and I have to say it was a HUGE success. Judah loved every minute of it and was quite entertaining to watch. I was a little nervous, cause you never know how a 2 year old can react in various situations. It was either going to be a hit or a major failure . . . Luckily for this experience . . . it was a major hit! This isn't the best pictures, but his smile says it all:

They began with following some simple instructions in circle time, sang a song, then watched a demonstration of various activities to do in the toddler area. Judah's eyes immediately lit up when he saw the teacher climb up a ramp and jump in the foam pit. Needless to say, we spent the next 20 minutes of play time climbing a ramp, jumping in the foam pit, and sliding down the next ramp. He was in toddler gymnastics heaven. These eyes say it all:

We moved from there to free time - climbing foam structures and running down the long trampoline. Then, the next highlights of the day- the teacher drew with chalk on a trampoline and each kid took turns jumping from the square to the circle, singing ring around the rosie and bouncing all around. Judah could hardly wait his turn he was so excited to "perform" for everyone. He enjoyed the applause after completing his turn too.

It's a parent involvement class, so I was carrying Izzy in the bjorn the entire class which worked out well. But Judah decided he wanted to hang out with the teacher more than me (probably cause she could throw him around a little more). His favorite was laying on the parachute and having the teacher slide him down to the center when lifting it up. Then jumping on the bubbles, banging the drum sticks and so much more. The class was structured very well and moved quickly from one thing to the next. We had a great experience for sure. He got stamps on his hands, toes and tummy at the end of the class:
I just bought the Groupon My Gym class so we are going to test that one out next and decide which gym we like more. All I know is that Judah thrives in situations like this. He loves to be active, try new things, and loves the structure of these types of classes (especially since I stay there the whole time too). We made some new friends and we are going to make gymnastics part of our weekly routine now! I would definitely suggest it as a MUST if you like to get out of the house!

Here is Judah jumping with the teacher: