As part of my teacher education program in college, I had to take a public speaking class.  I do not enjoy public speaking in any form. This class was painful. Painful. I dreaded every. single. moment of that class.  

I celebrated when that semester ended, hoping I would never have to do any type of public speaking again (besides standing in front of 5 and 6 year olds).  

Last week, our pastor approached Lance and asked him if we would give a stewardship talk in church.  My reaction, as you can imagine. was NO! Absolutely not.  There was no way I was getting up in front of church, both services, to talk about stewardship (specifically tithing).     

As my husband gently reminded me we are called to step out of our comfort zone and do things that might make us squirm a little.  

I finally agreed to do the stewardship talk. Then I began to feel sick to my stomach, I couldn't sleep, and I was completely anxious for the next few days anytime I thought about it. I prayed I wouldn't pass out in front of the church. Or fall down the stairs. Or vomit.  

Last night as we entered church for our Financial Peace class (more on that later), a woman approached us.  She had tears her eyes and proceeded to tell us how that day her husband went home, worked on their budget and put in a tithe for the first time.  It is an act of faith for their family because on paper the ends are not necessarily going to meet.  I am praying that God will bless them abundantly this month so they can see the fruits of being faithful.

We almost didn't share our story because of my fear of public speaking.  Because I didn't trust that God would use us or give us the words to tell our story and touch lives.  I am thankful we had this opportunity.  I am thankful for the lesson I learned in stepping out of my comfort zone. I am thankful for being humbled.


Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

It's Super Mauryn!

I am afraid this is probably only the beginning. Life will never be dull with this little ball of fire.


Movie Maker

It wasn't enough for Landon to be a rock star.  Now he is also a movie star.

A few disclaimers before video viewing:

1.  Lance didn't have a clue.  Lance was on his way to the shower (its why he is shirtless) when he saw Landon talking to the computer and walked into the room.  He found out about an hour later that their silliness had been caught on tape. And it was blog worthy!

2. He's a fighter.  I am not sure why Landon says he is going to fight his sister in the video. I think it may have been 4 year old babble.  We do not support, encourage, or promote physical fighting.  Okay, I feel better now that I have cleared up that little fact.


Twenty One Days

I once read somewhere that it takes 21 days to break a habit.

We have been working with Landon on breaking his habit: sucking his thumb. 

On his 4th birthday we took away his jammies. We had prepped him for a few months that on his birthday he would say good bye to his jammies.  If he had his jammies, he sucked his thumb. No jammies, no thumb.  The jammies were kept on his bed and he could have them at naptime and bedtime.

His birthday came. The jammies went. He found a new comfort item and continued to suck his thumb.

I talked to the dentist. I talked to the pediatrician. Both of them said, he will grow out of it and there is really nothing we can do to stop the thumb sucking.

Some friends of ours told us that they had let their son pick out any toy he wanted (within reason) from the store if he stopped sucking his fingers. The boy did it in 4 sleeps!  

I am not above bribery if it will encourage him to stop sucking his thumb. 

I offered Landon the chance to go to the store and pick out something he wants if he can go 21 days without sucking his thumb.  He was strongly opposed to the idea at first. Then I think his older sister enlightened him on what kinds of things he might get at the store.

He decided one night to put his blanket in the closet and go to bed without it.

Night one, night two, night three, night four, night five..... going well. He hasn't asked for his blanket and has been going to bed like a champ.

Then yesterday I asked him to lay down for a bit in the afternoon and here is what I find:
He told me he can sleep at night without his blanket and sucking his thumb cause its a long time but naps are too short and he needs his blanket (which leads to sucking his thumb).  
Anyone else have a thumb sucker? Any ideas on how to break the habit? It was really cute when he started sucking his thumb at 6 months of age, but now that he is 4 1/2, not so cute.  

Wordless Wednesday: Closet Napper


Catching Up

Our busy not relaxing summer has turned into right into an even busier fall season. I was getting ready for a schedule and routine but didn't realize how full our days would be with school, errands, keeping up on the house, etc.. So my friends, hence my lack of blogging and commenting. I am hoping as we get more into the school groove there will be more time (sigh). Here is a bit about what is happening in the Cheney household:

- We have all be fighting colds over the last week. I think everyone is on the tail end of having a stuffy nose. Thankfully, everyone slept well and felt okay. I am just ready to not be finding dirty tissues laying around the house. UGH!

- Over the weekend, Lance and I had two dates. On Friday we went with some friends to see Leeland perform and then out for a late dinner. It was so nice to actual have a conversation and be able to finish it without kids interrupting or food being tossed or a toddler scaling her high chair. It was so nice to reconnect with our friends. On Saturday night, we had the opportunity to go to the Boise State football game. It was so much fun! We had club level seats for the game. I can handle viewing the game from a comfy seat on a beautiful night.

view of the Boise foothills from our seats

- I am amazed at how just adding Landon into our school schedule has taken so much time. He has decided he wants to learn to read and he wants to learn NOW! I am thrilled he has decided he likes school and wants to participate in school activities. He is doing well with picking up sight words and learning his letter sounds. He still finds plenty of time to play, ride his bike, and just wear off that boy energy. My friend and I have started to have our boys play together one day a week so that they can get some of their energy out! They look forward to it and love to play together.

- Morgan finished learning about Great Feats over the last two weeks. We studied bridges, tunnels, dams, and canals. This week we started an eight week unit on Cooperation where we will be studying systems of the body. Our first week is learning about the skin. It should be an interesting unit.

- On top of homeschooling two kiddos, we have a mini tornado who lives in our house named Mauryn. She scales the tables, gets into crayons, glue sticks (she thinks they are chap stick) and pretty much destroys the house while we are having school. So my afternoons are spent trying to repair damage and replace things to some semblance of order. Oh how we love that little fireball. She definitely makes life interesting. Some day we will look back on these days laughing about how crazy life was, right?

- Mauryn has developed a really bad diaper rash (timing is appropriate since we are studying skin and skin problems) - any tips on good things to use? Thankfully, my kids have never really suffered from diaper rash.

- Besides not having time for blogging or reading blogs, I haven't had any time to read! Anna is still on my night stand and I am on the home stretch. I have about 100 pages left. I NEED to make the time to finish it. Then I am going to read some easier, quicker reads for a bit before I tackle another classic.

- Updates on my friends who found the lumps in their breasts: One is still waiting on her results after her MRI. The other one's results came back negative but she learned she is pregnant. They lost a daughter 4 1/2 years ago at the age of 4 days and have been trying to have another baby since then. This is a miracle baby and such a blessing to this family! Thank you to everyone who was praying for them.

- My house is calling me to clean - ugh! If we weren't having our small group at our house tonight I might avoid the call BUT since it would bother me to not have the house in order I better get to it. I will be trying to read and catch up on blogs this week!

I leave you with a video of Mauryn. This is how we find her most days in her crib - jumping and flopping around. When I finally turned the camera off, she cried. I guess she wasn't done performing.


Baked Apple Doughnuts

I am a cake doughnut kind of girl.

Raised doughnuts - no thank you.

A nice cake doughnut with a little bit of glaze. A little bit of perfection right there.

I don't indulge in them very often, hardly ever, because if I did I would start to look like a cake doughnut myself.

When I was pregnant with Mauryn, my dear sweet friend Kara brought me a batch of muffins.  Oh. my. word. They were perfect for fall and tasted just like a cake doughnut.  Just delightful. Since I was 8 months pregnant and pretty much looked like a round cake doughnut anyway, I indulged. Big time. 

Every fall since then, I start to get a hankering for the muffins, otherwise known as baked apple doughnuts. 

Even though they are called doughnuts and taste like doughnuts they are muffins. We all know muffins are a healthier option than a doughnut - right?.  Indulge and enjoy y'all!

Baked Apple Doughnuts 

1 1/2 c flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c shortening
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c milk
1/2 c grated raw apple
1/2 c melted butter
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp grated cinnamon

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and 1/2 c sugar.

Cut in shortening until mixture is fine.

Mix together egg, milk, and apple.  Add all at once to dry ingredients.

Fill greased muffin tins.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Remove from pans. Dunk in melted butter and roll in cinnamon and sugar.

Serves 12

* Sorry not pictures - I haven't mastered the food photography like Sarah (she could be professional - seriously)


Be Diligent

I am climbing up on a small soapbox.

One I haven't ever climbed on before because it hadn't really affected my life. It had been there in the periphery but not something that had touched this close to home.  My attitude towards it was well... lackadaisical.  It seemed so far off, until I realized I am now in my (gulp) mid thirties and these things need to be a priority. 

Reality comes fast when it affects three friends (two my age) in my life in the last month. Three women in one month.

Three women who through self examinations found lumps in their breasts.  Three women who took the initiative to see their doctors and get a diagnosis.  One of these women was diagnosed with breast cancer. The other two are having further tests done this week.

So, ladies we need to be diligent about going to our yearly exams as much as we dread them. We need to be diligent about doing self examinations.  As busy as we all are with little ones at home or jobs or just life, we need to take the time to take care of ourselves and be aware of any signs our bodies are giving us.  

Okay, stepping down off the soapbox now.  I will return to regular blog programming tomorrow!


Forever Friends

Giggles. Squeals. Whispers. Silliness. Laughter. 

The sounds I hear as Morgan talks to her oldest friend from Minnesota.  A friend who she had spent time with every day since birth.  We were neighbors, went to the same church, and the girls went to the same daycare when I was working.  Even though the girls' personalities and interests were varied, they balanced and complimented each other. 

I envisioned the girls being friends through their teenage years and into adulthood. The type of friendship I have always envied of others. A friend who knows you almost better than you know yourself.  Someone who has been with you from childhood on supporting you, encouraging you, sharing in the joys and the heartaches. I could see this friendship growing and maintaing the test of time.  Until we moved 1500 miles away. How would these little girls (age 5 at the time) maintain a friendship from so far away?  

I know that at the time of our move, neither of these little girls had an understanding of how their lives and friendship would change.  I have been amazed at how their connection has stayed strong over these last three years.  They may see each other once a year but it is just like old times. There isn't uncomfortable silence or shyness, they just pick up their friendship from where it left off.  They do write letters, email, and talk on the phone.  I can tell from their phone conversations that they still want to know all the important things (to 8 year old girls) about each other. Things like their favorite colors, sports, foods, music, books, movies, and the names of their new friends.  Morgan keeps a list of all the answers her friend gives during their phone conversation. I think it helps to feel close to her friend who lives so far away.

I know the girls are only 8  years old (soon to be 9), and their is still many years of life ahead of them.  Their friendship may go down a different path as they get older.   I pray that their friendship continues to grow and strengthen across the years and the miles.  I want Morgan to have that friend in her life who loves her for who she is and is there to support, encourage, and hold her up.  I want her to have that friend who she has known since childhood. To have the friendship that can stand the test of time.


A Whole Bunch of Random

- This past weekend we headed up to the mountains. No bear sightings this time- PHEW! We spent Thursday afternoon through Saturday afternoon with some friends at a cabin about an hour and a half from here. The weather was gorgeous. Warm during the day and cool at night. Perfect for sleeping with the windows open and having a bonfire.  There were many late nights and early mornings filled with plenty of laughter.  On Saturday afternoon we packed up and went to McCall to meet our neighbors for an overnight there. I had never been to McCall and it is amazing! The lake is absolutely stunning. We biked, swam, and hung out on Saturday. On Sunday morning we woke up to freezing cold temperatures and some rain. Pat, Val, and I were all participating in the Payette Lake Run, running different distances.  I met up with some of my friends from Team in Training for the run which was great.  After the run was over we went back to the condo to warm up in front of the fire. We had Sarah's recipe for grilled pizzas for lunch. Oh. my. word. So yummy!  We packed it in on Sunday afternoon to head home since Lance had to work on Monday. I am still trying to get life back in order. Why does it have to take so long? 

- We started school last Monday.  It was a bit of a mixed up week since we had some appointments and other things scheduled so we didn't get into a groove with our days.  Even with our crazy schedule we got everything we need to accomplished.  Landon is showing an interest in school this year. Last year he was all about playing but now he wants to do school everyday.  I am so thankful! My biggest challenge is going to be keeping Mauryn out of our school things.  She definitely wants to be right in the middle of everything.

- Morgan started piano lessons. She was so excited she could hardly concentrate this morning. I found someone who will come to our house to do piano lessons. What a life saver!

- Mauryn has learned to gallop.  One day she started galloping all over the house. It is so stinkin' cute to see this little person bounding around the house. She has crawled out of her crib once - lovely! I am hoping it was a one time thing because it sort of scared her. She loves to climb in her crib and jump.  Today she actually crawled in there before lunch and fell fast asleep. 

- I was shopping with the kids the other day when I noticed some new styles for fall- stirrup pants and bubble skirts. For real.  Oh the memories of junior high.

- Starting tomorrow night I am going to be taking James Dobson's Bringing Up Boys class at our church. A few years ago Lance and I did his Dare and Discipline class and it was really good. I am looking forward to gaining some insight into my boy!