Friday, May 24, 2013

The Little Momma That Could

Let me start by saying, I've been terrible this week! If you weren't aware, I'm from the grand state of Oklahoma and a LOT has been happening over here these last few days. The wind surely does "come sweeping down the plains" and on Monday, it came a blew a bit harder than normal. So much devastation and families in ruins. My family, thankfully, is all intact. We live about 20 miles from the tornado's path, but we are from Moore. Born and raised there myself and so many of my friends are left with nothing but rubble from their homes. It's such a tragedy. With that said, I'm giving myself a little grace in not keeping up with the blog this week. It's been a little hard to think let alone write anything worth reading. Luckily, as I'm still coming back around, I have a good friend who will be taking the reigns today on the blog! Beth, from the blog The Little Momma That Could is here to gloat about her vacation. . . .oh course, I'm kidding! But she did have a slight epiphany during her fabulous time on the beach. She's just the coolest chick ever, so please show her some love and check out her blog! (After you read her amazing guest post, that is!)

Hi there! First off, I'd like to introduce myself, I'm Beth. I'm the blogger over at The Little Momma That Could. I'm a stay at home Mom & college student. I have a rather rambunctious two year old boy named Joey. My rather quiet (polar opposite of me) husband, Kyle, works in the oil field so he is often gone for a long amount of time. We aren't your typical family, but I wouldn't change a thing!
I'm going to start this off by making you jealous, I’m writing this from the beach, in the Bahamas to be specific. Apparently mass amounts of sun and salt water turn me into a regular Dickens. Totally kidding, I’m not much of a fiction writer. I feel like I've been writing up a storm today though! I thought I’d share with you something I felt like God opened my eyes and heart up to while I was walking on the beach one day.
I was walking along the beach one morning picking up sea shells & I had this thought
“There are SO many beautiful & unique sea shells, how can someone doubt God when seeing such detail? That can’t just happen.”
Then I had this thought in response to that:
“God put so much thought into a sea shell, think how much thought he put into me.”
Jesus says this in Matthew 10:29-31
29 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
I’m going to tell you a little bit of personal information now. Some stuff that I used to NEVER talk about. I struggle with anxiety, depression, and occasionally suicidal thoughts. If you know me you’re probably thinking “what?!” That’s the general reaction I get when I tell people for the first time, shock. I look pretty normal on the outside. On the inside though, I’m a mess. Without God of course, through him I’m trying to get my act together.
After talking with a friend of mine, and actually my babysitter, about The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (I bawled the entire movie) and my own depression, she sent me this bible verse a few days later:
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
So here are some TRUTHS we've learned (this is something my therapist has taught me to do, compare reality from the made up. Real? Not real? Hunger Games much?)
1.   We are unique
·         God put a lot of thought into us, so try not to knock his work.
2.   We are valuable to God.
·         Who? Me? Little ol’ me? Yes, you.
3.   God CHOSE us.
4.   We are royalty!
5.   We’re holy (let’s try to live up to that one a little more).
6.   We are special to God.
7.   He has called us out of the dark & into the light! Even the darkness in our own heads.
So, just remember when you see a sea shell or even a beautiful bird & think “Wow, that’s beautiful.” God is looking at you thinking “Wow, SHE is beautiful!” Or he, whatever you are.

Friday, May 17, 2013

"The Best Things In Life Aren't Things"

I am super stoked about today's guest post!! Mackenzie from Raising Wild Things is sharing with us a hilarious realization about life and love. I love when people can see the humor in calamity, and that's exactly what's happened to her. I'm going to let her tell her whole story, and make sure to stop on over to her blog or Facebook Page and give her a LIKE and some encouragement! Her and her family's antics entertain me on the regular! 

My Husband Put A Ring On It, and Then A Firefighter Cut It Off

So this happened a few weeks ago:

That is my wedding ring. And that is what it looked like after a fire fighter had to cut it off of my finger. There was no gnarly accident or trauma that required this happen. There was simply my own stupidity. Or stubbornness. We'll go with stubbornness.
                It all started about 7 months into my third pregnancy. My body started getting, how shall I say, extra puffy. It was summertime and I was retaining water like crazy. I was swelling up so badly that I had to remove my engagement and wedding rings. Not uncommon; I had to do it a few weeks before delivering my second, so I wasn't surprised. And I assumed, just as with the first time, I'd have those puppies back on a week or so after having the baby. No biggie.
                Fast forward to 8 months after having said baby, and those suckers still were not fitting on my finger. Every week or so I'd pull the rings out from my underwear drawer (because that is a good place to keep valuables) and try the get them back on. But nope. I was so perplexed. I weighed less than I did when I was able to get them back on after baby #2. What the heck?! Were my fingers just permanently obese after this third kid? Back in the drawer the rings went.
                And then one day a few weeks later, I was feeling a little lighter around the fingers. Don’t ask me why, but I could just sense that my rings were going to fit that day. So I got them out, took a deep breath, and tried to get them on. And wouldn’t you know, my wedding band went on. It took just a little coaxing, but not much. “Phew! Finally,” I thought to myself. So then I went to get my engagement ring on. I should have stopped when I felt the initial resistance, but I was so determined to wear it again that I just kept pushing and twisting until it finally went on.
                I realized almost immediately that I had just made a grave mistake. In no more than 30 seconds, my finger began to swell up all around my rings. Awww nuts! So down to the kitchen I went. Straight for the olive oil. I dumped nearly the whole bottle on my hand. And started twisting.
                Nope. That wasn’t working. So I moved on to dish soap. I’d run my hand under frigid water for a few minutes, pour soap on it, and then twist. After about 45 minutes of this, and some extreme pain, I finally managed to free my engagement ring. Then it was on to my wedding band.
                Nope again. After all of the trauma from getting my engagement ring off, my finger was so completely swollen that it looked like it might actually explode. And I started losing a little bit of feeling. So naturally, I started to panic.
                After giving my finger a break and soaking it in an ice bath for like 30 minutes (that does not feel good, btw), I was back at it. And over the next few hours (yes, hours!), I tried everything I could think of or that I found on the internet to get that ring off my finger. Nothing was working.
                I finally texted my husband at work to tell him what was going on and told him I thought I’d have to get my ring cut off. When he got home, he looked at my finger and agreed.
                While searching the internet earlier in the day about how to remove rings from swollen fingers, I learned that most firehouses have the tools to cut them off. So I called our local firehouse to see, and sure enough, the guy I spoke with made it seem like they did that kind of stuff every day. “C’mon down,” he said. “We’ll take care of you.”
                And so I went. It was around 8:30 at night, and instead of finding a quiet firehouse like I assumed I would, this night of all nights was a training night, so there were like 50 firefighters hanging around.
                I was greeted by a friendly younger guy who said he’d have me outta there in 2 minutes. He already had the ring cutter tool ready and waiting. So he sat me down and went to work. And I’ll tell ya, the sound of metal on metal, the sound of my wedding band getting cut apart, made me cringe.
                But you know what? I didn’t cry like I thought I would. In fact, looking back, I hadn’t cried once during the whole experience. And I’m a crier. Like big time. I cry at everything. The birth of my children, touching music, movies, commercials. EVERYTHING.
                I shrugged it off and figured the waterworks would begin in the car on the way home when I was alone and didn’t have all of the firefighters staring at me. But no. I didn’t cry then, either. And I didn’t cry when I got home and showed my husband my ring, or anytime that night. Not even the next day. Or the next. My tears never came.
                And then I realized why. Although my ring was a symbol of love between my husband and I—till death do us part and all of that—it was only a symbol. A thing. Never before had the words on this wall hanging that we’ve had since the very first place we ever lived together rang more true:

Our love itself…that, in fact, was not broken. All I had to do was look around to see it and the vows we took on our wedding day alive and well. In the home we made together. The children we made together. The life we made together. These are all shining examples of our love. And they are not broken. Far from it.
                I may have lost a ring that day, but over the past 10 years, I have gained so much more. “Things” that truly are irreplaceable!

Monday, May 13, 2013

"Is It Just Me?!"

I'm so excited to introduce a new friend of mine! This is Nicole from Mom's Wicked Cool Adventshas! She's a spunky chica with a "real-world" view on motherhood! I asked her to open her heart and share something with my brood today, while I'm piling things into boxes and lost in a sea of unending moving supplies. So happy she obliged!  I think she touches perfectly on a topic a lot of us struggle with as new(er) moms. It's hard to be an "island", stuck raising tiny humans with little contact with the outside world. We can lose ourselves. There are some who come alongside us and help us make it through. Check out her guest post, I like to call "Is It Just Me?!" and know that it's not. We are all in this messy life together. :) 

There are some moms I see and I wonder, do they ever yell at their kids behind closed doors? Are they ever without their hair done or their makeup on? Are there are moms out there who feel like that stressed out cartoon momma just begging for a break and a glass of wine? Does anyone else lock their kids outside just so they can simply go to the bathroom without being interrupted?  Is anyone else tempted to give their child 2 tablespoons of Benadryl for a bedtime that doesn’t make you long for the funny farm or end up in tears (both you and your child)? Does anyone else want to ask those Johnson & Johnson commercials for a refund? Or is it just me? 
Don’t get me wrong, I love my children. I have two of the cutest kids in the universe (yes, I’m biased!) and they are my pride and joy, generally good kids, and also provide me with endless hours of entertainment. But there are those days- you know those days, right?- when I wonder what level of hell they spawned out of. It’s amazing to me that kids can just sense when you’re a little out of it and they’re all over it.
I am a very social person and going from being in the “outside world” to a stay at mom of a newborn was extremely hard for me. I had no new mom friends. Relatively new to the area too, so there was no history here for me. No family, none of my old friends locally. So lonely. I spent much of the first two years crying.  As Miss Banana Pants says, “Those of us that press on with a smile on our faces deserve capes… and a massage.”  How does anyone else press on through this crazy, but amazingly rewarding period of time known as “being the mother of young children?” I know for me I would never have made it this far without the help of my amazingly wonderful friends. A woman’s friends are an integral part to her life and I surely wouldn’t have made it this far without mine.  As the saying goes, some are here for a reason, some for a season, and some for life.  
Step by step, I have made some great friends who have been with me through some tough and mostly fun times. I’m now able to enjoy life like I used to-and WITH my children. I have had my friends on the sidelines and even in the game with me at times, cheering me on and fighting the good fight with me. One of my very best friends in the world knows exactly what I have been through. Even though she is busy with her older girls too, she still manages to make time for me in her busy schedule. I hope she knows just how much she means to me. She is a woman of strength and character that I long to be even a fraction of. If I make it to even half of anything she is, I will consider myself a success. She’s got it all together even though I know she doesn’t feel like it.
If any of my friends are reading this, and I know some others are, I hope they know just how special they all are to me. I’m sorry if I am just babbling or blubbering and not making any sense, but its really important that we tell those people that mean this much to us… before its too late. Sorry its so sappy, but Girl you know its true.  OOH! OOH! OOH, I love you. ;)
So, Tra, I think we should go to a spa… and get that much deserved massage. And maybe for your birthday this year, we should make sure you get a cape. I love you!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Shinnanigans: A Guest Post

I love having people share little glimpses into their lives. That's why I love this next gal so very much! Meet Kelly from the blog, Shinnanigans! She's a newlywed with wit and humor and a very fresh writing style! I adore when people WRITE like they TALK. You know, as if you were having coffee and they were filling you in on their day as you read their post.  That's exactly what you get with Kelly! Please visit her amazing blog HERE at Shinnanigans and give her a "follow". You won't regret it, I promise. :)
Hi everybody! My name is Kelly and I blog over at Shinnanigans. I am so excited to be here at Miss Banana Pants! Isn’t she amazing? Thank you Michelle, for the opportunity!
So I’m just going to dive right in, ok?
First, a little warning: I tend to write in a stream-of-consciousness style, meaning that I put in all the little thoughts I had while writing (like this), so if it gets to be a little much, I understand. But I just wanted to let you know, before we get started.
So anyway, I’m a newly married (1.5 years, thank you very much!) young woman (25 is still young, right?) who loves to talk about how much I love my husband (in my weekly Throw Up Thursday posts – so sweet, they’ll make you sick. Get it?) and how much I hate being a grown up (another weekly post on Fridays). I also post about all the random shenanigans (see blog title) we get into along the path of life and marriage. I don’t post about our children or pets because we don’t have any of either.
That’s a little about me, and here is a little sample of something you might find on my blog.
 Being the Best You on Your Worst Day
I’m in what many Christians may call a wilderness season (See: Israelites post-Egypt/pre-Promised-Land). It’s a stressful time, with commitments at work, home and school piling up. As much as I wish to blame these facts on external forces outside of my control, it might, possibly, could, kind ofmost-definitely-is due to my own lack of planning and (more accurately) self-discipline. There I said it!
Has that ever happened to you? You mean to simply take a break from life for an hour (or two, depending on what’s on TV that night) and suddenly your break has lasted much too long and everything that was suppose to get done in a timely and organized manner has suddenly piled up be completely over-whelming and unmanageable!
Well, it happened to me. Possibly, more than once.
So here I am, in this perfect poop-storm (keeping it G-rated) of my own making, yet still acting like I had nothing to do with it – the innocent victim of too much TV (Did you see The Following finale?!) and not nearly enough hours in my day (Seriously, I think mine have been at least four hours shorter than normal).
Under such circumstances, such enormous amounts of self-induced stress and anxiety, who could possibly be kind and loving, supportive and encouraging, or even just sweet and polite?
I mean, those are unrealistic expectations, right?
I’ve been lost in the wilderness of deadlines and responsibilities for a while now. And, to be honest, I haven’t been doing any of the things I mentioned above – I’ve been sarcastic and cynical, rude and mean, hateful and hurtful.
And in case you thought of trying the same tactics, I’ve got to warn you that it doesn’t make any difference, or help in any way. Just a little tip, from me to you.
To be completely honest and transparent, it wasn’t just one day. It was more days than I care to admit to count. The constant stress was bringing out the crazyworst in me and it got to the point that I was laying in bed one night, upset that my husband was cuddling “too hard” (which is absurd, because he is the best cuddle-er ever!)
In that moment, I realized something. I had become someone I didn’t like. I hadn’t necessarily been my worst self (let’s pray that monster never gets unleashed), but I definitely wasn’t my best.
I realized a few other things too: Regardless of the outside circumstances of my day (in my control or out of it), I can still choose to be kind and sweet and loving to those around me. I can attempt to be my best self, even on my worst days.
The atmosphere of my life may be toxic, the terrain may be rocky and the weather may be chaotic (Hello wilderness!), but none of that can dictate who I am or how I treat others. Of all the factors of life that are completely and hopelessly out of my control, this one small thing is – me.
I am kind and polite and funny and sweet, not because of any inherent gift or because everything fell into place and the weather was just right (Hello! I live in Oklahoma!), but because I have a choice in the matter.
I will always be Kelly, with all my faults and strengths (the former list being quite longer than the latter).
The only thing that can change me is me – my choice to grow as a person and be the best me, even on my worst day.
And I’ve just decided that the best me isn’t a procrastinator. No, ma’am. I choose to tackle all of my Kelly-made mountains with all my happy, peppy kindness in tow. (Prayers would be much appreciated)
 Also, please check that my husband is being fed regularly; this could take a while. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Come Abroad With Us!

I have been so overwhelmed at all the support and encouragement that all of you have shown me since I announced our BIG decision. Moving to a third-world country to do mission work full-time is something I've always dreamed of doing and God has made a way for us to do it as a whole family. For those who have no idea what I'm talking about (shame on you for not keeping up with every little thing in my life! LOL), check out our whole story HERE (MOVING TO NICARAGUA!).

With that decision has come many challenges. Aside from selling EVERYTHING we own, we have found ourselves knee-deep in the journey of fundraising. Let me just tell you, this process is NO FUN. I do not like asking for money. I do not like being pressured to give myself, but we've been thrown into this lifestyle because it's been clear to us that God wants to allow as many people to get involved in this mission as want to. So many perfect strangers have stepped up and made donations! God has blessed our family and friends in so many ways and allowed many of them to make generous contributions that have made this adventure possible. We've had people donate FREE housing in Nica (yes, you heard that right. . .FREE housing!), as well as gifts of a free vehicle, money for us to pay for passports, donations of clothes from so many people, and miracles continue to abound every single day. We are FLOORED at the way God can use people to accomplish what one small family could never do on our own. He's truly revealed His power to us through so many in our lives.

We are on the countdown now. Only 28 more days and we will be hopping on an international flight with our two little monsters and making the journey to our new life in Nicaragua. This part is scary-exciting for us. This first leg will be 7 months long and we will be returning to the States in December to recoup and spend the holidays with family. In the meantime, we will be living on the generous donations of so many who believe in what we will be doing in Nicaragua. The scary part is that we have not yet reached our goal of $16K that this first 7 months will cost us. Essentially, we are hopping on that flight on May 31st with not enough funding to last us until we come home. Crazy, right?! That's what we're thinking more and more as the time ticks away and we begin packing. We are trying to trust that "God's got this," but as you can imagine, it's nerveracking!!

Send us all the prayers, positive energy, written encouragement, good karma you can possibly muster. We believe in the POWER of prayer. Tell your churches, tell your book clubs, tell your friends and family what we will be doing in Nica and pray that God reveals himself HUGE in this time. In the way of health, safety, wisdom, and finances. 

If you want to make a donation, we would love you forever! Seriously, it would mean the world to us if you can contribute financially. The link to do that is RIGHT HERE (at our mission website: Abroad Perspective).  Another way that you can give is by picking up one of these awesome "Support Nica Tees" for $15. You can find the "Buy Now" link in the sidebar of this blog! Or you can click the link below: 

All of the proceeds from T-shirt sales will go towards the first leg of our mission! We would love for you all to have one! We will be sporting ours on a weekly basis down in Nicaragua! 

Another way that you can help is to come visit us! Yes, I'm 100% serious! We will be living in a four-bedroom home that is perfect to accommodate small teams of people to do short-term missions as well as families who wish to come down and spend some time with us side-by-side feeding and loving on the people of Rivas. This would be a wonderful opportunity to teach your children first-hand what missions is all about. It's something that the whole family can be involved in! Not to mention, we are only 20 minutes from the beach! We would love to host your family, small group, youth group, or church group for a week or two while we are there. Please pray about coming to Nicaragua! For more information, feel free to email me directly at  

As always, I will be recording the fantastic world of motherhood right here at Miss Banana Pants even while abroad. Between now and the time we get settled, be ready for some awesome "guest bloggers" who will be sharing their experiences with you all while we are packing and organizing and traveling and settling. (And generally pulling our hair out too, I imagine!) Pieces of our adventures will pop up occassionally, and I will resume a normal blogging schedule in July. 

Thanks to all of you who continuously encourage our little Banana Pants Fam! You are truly a blessing!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

100 Rockin Summer Activities For Kids

I have a new tab on my page that I've been working on for some time. Go ahead. . .take a peek up top! I'm quite proud of all the research that went into this little project! With the Summer almost upon us, I wanted to come up with a solid list of things for me and the little monsters to do this season. (Lord knows, I must keep them entertained or suffer through major "noise pollution"!)  Well, I came up with. . . . .drumroll, please. . . . .
100 Rockin Summer Activities for Kids! 
 Thanks to Pinterest, Google, and my fellow blogging/crafting mommas and poppas out there, I've found enough ideas to keep us busy all summer long! I'll be highlighting them on Wednesdays for the next few months, so tune back in, but in the meantime you can find the WHOLE LIST HERE

Feel free to share this post with all your friends! I know from experience just how hard it is to keep kiddos busy and occupied!  We parents can use all the help we can get! :)  Happy Summer Season!