Friday, December 31, 2010

Crashing Like The Waves

This post may hurt your feelings, make you feel uncomfortable or make you mad. I'm sorry in advance. Just read it to the very end and you may feel differently.



I went to see a friend of mine in the hospital and meet her new baby boy. I was excited..... and not excited at the same time.

I found out that a friends was expecting yesterday. I was excited..... and not excited at the same time.

I saw some belly pictures of an old friend of mine on Facebook who is documenting her growth. I was excited.... and not excited at the same time.

A friend of mine posted that she was having another girl on her Facebook. I was excited.... and not excited at the same time.

I read a comment on Facebook the other day of a young mom who was jokingly complaining about her kids. I thought it was a little funny..... but not after about 2 seconds of thought.

I saw a lady standing beside a building, obviously pregnant, and smoking a cigarette. I was discussed.... and then I was overcome with anger.

My emotions go back and forth, back and forth. I feel like a wave crashing on the beach and then washing back out again.

I want nothing more that to have my best friend call me and scream the words "I'm pregnant!" into my ear. I want nothing more than to look on Facebook and see her belly album.... to see her positive pregnancy test.... to hear her say "It's a ______!".... to see her husband touch her belly and light up when the baby moves.... to have her call me and ask me all kinds of crazy pregnancy questions..... to have her text me at 2 am because she thinks it's "time".... to see her holding her baby in the hospital..... to see her husband hold his child..... to get to hold their sweet baby and spoil it like they spoil mine........... I have faith that it will happen. God is in control and He is faithful.

I can do nothing. I feel like I can do less than nothing actually. I can't even be a true source of comfort for her, because I am not walking in her shoes. There are times when I can't tell if what I am saying helps or hurts. Like this post.... it may help.... it may hurt. If she tells me to delete it, I will. But maybe she won't. I take for granted how blessed I am to be able to so easily conceive. My fertility is not the first thing I think about when I wake up, and the last thing I think about before I go to sleep. But for my best friend, it is.

She is so much stronger than me. So much that I can't even explain it to you. She humbles me and keeps my faith strong. She has smiled through this entire process, and I know she will continue to. That does not mean she hasn't had tough days. Regardless, she is faithful. She trusts God fully and is leaning on Him.

God is doing amazing things in her life, and her husbands life. I can't wait to see what God has in store for their family.

I pray for them, without ceasing. Won't you pray for them too? Pray for peace, understanding, compassion and patience. Pray that God brings their family home soon. Pray for their hearts to be strong and focused on Him. Just simply pray.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cherish Them

There are times when I realize Lula Mae is not a baby anymore. This morning, it hit me pretty hard and come out of nowhere. I just looked at her and realized how much she has changed over the past few months, physically and mentally. I just stopped and held her. I kissed her and rocked her. I listened to her little voice. I studied her delicate features that are still just as perfect as they were the day she was born. I told her just how much I loved her. Every ounce of me loves my children. Half of me is thrilled to see them grow, but the other half just wants them to stay little forever. Life is so short. With the holidays, things get crazy and time really passes quickly and moments with my kids just seem to be rushed or looked over. I am so glad the holidays have passed because I am ready for time to slow down a bit so I can enjoy my babies. I want to cherish every moment with them.... the good, the bad and the in between.

Put that laundry on hold and go play with your kids! Your house may be a disaster from the holidays, but that is just fine! Nothing is more precious than the time you spend with you kids. Happy Wednesday everyone!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Merry Christmas everyone!

I hope you are all celebrating the birth of our savior and enjoying your family!

Google Image

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sneak Peak


You can't tell much from this picture, but our house needs some TLC (paint the shutters, work on the yard, ect.). Although, we won't be in a super huge rush once we move in. We are super excited to be able to say ..... this is our house!!!! The hard part is over. Now we just wait for moving day!!!! January 1st will be a fun, busy day!!!! I can't wait to be able to show all of you the inside. The before and after pictures will be fun to do. The house is incredibly clean and very well taken care of, but we have a good bit of..... decorating to do. I won't say much. I will let the before picture speak for themselves ;-)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Today Is The Day!

We are closing on our new house today!
So, as you may imagine, my brain is in a puddle....
somewhere among the boxes....
I am numb with disbelief.
I am overwhelmed.
I am exhausted.
I am excited.
I am grateful.
I am nervous.
I am joyful.
I am......
hoping my brain turns up soon because I miss it.





Friday, December 17, 2010

Time Warp

This post is for everyone who has ever said....


"Jayce looks just like his Daddy!"






Sorry folks, but this boy looks like his Momma! A lot! This is only one of the many pictures that shows just how much he looks like me. Yep, that is a picture of me on the left. Looks like Jayce, huh? I guess I can see why everyone though I was a boy when I was a baby. I did look like a boy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Letters Of Intent


Dear Office Max,

You have sealed your fate. Never again will I order ANYTHING from you. Ever. When I email you concerning a package that has not yet shipped and you send me this:

Dear Amy,

We apologize for the inconvenience you have encountered with the delivery of your merchandise. We have contacted the distribution center who is working with the carrier to ensure prompt delivery. Please allow 24-48 business hours to be contacted via phone.

Once again we do apologize. OfficeMax thanks you for the opportunity of servicing your future business and personal supply needs. If we can be of further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you for choosing OfficeMax!


I'm not to upset. But then no one contacted me.... so I contacted you again. Then you sent me this:


Hello I show notes in your order that you got a email on 12/14/10 letting you know that we could not locate your package and have been issued credit under the credit memo number
3483917, I also show that the credit has been issued back to you already as well.


Fist off you NEVER contacted me so lets don't lie, okay? Oh and where did the "Dear Amy" go? How about the "we apologize...." junk? Huh? Where did that customer service go? Now here is the issue.... there has not been a credit issued like you are saying. Don't tell me you have, when you haven't. Don't mess with my money. Also, I tracked the 3 separate attempts to ship the package to me. One of them was "delivered to the front door at 5:55pm"... in Panama City Florida. Yeah, that was your bad..... not mine. I checked and re-checked my shipping and billing information. So I suggest you issue my refund so that I can go and spend my money elsewhere. I hope you are ready for the phone call I will be making tomorrow. It's gonna be great!


Sincerely,


Royally Ticked!






Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Race Is On!

Jayce

is

mobile!

People, my life just got interesting! Yes, Jayce is scooting....all over the place! He is 7 months old and on the move! You must know that Lula Mae was 9 months old when she finally started scooting. He has her beat with physical development (not that I am comparing them.... simply noticing is all) I feel like I just brought him home, how in the world is he already mobile? *sigh*




Just for fun, lets just add up a few factors in my life at this moment, shall we....


We are closing on our new house in 7 days (Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!)

Christmas is in 11 days (WOOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!!!!)

We are moving into our new house in 13 days (DOUBLE Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!)

2011 is kicking off in 18 days (SLOW DOWN PLEASE!!!!!!!!!)

January is the biggest month for our family when it comes to birthdays (including mine!!!)

I have 5 months to get all the details of our Disney trip squared away (Triple Ahhhhhhh!)


Not to mention that in the midst of all that
life is still happening. Laundry needs to be done, meals have to be fixed, things have to be cleaned, kids need to be cared for, bills have to be paid, somewhere in there I need to sleep and did I mention I have only packed like 6 boxes so far...... So pretty soon I will be on a bit of a hiatus. I won't be gone, just on a bit of a vacation. Well, a vacation minus the relaxation, yummy food, sunny weather.... okay so nothing like a vacation! I am counting on all of you to keep me company through your fantastic posts. I promise that after all this moving business I will get back into leaving you all some warm and fuzzy comment love! Just bare with me through the next couple of weeks! It's gonna be a wild ride!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cold

It was one of those days where I was cold all day long. No matter what I just couldn't get warm. When the words "I am so cold!" came out of my mouth, I realized...




The people who can't pay their power bill or gas bill are cold....

The people who can't afford to fix their broken windows, broken doors, caved in roofs and cracked walls are cold....

The people who live in their car are cold....

The people who carry all of their belongings around on their back and have no home are cold....

The children who are home alone while their parents are out all night and can't operate the thermostat, find a blanket or a warm pair of pajamas are cold...

The children whose parents haven't gotten them a coat this year, and probably can't or won't, are cold....




Suddenly, being in my 69 degree house, wearing pants and a sweatshirt, snuggling under a blanket..... I am not so cold. Not even the slightest bit. My heart is humbled and I am thankful. I pray that I never take something as simple as warmth for granted.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snuggle Time

It isn't often that Lula Mae wants to cuddle. Even as a tiny baby she wasn't into it. Well these days she has a new obsession. She wants to sit on my lap and watch this...



She just stares at it and smiles. She will randomly say things like, "Mommy I love this song because it's my favorite", "Mommy we sing that at church", "Remember Mommy, remember that part?". She loves to sing the chorus of the song and loves for me to point to the words as we sing together. It is beyond precious and melts my heart. My child is not perfect, she frustrates me from time to time, she causes me to worry about silly things, she was born a broken and sinful person.... but moments like this show me that God is working on her heart and all the work Charlie and I are putting into her is worth it. It is worth every single second.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

So Here It Is....

Lula Mae's cow ornament, bell and all!
Although this picture doesn't show the lovely utters. It also doesn't show you just how BIG this ornament is! It is one of the biggest on our tree for sure. Lula Mae loves her some animals!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Letters Of Intent

I am SO glad it is Friday! Charlie has a 3 day weekend and we are very much looking forward to it! I hope you all have a nice relaxing weekend ahead of you. I know from now until after the move we are a pretty busy bunch of folks! Not too busy for Letters Of Intent which is hosted by the wonderful Julie. Be sure to check out her blog for more great letters!



To Everyone Who Wanted The Weather To Change,

See what you did? I hope you're happy.... I sure am not!!!! I was just fine with the hot weather, just fine. Hot weather, although annoying, does not hurt the way cold weather does. I don't want to hear any of you complain about how cold it is this winter. Not one bit! You asked for it!

Signed,

Fr-fr-fr-fr-fr-freezing!!!

********************************************************

Dear Office Max,

I ordered it on November 25th.... IT'S DECEMBER 10th!!!!!! Seriously!!!! Ship it already!!!!! Excuse me while I make a mental note never to buy anything from you, no matter how good of a deal it is. Aaaaaannnnnnd done.

Sincerely,

Impatiently Waiting For My Amazing Deal

********************************************************

To A Company Who Shall Remain Nameless,

I know what my coverage is. I know it very well actually. I know you are just trying to wiggle your way out of paying it. I love how nice you are on the phone, making it seem like it is the doctor offices fault. Well now I look like a goof because I told them what you said.... and you were wrong, very very wrong..... again. Stop making my look stupid and just pay it. Our last conversation was about as nice as I'm going to get, which should make you shiver. I don't like getting blunt and rude, but when it comes to you paying what you are required to pay..... I find it necessary. The date of service was October 2, 2009. Over a year ago! Lets just get this paid so we can move on with our lives, okay? Mmmmkay great!

Signed,

Very Annoyed Customer Who Refuses To Pay What YOU Owe

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What Is To Come?

It is hard to believe that 2010 is almost over and that we will soon be ringing in a new year. What does that mean for you? Another year of resolutions that are written with best of intentions and slowly forgotten by Feburary? Another year of trying to break bad habits only to hit Thanksgiving and realize all you have broken is a few fingernails along the way? I hope not. I hope that each one of you will make resolutions (very realistic ones) and work towards them. I am a firm believer that if you have goals, both big and small, you accomplish so much more. However, goals should never be unrealistic. Now I am not saying you shouldn't dream big and reach for the starts. You should. Just realize if you are unable to reach that particular goal it is fine. Look back and see the progress you have made towards that goal and be happy with that. Let that motivate you to keep trying. Also, don't let your goals for yourself get in the way of God's plan for you. Be willing to make adjustments when you feel like He is leading you in a different direction. He always knows best, so try your hardest to listen! I suggest not having too many resolutions. Remember, less is more! Also, I like having a few resolutions that are actually measurable (for example... save money, organize something, read x number of books...) I think it helps to be able to say "Yes, I really did that". You can't always do that with some goals (like find time for myself, eat less junk food, stick to a routine....). Overall I would say just have fun with it! Go back and read this post about making your resolutions list appealing. I used this method and it worked great for me! I am going to be posting my resolutions for 2011 on January 1st and I hope you all will do the same! I would love to check out your resolutions!

Before we stay up way past our bedtime, say happy new Year and kiss the one we love though, we must celebrate the birth of a really swell guy. You may know Him.... His name is Jesus!!!!! So, off you go to enjoy this very quickly passing holiday season! Just so you are aware, we set to close on our house in 12 days!!!!!! Ahhhhh!!!! The lady wants to possibly move that up if we can!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!! THAT'S PRETTY EXCITING!!!! Sorry for the yelling. Anyhoo, that means we are 18 days away from our move!!!!!! So please excuse me if I am not pouring out the comment love these days. Just know that I am keeping up with all of you and can't wait to get back into the blogging routine *sigh* as soon as we get settled into the new house!!!! It is going to be great!!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Strawberry Lemonade Cake

I mentioned on my Facebook that I had some strawberry lemonade cupcakes to make for our small group and I had a few people interested in the recipe. So instead of messaging each person the recipe, I figured I would just share it here. Who knows, you may try this and love it too! We sure do! It is our second favorite cake around here (a close runner up behind my scratch made red velvet cake). Now I have to say, when I am baking for my sweet kiddos, I keep it healthy.... not so much for me and the hubster though. So, if you are looking for a healthy recipe... I am sorry, but this is not it. I hope you still give it a try though because it is super yummy!

Ingredients For Cake
  • 1 strawberry cake mix ( I take the help from the store on this one)
  • 1 packet of kool-aid lemonade
  • 1 can of lemon pie filling (you won't be using the entire can)


Ingredients For Icing (I got this from a friend)
  • 1 cup of Crisco (plain or butter flavor)
  • 1 cup of butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 bag of powdered sugar (not an exact measurement because you will add a little at a time but it is usually about half of a 2 pound bag... so about a pound of it.)
  • Vanilla extract (to taste... usually not much at all)
  • 1 packet of strawberry lemonade kool-aid (you only need to use a little less than half of it)

Instructions For Icing
  • Let butter set out and get to room temperature.
  • Cream together the butter and Crisco
  • Slowly add in the powdered sugar a little at a time
  • After adding a little bit of sugar add in half, or a little less than half, of the strawberry lemonade kool-aid packet
  • Add more sugar until it gets to a firm consistency.
  • Store in the fridge
*If you are not into making it yourself you can just get 2 containers of butter cream icing and add the strawberry lemonade kool-aid to that (still only use half the packet, or a little less)


Instructions For Cake
  • Read the back of your cake mix box. Pre-heat the oven and prep your pans as directed.
  • Mix the cake batter as directed. Add the packet of lemonade kool-aid to the batter.
  • Pour batter into your pans and bake as directed. I usually under bake from what the package suggests by 2 minutes and test each cake to see if they are done. No one likes an over cooked, dry cake.
  • Let cakes cool completely before assembling and icing your cake.
  • Once cool, spread a layer of pie filling on one of the cakes. Now stack the other cake on top of that one.
  • Ice your cake.
  • Cut yourself a slice and enjoy!

It is super easy to make these into cupcakes as well. I like this recipe both ways! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Family Tradition

You were expecting Hank Williams Jr., weren't you? Well sorry to disappoint you but this seriously is about one of our family traditions.... so please continue....

Okay, it was a family tradition. All year long we fill up our jar with pocket change. Then, we cash it in to buy our Christmas tree. For the past three years Charlie and I have taken Lula Mae to the local Christmas tree farm to pick out a tree. It is so fun! They have some animals, a fire to roast marshmallows over, hot chocolate and a little ornament shop. We pick ornaments out and write the year on the back of them. This year was the first year Lula Mae got to pick her own ornament. All the pretty little ornaments and what did she pick? A cow. Not a cute cartoonish cow, oh no, a big fat realistic cow... with utters. Yep, a big fat cow. That's my girl. She loves animals. Then she helped me pick Jayce's first ornament, a little bell that says "Babies 1st Christmas" with a snowman on top.

So then we went to look at the trees. We always go back to the "clearance" trees. You know, the ones they hide way in the back because they are cheaper. They are smaller and sometimes have a few gaps in the limbs and such, but that is fine with us. Then it happened.... we saw the price.

WHAT????

You are kidding????

That is almost double what we paid last year... and this one is SMALLER!!!!

And this is when our new tradition was born.

From now on we will be visiting the lovely little tree farm, petting the cute animals, roasting marshmallows, sipping the hot chocolate and letting the kids pick an ornament. Then we will drive 2 miles down the road to Food Lion and get a tree for $29.99.

I'm totally okay with that. Traditions sometimes need to be tweaked, but they are still special. I hope you are all starting to enjoy all those little family traditions of your own!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Monday Mugs

It is Monday, but it feels a whole lot more like Wednesday around here. Poor Daddy has been working, working, working and hasn't had a day off in a while. So this weekend felt nothing like a weekend, and today feels nothing like a Monday (which perhaps isn't a terrible thing). Only because I love Heather from Oswald Cuties am I linking up today for Monday Mugs. It is one of my least favorite themes, but I will run with it. If nothing else you will all get a good laugh, right? This weeks theme is....

Self Portrait


I tend to photograph terribly... because I make crazy faces...


Like this... my excited face....



I also have a habit of making it EXTREMELY obvious that my left ear is noticeably bigger than my right but wearing my hair up ...


If that isn't the case I somehow distort my body and make myself look 4 times wider than I really am....


Or I smile all crazy and show my horribly yellow teeth to the world...


Then, of course, I take pictures like this where you can see up my nose.... because we all know how attractive that is....

A lot of the time I get caught mid sentence and look like a goof.....

yeah, that happens a lot.... oh, and might I add that my hubby changed THIS to my profile picture on Facebook... if you feel the need to leave him some hate mail comments, I totally understand.


What happens when you get an awesome photographer for your bridal portraits????


You get a picture that looks beautiful, but nothing like you really.


And there you have it. My self portraits. I hope all you folks who wanted to see pictures of me feel fulfilled now (insert sarcasm and laughter here). I am totally ok with the fact that I am anything but photogenic. Happy Monday bloggy buddies! Have a great week!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

7 Months And Counting!

Someone is growing up way too fast. My handsome little guy is 7 months old today. Why does 7 months sound so much older than 6 months? For me, I think it is the fact that he is closer to the one year mark than the newborn phase. Jayce is such a cuddle bug and I am soaking it all in. Lula Mae was so not a cuddly baby so I am excited to have a snuggle buddy! So, what is up with Jayce these days?

  • Still no teeth, but it looks like his bottom ones are about to make their appearance
  • He can't crawl yet, but he can roll and scoot anywhere he wants to go. He is going to be crawling before we know it!
  • He has no interest in eating food yet. I try cereal and applesauce every now and then but he just could not care less. That's just fine though, he is growing beautifully (16 pounds roughly) and drinks his bottles just fine.
  • He loves to laugh and play with his big sister. He is also very in love with his Daddy and playing rough. He is such a boy!
  • We can already see that this little man has a BIG temper. When you take something away from him or he doesn't get exactly what he wants.... look out. He needs to have a chat with Lula Mae and see how well that attitude works in this house.
  • He is starting to do much, much better in the car! I am not dreading the drive to Orlando quite as much as I was.
  • He is quite the talker! He loves to babble and sing which it one of the most amazing sounds ever. I love his sweet baby voice!
  • His reflux seems to be very controlled. We are looking forward to being able to wean him from his medicine and enjoy a reflux free baby.
  • He is loving "Your Baby Can Read" just like his sister. When his video is on he is so amazed and enthralled. It may just be a few more months before he starts reading, but I am not expecting that.... just saying. Lula Mae was reading her first words at 8 and a half months. We shall see :-)

As exciting as it is to see Jayce grow and change, I hope time slows down a little bit. I am trying so hard to soak in all these sweet moments, but I feel like they are slipping away at lightning speed! Happy 7 months Jayce, you are such a gift from God and I love you so very much!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

200 Challenge Update


I haven't done a 200 Challenge in forever. I figured at this point I shouldn't try to back track and breakdown each month, but I thought giving you my overall totals would be a good idea.

August $204.53

September $197.52

October $193.48

November $208.69


Are wondering what The 200 Challenge is? Well then you haven't been reading my blog long enough now have you... shame on you! No, I'm kidding! A friend of mine and fellow blogger started a grocery challenge at the beginning of this year to try and see if she could spend $200 or less each month. I joined in, since I am always in for saving money! All in all I have done well and really enjoyed this challenge. I will be continuing to use this budget in 2011. It has really saved us a lot and I am grateful for Sarah putting this challenge together and teaching me how to better budget my finances. Her challenge sparked something major in me. I wanted to do better in all categories, not just groceries. My budget has not been the same (in a good way). In January I will post how much I spent on groceries for the year, along with how much I would have spent had I not joined the challenge. I will let you be the judge of whether is was worth it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Another Toy Bites The Dust

Not just one toy.... all the toys in the toy box. Yes, Lula Mae has once again lost her toys. This time they were taken away for a different reason. Our sweet little, bible verse reciting, yes sir saying, helping hand Lula Mae has started up with a terribly bad habit. She has become a bit sassy and quite ugly. Not only that, demanding almost. Very, very unlike Lula Mae! When the attitude first started I was shocked and began wracking my brain trying to figure out where she learned such behavior. Then it occurred to me that it was not learned.... it is just in her. It is hard for me to think that my sweet girl is dealing with sin, but she is. It is just her flesh. I have to really remind myself that she needs to be trained right now, not just disciplined. Sure I want her to listen and obey me, but I really want to teach her to listen and obey God. By helping her make better choices every day I am training her heart. I am training her to do what is right, even when no one is around. I am training her that how we treat each other is incredibly important. I am training her to love God and others with all of her heart, even when she doesn't feel like it.

So how is she earning her toys back? Well, being the visual learner that she is I decided to make her a chart. Right outside her door, on her eye level, I put up a behavior chart. Around the chart are little reminders.... talk nicely, clean up, eat what is provided, listen, obey, pray, have Jesus in your heart.... and every time I see her displaying Godly character traits, I reward her with a sticker on her chart. When she earns 7 stickers in a row, she gets to pick one of her toys out of the closet. She has already earned 2 toys back and I am very proud of her. She still has a ways to go, but I am seeing progress. It is so tough seeing Lula Mae go through these lows sometimes, but I know it is normal. The chart helps me to use our praise method (praise 90% of the time and correct 10%) in a very visual way. Lula Mae is really enjoying it. She is very proud of the stickers she has on her chart. She goes up to it constantly during the day and reads all the reminders on it. Hopefully she will earn her toys back at a good steady pace, but I know we will have our good days and bad.

Lula Mae is teaching me so much, and I hope I am doing the same for her. I hope that when I look at the women she becomes I can see godly qualities. Godly qualities that she learned from watching me and through these loving discipline actions. And, as always, I am praying for her to become a godly woman who strives to raise godly children herself someday.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Monday Mugs


It has been quite a while since I stopped being lazy found the time to link up with the lovely Heather at Oswald Cuties and her Monday Mugs. This week’s theme is Black and White. Come on, who doesn’t love a black and white picture! It took me nearly 45 minutes to pick which ones I wanted to post so you better appreciate them I hope you enjoy them. Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! Things are still crazy around here but I am managing to keep my head above water.... barely, but hey I can't complain. God has been so GOOD!






Saturday, November 27, 2010

Word To The Wise


If you have to say "I'm not trying to be rude", chances are....

you're

being

rude.

Just for future reference. Mmmkay?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Believe It Or Not

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. I love the smells, music, lights, family. I just love all of the Christmas cheer. It warms my heart. However, I am determined to make Christmas (and all holidays for that matter) about Jesus. I don't want my kids to think that Christmas is about a tree, some fun music and loads of presents. Charlie and I want Christmas to be about the birth of our savior. We want our children to understand that it is about giving and not receiving. We want our family to appreciate what God as provided for us. Lula Mae is already learning in school that Christmas is a day when we celebrate for Jesus. She understands that it is His birthday. She is even starting to understand that we give gifts on Christmas because God gave Jesus to us as a gift. She is connecting all the pieces. I am so proud of her and very glad that Christmas is already meaning something deeper to her. With all this knowledge comes a big decision.

Santa or no Santa?

When people ask Lula Mae about Santa she is very confused. She has no idea who he is and what he is all about. Charlie and I both grew up believing in Santa. We both agree that it was fun and harmless. We have still not come to a decision as to if we will have Santa or not. Personally I am leaning more towards no, but I don't know about Charlie. In the end, will it matter? Probably not. My main goal is to make sure each holidays, especially Christmas, is focused on God. Now this might be selfish, but I want my kids to understand that I got them their gifts.... not some made up man. I want them to know I got them gifts because I love them. I want it all to click, if you know what I mean. Lula Mae is excited to give her cousins the gifts she picked out for them. She has a few friends that she has mentioned buying a gift for and I can't wait to take her to the store to pick something out. I love seeing her excited about giving and thinking of others.

Our gift strategy is simple.... I buy each child one toy, Charlie buys each child one toy, then we both get them one more joint toy. So each child will receive 3 gifts each Christmas. We stick to a small budget and try very hard not to go over the top (although this is really hard because I show love by giving gifts so I have to hold back!)

We may decide not to do Santa and we may not get our kids a million presents but we will still have a great Christmas. Our Christmas will be full of time together with family. It will be full of celebration. It will be full of love! I just love Christmas!!!! Although I do adore Christmas music and a live tree with beautiful lights and decorations too :-) All those things help make Christmas extra enjoyable!

So do you have Santa in your house? Do you have any special traditions that make Christmas extra special? I would love to know! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Smell A Holiday....

Thanksgiving is coming.... it's so close I can taste it! Who doesn't love to gather with the ones you love and eat delicious food? We do! This week in school Lula Mae is learning about Thanksgiving. Nothing too deep, just that we are going to gather with our family and enjoy time together. I am also teaching her about being thankful for what God has provided. November, Thanksgiving and Holiday are three of her new words this week and she already is reading them! Way to go Lula Mae! I felt like this year I didn't really need to go into the whole Thanksgiving story yet. I mean, she's 2. We can wait until next year to work on the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria and all the Christopher Columbus stuff. After Thanksgiving we can get ready for Christmas! Super excited about taking Lula Mae to pick out a tree at the tree farm this year! She is going to really understand and enjoy this holiday season and that is exciting! I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Enjoy all those calories, but most of all enjoy the time you have with your family! Remember to be thankful for all things, big and small! I encourage you to be thankful all year long, not just at Thanksgiving. We don't need a holiday to be thankful!




Google

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Case Of The Mondays

Is it just me or did this past weekend fly by? We had a very full weekend and that typically makes it fly, ya know? Saturday was a BEAUTIFUL day. Picture perfect fall day. So we packed up the kids and went to the zoo. The car trip was just fine for Jayce, which means the car trip was great for the rest of us. The zoo was not crowded at all, which was nice. The temperature was beyond nice! Needless to say we had a great day!

On Sunday we had Lula Mae and Jayce dedicated, which really has more to do with Charlie and I. We have dedicated ourselves to raising them for God. It was a nice step in our parenting. I love my children and want to do the best for them.

Sunday evening we went out and spent some time with friends. They fixed dinner for us and we hung out for a while. We got home just in time to put the kids to bed.

And that bring us to today. It is very much Monday around here. Laundry did not get touched this weekend, sheets need to be changed, dinners need to be planned out for the week, the budget needs to be looked at.... boy is it Monday. I am so glad that I have officially finished Christmas shopping! All gifts are ordered/purchased (Charlie has even gotten mine!) and some are even wrapped. With the crazy busy holiday season about to kick off I am very glad of that. It will be nice to not have to worry about shopping (since I hate shopping).

Also, we just got our inspection report back on the house. We have some reading to do! There isn't anything structural, but there is one thing that will need to be addressed before we move forward. We are hopeful that everything still going to go smoothly from this point.

Did I mention it was Monday?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

One Of My Ninja Skills.... Revealed!

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you already know that I am a ninja. Yes, that's right, a ninja. Well this ninja is about to give away a super sneaky ninja move. This one involves getting a picky toddler to consume vegetables. A problem that I hope other Moms have too.

I always said that I would not hide vegetables for my kids. I wanted them to just learn to eat healthy. Then life happened and I gave birth to a picky eater. Not incredibly picky, she does love avocados, green beans, yogurt, string cheese, wheat bread... but picky non the less. So, how does this ninja mommy make sure her picky toddler is eating a wide variety of fruits and veggies? With these...





What are they? Baby food. Yep, baby food. Organic baby food mash ups. Lula Mae LOVES these things. She loves that they are a "treat" and really likes the packaging. If you put them in the refrigerator they are like a smoothie! There are TONS of choices which means lots of variety for her. These are not a daily thing for her, but about two or three times a week she gets one. Typically I get just the veggie ones, but I also grab a few of the fruit ones too. They are great to throw in the diaper bag for a healthy snack when we are out and about. I am super in love with these things! The ingredients are the best part. Just the fruits and veggies! Nothing else! I really love that! I am trying to feed my kids better than what I feed myself. These things are so helpful!

If you have a toddler that is turning down too many veggies and you feel like you need to supplement their diet you should try these! Lula Mae and I highly recommend them!

I sure hope I don't have to trick her into eating her veggies forever... but for now, I guess it's alright :-)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Letters Of Intent


Hooray it is Friday! That means it is time for Letters of Intent! Be sure to go over to Julies blog (which is being sabotaged by an incredibly annoying anonymous commenter might I add) to read more great letters!


Dear Big Lots,

I am a loyal shopper. I have loved you for a long time now. With your low prices you are incredibly hard to resist. A cheapskate like me just can't hold back from loving you. I have a tiny little suggestion though. Could you possibly look into getting some normal size buggies? (yes, I said buggies) The buggies you have are only a tiny step above the mini carts the grocery store has for kids to push while their Mommy shops. Oh sure, the buggy was just fine back when I only had one child. Two children however, just don't seem to fit. When I shop with the two of them it is a big production. Every time I have to put something in the buggy I have to.... lift Jayce's seat out of the back, set him on the floor, get the item off the shelf, strategically place it in the buggy, lift Jayce's car seat up high enough to put him back in the buggy. See? It adds an element of torture to my shopping. I'm not okay with that. You should check out the buggies at Sam's Club. Those suckers are HUGE and they even have 2 seats up front. TWO SEATS! It's genius I tell you! So be a pal and invest in some bigger buggies. Preferably ones like Sam's Club.


Love,

Loyal Shopper Who Can't Keep Hoisting Her Big Ole Baby In And Out Of The Cart Just To Add An Item

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Photo Shoot Time!

Around this time if year I can't seem to put my camera down! Okay, I lied. I take tons of pictures no matter what time of year it is. Although I do think it gets worse around the holidays. I wanted to go ahead and have a photo shoot with the kids for Christmas cards. I know it is early, but sometimes we require multiple shoots to get anything worth editing. Luckily this shoot was a success! I am happy to announce that we will have a great card this year! Here are some of the pictures!







Wednesday, November 17, 2010

These Days

Well, it looks as though we may be moving. Tomorrow the inspection is being done, financing seems to be in order, contracts are signed.... I think it is really happening. We tired to sell our condo for quite a while before Jayce was born. Literally our condo was on the market for nearly a year and half. We had 3 different chances to sell, one of which feel apart days before closing. Frustrating does not describe it well enough. So this time around we are a bit numb to all of this. We just can't even get excited. Luckily we are not going to move until after Christmas so it won't really mess up the holidays. However, we are going to close right before Christmas, which is great for me. Once we close I can pack and such without wondering if all the packing is just a waste of time. Then, right after Christmas we will move into our new house! What a way to start of the new year!

All this moving stuff is so odd to me. It is happening so effortlessly. It is going smoother than smooth. We didn't eve have our house on the market. This whole thing really did just fall in our lap. I can't begin to tell you how incredible it is to see God working in my life. This whole situation has nothing to with us and all to do with God's timing. It is perfect. He knows His plan for our family and will see to it that if this is meant to happen, it will. Honestly I haven't worried or obsessed about this whole thing. Not even once. Not like me at all folks, not even a little bit. I am trying so hard to just live for God. Being preoccupied with with Him you just don't have time to worry. It is such a nice feeling!

Looks like this coming year will bring lots of decorating, organizing and memory making! It is going to be interesting journey for us.

So who is up for a painting party once we move in? Who wants to help renovate a kitchen? Clear out the overgrown yard? Any takers? Just keep it in mind, that's all I'm asking.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In The Words Of Lula Mae

Lula Mae woke up just in time to hear Charlie pulling out of the drive way this morning. The following conversation then took place....

Lula Mae: "Mommy, where's Daddy going?"

Me: "He is going to work."

Lula Mae: "No, he's going golfing."
( I have to add that Charlie has only been golfing once that she can even remember!)

Me: "But it is raining outside so he can't go golfing. I promise he went to work."

Lula Mae: "Oh, it's raining outside. Can we go to Disney World instead? Please Mommy?"





Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to not pack some bags and leave a note on the counter for Charlie that said....


Hey Babe.
Went to Disney World.
Be back....at some point.
Dinner is in the fridge.
Love you!



Oh, it was hard! The girl talks about Disney World all the time. Not a day goes by that she does not ask if we are going to Mickey Mouses house or to see Cinderellas castle. She can't help it. Loving Disney is just in her blood. She is just like her Momma! I can't wait to see her face when we go for Jayce's birthday! She is going to LOVE it! This will be her 4th trip, but her first time really being able to remember any of it. It is going to be a blast for all of us! Be prepared for a bazillion pictures.... this is your warning!




Monday, November 15, 2010

One Step Forward.... Two Steps Back

I want so badly to be a good Mommy to my kids. There are times when I think "I handled that situation pretty well.", but there are more times when I think "Where did that come from? That was completely wrong.". Luckily my kids love me unconditionally. If they didn't I would be in a bad spot.

I try to devote all of my day to my kids. I want them to have memories of us together, having fun and learning. I want them to remember us talking openly about God and showing love to each other daily. Honestly though, there are days where I fail miserably. Too many days I go to bed feeling guilty for not spending every precious minuet with my sweet babies. Sure the laundry was nicely folded, the kitchen was tidy and the sheets were all fresh, but I went to be feeling empty. It makes me wonder if my poor children were feeling empty and unloved.

When Jayce turned 6 months old I desperately longed for him to be a tiny little newborn again so that I could hold and snuggle him the way I once did. The fact that he is half way through his first year of life makes me realize just how fleeting time is. In just a few short months he will be one and Lula Mae will be three. Their babyhood is drifting away, and I feel like I am missing it. Even though I am with them every day, I feel like it is slipping away. I am determined not to let my OCD cause me to miss out on these precious years with my children. Some days I can't focus on them because I just want to reorganize the closet for the 20th time. Or I can't focus because I know the refrigerator needs to be wiped out. If I am having one of those days where my ODC is pretty bad, focusing on my kids is close to impossible. It isn't fair to them and I hate it.

I wholeheartedly think that God sees motherhood as a big responsibility, but I also believe that taking care of the home, caring for my husband and handling the finances are just as important. So how do you juggle it all? How do I spend all my time with my children and take care of my home too? How can I do it without being obsessive about it?

The other day I was rushing around during Jayce's morning nap trying to get some things done. Lula Mae was under me the whole time, asking if I would play. I hated to tell her that I needed to do some work. Then I had an epiphany.... she is old enough to be involved with my work around the house. She needs to see me doing these things so that she can learn how to be a homemaker. So I pulled up a stool and she helped me wash the bottles. Then she was excited to help me make lunch. I tend to still see her as my baby and hide the fact that she is a very big girl who can do so much more than I give her credit for. She is a fantastic helper :-) The house can still be managed while I spend time with my children. It is possible.

Some days I have it together and I manage my time wisely, and others I struggle. This whole parenting thing really is a learning adventure. I feel like I take one step forward and two steps back. Regardless, my children love me unconditionally and I love them unconditionally. My OCD can't stop me from enjoying my kids. I just won't allow such a thing!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

On My Mind

This song makes me think of my Uncle Larry. With the holidays coming up I am thinking about him and missing him more and more. I don't know that I have actually grieved his loss yet. I think that over the next few months there will be a flood of emotions. Hopefully I deal with them well.

If you are like me, a song hits harder when the lyrics are right in front of you. I hope you like this song as much as I do.





Friday, November 12, 2010

Letters Of Intent


Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a great week and are looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend! My brain is still trying to process a lot of stuff but I am feeling much less overwhelmed. I got a new book to start and I think that will help.


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Dear Stores,

Really, Christmas music already? You seem to have forgotten something. It's a little holiday I like to call Thanksgiving. Now, I am totally excited for the Christmas season too, but I don't think it is really nice to just skip Thanksgiving. I really like Thanksgiving and all the cute decorations. I do not like going straight from scary Halloween stuff to Christmas trees! Chill out already!

Sincerly,

Big Fan of The Holidays Going In Chronological Order

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Dear Thanksgiving,

I can't wait to see you! I love your family gatherings and delicious food! Just thinking about you causes me to gain weight, and ya' know what.... I'm totally ok with that. You are so worth it. Try not to get your feelings hurt by everyone trying to skip you. They don't mean it.

Love,

One of Your Biggest Fans!

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Dear You-Know-Who,

The cookie dough was a great gift. We really love it. In fact, we love it too much. I am blaming you for my weight gain, just so you know. 3 tubs? 3 GIANT tubs? Really? I can't resist it! My inner fat kid just can't stop! For Christmas I am going to bake you a ridiculous amount of cookies.... if there is any left! Excuse me while I go have a spoon of cookie dough.....

Sincerely,

Fat and Happy

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Excuse Me While My Head Explodes

This could get ugly, so beware. I just can't focus enough to really "write a post" so I am about to unload all that which I have in my brain at this very moment in one ginormous mess of a post. Here we go, please try to enjoy....

  • Apparently we may be moving. It is quite a confusing situation (in a good way) so I don't want to get into details yet. Just know that we are kinda busy these days and are gearing up for a possible move. Pray that God will guide us to make the right decisions.
  • I am going to do some Christmas shopping tomorrow and I am excited. Honestly I am going to be doing all of my shopping. I can't stand it lingering over my head.
  • I have been clearing out clutter through the house and attic. It feels so good. Now, I am all about making a few bucks, but I get a thrill donating things. No offense to people who have yard sales, but I am a big believer in donation. I know that God has provided for us and is going to keep providing for us. We are blessed. Why must American's sell everything for a profit? Just give it to someone in need.
  • I am not even going to try to actually potty train Lula Mae until after the possible move. If we don't move, I will put her into big girl panties right after Christmas. Charlie will have a good bit of time off so I want to do it then. I'm telling you, once I put her in panties we are done. I am not going back and forth between diapers and panties. We may have to clean up lots and lots of messes, but I don't want to confuse her by going back and forth. Wish me luck folks. Perhaps she will be ready when I am.... here's hoping!
  • There is a thin line between loving and hash discipline. There are many times when disciple is necessary in parenting. Lately Lula Mae has shown me that I am not doing a good job walking that line. "Mommy please stop right now" (in a less than favorable tone). Even though I am using nice words, my tone is far from appropriate. I am determined to treat my children the way I want them to treat me. Their little ears always hear me. Their little eyes always see me. Their little minds are soaking everything in and I want them to soak in godly qualities from me.
  • I am so far behind on bloggy love and I am sorry. I promise I am reading and keeping up with all of you, but I am just so buried beneath myself that I am unable to comment on some things. I promise I will make it up to you! I promise!!!! You all know I love you and appreciate you!!!!
And now, nap time is over and I must go. There are babies to be fed, dinner to prep, a house contract to sign, cookie dough to eat (did I just say that?), diaper bags to pack for small group tonight.... and the list keeps going! See why my head is exploding??? I am so grateful to have a God who gives me strength through everything. See you soon bloggy world, and hopefully with a much better post to share!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

As I Sit Here...

Listening to quiet worship music, reading my devotional, flipping back through my inspirational calendar, having my Bible time, I have come across some things that I just must share. If you read this post, you will know why. God is powerful and knows just what we each need, day in and day out.

Calendar

When a mother exudes a sense of peace, and tranquility, her family feels calm. Peacefulness brings healing to a troubled spirit. A peaceful mother is like a medicinal balm. Peace and assurance of Mother's love are necessary ingredients for a happy home. -unknown author

Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake. -Victor Hugo

God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that can be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish one from another. - Reinhold Niebuhr


Devotional

"Why are you troubled?" He asked them. "And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at My hands and My feet." -Luke 24:38-39

Christ's willingness to continue drawing us to belief totally astounds me. At no time after appearing to His disciples in resurrected form did he say, "You bunch of idiots! I'm sick of trying to talk you into believing Me!". When the sight of Him wasn't enough, Jesus said, "Look at My hands and My feet.". We ourselves have often seen His hands by way of His constant provision and glorious intervention. We have seen His feet as He's gone before us. Surely we, too, have beheld the hands and feet of Christ with the eyes of faith. May we look again today- and believe!

Beth Moore: Believing God Day by Day


Bible

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone O Lord, make me dwell in safety. -Psalm 4:8

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of me heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my redeemer. -Psalm 19:14




God moves through this house today. I feel it, I know it, I believe it. I have to finish off with this last thing I read:

Do what is necessary to nurture the spirit of stillness in your life. Don't let the enemy wear you so thin that you lose your balance and perspective. Regular time for stillness is as important and necessary as sleep, exercise, and nutritional food. -Emilie Barnes

How can I be afraid of anything after my quiet time today? He is working hard on me, and I am thankful. With time, I think healing will come and Christ will flow from me. Each day I am going to devote two blocks of time for stillness. One for me and my children together and another for myself. I encourage you to do the same. We are all busy, but may we never be to busy to simply be still and listen to God.

Continue to pray for me friends. Today the battle is going well, but I still have so far to go.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Reality

I have determined that as I add babies to my life, my anxiety and OCD worsen. Not drastically, but a noticeable increase. When I was pregnant with Lula Mae I had this thought in my head that having her would be rejuvenating, healing almost. I imagined that once she was born I would not be so obsessive and afraid. I was wrong. Then, when Jayce was born, it worsened more. The things I began to obsess and worry about were deeper than they ever had been. My heart will race, my stomach will turn, my head starts to hurt, my arms feel shaky, I begin to get antsy, I start to feel flush, I feel physically sick. On the outside I am not sure you can really notice, but on the inside I am screaming.

I feel as though my good days out number my bad, but it does not make the bad days any better. I pray day in and day out that my fears and obsessions will not burden my family. I don't want to hold them back and keep them from a "normal" life. My mind is always racing. There are days where it is so bad I can't make myself leave the house. I can't leave because I am worried that something terrible will happen to me or one of my children. I feel imprisoned by fear and anxiety. What will happen when we have another baby? Or two more? Or how ever many more God chooses? Will I be buried a live by all the fear and anxiety? Will I ever be normal?

Will I ever be able to... pump gas without thinking that it will explode? go on a cruise with my husband without worrying that the boat will sink and I will drown? get on a plane without thinking that it will crash? let my children enjoy playing in a pool without worrying that they will drown in front of my eyes? let my children walk trough a store without thinking that someone is following us, just waiting to grab them and I will never see them again? stop thinking that my children will sneak out of their Sunday school classroom, make it outside and get hit by a car or be kidnapped? fall asleep without thinking our house will catch on fire and I won't be able to get to my babies to get them out? stop worrying that someone will break into my house and hurt my family? This is really just the tip of the ice burg, unfortunately.

I never once have prayed for God to take these things away from me. He made me perfect, so they are there for a reason. God's word says over and over again that I have nothing to worry about. I am glad of that. Before I was saved, my fears were worse (if you can even imagine). God is working on me and He will never stop. So perhaps, someday, all these things will disappear. Scripture helps me make it through each day. Some days it helps more than others, but it always helps. Satan wants to win this battle, but I am determined not to let him. I have complete faith in God and his promises. All these fears and anxiety help me remember how dependent I need to be on Him. If that is the only reason they are there, I am okay with that. Each day is different, but they are all a blessing!