Friday, September 25, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Have you begun to think about Christmas yet? Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year. But I typically procrastinate and instead of me being able to relax and enjoy the Christmas season--basking in the smell of cinnamon, peppermint, and pine trees, listening to Christmas music, baking cookies with the kids, baking goodies for others--I am running around like a mad woman trying to get all those last minute gifts purchased, much less wrapped (they may just get a gift bag). Every year that I have been on this beautiful green earth, Christmas has come at the same time on the same date. So WHY, OH WHY does it always seem to sneak up on me??

Well, this year I am one step ahead of Christmas, no sneakin' this year. Not only am I thinking ahead, but my family is changing the way we do gifts this year. Here is a little background on what led to this decision:

Last year, after all the presents were opened. My sister, her husband, Cecil and myself were talking. We realized that we had gotten Ryan a gift card for a certain amount and that they had gotten Cecil a gift card for the same amount. So essentially Cecil and Ryan bought themselves giftcards. Now, hear me well. This is not to say that either party was not appreciative of the gift. But we began to think that we should put more thought into ou Christmas gifts or just save our money.
So, was born the idea that we would do homemade gifts this year. I don't know if Kayla and Ryan are going to or not, but I plan to start now making gifts for everyone. I already have some really great ideas that I cannot wait to get started on. Of course, I can't list them now because well, they may see. However, I am having a terrible time trying to get ideas for the guys in the family. Thus, the gift cards last year!

So do any you have any ideas on a homemade gift ideas for a man? I would love some help with this one. I would also love to hear your ideas for women and children as well.

Have a blessed day!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I have been anxiously checking my mail every day for the past few days. I am awaiting a package that I am really excited to get. Ever gotten one of those before? Before I tell you what I am waiting for let me introduce you to someone special.

Her name is Kristie. We went to the same church when I was in high school. She was a year or two older than me but decades wiser, it seemed. We, over time, became really close friends. Do you have or have you had someone in you life that you can say has helped you to become the person in Christ that you are today? Well, Kristie was that person for me. I was a Christian before I met her, but I hadn't, before that time in my life, grown much as a Christian, if you know what I mean. Kristie and I prayed together, laughed together, cried together and studied the Bible together. She always gave great advice and was really a source of encouragement for me. There was a span of time when we were inseparable. She was truly my best friend.

Well, time went on, and we grew apart. I don't recall why, if I did it wouldn't matter. I got married, had a couple kids. She got married, had a baby girl, moved away. And there was a couple months after the birth of her baby girl that we got back in touch with each other. But quickly lost touch again, as she moved out of state. I thought about her so often and searched her on Myspace and Facebook, but couldn't find her. I googled her name one day and saw an article that a person by her name had written. I wasn't sure if it was her, because I didn't know she was publishing her writings, although I knew that she always loved writing. But as I read the beautifully written article of a woman who had tragically lost her mother at a young age, I realized that it was her. But I still couldn't get any contact information on her. I stalked.... ahem.... searched for her more and found a different article that she had written and wept as I read the article and watched a video that accompanied it. She had lost two babies in utero and was sharing her story with a Christian Pregnancy Center, helping women who had sadly gone through the same thing she had had to endure.

Then I happened to search her husband on Facebook and found a man by the same name. He didn't have a profile pic, but in his friends list was Kristie's brother. My husband looked at me like I was crazy when I said gleefully, "It's him, it must be". So I added him as a friend and told him who I was, not sure if I would get a reply, and hoping it was the right guy. I left my phone number (I was really hoping it was the right guy). Then a few days later, the day after David's surgery, actually, I got a call from her. I was so happy to hear from her. She told me that day that she was expecting another baby girl in Sept. My heart was truly filled with joy for her.

I got an email this month that she and her husband introduced their precious baby into the world and all was well. I think it was the same week that I got an email saying that her book had been published!!

And that is the package that I am waiting for!

What an exciting time for their family! I am overjoyed for all that is happening in their lives! She has been through so much and deserves all the blessings and happiness God sends her way.

Her book is her memoir of losing her babies and how she has trudged through all the pain. While I know that it was a painful process for her to write the book, she will touch the lives of so many women who go through miscarriage and the loss of their unborn children. I am so sorry for her loss, and wish that I had in some way been there for her during those difficult times. But I am so glad that she is using the short lives of her two precious gifts to minister to hurting mothers.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lemonade Stand

Last month, my friend Chasity, and I had a garage sale here at the house. The girls had been wanting to have a Lemonade Stand, so I figured that it would be a good idea to let them do it while we were getting traffic to the garage sale. They didn't sale a huge amount, I think maybe 24 cups. But they were happy and enjoyed themselves.
Selling lemonade in your neighborhood seems like such a quintessential part of childhood. And their childhood is quickly fleeting. It is so reminiscent of summers in simpler times-when kids were free to stay out in the neighborhood until the street lights came on just having fun. Some of that summer innocence seems to be fading, so I am glad they got this opportunity.
I remember selling lemonade at my aunt's house one summer. Our goal was to get enough money for myself, my sisters, and cousins to go to the movies. We reached that goal, but I can't remember what we went to see. That's a neat childhood memory and now my girls can look back on their own Lemonade Stand.

Have a Blessed Day!


Hawaiian Luau

Yesterday, we had Alyssa and Lylah Grace's birthday party. We have always had their parties together since their birthdays are so close. And it is easier for family because with my nephew's birthday sandwiched between my three kids, we would be partying 4 weekends in a row. Although next year I would like to give them separate parties...we had a lot of girls here yesterday and it was a bit crazy. They had fun though and went off without a hitch.

They wanted a Luau theme.

I usually make the cakes but with Ava being sick and in the hospital this week, I just couldn't pull it off this time. So I bought a cake and just embellished it with all the Hawaiian goodies. The girls loved it.

We limboed with Luau music playing in the background....

played Jenga...not Hawaiian but fun.

They made a wish...

And got lots of cool gifts.

All in all it was a great day!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Working and Sick Babies

I just got home from the hospital with Ava, she has double pneumonia and spent a night there on IV antibiotics and breathing treatments. They said it probably stemmed from the flu that she had a couple weeks ago. She is really doing great now. We are continuing breathing treatments at home and she should be fine.

You know, I started this post with the intention of writing about the stress that accompanies working and then having to stay home from my job with sick children. Not that I don't want to take care of my sick children, I just don't like having to call in sick to work. But as I wrote, I began to answer, in my head, every complaint that I had and I erased all that I had written. This is somewhat how that mental conversation went, at the risk of sounding completely nuts:

Blog: Having to stay home with sick children is really stressful.
My head: Anytime you have a sick child it is stressful, whether you are working or not.

Blog: I hate having to call my boss and say that I am not coming in. (with four kids that happens a bit more than I would like it to happen)
My head: You are fortunate enough to work for an organization that loves you and your family and completely understands when you have a sick baby at home.

Blog: But I don't like relying on someone else to do my job teaching my students for me.
My head: Your students are in good hands, they will put a great sub in your place. And furthermore, would your rather have someone else doing your job and taking care of your sick baby at home for you? (OUCH!)

Blog: But I feel guilty for not being at work because I have made a commitment and I should be there.
My head: But what about the commitment to your family, doesn't that come first?

You know, there are feelings of guilt, at times, associated with working outside the home. But it sort of comes from two ways when I have to call in sick, yet again. Nevertheless, my heart is at home with my kids and there is never any doubt that they come first. Keeping my priorities in the right order is helping me deal with it all.

This post may sound completely crazy, leave a comment if it does and let me know! Or some of you may be able to relate to this mental exchange with my self, leave me comment and let me know that, too!
Either way, these are the thoughts that weigh heavily on the heart and mind of this "Working Mom with a Stay-at-Home Heart".

Hope you all have a blessed day!