December 28, 2009

Holiday Wrap-up

I've been a really bad blogger lately! It is not for lack of words. I think that it is lack of time. That and the fact that I am pretty sure I have vertigo, so I am insanely dizzy which makes the computer screen slant to the right. It looks to me like the typed letters are going to just run right off the page. Uggghh!

Anyway- Christmas in this house was fabulous. The kids were so excited Christmas Eve, I'm surprised they slept at all. Sadie made Santa a little pile of goodies. I am ashamed to say that Santa's cookies were store bought, because- well, life happens. Sadie also wrapped up a book for Santa to read while he was here. And she set out his milk at around 6pm so it was pretty much spoiled by the time they went to sleep. Luckily Santa has the option of pouring his hot milk down the sink instead of chugging it.

Then it was Christmas morning. My dad always shows up before the rooster crows (we don't really have a rooster, I'm just sayin') so that he can be here to see the kids run down the steps on Christmas morning. It is one of my favorite traditions. We open gifts and then have a huge Christmas breakfast with homemade cinnamon rolls, hashbrowns and breakfast cassarole. Noah got a very tiny bike this year. Sadie's big gift was a Leapster. When she opened it, she wasn't too excited, but since she figured it out, she has spent many an hour looking like this:

I have to say, though, that my very favorite gift given this year was one that Sadie gave to her dad. The week before school let out, the PTO had a holiday shop where the kids could bring money and buy gifts for their parents or siblings or whoever. I was working at the shop when Sadie's class came in. I asked her what she wanted to choose for daddy and she immediately gravitated to the most hideous thing available- a pair of orange camo work gloves. She was in utter amazement that she had found the perfect gift. She couldn't stop talking about how much daddy needed those gloves and how much he would just love them and how he just had to have them. I have to admit, they were so ugly that I felt like I had to tell Kamron about them to prepare him. It is the kind of ugliness that just takes your breath away. But once he was in on the surprise he played it up for weeks. He'd say things like, "My hands sure are cold, I wish I had some nice warm gloves." Sadie would just smile. By the time Christmas morning rolled around she could hardly wait another minute to give Kamron his gift. She ran down the steps and before she could even look at the things that Santa left, she grabbed up the box that she wrapped herself and gave it to her daddy. I love this picture because you can see just how excited she is about giving her "perfect" present!

And here's the happy reciever. See- I told you it was the kind of gift you need to prepare someone for!


Then it was off to my Granny Sadie's house for lunch. She is married to my grandfather who had the stroke last week and is still in the hospital. We convinced her to take a short break from the hospital so that we could celebrate as a family. We decided that grandaddy would have wanted us to all still get together, so we did. And even though it was strange, with Grandaddy's empty chair at the end of the table, it was still wonderful to all be together. My Granny's house is the one place I can go that feels like home to me. With divorced parents, I don't have my childhood home to go "home" to. So for me, it isn't a holiday without going "home" to Granny's. There are so many happy memories for me there. And even though this year was emotionally very hard, there are still happy memories to take away. Like Noah running all over the house with his cousin Julia and her new umbrella.

Or watching my Granny open her new footed jammies.

Then Christmas night, it was time for Kamron's family to come over and celebrate! (I'm getting tired just recapping it!) Unfortunately, by this time, the afore mentioned vertigo had kicked in and I needed the aid of a wall to hold me up. It was like I'd had about 3 margaritas. {You know- the point where you think, I've had one too many, but 1 short of full out sickness? Not fun. AND not that I've ever done that before- I am merely guessing :-) } So the inlaws came and I was a terrible, dizzy hostess. But it was still fun. The kids were terribly spoiled by their aunt Kennethia, and they always love getting to spend time with their Papaw Gary and Granny Liz. (Here's Noah and Granny Liz)


One of my favorite parts of Christmas is right after we put the kids to bed. Kamron and I always sit on the couch and stare at the Christmas tree and talk about the day and share our best memories of the kids. Sometimes we rehash Christmases past, so that we can keep those memories alive. I always look forward to this part of the day. Actually, it is probably one of my favorite things that Kamron and I do together all year. I love that boy.

Christmas was so magical. The only thing that could have made it any better was if Miles was here to celebrate it with his family.

On Saturday morning there was lots of playing with new toys. Then it was off to GranMary's for the last of the Christmas gluttony. This was her first Christmas with her new husband, so this was the first time we got the whole "new" family together for a holiday. It was great. We adore them all so much and it is nice to make new traditions as well as share some of our traditions with new people. Here's the whole crew. I love being a part of a big family. Over the course of the next 6 months, we'll be adding 3 more little boys to this family. Next year should be LOTS of fun!


And now that I am utterly exhausted from the recap, I think I'll stop typing go play another round of Guess Who with Sadie and run cars around the race track with Noah. Yay for new things to play with! Hope your holiday was merry and bright!



P.S. If you do nothing else today, stop by my friend Carrie's blog. She is doing the coolest fundraisor to raise money for Our Family Adoptions (the organization that is helping us bring Miles home.) This won't cost you a thing, but raises money for kids in the DRC who are desperate for help. All you have to do is click around her blog and the kiddos make money. How cool is that?!?

December 24, 2009

Rollercoaster

I've been having a hard time trying decide exactly how to blog this week. There is so much going on. My grandfather is still on a ventilator in the ICU. Some days there is more hope than others. This is the first time in my life that I've been this close to losing an immediate family member. So it's been hard. Really hard. Especially at Christmas time. We are a very close knit family- and despite all of our faults and quirks, we are always there for each other- no matter what. The waiting room at the hospital has been one continuous family reunion and it is really great that we can all draw strength and comfort from one another. I'm not sure what the future holds for my grandfather- I'm not even sure how to pray for the situation anymore. And that has clouded all the holiday festivities this year. Our days of doing our Christmas Kindness projects were derailed somewhere around day 8. But that's okay. Right now there are more important lessons to teach my children. They need to see that despite the busyness of the holidays, you stop your whole life when your family needs you. That no matter what else is going on or no matter what other plans you think you have, that you will drop everything and come running to rally around your family. The lesson they've seen in action this week is that your family is the first priority.

So today I am just trying to take a breath and take it all in. Exhaustion set in a few days ago, but life goes on. I am trying to make sure that Christmas is still magical for the kids. They are like night and day about Christmas. Last night while we were saying our prayers, Sadie wanted to pray about Jesus' birthday. And thank you for baby Jesus and so on. I swear- that girl just radiates goodness. I keep waiting for rainbows and fairy dust to come out of her butt. Noah on the other hand just wanted to pray about Santa and the presents and dear Jesus please make sure I get lots of presents. Noah's biggest fear for the past few days is that he would end up on the naughty list. He has not made a move in days where he didn't first ask, "Mom, if I throw this toy will I end up on the naughty list?" I have pretty much controlled him like a puppet master with this fear of the naughty list. Do I feel guilty about manipulating my child like that? Nope- not a bit. I have totally become that mother I swore I'd never be!

And on the adoption front, we have a little news. The consulate in Kinshasa (the capital city in DRC) has logged our paperwork, but has yet to give us an appointment. That is the next step. The consulate will give us a date that we can meet him and he will essentially say- "Yep- you're done. Take this kid out of here." We are hopeful that this date will be the end of January. Which means that hopefully we will only have to wait about another month to meet our baby boy. And we now know Miles' birthday. Are you ready for this? His birthday is the 4th of July. He's our little independence baby. That means that legally he is only 5 months old. We know that he is a little older than this, but this is the date that his government arbitrarily set, so that is the day that we will celebrate. Plus- that date has special signifigance for us. We made our public announcement of our adoption on the 2nd of July. But we signed our first papers to get this all rolling on the 4th of July. I just know that this was destined to be our child from the very beginning. Noah's birthday is on Halloween. So now we have a goblin child and a freedom child. I love it.

Since I've been in crisis mode for days and haven't had time to share it, here's a little recap of a funny incident that happened in our house last week. This one makes me look bad, but dear readers- I love y'all so much I'm willing to put my ugliness out there for your enjoyment. Last week I had a pimple of epic proportions. It was right smack in the middle of my forehead. I can not convey to you just how enormous this thing really was. The kids and I were sitting on the floor reading a book when their curiousity over the protrusion on my forehead took over. Noah kept touching it and saying, "Mom! What is this thing?!" I told the kids it was a zit. I guess Sadie had never heard that word because she kept saying, "No, what is it really?" I told her again that it was a zit. Noah thought about this for a while and then said, "No- it's not a zit. I'm pretty sure it's a clock." It was about the size of a clock. No joke. So they collectively decided that I had, indeed, had a clock implanted on my face. Sadie said, "Mom- that clock is pretty bad. You probably better go to the doctor about getting it taken off." Maybe they'll get me some Proactive for Christmas! Merry Christmas, all!

December 21, 2009

To Everything There Is A Season


There are no words to express what is in my heart right now. On Saturday night my grandaddy, Willard, suffered a stroke. He is now on a ventilator in the neuro-intensive care unit. He is an amazing and strong man now trapped in a body which is failing him. I could go on for days and days and pages upon pages extolling his virtues and conveying how dearly loved he is by his family. But somehow right now this space seems best used to ask for your prayers. Most specifically pray that God's will be done in this situation. His wife and daughters have many tough decisions to make in the coming days and I covet your prayers for their strength and for peaceful hearts for our entire family. Thanks so much- I love you all.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
~ Ecclesiastes 3: 1-4

December 19, 2009

Date Night

Kamron and I went on a *stop the world* date last night. And not the kind of scramble to get a babysitter so we can go to a company party, or client dinner, or something like that date night. I mean a real date night. This was a night where my mom volunteered to come and pick up the kids so that we could do whatever I we wanted! Woo Hoo! I have been dying to go and see the movie The Blind Side, so that's what we did. If you haven't seen it yet- you really should go and see it. It is a great story. It's got football in it for the guys and lots of tearjerker moments for the ladies- just a fantastic overall movie. Then we went out for fajitas and reveled in the silence that comes with a childless dinner. The fajitas were good- but the silence was golden! Every now and then a mom's just gotta be able to eat a meal without hearing, "Meatloaf... again? I hate meatloaf!" or "Can you get me a fork?" or "I spilled my milk". (Insert whining and crying here.)

So what did the kids do while they were at their GranMary's house? They made a gingerbread house! I just gotta say- I am totally proud of my mom for taking on this project. She is not the kind of gal who does messes well. I swear, I don't remember one single time when I was a kid that our house was messy. She's not anal about it or anything, she's just one of those naturally neat and organized people. Unfortunately, I did not inherit that gene because it seems like my house is perpetually in a state of disarray. Except for the laundry- which used to be my nemesis. There were always clothes stacked to the top of the ceiling in the laundry room. I despise folding clothes and putting them away. But last winter I had a dream that Kamron told me we couldn't adopt a baby because I couldn't keep up with the laundry that two kids made, much less add in another one. (Not that he'd ever say anything like that in real life) But every since then, I've made it a priority to keep up with the laundry. And having clothes where they are supposed to be has revolutionized my life. Now if I could only apply that to dirty dishes, dusting, vaccuuming, etc. Oh well, a girl can't have it all.

Okay- so back to the gingerbread house. Here's the crew with their creation:



Then came the best part- eating the gingerbread house!



Shockingly, all that sugar didn't keep them awake. The 30 minute car ride home lulled them right to sleep. Man- it was so great to have a night out!

Day 6

Look what I got in the mail:

Isn't it the cutest thing?! It is a Congolese Flag Blankie. So I though that it was only appropriate that I take its picture with Mile's bear that the kids named "Congo". I can't wait to wrap it around Miles! It is made out of just about the softest material I think I've ever felt. The lady who make these blankies is super talented. She can make the flag from any country. She is in the process of bringing home her gorgeous little daughter from Ethiopia. (oh how I wish I could show you this little girl's picture- she is bee-u-tee-ful, but alas, that is totally against the law in Ethiopia, so you'll just have to take my word for it!) Now, I know that this blog is read by LOTS of adoptive mommies who have adopted from LOTS of different countries all over the world. How cute would your little one look all snuggled up in their flag? It's a great way to help preserve your kiddos birth culture. Plus- the very best thing about these blankies is that all the money raised from the sale of these blankets, goes to help that sweet, precious little girl come home from Ethiopia. These cute blankies can be bought online at http://www.etsy.com/shop/mamaenat

Y'all- it is expensive to adopt a baby. So that's why for our 6th day of Christmas Kindness, we made donations to two families that are fundraising the money to bring their little ones home. I believe that when someone feels the calling and the pull in their heart to adopt a baby, that we are ALL involved in that process. Sometimes that means helping them pray for direction, praying for their children, helping them logistically, financially, or physically. The process is long and it is draining and we want to do what we can to help other people going through it. We have been surrounded by an awesome community through this whole process. We also realize that we are crazy lucky that my husband works for a company who believes in adoption and is willing to help with expenses. This has been a huge blessing for us. And while it doesn't cover even close to the cost, it does help free up enough resources to take care of the rest. We also recognize that this is RARE. Most employers don't do this, so while our contributions were small (oh how I wish I could give more!) I know that every little bit helps when you are trying to bring a child home to their forever family. If I ever win the lottery- look out!- I'd be the person who went bankrupt in a year because I gave all my money away. Thanks God I am married to a financial advisor, right?!

Have a great weekend folks!

December 17, 2009

Blow Holes and Bananas

The holidays are upon us! Have you been eating from your four main Christmas food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup? (A nod to Elf- one of the BEST Christmas movies of all times!)

We took the kids to see Santa last night. Sadie had been preparing Noah that sometimes at the mall, one of Santa's helpers is pretending to be the real Santa because the real Santa can't be at every mall all the time. But she was really hoping that the real Santa would be at the mall we went to last night. She took a gaze at him and decided that he was, indeed, the real Santa. Guess we lucked out, huh?!?
Kamron was wondering why I didn't dress the kids up a little to have their picture made with Santa. I think I am becoming one of those moms who just doesn't care about that kind of stuff anymore. I am also that mom who refuses to spend $25 on a 4x6 photo made by the mall people. I took along my own camera and snapped away. I think I am getting way to practical in my old age! No offense to the moms out there who do the professional Santa photos. (I can just about guarantee that if you are that mom, though, that you only have one kid!) By the way- are there any moms out there who can help me solve this Christmas conundrum? Noah's Christmas list only consists of two items: a pterodactyl and a blow hole so that he can turn into a whale. Anyone know where I can get either of those items?



Today was the fifth day of our Christmas Kindness project. It has been my favorite thing we've done so far. Today we went to the store and got tons of bananas. Then we took our bananas to my great-grandmother's nursing home and the kids passed them out to all the residents. I swear they were way happier about it then they look in this picture. They kind of look like they are being lulled into a coma by the bananas. The old ladies just fussed over the kids and wanted to hug and kiss all over them. The kids were great! They passed out hugs and bananas and said "Merry Christmas" to anyone who was awake. The residents just lit up when they saw the kids. I imagine it has to be such a joy to have little ones come to visit. This was by far the most rewarding thing we've done. We have another nursing home project on the schedule for Sunday and we are all really looking forward to it!

Here's to hoping that your holiday preparations are smooth and stress-free. Remember- keep it simple! 20 years from now, your children won't remember what they opened under the tree. They'll remember the traditions and the time they spent with you! (And least that's what I keep telling myself!)

Noah telling Santa all about pterodactyls

December 16, 2009

On the 4th day of Christmas Kindness I Was Eaten By A Microraptor

Noah's imagination is running wild today. He has been wanting to play this game all day where he pretends to be a baby bird and I'm the mama bird. The premise of this game is that the "birds" stay in their "nest" and try to avoid predators. We made a nest on my bed out of lots of pillows and blankets. Then we each had a blanket to put over ourselves that served as our egg. The whole game all we do is go in and out of our eggs. For instance, Baby Bird (Noah) says, "Hurry Mommy Bird! Get in your egg, it's getting ready to storm!" We pull the blankets over our heads and wait. Then, we he feels we've waited in our eggs long enough, he'll say, "Pop out of your egg Mommy Bird- it's day!" He addresses me as "Mommy Bird" in every single sentence. We dodged all kinds of weather- rain, snow, tornadoes. Then the real fun began when we were evidently the prey of choice for countless animals. We hid in our eggs to avoid being eaten by rhinosaurs (he evidently did a little creative breeding in his head!), ondacondas (anacondas), dragons, and microraptors. I think he's been watching a little too much Dinosaur Train on PBS! The game finally ended (after a solid hour of getting in and out of our eggs) when I couldn't get into my egg fast enough and was eaten by a microraptor. What a terrible way to go.

On a happier note- today is the 4th day of Christmas Kindness! Today we chose the Backpack Program in our town to be the recipient of today's donation. The Backpack Program works with the school system to provide food for kids on the weekends who wouldn't otherwise be able to eat when school is not in session. This is such an awesome program. They send the weekend food (all prepackaged- because some of these kids don't have anyone to help them prepare the food) home with the kids in a backpack. This way- they still look like everyone else. It keeps kids from being singled out in their classes by carrying grocery bags home from school. I am all for any program that ministers to kids while being mindful of their integrity. With Christmas Break coming up- the backpack program tries to send home enough food with each kid to get them through the 2 weeks that they are out of school. That requires a LOT of food. Sadie's school has been collecting food donations for a few weeks, so today we purchased lots of single serve food items for her to take in.

The other recipient of some Christmas Kindness is my blogger friend Corey. She has adopted a whole truckload of children from Haiti. I don't know if you know much about Haiti- but it is an awful place to live. It is an even more awful place to give birth. The maternal death rate and the infant mortality rate would blow your mind. Heartline Ministries in on the ground in Haiti, helping to provide prenatal care to these mothers in Haiti. They are raising money to purchase an ambulance to help transport the mothers to and from the clinic. Getting to give birth in the clinic often times means the difference between life and death for a mom in Haiti. So Corey- and a whole bunch of other crazies- are running in a marathon to raise money to purchase this ambulance. About a month ago a college student offered a $10,000 dollar for dollar match to anything given to Heartline by the end of this year. So the pressure was really on for these runners to make as much money as they could so they could get the matching funds. Corey is a flippin' one woman fundraising machine. Right now she is hosting a raffle, with more awesome prizes than you can shake a stick at (can you tell I'm a KY gal?) If she can raise $1200 in the next 48 hours- she is adding a brand new Wii to the raffle! All the prizes for the raffle were donated by her blog readers- so all of the money donated goes directly to Heartline Ministries to buy the ambulance. I believe 100% in this ministry and for the fourth day of Christmas Kindness we made our contribution to Corey's cause. Want to help the women of Haiti and at the same time have the chance to win some great stuff? Of course you do- you mission minded people, you! Hop on over to Corey's blog and make a donation!

December 15, 2009

We officially grew!

He's ours! We got the most wonderful news this morning that our adoption is complete and Miles Dieudonne is officially a Terry! Woo Hoo!!! In our hearts, he's been our son since the moment we laid eyes on him, but now we are also legally his parents. I am still waiting to hear from our agency to determine travel plans and such, so I'll update again when I know more. For right now, I am going to continue doing the happy dance and grinning ear to ear! I am officially a mama to THREE kiddos!!!

It is also our third day of Christmas Kindness. On day two we took all of our old towels and blankets and some new chew toys to our local animal shelter. This was a great lesson for Sadie. I am not so much of an animal person, but Sadie is just crazy about animals. We got to have a great conversation about how no matter what it is you are passionate about, there is a way to give back.

Today is garbage day in our neighborhood, so for the third day of Christmas Kindness we went around the neighborhood and anonymously pulled people's garbage cans off the curb and put them next to their respective houses. This one was not such a fun one to do. It is crazy cold in Kentucky today and pulling around garbage cans makes for really cold fingers. But we got to talk about how fortunate we are to have a warm home to live in to get out of the cold. We said a prayer for those who don't have shelter. I am just loving doing this little family project. It is a daily reminder to put things in perspective!


Freezin' for a reason




Sadie- wishing she could smuggle this little shelter dog into our home

December 14, 2009

A Perfect Day

Yesterday was one of the best family days we've had in a long time. We decided that after church, we were going to go bowling. Sadie loves to bowl- but we've never taken Noah. You never know how Noah is going to react. But we were so pleasantly surprised to find that Noah loves bowling too! In fact, that boy has been down right adaptable the last couple of weeks- and that's a word I thought would never be used to describe our Noah Bear. Anyway- the kids had an absolute blast. It was so fun to watch them. They yelled and cheered for each other and were so genuinely encouraging of one another. They'd roll the ball down and then watch with such anticipation to see how many pins they could knock over. Then there were cute dances of joy and high fives all around. Plus, we were totally impressed that Noah could manuever a ball that was 23% of his body weight. (even if it did move so slowly down the lane that it nearly stopped before it hit the pins!)













When we got home, we decided to keep the fun going by making a batch of Christmas cookies. Unfortunately, Noah did a considerable amount of nose picking in the decorating process, so these cookies cookies couldn't be distributed. (Darn- we had to eat them!) There is just something so magical about having a 6 year old and a 3 year old at Christmas time. I wouldn't trade it for all the world!











Then those flour cover kids jumped in the tub. They always take baths together. Sadie informed me that there would be just enough room left in the tub to put Miles right in between her and Noah. Kamron said that if we put them in that order that our kids would look like a hamburger in a bun. (I love that man's sense of humor!) The kids have been talking about Miles a lot. I think that they sense that it won't be too much longer until he's home. Sadie totally gets the whole thing, but Noah doesn't really understand what's going on other than that there will be someone new to play with. Last night when I tucked him into bed he said something that I thought was the sweetest thing. He said, "Mama? Can we put some of our cookies we made in the mail for Baby Miles?" I wasn't sure what to say. Then he added, "We can send him a Christmas Card and he'll be so excited he can show it to his mommy!" How I wish that could be true! Oh how I love those kids!

December 13, 2009

12 days- A Million Ways

I am really struggling with Christmas this year. Not the trees, or the lights, or the baking or the songs. It's the stuff. Every day people are calling asking about what to get the kids for Christmas. And I never know what to say. There is nothing they need. And while I love shopping for my kids and planning out the Santa stuff, I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around the commercialism. Don't get me wrong- I get a terrible case of the gimme's when I walk up and down the aisles of that fantastic red bullseye store. And everytime I see the commercials for Wii's, I picture our family having a blast playing with it and I put it on my wish list. But, while I have a child thousands of miles away who has NOTHING, it all just seems so meaningless. I have such bad guilt. Every time I make a purchase, I think- wow... do you know how many hungry kids that money could feed? Or I go to the electronics section and get mad that there are still parts of the world with no electricity.

A year ago- I didn't even know where the Congo was on a map. And while I was always mindful that there are sick and starving people all over the world, it never affected my day to day life. But this adoption journey has opened my eyes to so many things. I've learned and seen things that have changed me to my very core. And now that I am aware, I'm just not really sure what to do with it all. I keep wondering what it says about me that there are material things I'd love to have, knowing full well the hurt and the poverty that exists in the world. I feel so divided in my heart that I want to shower Sadie and Noah with things, while Miles will be spending Christmas in the orphanage just like it is any other day. I feel conflicted. I feel helpless.

So while I figure there is nothing I can do to stop the commercialism of Christmas ( heck- I can't even stop in my own home!) there are a million different things that I can do to bring some balance to the season. In our home today starts day 1 of the 12 days of Christmas kindness. I've seen this idea on a few other blogs (so I can in no way take credit for the idea). The premise is that on each of the 12 days before Christmas, our family will participate in a random act of kindness. I have lots of things planned and will try to share every day what special thing we do. Nope- we're not saints- Santa better still stop at this house! But this is my way of making sure that my children have an intentional way of focusing on the meaning of Christmas. It would seem so hypocritical to tell them that Jesus is the reason for Christmas, without doing anything to be His hands and feet in our community.

So for the 1st day of Christmas Kindness we collected all of our outgrown and unworn winter coats to donate to our local mission. Sadie is already chomping at the bit to do tomorrow's activity! So maybe this can be our new Christmas tradition- and when my kids grow up, they'll remember that THIS is what having the spirit of Christmas is all about.

December 08, 2009

Baby Logan!

I am officially an aunt for the first time ever! Logan Miguel was born Monday morning! Bradley and Priscilla- I wish you a lifetime of happiness with your sweet, little son. And Logan- Come to my house- I'll let you do all the things that Mommy and Daddy won't let you do!


My brother, Bradley, his wife, Priscilla, and Baby Logan

Inevitable Truths

Do you ever feel like no matter how much good you try to put out there in the world, there is a line a mile long of people waiting to tear you down? Adoption, like life, is a rollercoaster of emotions. No matter what the intentions behind your positive actions, there will be people ready to throw your human failings in your face. They will take the good and chew it up and mangle it and spit it back out as something ugly and self serving. The goal is to stay focused. The goal is to not let your heart become bitter and guarded. The goal is keep putting the good out there and not focus on the negativity. The negativity will destroy you. I am repeating Psalms 51 like a mantra today. "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me."

Sometimes, it is so easy to let yourself be brought down. You have to make a concious choice to keep plugging away, to keep trudging through, to keep attempting to make a difference, despite the neigh-sayers. One must realize that more often than not, the people who try to rip your heart to shreds, are the people who need your love the most.

"If God is for you, who can be against you." Romans 8:31

P.S. Dear Blog- Thanks for the free therapy.

December 04, 2009

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Sorry I didn't post the Pampered Chef Giveaway winner last night. The flu has me in it's grips as we speak. I didn't have the energy to write the entries on slips of paper to put in my big mixing bowl. So today, from the comfort of my bed, I managed to get a pen and some scissors to get this giveaway going! So the winner is...

Amanda, from Mississippi!


Now Amanda, you have a serious choice to make. Because of my flu induced stupor, I can't muster up the energy to go to the post office. I do, however, have a pre-paid shipping box already at my house. Problem is, the basket won't fit in it. So- I can either take the goodies out of the basket and ship them all to you today, or you can wait until next week and I can ship the whole thing. And just FYI- the basket itself is completely worthless. I am pretty sure I snagged it at a Garden Ridge Sidewalk Sale back in the day. So don't feel like your missing out on Longerberger or anything. I'll leave it up to you! Decisions, decisions! Dear Amanda- just email me your address and your shipping preference! Congrats and happy baking!

And another update. Do you remember that cute little boy Xavian that I had you all praying for? His MRI was this past week and it was clear! No more treatments or surgeries for Xavian! He'll get new scans every three months, but for now he gets to be home for Christmas with his family! Thanks for praying for him!

December 02, 2009

Hemingway and the Liar

There is never any end to the things that come out of Noah's mouth. He only sleeps for 9 hours a day total (no wonder the kid won't grow) and the other 15 hours of the day (it took me way too long to do that math in my head) he spends talking. And talking. And talking. And always wanting a response. And if you don't respond immediately, he asks over and over and over again. You get the cycle. When you talk continuously, you are bound to say some funny things every now and then. However, with Noah, the line between funny and downright embarrassing is a bit blurry. For instance, earlier in the week, Noah and I were enjoying a really great afternoon at the mall. I had to duck into Sears to use the potty. I always try to be as speedy as possibly because in the short time it takes me to go, Noah will invariably unroll all the toilet paper or pop his head under the divider to "take a peek" at the lady in the next stall. However- this time, no sooner had I unzipped and started to hover over a germy public potty, did Noah scream "Mommy- how come girls pee-pee out of their bottoms instead of using their wee-wees?" I managed to jet out of that bathroom before anyone could look at me and wonder if I was transgendered or something. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!)

And sometimes, if you talk all the time, you are bound to tell a little lie every now and then. Like this morning at the vet. (Yes- we were at the vet again- as a side note the dog is now on Prozac- thank God! Anybody in the market for a psychotic lab?) We walked in and the vet asked how Emma, the dog, was and Noah answered, "She's a crazy girl!" (very accurate) He kept asking if where we were was a vet or a doctor. We tried to explain to him that it is a doctor for animals. The vet told Noah that they helped dogs and cats and farm animals. He asked if they helped horses. The vet said that they did and did Noah have a horse? He said, "Yes." (Very inaccurate.) So the vet's next question was what color was Noah's horse. Without any hesitation he told her that his horse was brown. Then she asked if Noah's horse was in a barn. And he said, "No- we keep her in the street." Little booger!

So while Noah tells tall tales, Sadie has started writing stories of her own. She loves to write. (Wonder where she gets that from?) She used to sit at the kitchen table and write the words that she learned in kindergarten over and over again in every color crayon. In the last couple of weeks, she has figured out that she is not limited to the 30 or so words she's learned at school, and that she can try to sound out the letters to make her own words. And she's been doing just that. She will spend hours just writing and writing- mostly letters to little ole me. She's come out with some really cute stuff lately. Here's a little sample of her work.


Translation: Mommy, I love how you are so sweet on Thanksgiving. Is she insinuating that I am not sweet the other 364 days of the year???


Translation: Going to the waterfall. Have a marvelous Tuesday. Love, Sadie


This is the sign she made for her beauty shop a few days ago, where she gave me a makeover. Translation: Jewelry Shop. Does hair, lip gloss and eye shadow.

I may have the next Hemingway on my hands. Or an entrepreneur. Or, or, or, the possibilities are endless!

*Don't forget to get entered in the Pampered Chef giveaway! You only have until tomorrow to get entered. I am making the executive decision to end the giveaway a day early on Thursday 12-3 at 7:00 pm. I forgot that we are traveling this weekend and I am not always able to hack into some wi-fi from the grandparent's house. Winner will be announced Thursday night! Good luck!

December 01, 2009

O Christmas Tree

Last night we put up our Christmas tree. The kids had so much fun doing it. This is the first year that Noah was old enough to figure out what was going on. Our tree looks like a hot mess of preschool ornaments and heavy bottom branches since those are the only ones the kids can reach. But I love it and wouldn't have it any other way. I figure I can have one of those beautiful elegant Christmas trees when I am old and my grandchildren are grown. For now- I love that all our ornaments are a hodge podge of things that the kids have made or ones that we purchased when we first got married. I get so nostalgic when we get all those little, hand-made ornaments out of their boxes. We got Miles a "First Christmas" ornament and Sadie and Noah put it on the tree together. I wanted to get a perfect picture of them putting it on, since it is one of the only ways we have to be close to Miles for the holiday, but alas, all the pictures came out all blurry. Santa- that is one of the many reasons I'd like to have a new camera for Christmas. Yes Santa, I know that cameras are expensive. But really, Santa, I have been an especially good girl this year and I really want it!

Here's a smattering of our tree trimming:






Today is also "World AIDS Day." Two-thirds of all the reported cases of AIDS are in sub-saharan Africa. In third world countries, the cost of anti-retro viral (ARV) drugs, to keep a person with HIV alive, is only 44 cents per day. Sadly, this is more money than most people can afford. This is where you come in. I know that you are in the shopping spirit with Christmas coming up. So I have a proposition for you. If you are planning on buying someone on your list a new iPod, or an iTunes giftcard, or a Dell laptop or a Starbucks giftcard, or any number of things- buy them from the product (red) store instead. The items cost the same as they would anywhere else, but a portion of the profits get donated to AIDS relief in Africa. This is WIN-WIN people! These are things you were going to buy anyway. Plus you get to help provide relief for the global AIDS crisis in the process. YIPPEE! Don't these things look cool, too?



To see a full list of all the product (red) items, click HERE. Now you can be inspi(red)! Happy shopping!
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