Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Obligatory New Years Post?

Pin It You know, the resolution post that has fifteen things I will do and fifteen things I won't do, and every single one of them will be broken by the end of January? Yeah, that post. I'm not doing it. Who needs the discouragement? I did find this list of questions on (In)Courage and thought I'd answer them. Keep in mind, it's early, I'm answering them off the top of my head without a ton of thought, and once again, I woke up with a headache. (And, for once, I'm aiming for a snark/sarcasm free post ... let's see if that's even possible.) (Evidently not.)

(I went through and added some things here and there ... the things in italics are my edits.)

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
The kids, particularly Gabbi, really stepping up around here. I have been so proud of her - all of them really - for just being able to realize when I'm at the breaking point, and just helping out. What an enormous blessing!
Also, the fact that my brother is still here, and doing pretty well. That was completely unexpected after this summer!

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
hm ... let's see ... racking my brain ...


3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
My friends! They anticipated my needs, listened to me cry and whine, prayed for me, made me laugh ... my friends who are reading this - you have no idea the blessing you have been to me over this year!

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
Feeling that I wasn't handling things well enough; I wasn't supportive enough, I wasn't kind enough, that no matter how I did things, it wasn't enough. Really, my main goal for the year was just to survive it (sorry, I know how dramatic that sounds). Doing it well wasn't really my goal. When I was reminded that I wasn't doing it well, that was a huge obstacle. And well, I'll just leave it at that.

5. Pick three words to describe 2009.
CHALLENGING!! sleepless, different

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2009 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).
CHALLENGING!! (And well, he hasn't SEEN me in six months! Who knows how he would describe it?)

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2009 (again, without asking).
CHALLENGING!! lonely, busy

8. What were the best books you read this year?
Same Kind of Different As Me (just finished that and LOVED IT!) Crazy Love (haven't exactly finished this one yet, but I really love what I've read of it.)

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
my friends. To the one who asked one day "What simple thing would make life easier for you right now?" AND THEN JUST DID IT ... oh my, how I thank the Lord for you!
All of my friends ... and the thing is, I'm a big "repayer of favors" usually, and there is just no way I can do that (which is something that has been an interesting challenge for me!) I am so blessed!
Also my relationship with my husband ... it's been a little weird this year; go figure that. I'm anxious to see what 2010 is going to look like for my marriage.

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
I think realizing that I am way more capable than I ever gave myself credit for. And that it's okay to be a little needy from time to time. I've had to let go of some pride issues, which has been tough, but necessary.
Anticipating the changes that are going to have to be made when Jim gets back ... well, that should be interesting. I'm pretty good at doing what I want to do when I want to do it, and I'd be lying if I didn't say that being mostly in control has worked for me. In some areas, I'll very happily give up that control. In others ... well, it might be a challenge. I'm betting he's going to have his own challenges to deal with when he gets back too. Might be interesting around here!

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
Maybe I've gotten a little better at trying to figure out what's really important, and realizing it's not whether there's a mess under the girls' beds. (A little better is all ... still had a fit about that the other day.) I've given myself permission to be emotional sometimes, and permission to avoid situations if I choose to not be emotional sometimes.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
I can see the Lord changing me even now ... the pride and the "what's really important?" issues ...
Also, I've seen the Lord really meet some very plain old basic needs, even as I whined about having those needs.

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
I'm blaming nabisco for that. Darn Oreos.

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
(wow, these are tough questions ... and now that I'm at the end of the list, I'm kind of questioning the wisdom of putting this all "out there!")
I've relied on others in places that I probably normally would not have. There are a very small few who have been "privileged" to see lots of the ugliness that lives in me ... which takes a huge amount of trust.

15. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?
haha ... my mom got me an electric broom for Christmas. OH MY WORD, I'm in love with that thing. I hate sweeping the floors, hate the dustpan, and usually my floors are in desperate need of help. This little thing is awesome! And the best part? It's lightweight enough that even my 8 year old can do it! Now that's enjoyable! (Do I sound like an infomercial?)

16. What was your most challenging area of home management?
just getting it all done. I get overwhelmed so easily, and I'm pretty much incapable of anything when that happens, so I went to great lengths to avoid that. Doing all of the laundry, then realizing that half the contents of the girls' closets was crammed under their beds, or the boy had shoved dirty clothes into his toybox ... yikes!

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
oh yikes. I'm going to just say facebook. I do enjoy it, and it's been great connecting with people I haven't talked to in years, but I also wasted a great amount of time there.

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
This year I made a loose schedule and stuck to it. It has been great! I've done basically a month at a time, kept up with a calendar, and it's been so nice!

19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?
The Lord can take even what seems insurmountable and bring you through it. That's actually a prayer of faith, because I'm certainly not through it yet.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2009 for you.
This is certainly not my phrase or statement, but I'm claiming it, for 2009 and forever.
Lamentations 3:22-24 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."

___
So, let me challenge you to grab these questions and answer them for yourself. A little end of the year introspection is a good thing!

Monday, December 28, 2009

I Heart Faces - Outtakes

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Oh my. I have a few (um, thousand.) Here are five. (nope, four. She changed her mind.)

First, the annual "let's make mama crazy by LOSING OUR MINDS when she starts trying to get a decent Christmas card pic." Christmas 2007.



(If you saw a pic here earlier, please try to erase it from your mind. LOL She gave permission then rescinded it, so I took the pic out.)

And one of my favorite pictures ever. The "this is guaranteed to make me smile no matter how bad of a day I'm having" pic. Brendan was way unhappy to not be included in a pic of the girls. I intended to just crop him out after the pic was taken, but I really just love it.


And this one from the other day. I love taking pics of these two boys. One was very cooperative and sweet. The other (my own son) CLEARLY had too much caffeine. Or something.

(The really funny thing? In the last pic I took, the buddy decided that if he couldn't beat him, to join him, so I got two tongues sticking out!)

Click on over to I Heart Faces and get ready to giggle at everyone else's outtakes!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

It's Post a YouTube Video Day!

Pin It It's "Post a YouTube Video" Day!

(I totally made that up.)

(I'm betting that you guessed that.)

(I just wanted an excuse to post this video.)

I was just giggling earlier this week because this silly Christmas song from an ALBUM Troy had when we were kids kept going through my head. The girls just laughed at me and said there was NO WAY ON EARTH that could possibly have been a real song.

I did what any internet savvy mom would do; I searched for it on youtube. AND I FOUND IT.

And because I could not possibly keep this fabulousness to myself, you get to see and hear the video too! As silly as it sounds, this song very much says Christmas to me, because I remember so well being so excited about Christmas and listening to this album. I'm sure we watched the show too, but it's just the music that I remember so well.

So ... without further ado ...

I present ...
R2D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas:


And because I love you all so much, I have to share this one too. I couldn't find a video for this one though.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas, My Friends

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

The GOOD Things About Being an Army Wife

Pin It 1. Shaving is entirely optional.

2.


hm. That's all I've got. I miss my husband.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I Heart Faces - my holiday traditions in photos

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One of our Christmas traditions is the annual Christmas card. The truly fun part of this is coming up with the perfect Christmas card picture. This usually ends up with at least one adult and and least two children in tears. Frequently there is bribery involved as well, and mama always needs chocolate when it's all over. Ah, what fond memories my children are going to have of this event as they grow up! I'm sure their therapists will hear all about it.

2001 is the earliest we have. (Sorry Gabbi. We didn't enter the digital age until 2001. We probably did do a Christmas card when we had just one; at least I hope we did. It would have been easier with just one! My scanner has issues so I didn't even bother looking through the boxes of pics.) Gabbi was 3, Madelyn 8 mo in this pic. This is one of exactly three minutes in Madelyn's first year of life in which she wasn't crying.


2002 (This is one of my favorite pics ever.)


2003


2004


2005 ... enter Brendan into the scene.


2006 I remember that it was absolutely freezing out when we took these pics.


2007 ... another favorite picture. I cannot begin to tell you how long or how much frustration was involved in taking this pic! Nor am I willing to tell you how much photoshop was involved.


2008 ... we were anticipating some family changes in 2009 and decided maybe it would be good if mom and dad got in the pic.


2009. I did not have it in me to try to attempt pics of the kids by myself, so we used a family portrait made in May as our Christmas card pic.

Not Me!

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As I'm sitting here in the quiet of my house on December 21 with about four presents wrapped and about 104 to go, and a big ole pile of laundry (didn't I just DO the laundry?!?), I think I need a little "not me" action.

It was not me who typed the "go north" post and got up in the middle of it, ate some cookie dough, then sat back down to finish it.

It is not me who has been sugar free for two days. Nobody has been yelled at, maimed, or harmed in any way because of this. Amen. I did not make six dozen cookies yesterday and miraculously not eat a one of them. I do enjoy making cookies and it works pretty well to just make them and give them away. I did keep a few though; somebody make them stop staring at me like the eyes in the Geico commercials! (My children will probably take care of that when they wake up ... cookies for breakfast anyone? Nope, not me.) Oh and by the way - do not think there's anything noble going on here. I am the girl who can eat nearly an entire package of oreos and proved that in the last week. :-/ I mean, no I'm not. Or didn't. Or something like that.

I do not keep putting off getting a netflix subscription because it's more than I want to spend in a month on renting movies. In the meantime, I also do not go to redbox and end up keeping every movie I rent for nearly a week. Yeah, someone do the math here ... this is not the most brilliant financial move ...

Jim will be home for leave soon, so we have told the children that we're going to hold Christmas until he gets here. My children have not told other people that we're just not having Christmas this year. Oh my. (So, if you're reading this and have heard from my children that we're not having Christmas, it's not true. Actually (blush) mama has overcompensated for *something or other* and the children are going to have a bigger Christmas than normal. Oops. Because we all know presents make everything better, right?)

My son does not have his mother's natural skepticism. He did not, on Saturday, when Santa asked him what he wanted for Christmas, look at him seriously and say "I already told you what I wanted!" Yikes. After a few seconds of panic, I did not look at Santa and say "Of course Santa remembers that you want a GRABBER TRUCK for Christmas!" The funny thing - this is just Santa #2 for him this year, and this one really looked like Santa. The first one ... um ... did not. Not even close.

Okay, I believe that's it for this Monday! I'm working on a picture post from I heart faces that I might be able to get up today ... or maybe tomorrow.

Friday, December 18, 2009

It is Time to Go North

Pin It No, we're not headed back to Spokane, or anywhere really.

(I'm going to try my best to make this post not jumbled. I'm not expecting a whole lot of success. You've been warned.)

I have been reading this blog: Lysa TerKeurst. If you're not reading it, you should be. Many of her posts just plain resonate with me. You know, weight and hair struggles. How many people can't relate to that? (Okay, she goes way deeper than that; although those alone are enough to keep me following her blog, especially when my handy dandy heat styler broke today ... right after I had done HALF of my hair. I'm sure the half flat, half frizzy look is all the rage these days, right? I can't make this stuff up, people.)

ANYWAY ... the point?
Earlier this week, I read this post.

Then yesterday, I read this post.

Go read them. I'll wait.

(Did you read them?)

The first one made me think. Yeah, it deals with weight loss, so that sparked my interest, but it really spoke to me about areas other than that.

Then the second one. Oh my. That verse just grabbed me. Did you catch it too? Deuteronomy 2:3 - You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north.

Got any mountains in your life that you've been circling long enough? Sense that maybe the Lord is telling you it's time to stop circling the mountain and head north? Oh my. Yes, of course weight loss is one of them, but other, bigger, more important mountains are out there too, and I've been walking around and around a few of them for quite a while now.

Now it's time to quit walking around the mountain and head north. That's going to mean letting go of a few things. Maybe some anger, maybe some bitterness, maybe some ideals of perfection ... maybe about seventy-five other things. And yes, sugar is one of them.

This verse has been rolling around in my head since I first read it; just thinking about some things I need to let go of and some things I need to head toward. Lysa said it much better than I could, so please, if you haven't read those posts, go read them. :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Just Random

Pin It I don't have the time or energy to put into a big blog post, but I do have some random thoughts that I'd love to get down.

First - Mrs. Billie told us we should go to the Christmas production at First Baptist Port Neches. At first I was thinking "yeah, right. Another thing TO DO." But then she told me what it was about and that she thought it would really bless us to go see it. We did and it did. They had incorporated stories from an army chaplain in Iraq into the scenes of a typical passion play. It really was fabulous. The kids were RIVETED. (Well, except for Brendan, who made it five minutes into it before falling asleep and drooling all over my shoulder.) I wish last night had not been the last night because I would have recommended that all of you local people go see it. Thank you, Billie, for telling me to go see it! And thank you First Baptist Port Neches for putting it on. It was a humongous blessing to us.

Next - a note to my children.
Dear sweet children of mine,
I love you to pieces. I just want to share with you some information that will make our mutual existence in this house more pleasant. We seem to have missed some valuable information in teaching prepositions, mainly you do not seem to have grasped the difference between IN the laundry basket and NEXT TO the laundry basket. Please learn this difference ASAP. Also, please note that trying something on and rejecting it does not make it dirty. If something has not been worn during a meal, or outside, or for at least several hours, it probably is not dirty, and would be better folded neatly and placed back in the drawer, rather than next to the laundry basket. If you wear a dress to church, and you don't get rained on, chances are that dress is not dirty and does not need to be washed. Please do not wad it up on the floor next to the laundry basket where it will be walked on for several days. Please hang it back up and place it neatly in your closet. If you can wear a dress and live in this house, you can also read, so all of this goes double if the magic words "DRY CLEAN ONLY" are on the tag of said dress. And to the other child: I KNOW you love your Buzz shirts. Believe me, I know. You have several though, so it is really unnecessary for you to wear the same one every day. Although this really does cut down on the laundry, I'd really prefer to have a bit of additional laundry to you wearing the same dirty shirt every single day. Also, you do have several shirts that do not have Buzz on them. They need some love too. Oh - another note to all three of you: if, in pulling something out of your drawer, something else is knocked out, it's not dirty. Simply hitting the floor does not make things dirty. Please pick up what's knocked out, fold it neatly, and put it back in the drawer. One more thing. I love you to pieces, you sweet little darlings!
Love, your ever loving, laundry doing, mother.

Okay, now I have to run. I either have to clean this house TODAY or I will be forced to move to preserve my sanity. I'm hanging on by a thread anyway, so all measures to preserve sanity must be taken.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Not Me Monday!

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I was not too busy to blog nearly all week last week! Nope, I didn't spend a good portion of the week last week looking at my blackberry to try to figure out which Christmas party / play / program etc. was coming up next. I also didn't look at my calendar today and realize that all of the extra stuff ends Tuesday. I also did not do a little happy dance about that!

I did not award myself the "What Was She THINKING?!?" award on Saturday. There would be no need for such an award, because I certainly didn't attempt to take three children to Olive Garden by myself. We have a tradition of taking the kids out to eat after the girls' choir concert, and usually go somewhere fairly nice, or at least doesn't have the menu on the wall for this celebration. When asking the kids where they wanted to do, I didn't receive two McDonald's! replies and one Olive Garden! and go with the one that had breadsticks ... because it sounded really yummy to me. I didn't sit down with my children, immediately break up a fight because there was only one red crayon, watch my son scoot his chair on wheels across the room, wipe tears because one child only got two olives, order Italian sodas for the kids and listen to two complain that they didn't like them, and watch the third drink hers and theirs, then listen to the other two complain that they didn't have anything to drink, then wonder at my sanity when I let a child wearing a white shirt order spaghetti with marinara sauce, then leave with four mostly full to go boxes. I don't suspect that I heard cheering as we walked out the door, either. I did not declare right then and there that Chick Fil A was going to be fine dining for us for the next several months. (They come to the table and refill my drink, which kind of negates the menu being on the wall. LOL)

I am not currently sitting in a house that is completely trashed that was completely clean on Saturday. (I'm typing this Sunday night ... so YESTERDAY! Yesterday my house was clean! What in the heck happened?) I am not threatening to have certain children open Christmas presents then march said children to Goodwill to donate these presents if they don't RIGHT NOW start cleaning up their stuff! (Yes, I am a mean mama. I'm probably not sorry if that shocks you.)

I did not stay up until nearly midnight last night addressing Christmas cards. And especially not Christmas cards that have been in my possession for about a month now, just sitting there, lurking, waiting for me to address them. I'd never put off a task that took all of half an hour until the very last minute. I also did not (AGAIN) run out and have to place an emergency Christmas card order at Walgreens. Let's hope that the new ones don't sit on my counter for a full month before receiving attention. Or maybe I should have just been a little less optimistic and made them into New Year's Cards ... or Valentine's ...

Okay, I think that's it for this week! I hope you have had a great week, and that you didn't do any of these things either.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Delightful!

Pin It There is nothing in the world like a four year old who has gone shopping for his parents for the first time.

(fake smile and all!)

He is so funny. He came to me right after shopping and told me what he had bought me. (It's a snowglobe.) I am not allowed to touch the package, or even look at it really. Despite the fact that he has told me what it is, he wants it to be a surprise.

He actually has presents under the tree that are to him. He's expressed a little bit of interest in them, but mainly he watches the presents he bought from the awana store. He is just so proud of himself for buying those!

Reminds me of a certain "rocking dog" that a certain little boy who is now nearly 17 got for a certain Nana, when he was probably about four.

I am totally taking this child to the dollar store with a few dollars in his pocket to see what treasures he comes up with for his sisters!

Four year old boys are just the sweetest things, even when they wake up on the wrong side of the kindermat and have a meltdown at Dillards because their moms want them to try on a pair of pants rather than a Buzz Lightyear shirt.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I Heart Faces - Sweet Dreams

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Awww ... aren't they just little angels when they're sleeping?

have to edit this with a quote from a scrapbook page done for his sister: Looking at his sweet sleeping face, it's hard to believe that he could be the human equivalent of the tasmanian devil. ;)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Wordless Wednesday/ Speechless Saturday

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Awww! They love each other!

Friday, December 4, 2009

FABULOUS Give-Away!

Pin It http://makingmyamericandream.blogspot.com/2009/12/pearl-paradise-review-giveaway.html

Oh my goodness. I browsed around the Pearl Paradise website for a few minutes and had to stop because I was drooling all over myself. That's really embarrassing, you know? ;)

So go to the blog, and enter. I really hope I win though. :-P

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanksgiving Recap - the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Pin It Good:
Getting away from home for a week and watching the kids enjoy Jim's family.

Hearing Brendan say "Emawee" and watching him bond with her.

Don's patience in playing approximately 735 games of Bingo with Madelyn.

Thanksgiving dinner, especially the stuffing. Oh, and banana pudding, which Brendan called banana pot pie. LOL

Jack carrying Madelyn and Brendan through the house piggy back for like two straight hours.

Lazy days spent bonding with Grammy.

Jim getting to visit with his mom, sisters, brother in law, nieces, and nephews through Skype.

Snuggling a sweet, sleeping Brendan.

Shopping in Grammy's closet, jewelry box, and book shelves.

Bad:
The flight from Phoenix to Houston. Seriously the bumpiest flight I've ever been on. Usually bumps don't worry me too much because the flight attendants are still walking around. On this flight, the captain came on and told them to sit down. Yikes.

No snow in Spokane.

My camera spent way too much time in the bag because I was simply too lazy to take a bunch of pics.

Missing Jim and the brothers-in-law.

Missing my parents and family.

Ugly:
The sheer volume of stuffing eaten by ME.

The cold, rainy weather that met us in Houston.

The post-flight headache that won't go away.

Post-trip laundry. When added to the pre-trip laundry that didn't get folded, well, suffice it to say that I am in the middle of a laundry nightmare.

I'm sure there's more for all three categories; this is just what is coming off the top of my head at the moment. We had a fabulous time though. I was sad to leave but glad to be home. I'm thankful for all the time my kids have been able to spend with Grammy this year, and thankful that Brendan knows his cousins, although I'm not sure he can tell Pierson and Jack apart.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Heart Faces - Tooshies week!

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It's I Heart Faces Tooshies Week! This means I need to post my favorite pic of my three kids!