Day 2 Soldiers!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Today I got to accomplish both of my Advent goals! Our activity was very simple, but it was also very sweet. It needed to be a relativly quick activity because I wasn't going to be home--I am taking an exercise class at the Park District (hence avoiding the dreaded holiday weight gain!) and it is in the evening. So we thought it would be a great opportunity for the kids to make cards for soldiers. Here is the website where I got the address to mail the cards. It worked out perfectly--the cards should make it to Maryland just in time for the deadline. We did this last year--and I love it because it teaches our kids about the men and women that make sacrifices daily for our country.

When I got home from my class the kids were very excited to show me their cards and Bill forgot to take pictures during, so I took some when I got home. You will never be able to tell which child of mine is the biggest ham...

Anyway, yay for simple and sane activities! (and burning some calories!)

So It Begins...Advent Day 1

My goals for this Advent Season are twofold. I want to keep our activities simple and sane so we can focus on the sacred. And I want to not gain any weight. Let's see which one ends up being more difficult :) This year I made the mistake of suggesting to Bill that we not do Advent activities because they tend to lead me to exhaustion and someone ends up crying and then I end up yelling something along the lines of, "WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE FOCUSING ON JESUS AND BE LOVING AND KIND TO EACH OTHER!" Truly sacred, ay? Somehow Bill and the kids don't remember the Advent Activities in the same way that I do and I was met with cries of "we have to do it! We love it! We won't whine, I promise!" And those were just from Bill :)  So I agreed, but I told Bill I wanted to try and make it more simple so that we could keep the focus on waiting for Jesus. And so I didn't lose my mind--I have very few airplane xanax left!

Anyway, so the movie Frozen came out recently and Grandma Casey asked if she could take the kids to see it. We suggested making it the first Advent activity. I had an internal war with myself--I really wanted to see the movie too but I didn't want to infringe on Grandma's time, but she was very gracious and said that we could come too! It was really cute and we all really enjoyed it, although Rori was starting to get really angry about the ridiculous number of previews beforehand. She is the opposite of Bill in this manner!

Anyway, it was a very lovely time and a great start to the Advent Season! Thank you Grandma Casey for a great day!
Please don't judge the quality of the photo. I am just happy my phone has a camera with a flash...Blame the movie theater--they should've put Olaf in the crazy well lit lobby.

He is coming!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

It's the week before Thanksgiving. Christmas is right around the corner, and it's time for me to begin planning our family's Advent season. This morning, before school, I was telling Liam how many days of school are left before Thanksgiving break. Then I told him it will be Advent! He asked "what is Advent?" This gave me pause. He's six, so he hasn't heard the word thrown around by itself--only with the terms Advent Calendar and Advent Activities. So, I explained, Advent is us waiting. We are waiting for Jesus to be born. Waiting for Him to come to save the world. He looked at me and smiled and scampered off.

"I don't want a Christmas you can buy. I don't want a Christmas you can make. What I want is a Christmas you can hold. A Christmas that holds me, makes me, revives me. I want a Christmas that whispers, Jesus" Ann Voskamp

Yes. This. This is what I want for our Advent season. I want our actions to whisper His name, to get us excited that He is coming. Bill and I talked about buying a Wii U for the boys and for Bill for Christmas this year. For our family, that kind of gift is considered fairly extravagant. We figured out a way to get the extra money without it causing a burden to our budget. Yet, I felt unease. Please don't misunderstand me, I think it's fine to buy extravagant gifts at Christmas. Last year, my goal was to blow Bill's mind with presents because gifts are his love language. However, I don't think Christmas needs to focus on outdoing the previous year. We decided now is not the time to give them this present. Instead, now is the time to teach my munchkins the joy of giving--the character building of waiting for something, saving for it, wanting it. I want to teach them about the opportunity to be counter-cultural. More than anything, I want them to be waiting for Jesus.

Stay tuned for the beginning of Advent!

Brendan and the Knee

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ever since I have known Bill, he has suffered from arthritis. He told me that he had Juvenile Arthritis as a child. Every spring and fall I watch him quietly dealing with the pain in his knees, ankles, and hands. He tosses and turns at night while he tries to "steal my heat" to bring warmth to his aching joints.

Almost two weeks ago, Brendan complained about his knee aching. We looked at it and it was swollen. We assumed he had hurt it somehow, and gave him some ibuprofen and iced it. He managed to trick or treat on Thursday, but I ended up carrying him for the second half of it but that's not unusual. He loves to be carried and since he's my baby, I will oblige until I cannot any longer. There's a good chance I'm going to end up with a bicep  on my right arm to rival Arnold Schwarzenegger and scoliosis from him sitting on my hip, but it's worth it.

His knee stayed swollen but he didn't complain about it. Monday, Bill's mom noticed he grimaced as he got up and called Bill to tell him it was really swollen (we were both at work). Bill got him a doctor's appointment and I visited Dr. Google. The very first thing to come up was Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. My heart sank. I think God was preparing me for what the pediatrician had to say. After looking him over, she was confident it was juvenile arthritis and referred us to a pediatric rheumatologist at the Children's hospital.

I called and made an appointment. They couldn't get us in until the middle of January. Our pediatrician called and got us in within 2 days. My heart cried out to Jesus, our Great Physician, that he would heal my baby boy. I asked my friends and family to do the same. I didn't want to watch my baby suffer the way his Papa has. The day before his appointment I had to carry him around much of the day. His knee hurt and he even said to me at one point, "I hate this day." My heart hurt and my worry increased.

We went to the rheumatologist and she looked him over and said it was too early to diagnose him with arthritis--he needed to be swollen for 6 weeks. She requested a million blood tests (which he was A CHAMP for) and X-rays, and also insisted that we see an ophthalmologist because it shows up in the eyes as well. They told us we might not get the results back for 1-3 weeks. Normally this would have made my anxiety level skyrocket. However, I truly believe that God gave me peace during the waiting. The only sign of stress was an increase in eating my feelings--I may have had a few pieces of Halloween candy, the best cupcake known to man, and a giant plate of pulled pork nachos. What can I say?...Trust me, it could've been much much worse. We continued to pray and I knew there was a possibility that God would choose not to heal him. But, I knew that no matter what happened, God was good and He was the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We went to the ophthamologist and everything looked good. His leg, however, stayed swollen.

Yesterday I got a call from the nurse. He told me that Brendan's blood tested positive for a bacterial organism that causes infectious arthritis. A round of strong antibiotics should knock it out. It may take a few weeks for the swelling to go down, but it should completely clear up. I am so incredibly thankful that it's not Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. I can see God's hand in all of this--from getting us in to see the doctor so quickly (we found out while we were there that a conference the rheumatologist was going to was cancelled, so she decided to have office hours--thus us getting in so quickly), to them testing for the right bacteria, to the results coming back quickly and being treatable. I am thankful that God chose to heal him. And more than anything, I am thankful that God has given me friends who love Him, that I can go to and ask to meet me at His Throne.

Is that not the cutest face you've ever seen? 

Real Men

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Liam has started soccer for the first time. Bill and my friend, Leslie's husband, Jon are the coaches. Their team name is the Red Dragons, but they should be called the Mighty Ducks. They are the soccer version of the Island of Misfit Toys. While these boys are 0-4, they have no idea how lucky they are to have these two Real Men coaching them. I have watched other coaches yell at the kids, belittle them, put winning at the utmost importance. I have also seen parents put winning above encouragement. Don't get me wrong, I am not one of those parents that think every kid should get a trophy, just for trying. I believe kids need to learn how to win and how to lose with grace, and that in the real world, not everyone gets a trophy. But this is an instructional league. These grades are not meant for competition, but for learning how to play the game. Tell that to some of the parents and coaches.

Not once had Bill or Jon yelled at a player for doing something wrong during a game
Back to my point, these two Real Men have more patience in their pinkies than I have in my entire body. I have felt myself be swept up in the disappointment of losing. 90% of the bones in my body are competitive. 10% of Bill's are (except when he's playing Ping Pong with me). I'm not sure about Jon's level of competitiveness outside of soccer, but I can tell you from what I've seen, he's very much like Bill. These men encourage these boys. They realize that these are first grade boys, who look up to them. 

Bill and Jon let them know that, while they can do better next time, they haven't failed their coaches. Their coaches are proud of them. After one of the games, a little boy on Liam's team told his parents that he would make them proud the next week. My heart broke for him. After hearing this, Bill and Jon picked that boy as the "player of the game" then next week. That's something a Real Man would do. There is one player who is hopelessly, hmmmm..., what's a nice way of saying, "completely not talented at soccer?" Anyway, Jon is in charge of calling kids out of the game to sub. If I was the coach, I would be having this kid constantly subbing because he is painful to watch and pretty much a detriment to the team. However, Jon, doesn't do that. Every kid is called out equally. A Real Man does that.  
Liam's not the kid I was talking about. However, goalie is NOT his strong suit :) But Jon took the time to teach him what to do, knowing full well the Liam will not sacrifice his body for the team.

These Real Men have made me so proud to be on the Red Dragons. They are teaching these boys that winning isn't everything. They are teaching them that sportsmanship, respect, patience, and grace are qualities that make you a Real Man. So, thank you Jon and Bill, for teaching our boys how to grow into Real Men (and teaching me about real sportsmanship)!

Lunch time Madness

Monday, August 12, 2013

I have been dreading this year for some time. And it has been looming on the horizon the last couple of weeks. This year we will be packing 2 school lunches. Our school does not have the option of hot lunch so 5 days a week, we need to make lunch and for those with less than adequate math skills, that's 10 lunches a week. My kids are fairly picky--neither eats sandwiches. Liam will eat PB&J but we are a peanut free school so that's not terribly helpful. Rori eats lunch meat, but hold the bread--nothing like sending her to school with a baggie full of salami. I decided to google lunches and try to find some new creative ideas. What I discovered was I need to be fired as a mom, or at least as domestic lunch lady.

One of the first pictures I came across was this one
Now, God bless this woman, and I am probably just jealous, but it made me want to stab my eyes out. This was her description of the lunch.
  • Main compartment - Bus shaped sandwich which I free hand cut with Smoked Gouda and Colby Longhorn cheese. Large olive slices for wheels. Some cute food picks as little people.
  • Lower left - Baby carrots and ranch in little dipper.
  • Upper left - Seedless green grapes and strawberry halves.
  • Center - Blueberries
  • Upper right - Pencil shaped cheddar string cheese with mozzarella tip,raisin for pencil lead and ham for eraser, pencil tip and eraser are secured with a thin spaghetti. Wheat thins below the pencil. Packed in our PlanetBox Rover and I included a LunchBox Love note with his lunch.
What the what???? Free hand shapes? Olive wheels? Gouda AND Colby? Edible, crafted pencil? 2 things stood out to me. One, her kid is going to be constipated with all that cheese. And two, clearly I have some time management issues in that I don't have time to hand craft a cut out sandwich and pencil. Not to mention that my kids would eat exactly 4 ingredients from that lunch--not 4 items or compartments, 4 ingredients. So, my friends, if any of you have any wonderful ideas that will take me exactly 2.5 minutes per lunch, has some nutritional value, and is enticing to my little ones, I am forever indebted to you.

Words for Nicki and Nicholas

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Bill's brother, Nicholas, and his wife, Nicki, are having a set of twins. I have been thinking about my own babies and I have wanted to share some thoughts to help prepare them for the arrival of their bundles of joy.

First of all, babies are HARD! When you come home from the hospital, your hormones will be completely out of wack. You will find yourself crying for no reason on an almost daily basis. This is normal (feel free to call me and I will tell you, this is normal). You may be crying at the dinner table for no reason for the fourth time that day and Nicholas may be so used to it, he will just say "can you pass the salt?"  Totally normal. You will contemplate the "drop your babies at the fire station no questions asked" policy. This is normal (just don't act on it). You will learn what it's like to walk around without a shirt on because you have some place to go and you know you cannot safely put a shirt on until the babies are buckled in their seats, lest you get spit-up on. This is normal. There will be days that your teeth feel like they are wearing sweaters because you haven't brushed them. This is normal. You will give them everything they need--food, clean diapers, and most importantly, love. They will give you spit-up, explosive diapers, and wide eyes at 2:00 AM. Here is where my most important piece of advice is. Cherish those wide eyes, rock them at 2 in the morning. Don't miss out on this moment. Be present in it. Breathe in their sweet innocence as the rest of the world is quiet and sleeping. I promise, it only lasts for a second, and then it's gone. People told me how fast it goes when I had Rori. I didn't believe them. I was wrong. When I had Liam, I knew, and I cherished the moments, and when Brendan came, I begged time to stand still. It didn't. And I can tell you honestly, in the blink of an eye, Rori went from a tiny inchworm to a long legged third grader. You will bring those babies home, and you and Nicholas will look at each other and think school is so far away. Then you will blink your eyes and those babies will be off to Kindergarten. The first few months will feel like years, but I promise, looking back, they will be only seconds of your life. Enjoy them. Cherish them. Don't miss out on them. They are but a season, one that you cannot get back. There are many more seasons, but this is one that you don't want to rush.

My mom used to sing this song to me and I sing it to mine now. It's lyrics are true.
Where are you going, my little one, little one? 
Where are you going, my baby, my own? 
Turn around and you're tiny. Turn around and you're grown.
Turn around and you're a young wife with babes of your own. 
The day before yesterday


The Time Bandit

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

For my whole life, all I have ever wanted, was to be a mom. I didn't want to be a doctor or a lawyer. I didn't care about wealth. All I wanted was to someday raise babies or be a ballerina, one was more likely than the other...God has blessed me with 3 beautiful babies to raise. But I am constantly battling The Time Bandit. I notice it more frequently now. 

The other day Rori and I were looking at bathing suits online. We were scrolling through the selection and a Disney Princess one caught my eye. She continued scrolling. I knew. But I had to ask. 
"You don't want the Princess one?"
"No, I still like Princesses, but I don't really want a princess bathing suit." Time Bandit. Last year she would've still been thrilled to wear a Disney Princess bathing suit. 9 months later and she's too grown up. 

Today my baby started pre-school. He will be going 5 mornings a week in order to help with his speech delay. I just found out I was pregnant with him yesterday.  Time Bandit. Yesterday we packed his back pack. I put a piece of my heart in there so he would have it with him. Today we all went to school as a family. Bill, me, Rori, Liam, and Brendan. Liam told Brendan what his class would be like. I took pictures and held back tears. As he walked in, not looking back, the teacher told him to wave. He lifted his little hand, and without looking back waved and walked in. I felt my heart break. I know it's only a couple of hours, but this is it. After this he is in school until he officially leaves the nest. I came home, looked at the dog and felt lost. 

There was a time, when Rori was a new baby, where minutes felt like hours as I waited for Bill to get home so I could share what happened on re-runs of ER because Rori couldn't yet interact with me, yet whole days were really just minutes. Does that make sense? And I have seen that years are but an hour. Now, this first day by myself, the minutes are hours once again, as I wait to pick  up my littlest and my middle and spend the whole afternoon playing, because I know, in an hour or two they will be gone all day.

I Proudly Present...My Kitchen!!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Those of you who know me, know that I love baking and cooking--almost as much as I love eating! When we bought our house, I was really excited to have a house, however, I cried because the kitchen was so ugly. We did what we could at the time. We painted the walls and the cabinets, put in a new floor, got a new sink and counter tops, but it stopped there. It was small, dingy looking, and hugely lacking in counter and cabinet space. I had about 18 inches of counter space to do my prep work for baking and cooking. I often ended up really crabby because I would run out of room.

This fall we decided that we were going to invest in a new kitchen. I was beyond excited! We had Sears come in and design it. Their price was more than we could afford, so Bill, Ryan, and Bruce became my free labor. I cannot tell you how happy this kitchen makes me. Bill will often come home and find me sitting in there watching something on my kindle, or reading. I just loooove spending time in there. It's easily my favorite room in the house. The color makes me so happy, the counter space makes me so happy, the cabinets make me so happy!!! I am so happy!!

Let's start with the before. I am almost embarrassed to post the pictures of the before because it was so awful.

Shudder!! I had no cabinet space so things were stacked on top of the cabinets and fridge

The back door was scratched from our dog and there was a play kitchen on the back wall (Brendan is my photo bomber)

We had to use a bakers rack for our microwave and appliances. My parents gave  us their china cabinet (we had emptied it for demolition when I took these)
I forgot to get a picture of the stove wall, but it had one counter on the side of it. And that was all the space I had.

Next came demolition!

Look at those studs! (In the wall I mean ;) )

Someone may have been a little vigorous with the drilling and put a hole in my living room wall. But it's ok. I forgive them
It's starting to come along. Ryan came out two weekends in a row to make sure that I had a functional kitchen. We really appreciated Bruce and his help! 
Cabinets in, and lots of new lights, now new appliances!

We aren't quite finished. I need a window treatment, a new rug, and I am waiting for my backsplash to be installed. I finally picked one out, but we need to find a weekend where Bill and his dad can install it. (The pitfalls of doing things yourself.) I am looking for a wide striped roman shade for the window. Does anyone know where I can find one??? I am handicapped when it comes to window treatments.

Behold! My kitchen aid has a home on my counter and I still have plenty of room! We are going to put shelves next to that cabinet.

Space to roll out cinnamon rolls! And I can look out the window while I am doing it!

The new fridge still has a bunch of stuff on it--Bill loves a cluttered fridge -- I will allow it since he did all this for meeeee! Backsplash will go here.

I love my under-mount sink! I love that you can just brush crumbs in and it doesn't get crud around the outside!

The cabinet on the right hides two garbage cans! One for recycle and one for garbage. This wall will have the back splash as well. That's Thor in the corner

He likes to watch me bake. What can I say?

All of my cabinets have these pull out drawers. I am in love with them!! They hide all my appliances and pots and pans
This is the corner cabinet. I opted not to have a lazy susan because it gave me more space for things like Rori's easy bake oven ;) 

I decided to step out of my box and paint the door an accent color and I think I love it! It reminds me of Nantucket.
I love to stand at that counter and bake while I look out the window 

Thor likes the view as well
There you have it! Many many thanks to Bill, Bruce, Ryan, and Jenna for all their help in making this possible. I am in love!!

I had an exhausting week, so I can't think of a witty title.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Alas, I have been woefully neglectful of my blog. But now, Downton Abbey is over--although I have refused to watch the season finale so all is right in the world and I can pretend what happened, didn't happen. But here are the most recent updates in my life. I am probably going to be extra wordy, so feel free to skim.

Last Monday I had to have a tongue biopsy. I had a white spot on my tongue for a few years and the dentist decided it was time to get it removed and biopsied by an oral surgeon. Unfortunately the only oral surgeon in our network couldn't get me in for 2 weeks (felt like longer). In the meantime, I googled the white spot, which led me to believe I was going to die of cancer, so I made plans for Bill's future wife. I had a couple of requirements and threatened him that I would haunt him if he didn't fulfill them. First, she needed to love Jesus, secondly she could not have any of her own children. I didn't want my kids playing second fiddle to her kids. Thirdly, Bill would have to get "fixed" if you know what I mean. That way they couldn't have babies together and my kids, once again, wouldn't be second fiddle. Bill never really agreed to any of these--mostly because he said something along the lines of "don't be ridiculous, it's not cancer." Thank goodness one of us has a glass that's half full. Mine is half empty, with a small leak at the bottom...Fortunately I was very good at hiding the crazy while we were dating :)

Anyway, it wasn't cancer, or anything bad for that matter. However, I did have it removed, and it was pretty painful. It didn't help the the numbing needle was like 6 inches long and I had to watch Bill make squinty horrified faces while they injected my tongue. Then the head resident talked the intern through cutting it off and stitching it and I kept hearing things like "move it over a little bit," or "ah, let's just split the difference" or "that's good enough, I think." and lastly "we were going to give you antibiotics but decided it wasn't necessary." I was pretty sure I was going to leave with a staph infection. (This was the same hospital that nearly killed my dad a year ago.) I honestly think it was worse than labor because it was just a constant pain that didn't go away. They gave me narcotics, but those just made me loopy and nauseous. You have no idea how useful your tongue is until it has stitches in it. It was hard to even drink water. I thought it might end up being a good diet, but alas, I managed to recover and eat normally within a few days.

The other exciting thing that has been going on in our lives is that our mini van kicked the bucket. I have loved this van. I believe Jesus gave us this van when we really needed it. I mean, I never thought we would've been able to afford a mini van, especially such a nice one, but this one was sold to us for a real steal. It served us well for about 6 years (it was 5 years old when we bought it). Then,about 2 weeks ago it started to overheat. Bill tried a few things to fix it, but alas, we discovered the repairs would be more than it was worth. So for a week I was only able to drive to school and back until we could go looking for a new one.

The thought of buying a van gave me great anxiety. I knew God would provide us something, but the thought of haggling with the sales people was stressing me out. The last time we bought from a dealership, we felt a bit like we got hosed. So we researched so that we would be ready. We talked to Leslie's husband Jon who is a wealth of knowledge about mini-vans, and we prayed about it. The night before we went shopping, Liam prayed "that mama and papa will find a van that isn't real 'spensive, and that it has 9 cup holders."  Um...okay.  We went to the dealership that had the van we had looked at online. We test drove it and then began negotiations. I explained to the salesman that we had a max we were willing to spend out the door, and that we had other options to explore otherwise. I wanted to be upfront and honest because I honestly didn't think they would give it to us for that amount. After about 2 hours of him "checking with the manager" and asking if we could do more, and the manager coming back and asking if we could go up even $500, we held firm. We knew we could always come back. Finally they gave it to us! Victory! We transferred our car seats into the new van and I remembered to count the cupholders. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7. Bummer. That would've been really cool. Then...I spotted the other 2! There were 9 CUP HOLDERS! I am not sure what big plans Liam has for the 9 cup holders, but I love when God answers the prayers of children in such an obvious way.

Excuse the quality of these pictures...the batteries in both my DSLR and my point and shoot needed to be charged. I am awesome at organization! 

The Original Four together again

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Fabulous Four have been reunited at Rainbow Bridge tonight. We will miss you Finchy! And our hearts go out to Jenna, Ryan, Noah, and Juli. There is no love like a dog's love.
Chili (Jenna's dog, Fred T (mom and dad's dog), and Leia (our dog) have been waiting to be reunited with their brother/nephew/cousin 

Farewell to the happiest dog I've ever met

The rest of a nutshell

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I got hopelessly behind during Advent, and I thought I might catch up after Christmas, but alas, Bill got me a Kindle Fire along with Amazon Prime and I spent two weeks glued to Downton Abbey. I may have traveled from room to room (including the bathroom) with my Fire watching to see what was going to happen to my beloved characters. I am, in a word, obsessed. I even found a website that has the entire 3rd season posted, but I am refraining from watching it. Instead, I am watching it week by week now on PBS, for fear that I will have nothing to look forward to once it's over. I am not being at all dramatic.

Anyway, I need to post what we did for the last 8 days of Advent so that next year, when I am planning what to do, I can go back and check.

Day 18

I had read some ideas about having your kids go shopping with grandma and grandpa for presents for mom and dad, and had initially thought that would be a great idea. Bill and I would get a date night, and the kids would enjoy picking stuff out. But then I thought, really, Bill and I don't need more stuff. And we didn't really have time to plan a date night. So...we decided to take the money we were going to give them to buy us stuff, and have them use it to pick out some things from the World Vision catalog. They each had $10 and could combine it or each pick something out. They looked through everything and agreed to get bunnies which apparently are great because they reproduce so quickly and can be used for food or sold in market. They also picked soccer balls because they wanted the kids to have something fun to play with.

Day 19 was Bill's office Christmas party, and I worked during the day. So the kidlets went to Grandma Casey's house and watched a Christmas movie and had a special dinner. I don't remember what movie they watched, or what they ate. It was a month ago...I'm lucky I remember that's what they did :)

Day 20
We did this last year as well. We took them to Baskin Robbins for ice cream before dinner. Somehow it was slightly less magical. I think it was really cold, the kids and I were all exhausted and kind of crabby and my camera battery wasn't charged. Here's the short version of what happened. They all got vanilla, Brendan and Liam were done in about 5 minutes. (they didn't finish) Rori savored her two scoops while the boys whined they wanted to go home. Rori ate hers, then wanted to finish Brendan's. We let her have a bit more until we couldn't take the whining any more and then went home.

Day 21
 My mom had found a website that had golden tickets for a homemade Polar Express. I personally hate that movie, it's kind of creepy and long. But I loved the idea. Bill was our conductor. They had to get in their pajamas and were given a golden ticket (Grandma Hoo Hoo printed them for us, so they thought they were real). We picked them up milkshakes and drove around to look at Christmas lights. My friend Leslie had told me about this awesome house that had amazing lights set to music. It was in a gated community and they told you what station to tune your radio to. It was seriously amazing! I think they only do it every other year, so I think we have a plan for 2014!

Day 22

Christmas cookie day! This day was our annual cookie decorating with the family. Between my mom and I, we cut out 175 or so, give or take a few, cookies to be frosted. The kids love decorating the cookies, however, I think we may have made a few too many, as they started dropping like flies when there were about 25 left. Only Rori made it to the finish.

We may have had a few Star Wars cookies...

Day 23

AHHHHHHH!!!! I don't remember. Let's say we watched a Christmas movie and ate pizza. Note to self, next year, don't wait a month after Christmas to remember what you did.

Nine Years Ago

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My first born would be nine years old today. I have come a long way from the broken young woman that didn't think I would be able to get out of bed ever again. I have even come a long way from the brokenness I still felt when I first wrote about Faith's birthday on this blog. I will always wish that she was here with us. That Rori had a big sister to share her room with, that I had two girls to grow up together, that Rori would have a best friend the way I have a best friend. However, this year, I can really say that God and time have healed my wounds. I am thankful. I am blessed.

I am thankful that I got to hold my sweet Faith, not just in my womb, but also in my arms, and forever in my heart. I am thankful that my family all held her and most importantly held me. Held me in their arms, and in their prayers. I am blessed whenever someone refers to her by name, reminds me they know her life was precious. I am blessed when my friends share stories of their losses. Blessed because we know and have experienced grief, but because of Him, we also know hope beyond measure. I am blessed because I can go back and read every email, card, and letter I received. I am not sure that I have ever felt so loved, or covered in prayer by the Body of Christ. So, my darling Faith, may you know that you are celebrated today, you are never forgotten, you hold a special place in my heart, and I look forward to the day where I may hold you and not ever have to let go.

Somebody asked me about reading her previous birthdays, you may find them here, here, here, and here