Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Am I crazy?

So, really, did you think I was crazy for letting my husband butcher my 3 year-old's hair? Maybe you don't think mohawks are cute. I never have, either. Surely it made you laugh!!?? I keep trying to call him "Mo" but he says, You can call me "Mohawk".

So, really, if you think I was absolutely crazy to let my husband give my 3 year-old a mohawk, let me know. Or, just tell me what went through your head when you saw the pictures. Was it something like, "Oh my, she moved to a small town and became redneck."?

(By the way, hubby says I might just scare off all of my blog readers with this rant. I sure hope not.)

Two for One Tuesday

Two adults each got something they really wanted in one day. It happened on Monday and I am blogging about it on Tuesday.

#1. I got pictures of my kids in their costumes.
Every year I get my kids pictures taken in their costumes. I then get magnets made out of them. Here's the group from years past.

Yesterday we went and got the kids pictures made in their costumes. This was all I told my husband I wanted for Christmas. We paid for the yearly membership so we will be able to order prints for a year. I am going to go back and order the magnets. Here are the pictures that they brought out to tempt you (as if I had $150 that I could spend on each one). They were amazing!

Here's the free 8 by 10 that I came home with.

The pictures were my reason for postponing my 3 year-old's haircut (see Not Me! Monday).

#2. My hubby got to give one of our boys a mohawk.
My 3 year-old is fullof energy and doesn't have much fear. It never surprises me that he always suprises me! I cannot imagine considering letting one of the older boys mohawk. But, thinking about it for Thomas just made me smile. He was very excited about the haircut. Actually, he wanted to be bald. But, he loves his mohawk and he said "It's going to be like this forever!!" My 7 year-old and 5 year-old were amazed that he was getting a mohawk. They alternated between saying, "Coooool!" and "He's crazy!" I don't know which I enjoyed more- seeing the excitement or seeing the disbelief (the, "I can't believe she is going to let me do this") look in my husband's eyes.

Here are some pictures of "Mo" (There are a bunch. I couldn't resist posting so many.):

Getting Started:

Close Up:

Not too sure about Daddy drawing lines on his head:

Almost Done:

Showing off his haircut, muscles and mean face:

Side View:

Sooo cool:

Monday, December 29, 2008

"Not Me!" Monday

It's Monday again. I am still enjoying Christmas break because my hubby doesn't go back to work until tomorrow. I have been so relaxed that I am not myself. I really think there are many more things that should be on the list but I am not awake enough yet (I have to shower before I truly wake up). Here's it is: my list of things that I'd deny if you caught me.

I am not slowly coming to terms with the fact that my laundry skills have improved since I lost my iron. I am now getting the clothes out the dryer before they wrinkle. I am not bitter that my lost iron has improved how my clothes look- not me!

I did not leave one store last night to go to another store because I knew that the item was a dollar cheaper at the 2nd store. I am in disbelief. I did not do that because I don't price shop. That was not the new me- couldn't be- not me!

I did not catch my hubby sticking his tongue out at my 3 year-old who was on stage for children's church. I did not immediately look at him to see if he was making faces when my 3 year-old stuck his tongue out. No way, I cannot imagine thinking my husband would do that - not me!

I did not spend 4 out of the last 5 days staying in my PJs until mid morning or midday. That could not be like me because I have to have a shower first thing or I am a major grump. I am not in my PJs right now- not me!

I have not been so relaxed this week that I sort of agreed to let my husband give my 3 year-old a mohawk. I did not just say "sort of" because I am in denial. I did not agree and then quickly find a way to postpone the head shaving. (My 3 year-old did not cry when we told him he had to wait.) By the way, my hubby had to convince my 3 year-old that he wants a mohawk. He really wants to be bald. (No thanks to you, my bald-I shave my hair-guy friends!) I cannot believe that I think it will be funny to see my wild, full of energy, mischievous 3 year-old running around with wild hair. Oh no, I would never post pictures of this if it happens- not me!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Special Christmas Moments with My Oldest

My 7 year-old got a couple of new DS games for Christmas. He was especially excited to get the Batman Lego game. He played it constantly on Christmas.
I sneaked up on him (with hubby ready with the camera), interrupted his game play, and gave him a big hug. I just love our smiles. It is one of my favorite Christmas moments.

This sweet son of mine can really get to me sometimes! He's the one that told me a week or so ago that he loved Daddy more than me (ouch- that hit me in the soft spot). He got to me yesterday. I was out getting some groceries and he asked if he could decorate the mug that he got for Christmas. Without saying a word to Daddy about what he was going to draw. He wrote "You are the Best Mom!" Under that, he wrote "I love mom." and drew a smiley face and a heart. When I got home he told me he had turned one of his gifts into a gift for me.

I will cherish the mug forever. I am touched that is what he wanted to do with his mug. I don't think he has ever said "I love mom." He usually says, Momma, which is what he calls me. He is so proud of the mug and his face lights up every time I use it. He melted my heart with this little mug.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I will miss wake up calls one day

My hubby has been off from work since Christmas Eve. Everyday (with the exception of Christmas because we made a point to get up before the kids) our boys come in our room and wake us up. (They do this on Saturday mornings, usually.) They aren't sweet Rise and Shine moments. They are bugle blowing revelry moments. It starts with a "Momma?" or "Daddy?" and then the noise sky rockets in about 5 seconds. Most of the time, one kid climbs in the bed and then it's on... they are crawling all over us, pulling on the covers, fighting over who gets to snuggle with who.

I am not a morning person. I have to really work hard to not say much at all (for me that is being kind in the morning). My husband is usually very gracious. Although, this morning, he was not ready for the wake up call.

It occurred to me just a few minutes ago that we are going to miss those crash landings into morning one day. We are going to miss our boys fighting to snuggle with us and getting really excited about getting in our bed.

Quote of the day:
"I feel like I have had a chihuahua barking in my ear all day."
Said by hubby (after 4 days off from work).

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thankful Thursday #67

We had such a nice Christmas! I enjoyed every minute of it. Most notable to my husband and I was that our Christmas was absent of stress. I am thankful for a stress-free, relaxed, fun, family Christmas. I smiled and laughed all day.

This day, for this Christmas Thanks Tank, I am thankful for love.

I am thankful for the love of God. His unconditional, uncomprehendable love sent a saviour for me.

I am thankful for the love of Christ. His powerful, selfless love made my life worth living.

I am thankful for the love of my husband.

I am thankful for the love of my kids.

My hubby gave me this pillow for Christmas. He said he was thinking of the kids when he bought it. So, it was really from him and the kids. (The kids and I love to play the "I love you game":I love you to... the moon and back or outer space and back or around the world a zillion times and back... you get the idea.)

As soon as I opened the pillow, my 3 year-old ran over, pointed to the words and said, "These words...these words are me. These words are Thomas."
Oh, that was precious!
Then, tonight as I was tucking the boys in, I told my 7 year-old that I loved him and he said, "I love you all the way down to your pillow...read it... and back."
I love family moments like that.
I love my family!

I am thankful for the love of my extended family. And, today, I am thankful for telephones and email, which allowed me to feel a little closer to my loved ones.

I am thankful for love of my friends. I am thankful for the FB notes, text messages, and emails I got from friends today. I am thankful for all of the Christmas cards that mean so much to me.

I am thankful for simple treats... wait, where's the love in that one? Well, I do LOVE my coffee!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Thank you for visiting my blog. Here's my family Christmas card and letter. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. Merry Christmas!

Owen family highlights from 2008:
January – Allergy tests confirmed that David is still extremely allergic to peanuts. He is also allergic to dogs, cats, and grass.
February – Thomas went to see his very first movie in the theater: “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything.” (Our kids sang the theme song from that movie for months!)
March – Jonathan lost his first tooth on Easter night.
April – Thomas turned 3 on April 21st. Jonathan turned 7 on April 23rd. Jane Anne got her first tattoo.
May – Elisabeth was 6 months old on the 17th. Elisabeth had her 1st food: baby rice cereal. Thomas tried some and almost threw up (whoops!). Seth had a birthday on the 21st (He thinks he is old.)
June – We toured the Target Distribution Center where Seth works. The boys were really excited to see Daddy’s office and spent weeks talking about it. (“It”= the inflatable bounce houses rented for the company picnic.) Elisabeth became mobile! She started crawling (doing the Army crawl).
July – The kids enjoyed lots of homemade popsicles and playing with the Slip n’ Slide. We celebrated our 13th anniversary on July 22nd.
August – All three boys took swimming lessons at the community pool. Daddy and the boys camped out in the backyard. They had a water fight, made s’mores, and all except Thomas made it through the night outside. Jane Anne had a birthday on the 6th. (She thinks she is still 25.)
September – Jane Anne started a new MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) year, working on the leadership team. David turned 5 on September 2nd. David started preschool. Jonathan started 2nd grade. Jonathan played soccer. Jonathan began a new year as a Wolf Cub Scout.
October – Halloween costumes: Jonathan was Spiderman, David was Superman, Thomas was Batman, and Elisabeth was a Fairy. Seth played volleyball for the church league (which kept him thinking that he is old).
November – Elisabeth turned 1 on November 17th. She took her first steps without holding on.
December – All three boys performed in a church Christmas play. David and Thomas sang and Jonathan had a part as King Herod. David performed in a preschool Christmas program. Jonathan sang in his school’s winter concert. Jane Anne joked about getting a tattoo in the Christmas letter. (That didn’t happen.)

Check out the family blog, http://www.owenhome.blogspot.com/, to see pictures of these events (and much, much more- including funny kid sayings and stories). Stop by often to catch up on our family!

We hope you are enjoying the Christmas season. We are thankful for you.
Sending love,
Seth, Jane Anne, Jonathan, David, Thomas and Elisabeth Owen

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Present

David was my miracle baby. That's the way I think of him, anyway. He was born premature- 5 weeks early. My body went into labor. Once we were at the hospital, we found out that David was breech and they couldn't stop my labor. I had an unplanned C-section. David spent time in the NICU and had a year of physical therapy. Sometimes I look at him and just think, he is such a miracle! My husband often comments that if it had been 50 years ago, David or I (one of us) might not have made it. I thank God for David. Each year on his birthday, I seem to spend extra time wrapped up in grattitude. I note how strong he is compared to fragile start. I think about his out-going personality. I send emails to family and post pictures of him on the blog. I believe this past year I posted a NICU picture and then a ton of pictures of him dressed as Superman. I posted pictures of him being a very active 5 year-old boy. I did not focus on the details of his delivery. I am thankful for his beginning but I am even more excited about his present. It is impossible for me to appreciate his miracle birth without an image of the child that I now love.

This past Sunday at church, I was given a new outlook on Christmas. My whole life I have been celebrating baby Jesus at Christmas. I spend my Christmas focused on a baby born in a manger a long time ago. That isn't wrong, necessarily... it just isn't enough. After all, I don't pray to baby Jesus. (Think about the ridiculous blessing by Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights.) To truly celebrate what Christmas is about, I need to remember the beginning and be excited about the present. I need to think about the humble beginning in a manger and how strong Christ is now. He was born a long time ago. It was a miracle. The power in that beginning is seen in His presence in my life. I believe to celebrate Christmas I need to celebrate Christ in my life today. Just as I might send out an email about the activites David is doing, I need to note how strong Christ is in my life. Can I look over the last year and say, "Wow, look how I've grown in Christ!"? That's the miracle of his birth. He was born and he is growing strong in my life.

Christmas morning was the beginning. Remember it. Let it fill your heart with thanksgiving. Celebrate Christmas present! Think about how you have grown this year. If that's convicting, that's okay. You are growing just thinking about it. Celebrate Christ's presence in your life today.

Monday, December 22, 2008

"Not Me!" Monday

It is Monday again and time for me to admit that I don't have it all together. I started my list this morning and had to make myself stop (after all, I do have some kids to take care of). I think I could go on and on with "Not Me"s today.

What I did not do:

I did not buy every single gift that I am giving my kids on Saturday. That would mean that I waited until the last weekend before Christmas to shop for my kids. Oh no, I did not think it would be super easy to buy for my kids. That would mean I was in total denial of how hard it is to Christmas shop right before Christmas. I didn’t do that- not me.

I did not walk the aisles for hours, notepad in hand, making lists, checking prices, and calculating how much I could spend. I most definitely did not walk out of the store feeling triumphant. because I only spent 6 dollars more than I had on gift cards to Toys R Us. I really don't have that kind of patience. It really couldn't have been me.

I did not go all the way back into Starbucks from my car just to get whipped cream on top of my latte. It was the 3rd time they had to fix my drink. Coffee is not that important to me. I was not determined to get my perfect latte on my trip out of the house without the kids - not me.

I definitely did not ask for another sample of the chocolate peanut butter fudge when I was out without the kids. The fudge had already been put on the other counter. I did not give my best smile say, "Can I have another piece?" I did not totally justify it (and had my explanation on the tip of my tongue) because my peanut allergic son was home tucked safely in bed. I did not think about taking more than 2 samples- nooooo, not me!

I do not get as excited about snow as my kids (or maybe more). I did not ask my husband to stop and get some waterproof gloves on the way home Friday night because we were predicted to get snow this weekend. I was not extremely disappointed in our wet, wet, WET rainy weekend -nope, not at all, not me!

I am not looking out the window constantly right now, starting to get excited that the white flakes are sticking to the ground. (And, ohhhhh no, I have not been jealous of all of my WA friends that have tons of snow right now - not me!).

I did not enjoy way too much time on Facebook last night. I am not super excited that one of my friends joined FB this week. I do not have an explanation why I am better at FB than email. I do not enjoy facebook at all- not me.

I did not convince my husband to get a family portrait made by getting my parents to give me a family portrait as my Christmas gift. That would have been absolutely brilliant. I am not still amazed that I was able to pull it off. I am not thrilled beyond belief about the picture- not me!

I have not chuckling to myself as I imagine my mom’s face as she reads my Christmas letter. I added something that she certainly won’t expect. I do not like to catch my mom off-guard, no way, not me!

I am not slightly alarmed that my 7 year old just asked me if he could pull his tooth out. I checked and yep, it is ready to come out. I am not squeamish at the thought of pulling a tooth- not big grown up me.

I know I wrote way too many "Not Me"s for one post! I do realize that not everyone will read the whole list and I don't care (nope, not me). After all, this is cheaper than therapy!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day

It's a "snow day" here: no school or preschool. We didn't get much snow but the roads have a layer of white covering a layer of ice. I am super relaxed, enjoying not having a busy Friday morning. My kids are loving my laid back attitude. Here's how they enjoyed the morning.

These boys could not get outside fast enough. Amazingly enough, they had fun sliding on their sleds.

David was all smiles.

Thomas had so much fun that when David decided to come inside he said, "It's okay, sometimes I like to play by myself."

My 7 year old was in "snow day"/"my mom is really relaxed" heaven.

The weather guys say that we are supposed to get another snow system tomorrow. I sure hope we get enough snow to cover the grass and build a snowman!

Friday Flashback: Christmas Card Past

Check out that cute 2 year old! She's a sweetie, don't you think?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thankful Thursday #66

It is still Thursday here in the great North West. I am determined to make a Thankful list. It's going to be short, though, because I need some sleep! I am thankful for these things and so much more:

1. I am thankful for David's nebulizer. We got him up out of bed tonight to do it. His asthma has been acting up and he has been coughing a lot at night. The nebulizer has made a world of difference for him.

2. I love seeing snowflakes fall from the sky. We haven't had that much (yet). We have a dusting of snow right now.

3. I am ready for the weekend! I am thankful for weekends. I love the extra help from my hubby and the wonderful family time.

4. I cannot stop laughing at this video. I watched it this morning and I just watched it 2 (or 3) times just now. Man, I am thankful for laughter! I really need to watch this any time I am having a bad day (or moment). It is just so funny.

Last Minute Shopping?

I still need to get a few gifts. When I came across info about Free Shipping day - I just had to pass it on.

What is Free Shipping Day?

Thursday, December 18th, 2008 is Free Shipping Day. It's a day when participating merchants give free shipping to online shoppers with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve.

Free Shipping Day is the last chance for many procrastinators. (Oh, this is so me!)

Go to Free Shipping Day to see the list of participating *retailers.

* Some of the retailers are offering free standard shipping on any order, some are offering free 2 day shipping, and some are offering free shipping with a minimum purchase, so it varies.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday Words

"It might be easy to run away to a monastery, away from the commercialization, the hectic hustle, the demanding family responsibilities of Christmas-time. Then we would have a holy Christmas. But we would forget the lesson of the Incarnation, of the enfleshing of God—the lesson that we who are followers of Jesus do not run from the secular; rather we try to transform it. It is our mission to make holy the secular aspects of Christmas just as the early Christians baptized the Christmas tree. And we do this by being holy people—kind, patient, generous, loving, laughing people—no matter how maddening is the Christmas rush…" Dr. Andrew M. Greeley

These words were so powerful for me when I read them. This year I have been profoundly affected by the mission of Advent Conspiracy. I have also found myself getting increasingly frustrated with the hustle and bustle of Christmas. I have been focused on not getting caught up in the commercialism of Christmas but I have still had lots of Christmas activities (3 Christmas plays/concerts to go to for my children, Christmas shopping to do, goodies to make for the preschool party, and on and on). None of the activities are bad but the busyness of it all can leave me exhausted and stressed. These words remind me that to have "Christmas Presence" I need to be kind, patient, generous, loving and happy in the middle of the hustle and bustle. I can focus on a Christlike attitude and surprise other people with uncommon kindness.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday Christmas Trivia

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your friends. I thought this was a fun one! Please feel free to join with me and let me know if you do it.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Gift bags are easier but I prefer to wrap everything. I am a kid at heart and I love unwrapping gifts!

2. Real tree or Artificial? I like real trees but we are using our artificial tree this year.

3. When do you put up the tree? After Thanksgiving - sometimes that weekend. This year, it was the following Sunday (the 7th).

4. When do you take the tree down? New Year's Day

5. Do you like eggnog? No, not one bit

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I really don't know.

7. Hardest person to buy for? My husband but only because he always gets me the best gifts and I have a hard time thinking of something unique (or special) for him.

8. Easiest person to buy for? My kids

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. I got a new one from my Mother-in-law this year as an early Christmas present. I love it!

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail - although now that I like FB so much, I may post a scanned version on there. I look forward to getting the mail each day in December.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Another hard one... it is easier for me to say the worst gift I ever gave. One year as a young teen I bought my mom a can opener. She had a nice 70's green one and I thought she needed a white one. She wasn't all that impressed!

12. Favorite Christmas Movies? It's a Wonderful Life. Funny story- this year when we got the It's a Wonderful Life village out, the boys wanted to know what the story was about. Seth told them the main guy's name was George Bailey. There was this huge dramatic pause... an Aha moment for the boys... our dogs were named after him: George and Bailey.

13. When do you start shopping? Whenever I can. This year I bought some gifts throughout the year and then I am scrambling to finish up now.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes. I believe in recycling gifts- especially if they are new and have never been used.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Gingerbread house on Christmas morning!

16. Lights on the tree? This year we have both colored lights and one strand of white lights. I love the combination.

17. Favorite Christmas song? This question is too hard for me.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? We will be home for Christmas. I miss my family back east something terrible, though.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Nope

20. Angel on the tree top or star? Star

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Crowds and all of the additional shopping carts that people leave out in parking lots

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? It's a Wonderful Life ornaments

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? I cannot think of this answer right now but it might be because I have tonight's dinner on my mind. Now that I am thinking about Christmas dinner, I think I am going to try to remember to use my Christmas dishes this year! If I wait until all of my kids are old enough to be responsible- it will be a long time until I enjoy them.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Christmas Eve date with my hubby after the kids are in bed to include fondue and music but exclude last minute gift wrapping or putting together toys (hint, hint)

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Not Me!" Monday

"Not me!" Monday is when I take the chance to document things that I would not ever do. These are some things I definitely did not do this week:

I have not been obsessing about my abilities as a mom ever since my son told me he loved Daddy more. It has not bothered me one bit. I know that would be childish. I would not let something like that bother me- not me!

Early in the week I found out that my husband loves the soda Squirt. He claimed it is one of his favorite drinks. We have been married for 13 years and I never remember him savoring one Squirt drop. I did not make a big deal about this. I did not post a status on about this on Facebook hoping to get comments from non-Squirt lovers. I’d love for you to comment on this post if you don’t like Squirt. I am not still trying giving my husband a hard time—no way, not me!

I did not finish off the rice krispy treats this morning that I planned to have as a treat for the kids today. I did not think to myself: “they are cut so small, the boys would have been disappointed.” I couldn’t have had that yummy treat with my coffee- not me!

I did not take a nap on Sunday afternoon. I could not have been that worn out. I did not say, “No, I don’t like to take naps” all the way to my bed. I couldn’t have woken up feeling refreshed – that couldn’t have happened to me, not when I had so much on my to do list.

I was not just crawling on all fours chasing a giggling little one year old. I was not playing like that when my kitchen is a mess, my room needs cleaning, and I have laundry to do. I couldn’t imagine just simply enjoying every second of it, either—nope, not a bit- not me!

$25 Starbucks Gift Card Giveaway

Anyone that knows me at all, knows that I love Starbucks. Just yesterday, I had to run into town (We do live in a town but it's really small so I say I am going into town when I drive 20 minutes to the next town...anyway...). I had to get one thing. I had one place to go. It could have been a relatively quick trip (if you calculate in the drive and the crazy Christmas shoppers.) On my way home, my husband calls to check on me. He asks, "Did you go somewhere else??" I say, "No. Well... I got coffee, but that's it." If I have any cash on me (or loose change) and I am without kids, you can bet I am headed to Starbucks!

A friend of a blogland friend is hosting a Starbucks $25 Gift Card Giveaway. Head on over and leave a comment on her site to enter.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Flashback

In 1995, Seth dressed up as Santa and repelled down the inside of the Knoxville Hyatt Regency. (The hotel asked for a Santa from the UT ROTC program.)

Santa and Me

Santa, Me and my parents

One jolly Santa acting silly

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thankful Thursday #65

This morning I am thinking about being present in all that I do. I don't want to go through my day just trying to get through it. I have that attitude way too much. I have been focusing on Christmas Presence. Today, I am relinquishing control. I am humbly placing attitude and words at God's feet. My thoughts are going to rest with God- in his Presence. Each time I start to get frustrated or exasperated, I am going to pray. I will probably pray for help. More than that, I am going to praise God for his mercy, his love, and his availability.

I was reminded today of Psalm 100:4: Enter His gates with Thanksgiving and His courts with Praise; give Thanks to Him & Praise His name!

My Thanks Tanks is being filled with these things (and so much more):

1. Teachers: I am thankful for teachers and how much they do for our children. I was really impressed with the teachers I saw giving extra time last night at Craft Night at school
2. Craft Night at School: We surprised our kids last night after dinner with going to Craft Night at Jonathan's school. They had so much fun. It was free and they got to make a bunch of take home crafts. It was delightful to hear one of them say, "This was a really good night!"
3. My dedicated hubby: My husband went to the store for me last night even though he has a " man cold". He must love me.
4. Christmas cards: I love getting Christmas cards. Yes, this was on last's weeks list, too. I enjoy getting these cards that remind me of the friends and family I love.
5. Quiet Mornings: My boys played nicely this morning. What a nice surprise!
6. Encouraging Words: I love it when I read something encouraging. This week I loved this post that encourages the very core of my heart. Take a few minutes to read it. It will bless you!
7. Christmas Traditions: I enjoy our family traditions. It is heart warming to see my kids get excited about doing the Advent Calendar. They cannot wait to make our gingerbread house. I love the little Christmas things that we do as a family.
8. My Children: I started this list hours ago. My boys have played wonderfully today and Elsie is a doll but they still need me constantly. I am thankful for my children. I am thankful that they depend on me. It isn't always easy but I am thankful that they are my responsibility.

There's so much more I could write- especially if I had a quiet place- but I am going to wrap it up for today. I am thankful for this day. Take time to be thankful. It will make your day so much brighter.

Book Giveaway

First thing this morning (it is always "first thing" if I haven't finished a cup of coffee- ha!) I got an email from my sister telling me about a book giveaway.

Head on over to Danielle’s Place for a Book Giveaway. She is trying to reach a 100 comments. If you comment, mention my name. Take a few minutes and check out the books at Barefoot Books. They look wonderful!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Works-for-Me-Wednesday: Holiday Planning

On one crazy day early in the month, I realized that I needed an easy way to look at our holiday plans. I had been sorting through various papers from school, preschool, church, and cub scouts (and on and on). I had another list of possible Christmas activities we might want to do as a family. I printed a calendar. I grabbed a pencil to write in activities. This allowed me to write in all the events that we might or might not want to go to. I decided to make it festive by putting it on some construction paper and decorating it a bit. Then, I posted it on the refrigerator. I thought to myself, "I wonder if my hubby will tease me about this." He didn't. In fact, he has told me over and over (without prompting, I might add) how helpful the calendar is to him. He even wrote a few of his own activies on there without me asking. I have tried so many calendars - from basic family planners to Google calendar online. This is working better for us than any family calendar I have ever had!

Wordless Wednesday: Worn Out

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tuesday Tips: I need them!

It is 11:40 on Monday night (yes, I am trying out the option to schedule a post for a later time- pretty cool!) and I am waiting for the dryer to stop. I am done with everything I need to do. My kitchen is cleaner than it has been in days. I am exhausted and I want to be in bed. I am waiting for the dryer to stop.

I need help!

About a week ago our iron broke. My sweet little tank of a three-year-old ran right into the ironing board and the iron fell and broke. (The iron was off and obviously should have been put up.) I am ironless. This is driving me crazy!!

I need your tips. I know some of you do not iron under any circumstances. HOW do you do it?!

I spent the day thinking I cannot work on laundry because I may not be able to get the clothes right out of the dryer. With my precious children, even with routines in place, it is hard to calculate the dryer time with what would be going on. And, I can bare all- I am terrible at laundry even when my iron is working.

Lay it on me, any tips for making it without an iron?

Monday, December 08, 2008

"Not Me!" Monday

"Not Me!" Monday is such a great exercise that I find myself thinking about possible "Not Me!" posts throughout the week. It is perfect for Mondays because I always need to laugh on Mondays!

Here's a list of somethings that I definitely did not do.

I did not stay up half the night with my hubby talking. We were ranting in agreement and no one was there to listen. We did not laugh about how late it was and then continue to go on and on. I did not let that happen and I am not exhausted today in any way- not me!

I have not been in such a daze (call it the "my kids are hyper and I cannot think straight daze") that I started to fill the sugar container with flour. That would be silly. I can't imagine - not me!

I am not sooo into blogging that I immediately took a picture of the sugar - flour combination just in case I wanted to post about it. That would might make me a little blog crazy- that's just not me!

I did not jump at first chance I got to sneak away and try on my wedding dress. (My mom had just brought it for Elsie’s pictures.) I did not stand in front of the mirror and smile... and feel incredibly proud that this mom of 4 can still zip up her dress. I would not let myself get excited about that and I would not brag about it to my husband-- not me!

I did not make plans for Saturday night with some new friends and realize right afterward that the SEC Championship game was that night. I did not call and cancel part of the plans because I had to watch the game. I was concerned that they wouldn't understand my devotion to my team but I did not even consider missing them game. I did not readily use my husband as part of the reason (with his permission) so I wouldn't seem like a total football fanatic, even though I am - no way, I would never do something like that- not me!

I did not hesitiate to post this Not Me! post because I was afraid it would keep traffic from my Christmas Presence post. The post describes what's going on in my heart this Christmas. I am not going to ask you to please take a minute and check it out. I did not think this might be a clever way to spread the word... not me!

Christmas Presence

My focus is different this Christmas season. Instead of thinking about Christmas presents, I keep thinking about being present this Christmas.

This year I was introduced to Advent Conspiracy. Yesterday, our church took up money for Living Waters. I cannot watch this video without tearing up.

Advent Conspiracy has changed my Christmas focus. It has changed my heart in a way that will last througout the year. I want to give more relationally to those that I love.

I am not concerned about finding perfect gifts for my family and friends. I am thinking about how I can show love to those I know (and don't know).

A few weeks ago, I found the Mother Letter Project. It started with a man that wanted to do something special for his wife for Christmas. They were both fed up with the materialistic emptiness of the holidays. They agreed they would not spend money on each other this year and instead use their money for humanitarian efforts. The husband decided to create a book of letters from moms to moms about motherhood. I just sent in my letter. It was a good exercise for me. I am thrilled to be a part of such a project. But, honestly, it is more than that. I am inspired to write letters to my loved ones.

This year my Christmas is going to be meaningful. It has already changed my life. I am conspiring to worship fully, spend less, give more and love all.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

We Cheered Our Hearts Out

I am watching the SEC Championship game. Wow, what a game! Elsie and I cheered our hearts out (before she had to take a nap). Roll Tide!!