Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Eat Up!

Tomorrow we will be eating our cornbread, bbq pork sandwiches, black eyed peas, and turnip greens.    It is the traditional New Year's Day food here in Mississippi.     Tradition also says that it will bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year.

I don't know what is traditional food in your neck of the woods, but somebody must have broke tradition this past year because our country certainly did not have prosperity!

Get to eating people!!!!   2009 depends on it!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

WWE: Mom vs. Cat

While in general cats do a pretty good job bathing themselves, occasionally Kit Kat needs a little extra bath. Let me just say that this is not something that either she nor I look forward to. It is pretty much similar to a wrestling match.

If you have ever washed a cat you know that you have to come prepared. Once you enter the ring there is no leaving. If you forget something, you are down for the count. So before I start the process I make sure that I have all the necessary tools: towels, shampoo, cup for rinsing, long sleeve shirt (to minimize scratches), warm water, and two cups of coffee to give me an "edge".

As soon as I pick up Kit Kat and start heading towards the sink she starts to tense. She knows that the match is on and she begins to contort her body towards me to dig her claws in an effort to get away. I learned the hard way about this little trick. Both hands are clamped gently but firmly on her front and rear legs. She twists and yowls, but she doesn't escape OR claw me.

As soon as she starts yowling the boys come running to see what is wrong. I tell them that they can stand outside the "ring", but absolutely no crossing.... no matter what they see or hear.

What happens next is a two minutes cross between Kung-Fu, Taekwon Do and every Mom skill I have ever learned. Once a cat is wet, all bets are off. Add shampoo and they are a slippery ball of scratching clawing nightmare. Do they care that you have filled the sink with a few inches of pleasantly warm water so they won't get chilled? Do they care that you are using your "soothing" voice? No, you have instantly become the enemy and they will do nothing short of clawing every inch of your skin and eyeballs out to get away from that water. After rinsing thoroughly, comes the HARD part. Oh, you thought washing was the hard part. Ha!

Now, we have to get that cat out of the sink without her attaching herself to one of your body parts. At this point I am running out of energy and she is just getting her temper going. After the water drains, I wipe off as much water as possible and throw a towel around her and close her legs in before she has a chance to swirl around. Those eyes are flashing at me with a look of death.

Don't laugh, but at this point I go sit in the rocking chair and rock her to calm her down while rubbing her dry through the towel. When she is a little calmer, I switch towels and do the process all over again.

For now, Kit Kat smells a lot better and maybe in a few days she will quit plotting my death.

Monday, December 29, 2008

If You Give A Boy A Vacuum...

If you give a boy a vacuum, he will giggle as he knocks all the stuff off the table as he tries to plug it into the wall. As he picks all the stuff back up to put it back onto the table, he will become amused at getting the nativity pieces "reposed" and realize that the wise men can do head stands. All the laughter will attract the attention of his younger brother who joins the laughter and also then stands as look out for "parents".

If you give a boy a vacuum, he will turn it on and then soon begin chasing look-out son around the room with great hilarity. Both boys find this great fun and think that some of the floor must be getting clean so they are accomplishing two tasks at once: fun + assigned task.

If you give a boy a vacuum, he will pull off the hose attachment and see how much suction that "baby" has. Not by actually vacuuming nooks and corners, but by attaching it to his arms and face. Again, this provides a great deal of laughter although it may be tough to explain those little marks on his face.

If you give a boy a vacuum, he will find lots of ways to entertain himself and eventually vacuum the floor.

Holiday Hangover

I don't know about you, but I am still picking up wrapping paper and finding random boxes and bows under chairs. Even so, Christmas week seemed to just fly by! I hate, hate, hate shopping after Thanksgiving and I did more of it this year than ever before. It kind of saps the spirit out of me when I have to shop after Thanksgiving. It makes me feel really bad for people who have to work retail.

Some of our highlights:
* My sweet niece, Jo, came over to stay with the guys while I went out one day and they had the best time baking and decorating cookies.

* The boys were so excited about Christmas morning that that Little Guy came and got in the bed with us at 3:00 a.m. I asked him to try to go back to sleep, but he wormed and squirmed and there was really no sleep to be had. When he saw Big Guy turn on the living room light at 5:00 a.m., he was out of our bed like Dash (from the Incredibles movie). Christmas morning had started!

* Little Guy was beyond thrilled with receiving his telescope although he has been frustrated with the clouds in the sky since then.

* My guys are just like every kid. They are complete opposites. We were sitting around talking about the presents and Little Guy said, "This present will help me with my hand/eye coordination. This present will help me with my science class. This present will help me with my hand dexterity." Big Guy grinned and took one look at his Guitar Hero and said, "This gift will help me become a ROCK STAR!" Ha! Ha!

* When I was opening my presents, I had a package in my hand and Little Guy moved behind a chair and covered his ears. I asked what as wrong and he said, "Nothing, Mom, I just know when you open that package you are going to scream!" I couldn't scream because I almost cried. They bought me the Willow Tree nativity set to add to my collection. I love it!

* Late last Monday night hubs was cruising channels and couldn't find anything to watch on television so Tuesday morning I went and rented the first season of the series "24". We have never watched it, my sister and BIL love it. On Tuesday night we stayed up until 2:00 in the morning watching the first DVD. Tonight we will watch the last episodes of the first season. We are soooo hooked!

Lowlight of the holiday..
* On Christmas Eve, I was trying to do a few things on my computer when all of a sudden I got the blue screen of death! I packed up my computer and took it to my computer guy. I barely got it to him before he closed for the holidays. Now I am without a computer until after he gets back January 5th. And even then we will have to see how long it takes him to repair it. So for now I will be making updates and checking blogs as I have a chance to have access to hubs' computer.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

WFW: A Name


Names. When I think about the hours we spent talking about what we wanted to name our boys. It was such a process trying to decide what we wanted to name our baby if it was a boy or a girl.

Even when the boys had their Thanksgiving feasts in kindergarten they spent hours deciding on their "Indian" names to put on their shirts. Names are just so important and say something about who you are.

Mary and Joseph weren't your typical parents. They did not do the typical new parent things. Had Joseph followed the customs and traditions of that day, he would have been justified to have stoned Mary to death. Imagine that? Stoning Mary and our Lord and Savior.

Our Bible says a lot about the choosing of Mary as the mother of Jesus, but little is said about the man. I believe the choice of both Mary AND Joseph emphasize just how important the family is to God and just how important a role both parents play in a child's life from the very beginning.

The Bible says that an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and not only told him to name the baby Jesus, but said that the baby would save the people from their sins. I hope the angel told him to sit down first.


The Bible gives 256 names for Jesus. That isn't surprising to me because how do you find the name above all names? However, out of all the other names in the Bible the one that speaks to me the most is WONDERFUL.

His birth? Like none other in history.

He came to bless -- not to curse.

To lift us up -- not to trip us.

He came to seek and to save those who are lost.

He gave sight to the blind.

He opened prison doors and set captives free.

He made disciples and blessed the multitudes.

He gave rest to the weary and yet there as NO room for Him in the inn the day He was born.

On Christmas morning and in your heart, will you have room for Him?

I hope so. His name is WONDERFUL!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas!

(Above is our Christmas card from this year....
Merry Christmas to all of you from our family!)
Christmas is only hours away. I feel sort of out of sorts this year because our typical routine has been rearranged. (Remember, I am the "routine" person.) Normally we would have spent all last weekend at my Mom and Dad's house having our family Christmas, but with the twins arrival we decided to wait until the weekend after to have our family Christmas. Hub's family has gone to South Carolina. So I am making a grocery list and starting to cook for our Christmas meal. Hubs has requested sausage balls. Little Guy wants hash brown casserole. Big Guy wants our traditional overnight coffee cake.
I finally finished all the Christmas cards. I love the Christmas cards every year. I not only design ours, but I design cards for quite a few friends as well. One special card I designed this year also doubled as a birth announcement too.
What a difference a year makes! This is the card I made for them last year....
I always enjoy making a card that my Mom can send out with all her "grands" on it:
I posted my Christmas morning coffee cake recipe here! I hope you enjoy.
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

1 Corinthians 13 (Christmas Version)

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way. Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.

Merry Christmas and lots of love to you and yours!

Friday, December 19, 2008

School Christmas Party

Yesterday was Little Guy's Christmas party at school. I am the room mom so that meant that I got to go and be a part of the fun. Little Guy has such sweet friends in his class. The little girls that is in the picture below is one of his sweet friends that he has been telling me about for the past two weeks. They both LOVE math and he has been teaching her the multiplication tables. You don't officially learn the multiplication tables in 2nd grade, but his teacher encourages them to learn, learn, learn so they do!


When I first started organizing parties for Big Guy, I would spend hours decorating and planning elaborate foods but I soon realized that these kids just wanted "stuff". So I started planning simpler and cute food. That is what they wanted so that is what they get. Below are some OREOS that I very quickly dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with Christmas sprinkles.


Believe it or not, their favorite snack were these cheese cubes with pretzel sticks. These always seem to be a hit with the kids no matter what party I attend. They just think they are fun and yummy.

I forgot to take a photo, but one of my best "tips" for throwing a party at school is with the chips and dip. I buy individual bags of chips for each child (that is easy), but then there is the dip. I used to spend forever putting dip on each plate until I discovered the easiest shortcut. While eating at one of my favorite delis they gave me ranch dressing in this little cup with a top. It hit me that it would make the perfect way to serve up the ranch dip. I asked the restaurant if I could buy 25 cups and lids. They willingly donated them to me. I went to school with the dip already in the cups which made it so easy to pass out to the kids. Love serving dip at school that way! Quick and mess free!

Yesterday I tried to drink in Little Guy's Christmas party. We only have three more with him. Christmas parties end at middle school. That means no more parties for Big Guy. They grow up sooo fast.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Where Do I Go?


Where Do I Go?

Neta Jackson



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
As a husband/wife writing team, Dave and Neta Jackson are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together they are the authors or coauthors of over 100 books. In addition to writing several books about Christian community, the Jacksons have coauthored numerous books with expert resource people on a variety of topics from racial reconciliation to medical ethics to ministry to kids in gangs.

Dave and Neta live in Evanston, Illinois, where for twenty-seven years they were part of Reba Place Church, a Christian church community. They are now members of a multi-racial congregation in the Chicago area.

They're trying something new! Not just new for them, but something completely new in Christian fiction: “Parallel novels,” two stories taking place in the same time frame, same neighborhood, involving some of the same characters living through their own dramas and crises but interacting with and affecting one another … just the way it happens in real life.

It’s something that only a husband and wife writing team could pull off. While Neta has Where Do I Go?, her husband Dave has written Harry Bentley's Second Chance.



ABOUT THE BOOK

A story of seeking-and finding-God's will in unlikely places.

Gabrielle Fairbanks has nearly lost touch with the carefree, spirited young woman she was when she married her husband fifteen years ago. But when the couple moves to Chicago to accommodate Philip's business ambitions, Gabby finds the chance to make herself useful. It's there she meets the women of Manna House Women's Shelter; they need a Program Director-and she has a degree in social work. She's in her element, feeling God's call on her life at last, even though Philip doesn't like the changes he sees in her. But things get rough when Philip gives Gabby an ultimatum: quit her job at the shelter or risk divorce and losing custody of their sons. Gabby must take refuge, as in the song they sing at Sunday night worship: "Where do I go when there's no one else to turn to? . . . I go to the Rock I know that's able, I go to the Rock."

Romantic Times Book Reviews says, “Exquisite characters coupled with God's mercy and love emanate from each page.”

Publisher's Weekly adds, “Jackson's Yada Yada series has sold half a million copies, and this new offshoot series ... promises the same.... The book's dramatic ending ... leav[es] readers eager for the next installment in the series.”

To read the Prologue and first Chapter of Where Do I Go?, go HERE

Slapped With Reality

Isn't it fun to run into people that you used to go to school with or work with or go to church with? I love running into people that I haven't seen in a while and catching up on how they are doing. I get so embarassed when I can't remember names, but other than that it is usually a good thing.

Until yesterday! I was out shopping trying to find something for hubs' company Christmas party. It is always a really nice party at the company president's home. It is in a private gated community and several of the families open their homes so you can walk through sampling the different foods, listening to the bands out in the circle, and even roasting marshmallows around the different fireplaces.

I was walking through a store on my way into the mall when I heard my voice. I turned and saw someone that I had worked with in high school. I said hello and asked how she had been doing. She didn't answer my question, the very first thing out of her mouth was this:

"Girl, I haven't seen you since high school and you have gotten so FAT! How did you let yourself get so fat?"

My first reaction was shock, but then I just laughed and said, "I'm glad you pointed that out to me."

Don't get me wrong. What she said hurt me... to my core. And she is right. I am fat. I need to lose weight in a big kind of way. However, after 24 years of not seeing someone I just wasn't expecting that to be the first thing out of her mouth.

It's said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. It's also said the truth hurts. Yesterday... it stung like a slap across the face.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

WFW: Waiting for the Gift

Last night, Little Guy's school had a Christmas story reading. Everyone was supposed to come in their pajamas for cookies and milk and to listen to Christmas stories. Little Guy got a kick out of seeing his teachers dressed up in pajamas.

They read the Polar Express which always seems to be a big Christmas hit. Following that book, the kids could hear bells and then "Santa Claus" came through the back door yelling, "Ho! Ho! Ho!" Some of the kids went nuts. Little Guy turned to me and said, "Oh, brother!"

When Santa announced that he was going to be reading a book, I whispered in Little Guy's ear, "Please remember that your friends believe." He winked at me and sat back with his friends.

On the way home he said, "Mom, why do parents tell kids that Santa Claus is real when he is really pretend? Jesus is real and he is soooo much more fun."

When our boys were born we decided not to do Santa Claus. We worried about if it would be awkward or if our boys would be missing out. Hubs and I grew up with Santa Claus. However, we both grew up having experiences where we asked if Santa Claus was real and we couldn't get a straight answer. That and several other things influenced us to not "do" Santa Claus.

On Christmas morning the boys love waking up to the smell of overnight coffee cake baking and hot chocolate, but most of all they love looking for their first clue that starts their "Jesus Treasure Hunt". Their clues are simple and look a lot like this:
Clue #1 Go back to where you woke up and look underneath — not the covers, but the floor.
Clue #2 Look on the floor in the place where we hang Todd’s clothes.
Clue #3 Look in the plant in the room where you get your teeth squeaky clean.
Clue #4 It’s Tanner’s favorite window to look for the garbage truck or for Todd’s school bus in the afternoon.
Clue #5 You can watch Mythbusters here!
Clue #6 If Mom is resting, you can find the headphones here!
Clue #7 This is Tanner’s seat at supper.
Clue #8 This is where Todd puts his tennis shoes when he takes them off.
Clue #9 Where do we keep our milk?
Clue #10 What instrument does Mommy play?
Clue #11 Where does Daddy exercise?
Clue #12 Where is the bowl that smells like cinnamon?

I don't know if you noticed in the picture up top, but the baby Jesus is missing. No matter what nativity scene in our house you look at, the baby Jesus is missing. That is because the gift hasn't arrived yet! The boys get to find the baby Jesus figures on Christmas morning and put them in the different nativity scenes.

The boys love breakfast on Christmas morning because we have birthday cake for Jesus! We sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. The boys usually decorate the cake on Christmas Eve and it is ready for Christmas morning. In between birthday cake and overnight coffee cake, we are sugared up!

While we are all eating cake and sipping on hot chocolate, hubs reads the Christmas story. (Big Guy wrote an essay for school yesterday and he mentioned this as one of his favorite Christmas traditions.)

After all of this, we get to the presents. We all love the presents, but I am so thankful that we take time to celebrate the true gift: Jesus and his birthday.

Happy Birthday Jesus
I'm So Glad Its Christmas
All The Tinsel And Lights and The Presents Are Nice
but The Real Gift Is You.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"SNOW"

Our church had our Christmas musical Sunday morning. The music was one of the things that first attracted us to our church. Our choir can sing. I am very simple when it comes to worship. While there were a lot of elements to Sunday morning's Christmas cantata that were beautiful, a lot of them were distracting to me in my own personal worship. The most worshipful moments for me were when the choir was singing with the amazing orchestra and I could just focus my thoughts on my amazing God.

One of my favorite moments was a song when they were scrolling words that describe our God across the screen and allowing them to float over the top of the screen and onto the ceiling. It just naturally lifted your eyes up.

At home we have had Christmas music going all the time: on our home stereo, in the car, on the boys' iPods, etc... One of our favorites is a group called Go Fish. Their Christmas album is called "SNOW". They are considered a kid's group, but I LOVE them! They really get me in the Christmas spirit. Here is just one of my favorite songs by them:



What about you? What is your favorite Christmas album right now?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree!

Wow! Is Big Guy really taller than his tree? I guess I need to look for him a taller tree. Not because he is taller, but because he almost doesn't have room for all of his ornaments. Every year we make new ones to add to his tree and we always seem to buy one or two. Maybe I can move this tree out to the back patio and get him one that is a little taller.
Little Guy's tree has a sports theme. His room has a sports theme so his first ornaments were "Bulldog's 1st Christmas" and ornaments like that. One year we found all these cute snowmen with different sports themes and we bought them for his tree. Since then he has been making and finding sports ornaments for his tree. So cute!
When Little Guy was decorating his tree he got a flashlight and then got a piece of paper and punched some stars in it and taped it over the top. He put the flashlight in his Christmas tree and pointed it towards his ceiling. When he turned on his flashlight stars were on the ceiling. I thought it looked so cool and creative so I asked him about it. He said, "Mom, that is so the wise man can find Jesus at my nativity."
Amusing gave us a bag of pajamas that D had outgrown. I was pulling them out to put away and Little Guy found the pajama set you see him wearing in this picture. He exclaimed, "Wow! These are fancy pajamas." He has worn then every night since them. He just loves them. The first night he wore them he asked me to take his photo in front of the tree. He is definitely cute in his fancy pajamas. Thanks, Amusing!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Legend of the Candy Cane


A candy maker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would be a witness, so he made the Christmas Candy Cane. He incorporated several symbols for the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ.

He began with a stick of pure white hard candy. White to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus, and hard to symbolize the Solid Rock, the foundation of the Church, and firmness of the promises of God.

The candy maker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. It could also represent the staff of the "Good Shepherd" with which He reaches down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray.

Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candy maker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the Cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life.

Unfortunately, the candy became known as a candy cane—a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas time. But the meaning is still there for those who "have eyes to see and ears to hear." I pray that this symbol will again be used to witness to the wonder of Jesus and his great love that came down at Christmas and remains the ultimate and dominate force in the universe today.

Friday, December 12, 2008

SQUEAL! BIG News!

Kennedy (left) and Mary Morgan (right)


Mary Morgan and Kennedy went home from the hospital TODAY! My sister sent me a text this afternoon letting me know that the neonatologist told them that it was O.K. I was driving when the text came in and I nearly ran off the road screaming and crying with excitement!

They arrived home this afternoon about 4:00. I stole this picture off my sister's blog. Don't they just look like beautiful little baby dolls?

These are definitely the best Christmas presents we will get this year!

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When I Am Dreaming...

.... of a white Christmas I should probably be a little more specific. I meant SNOW not sleet! Ha! Oh, well, the boys got what they wanted which was some time off of school. They didn't get the whole day, but half a day was good. They even played in that slushy mess. I hope they don't all wind up sick with pneumonia or worse.

The electricity was out at our house all day but fortunately Amusing allowed us to crash at her house. The boys played and played and played. Sitting by her fireplace all day made me really sleepy. I could have curled up on the floor with Sambo (her dog) and taken a nap with him. I swear Amusing is a SAINT! At one point during the afternoon I think there was 15 boys in her house. Half of them were dripping wet from playing in slush and half of them were tearing up her kitchen making hot chocolate. A SAINT! That beach picture on her blog? One day we are going to disappear and our kids aren't going to be able to find us and that is where we are going to be!!!

Here are a few pics of the kids playing...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Tradition Quiz

Wrapping paper or gift bags? I am a Sally Foster wrapping paper freak. They have the most beautiful papers you can find. However, I probably should use gift bags because I am the worst wrapper around which is why I buy the wrapping paper and hubs does the wrapping.

Real tree or Artificial? Artificial. I know some of you (Amusing) think this is a travesty, but I can't bring myself to spend money on a dying tree.

When do you put up the tree? The weekend after Thanksgiving

Do you like eggnog? No... but I have a recipe for mock eggnog that I will drink.

Favorite gift received as a child? raccoon radio

Hardest person to buy for? My Daddy. Every year he just says, "Buy me t-shirts and underwear." (He has been saying that since I was a little girl.)

Easiest person to buy for? No one. There is no easy gift. Are you kidding?

Do you have a nativity scene? Yes! Lots of them because I collect them.

Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail

Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I plead the 5th!

Favorite Christmas Movie? The Charlie Brown Christmas

When do you start Shopping? I shop all year long

Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? yes

Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? BBQ meatballs, Sweet Crispix mix and sausage balls

Lights on the tree? YES always!

Favorite Christmas songs? Mary Did You Know?



Travel at Christmas or stay home? travel

Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Maybe... if I sing the song.

Angel on the tree top or a star? Neither one... there is a big bow with a large ornament on top

Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? No cheating! Christmas morning

Favorite ornament theme or color? We don't have a theme, but we do try to buy a ornament every year that represents something special or unique to that year. For example: this year we will try to buy Little Guy a ornament that has something to do with swimming. For Big Guy, something to do with skateboarding.

What do you want for Christmas this year? First, I want Morgan and Kennedy to come home from the hospital so we can snuggle them around the Christmas tree. Second, I want my hubs to use some of his vacation time and to just have some family time at home.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

P.S. Your turn!!

P.S.S.    Check out today's recipe on my cooking blog.    It's Coca Cola Cake.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

WFW: Works of God... On Loan from God

"I will put my trust in Him. I and my children whom God has given me."
Hebrews 2:13

I never fail to be amazed. God creates perfect tiny beautiful little babies and then trusts us to raise them. These beautiful babies in this picture are my one week old twin nieces. They arrived a little early so they are still in the NICU. They are wonderfully perfect and just need to gain some weight and be able to maintain their body temperature. Since they arrived I have been reminded of one of the Scriptures that I claimed when my Big Guy was born.

"I will put my trust in Him." Those days of being a new mom. You are tired and trying to take care of a new baby. You are learning to communicate with each other. Every family member, friend and stranger has advice for you and all of it conflicts. I just decided I would cling to this simple verse before I fell into a clump of emotional weepiness.

As I look back on what the last eleven years with Big Guy and seven years with Little Guy has held, I know that this verse has brought us all through some amazingly tough times.

Welcome to our family, Morgan and Kennedy. We have loved you before we even knew you, but no matter how much we love you always remember this... God loves you more!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Engaging Father Christmas

As soon as I started reading this book, I felt so cheated that it wasn't snowing outside because this book just puts you in that kind of mood. Instead my yard was knee deep in leaves and it was balmy. So I just brewed a pot of coffee and turned down the air conditioner so that I could really enjoy my reading time.

Engaging Father Christmas is the follow-up book to Finding Father Christmas which I haven't read yet, but I plan to remedy that very soon.

Robin Jones Gunn always develops the most wonderful characters and Miranda, Ian, and the Whitcombe family were no exceptions.

When Miranda arrives in Carlton Heath, England, she has preconceived ideas and hopes of what her first Christmas will be with her newfound biological family. However, there are always bumps in the road when you make plans.

Miranda discovers the personalities, the faith and the love of her family. Along the way we get to see some beautiful customs and experience the true spirit of Christmas.

I have already given one copy of this book away and definitely intend to buy more copies to give as gifts.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Miranda Carson can't wait to return to England for Christmas and to be with her boyfriend, Ian. She has spent a lifetime yearning for a place to call home, and she's sure Carlton Heath will be it, especially when a hinted-at engagement ring slips into the conversation.

But Miranda's high hopes for a jolly Christmas with the small circle of people she has come to love are toppled when Ian's father is hospitalized and the matriarch of the Whitcombe family withholds her blessing from Miranda. Questions run rampant in Miranda's mind about whether she really belongs in this cheery corner of the world. Then, when her true identity threatens all her relationships in unanticipated ways, Miranda is certain all is lost.

And yet...maybe Father Christmas has special gifts in store for her after all.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Engaging Father Christmas, go HERE

Finding Happiness... Where I Lost It

There is something about feeling needed. Last night when I went to bed I was really tired, but the happiest I have been in a long time because yesterday was such a full day. I had actually been "needed" yesterday.

I know that sounds silly. After all, I am a Mom. I am needed every day. My boys need me to make meals, wash clothes, drive them in carpool, help them with homework, etc.... I realize all that. Somehow this was just different.

I woke up yesterday morning and got the boys ready for school. My BIL dropped baby sis off at my house on his way to work so that I could take her to the hospital during the day to take care of the babies. After we dropped Big Guy off in carpool we headed down. The hospital gave us a little tiny room to take the girls in so that my sister could nurse the girls and while she was nursing one girl I was able to hold, snuggle and change the diaper and clothing of the other girl. I was in heaven. Pure heaven.

When we left, I followed my sister's directions as to what she wanted and needed to do. We went to a little shop that she needed to go to and then to grab some lunch. Then we headed back to the hospital for round two of feeding. Have I said how sweet these girls are yet? Just making sure.

I drove my sister home so she could rest and then drove back to pick up Little Guy from art classes. On the way, I decided to drop off some ingredients at Amusing's house for a recipe she was making for her jewelry party. Just as I was pulling into her driveway, my phone rang and it was Amusing, "Help!" she said. I was glad she called. I ran inside and told her I would be right back after I picked up Little Guy. I had so much fun helping her cook, set up and get ready for her party guest.

When I got home last night, I realized that although it had been a long day I was very content. I am just truly happiest when I am doing... and doing for others.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Today I Am...

Outside my window... Is my freshly raked backyard. My husband spent all Sunday afternoon raking and get ready for our Christmas decorations.

I am thinking... school projects and semester exams really dampen my Christmas spirit.

I am thankful for... the true reason of the season: Jesus!


From the kitchen... grilled chicken tenderloins and baked macaroni and cheese. It is cold outside so it makes me want comfort food.

I am wearing... blue jeans and a crimson thermal Alabama shirt. Oh, yes, it is Alabama. Just because my team didn't win Saturday doesn't mean I am not a fan. Roll Tide Roll.

I am creating... a new Christmas card address list. I have no idea what I did with my 2008 list, but I must have tossed it in one of my "organizing" frenzies.

I am going... to try to wrap up all of my Christmas presents so I can double check and make sure I am not missing anything or anyone.

I am reading... "Boomtown". It is a children's book which was sent to me from Thomas Nelson Publishing for me to review.

I am hoping... that MK and LK keep eating so that they can come home very soon from the hospital.

I am hearing... the sounds of Good Morning America, the coffee pot and the voices of the boys as the get ready for school.

Around the house... beds to be made, laundry to be washed, and lots of Christmas decorations to just sit and look at!

One of my favorite things... snuggling with my boys right after their shower!

A few plans for the rest of the week: drive my sister to the NICU to feed MK and LK (i.e. snuggle my sweet nieces!), attend a jewelry party at Amusing's house, shop for an outfit for hubs' Christmas party, and check my list and check it twice!


Here is a picture thought I am sharing...


This is Little Guy and Big Guy last year at Christmas time. They are pictured here on the balcony of Village Confections on the Square in Canton. Yes, that is a black eye that Little Guy is sporting. He got that go-cart riding at my parent's house over the Thanksgiving holidays and it was such a whopper that he still had it when this picture was taken.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Keeping Christmas

There is a better thing than the observance of Christmas day,
and that is, keeping Christmas.

Are you willing…
to forget what you have done for other people,
and to remember what other people have done for you;

to ignore what the world owes you,
and to think what you owe the world;

to put your rights in the background,
and your duties in the middle distance,
and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the foreground;

to see that men and women are just as real as you are,
and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy;

to own up to the fact that probably the only good reason
for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life,
but what you are going to give to life;

to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe,
and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds
of happiness—

Are you willing to do these things even for a day?
Then you can keep Christmas.

Are you willing to stoop down and consider
the needs and desires of little children;

to remember the weakness and loneliness of people growing old;

to stop asking how much your friends love you,
and ask yourself whether you love them enough;

to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear in their hearts;

to try to understand what those who live in the same home with you
really want, without waiting for them to tell you;

to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke,
and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you;

to make a grave for your ugly thoughts, and a garden for your kindly feelings
with the gate open—

Are you willing to do these things, even for a day?
Then you can keep Christmas.

Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world—
stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death—
and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago
is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love?

Then you can keep Christmas.

And if you can keep it for a day, why not always? But you can never keep it alone.

--Henry Van Dyke

Friday, December 5, 2008

Reindeer Games - "TAG!"

Confessions tagged me for a Reindeer Game of "TAG!"

The rules:
Link to your tagger and list the rules
List 7 random facts about yourself
Tag 7 people (and make sure you check back and see what they say!)
If you're tagged, play along and pass it on...

1. I broke my thumb in the second grade while playing with my boy cousins. They were shooting the BB gun and it was one of the ones that you had to cock to shoot. I had to turn it upside down to cock it and didn't turn it over so when I pulled the trigger, it flew down and snapped my thumb in half. I didn't want my cousins to see me cry so I walked into my Mammaw's house to show my parents. My Daddy didn't think it was broke so we waited until the next morning when it was swollen HUGE to go to the ER. Definitely broke!
2. I collect nativities. I love them so much. I started collecting the Fontanini nativity series at first and then just started adding to that. The thing I love about Fontanini is that it won't break which means the boys can play with it and reenact the Christmas story to their hearts content. I love moving Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and wisemen through the house closer and closer to the manger.
3. Hubs and I spent our honeymoon on a bus with 43 teenagers for 13 days. Thirteen days: Jackson, Atlanta, Washington DC, New York City, Buffalo New York, Niagara Falls, Toronto Canada, Detroit, and home again. Let me tell you that the fact that our marriage survived that meant that we would survive ANYTHING! I vividly remember getting on my knees and begging hubs to fly me home. He said no and let's just say that it was cold in our newlywed apartment for the next couple of weeks.
4. I was in a song and dance troup called "Total Sound" when I was in high school. I played the piano for the group. If you live in Mississippi and are familiar with Clinton's Attache, we were similar to that.
5. I have a birthmark on one half of my body. It is very prominent on the right side of my face and neck. If you look you will notice that the right side of my body is completely covered with freckles... like a carpet of freckles. The left side.... not so much. In the summer, it really get prominent. When I was in high school, I would wear tons of makeup to try to cover it up, but now I don't really think about it.
6. I am allergic to poison ivy. When I was little I used to dread the first fire my Daddy would build because I was so allergic I could even get it from the vines burning off the firewood. I have had it everywhere on my body: eyes, ears, mouth, throat, EVERWHERE! If my Mom saw a spot she just took us for a shot because that was the only way to get rid of it. It was the only shot I was glad to get.
7. When I was little one of my favorite Christmas presents was a raccoon radio. It was a stuffed raccoon that had a radio in his belly. My sister had one too. We loved those crazy radios. I am not even sure if they got great reception, but they were the first music devices we ever owned.


I bestow the tag to: Amusing because she seriously needs to update her blog!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Things You Shouldn't Do On 2 Hours Sleep

The funny thing about babies being born? Life goes on. My middle sister had to drag my niece and nephew out of the bed and bring them to the hospital with her in the middle of the night because my BIL works the night shift. When he got off work, he came by and picked up my nephew and then took their sick dog to the vet.

After getting up at 2am and spending the day at the hospital with my sister, I still had quite a few things of my own to do because both of my boys had events at their schools that night. I quickly realized that there are things you just shouldn't do on 2 hours sleep!

Shop. I received an email the night before the girls arrived saying that Big Guy had to wear church shoes for his band concert or he would receive a failing grade. Big Guy wears tennis shoes to church so I had to go pick him up from school and take him shoe shopping. Shoe shopping + two boys + two hours sleep = you want that? O.K! We left the store with not only the church shoes, but also a brand new pair of skateboarder tennis shoes for Big guy. Was Big Guy over the moon? Oh, yes, but neither my husband or I were happy when I realized I dipped into my overdraft account. I haven't done that before, but apparently on two hours sleep... I really can't do math!

Favors for a friend. On Monday before all the excitement had begun I had created an invitation for a jewelry party that Amusing is having. On Tuesday afternoon when I got home from the hospital I tried to fill in all the details for her so that she could get it sent out. She emailed and said, "I know you are tired, but I never thought you would be so tired that you would forget my phone number!" I have no idea whose phone number that was.

Attend Public Events. Those school events for my boys? Oh boy. I have this problem when I get tired. I get giggly. Even when there is nothing funny. Then I tend to say things kind of louder than I intended. Here are just a few of the outrageous things I did:
  • At Little Guy's program (which was for his Gifted Class), she was explaining all the learning styles. She stated that Little Guy was one of the students in the class that was primarily visual. I looked at him and said, "Just like your Daddy!" He looked at me all confused and then I realized.... learning, Visual LEARNING!
  • I finally found a seat at the high school auditorium and sat down. I said, "Wow! These seats were made for fat chicks." Three rows around me burst out laughing and one lady said, "You aren't kidding, sister."
  • My only non-giggly moment was seeing my Big Guy and his friends up there performing their first ever band concert. I was so proud of them. These kids have been together since kindergarten and they just looked so "grown". *sniff*
  • One of the older bands had an instrument that was really off key. That really started my giggles.
  • When the high school band came out and played a rendition of Jingle Bells mixed with teh patriotic song "Hooray for the Red, White and Blue", I was wiping the tears out of my eyes.
  • On the way to the car, I asked Big Guy, "Why did you park so far away from the auditorium?" He said, "Mom, I didn't drive, silly!" I said, "You must have because I don't remember driving us here!" I seriously think I saw both boys bow their head in prayer at that moment. Ha!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

WIRED!

I am so lucky because I have three guys who are complete music freaks. We are very selective about the music we listen to in our household. We told our boys from very early on that no matter what style of music they wanted to listen to we would let them listen to that style, but we would have to find a group that had lyrics that we approved of for them.

Big Guy and Little Guy both showed a love for rock music very early. Neither of them cared very music for "kid" music or nursery rhymes. They loved what they called "good" music. When they were little and could earn rewards we would give them a new CD as one of their options and they would always pick the CD as their reward.

One group that is ALL of our favorites is THIRD DAY! We literally have every one of their CD's. If their song comes on the radio, everybody screams, "Turn it up!!"

It is really hard to narrow down to just one of our favorites, but this is a favorite of mine:



If you have a niece, nephew, husband, son, daughter, brother-in-law... anyone who loves music and you want to buy them some awesome music for Christmas... I highly recommend ANYTHING by Third Day!

You can visit their blog at: THIRD DAY

WFW: God Loves Me

Wifey has always picked on me that I don't have any photos of myself. I really hate photos of myself. I think that is how I developed my photography hobby. I just volunteered to take the photos all the time and it just developed into a passion.
Anyway, back to taking a photo of myself. I always see the kids on Facebook posting pics of themselves that they have obviously taken of themselves. I decided I would try it. I tried it with my Blackberry. I tried it with my camera. It was HYSTERICAL! I have shots of my hair. nose. chin. Even a lovely shot of my "girls" that I am sure my hubs would appreciate. I finally went in the bathroom and took this one in the mirror, but of course, that one has all this great glare.
Looking at that picture made me think, "God, I am so glad you love me no matter what I look like." It astounds me that you would send your Son to die for ME. Me? Really? I screw up. Big time. All the time. Usually at least once a day. There are moments when I wonder what in the world my hubs ever saw in me to begin with.
I am so glad that God gave us the verse to remind us:
"For God so loved [Deanna]
that He gave His only begotten Son that
whosoever believes in Him will not perish,
but have eternal life." John 3:16

P.S. One more reason I know God loves me? He blessed our family with beautiful, perfect, brand new nieces yesterday. Check out my previous post!!! *BIG smile!*

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Welcome to the World, Morgan & Kennedy!

Remember my last post when I told you in two weeks we were going to have twins. My phone rang at 2am with the news. "My water broke! We are going to the hospital!" Technically, this wasn't the plan since my sis was scheduled for a c-section.

However, they got her all settled in and stopped her contractions and at 9:01 and 9:02 these beautiful, gorgeous, precious, amazing, tiny little bundles of beauty were born.

This was our first glimpses of the girls. We barely got this picture before my Mom and my BIL's Mom nearly attacked him. I am telling you that if the nurses hadn't jumped in front of him and said, "Don't touch the babies!" those grandmas would have grabbed those girls and run out the front door of the hospital NO DOUBT!






May I introduce you to my nieces?

Laura Kennedy & Mary Morgan
Born 9:01 a.m. Born 9:02 a.m.
5 lbs 2 ounces and 3 lbs 11 ounces


I can see the fingerprints of God when I look at you.
And I know it's true you are a masterpiece that all creation quietly applauds.
And you're covered with the fingerprints of God!

Because of the fact that I don't want to forget this day and I am afraid once I go to asleep it will all disappear, here are a few of my favorite moments of the day...

* As soon as my sister and I walked in, my baby sister looked at us and said, "You two are on fashion patrol. People are going to be taking pictures after these girls are born. Don't you be letting me looking hideous! If that happens, I am going to blame you!"

* My poor BIL is like me. He is a planner. The fact that my sister had not even packed a bag for the hospital about gave him a stroke. After we realized that the weren't going to do her section until after 8:00, he tried to convince her that he had time to drive home and get the things that the should have brought with them. It was cracking me up, but I so understood.

* I took a picture of my sister when I first got to the hospital and she said, "I can't believe you just took that picture! If you dare post that on your blog I will take it down. You do know who I work for, right? I can do it." (And she can... she works in National Security. She can get rid of my blog at the click of a button so that picture will never be here!

* At 7:30, a precious newborn boy was brought down the hall to be introduced to his family. My sister and I peeked out the door to get a glimpse. We were ooohing and ahhhhing and walked back into the room to tell my sister and BIL. My BIL had a VERY straight face when he said, "Just keep that boy away from my girls!" bwahahahaha!

* Teasing my poor niece. She does not handle anything medical very well. She is literally the only person I know who can nearly pass out having their blood pressure taken. Mention the word "blood" and she will GAG.

* Getting to see the look on my Little Guy's face when he saw those little girls for the first time. He was in awe.

* My phone rang just as my BIL was about to come down the hallway with the girls. It was my dentist office telling about my appointment with Suzanne. I was so excited I just yelled, "I'm not coming! The twins are here! Bye!" (I called them back. Explained and apologized! Later!)

(When I wake up in the morning I have no idea what this will say. I haven't had any measurable sleep since Sunday night. I am going to go crash and when I wake up I am going to go stare at Morgan and sit at my sister's bedside and BEG to hold Kennedy!)

Trip Down Memory Lane

One of Big Guy's project over the Thanksgiving holiday was to create an autobiographical timeline of his life beginning with his birth through the year 2013.    Weird project,  I know, but one of the advantages was that we had fun looking through photos find the ones that would match his life "facts".
Above is a picture of me, my sisters and our families that was taken a few years ago.     Starting on the left is my middle sister with her husband along with my beautiful niece and nephew.     My baby sister (the one now expecting twins) and her husband are in the middle.    My family is on the end.      We had this picture taken as a surprise for my Mom's birthday.      I can't wait to take another one when the twins arrive.
I know you just see a group of people, but I see so much more.   I see my two sisters that I am proud of and love so much.    
My middle sister was so shy when we were growing up that she was scared of butterflies.   I got in trouble one time for taking up for her when someone on the bus was teasing her.    She would rather someone beat her up than take up for herself.      I can't believe that same shy little girl is the self-confident high school math teacher today.     Mom to my beautiful niece and witty nephew.      She has a voice like you wouldn't believe and sings in her church choir and a lot of their special presentations.    
My baby sister has always had more energy than one person should be allowed.    Since I was 11 when she was born we have always had a very unique relationship.     I missed so much of her "growing" up years since I was already gone, but I loved going to all her gymnastics meets and going to watch her cheer at Mississippi State.   I can't believe she is about to have her own little "cheerleaders".
Anyway, all that to say that Big Guy's project is finished.    He did a really great job.    If only he would have remembered to actually pick it up off the kitchen counter!    Auuuugggghhhhh!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Meeting A Bloggy Friend

Wow! Is Thanksgiving break over already? I hope so because I just dropped Big Guy off at middle school. Both boys went back to school this morning in better moods than I expected. Little Guy woke up in a great mood, but he loves Monday at school since he has Pathways (gifted class) and art class after school. Big Guy wasn't doing cartwheels, but he was in a good mood. Maybe it was the fact that he has finished his projects that helped his attitude.

I am sitting here enjoying a cup of "Santa's Blend" coffee. It kind of seemed appropriate since we started Christmas decorating the house yesterday (more on that later).

Before I close out Thanksgiving I have to share one of the highlights of my Thanksgiving. It was getting to go Friday morning and meet Dr. Wifey. When I first started blogging I never realized that it would open the door to meet new friends. When Wifey told me she was coming home for Thanksgiving and asked if I wanted to meet, I didn't even hesitate, I said YES!

On the way to meet her I got caught up in traffic of a wreck which made me late which I hate. (Great, Deanna.) When I arrive, I found her in the children's department shopping with her Mom for books for her nephews. After looking for a few minutes, we go to the coffee shop. She insists on getting me a coffee and then I fail to thank her because I am enjoying chatting so much. (Great again, Deanna.) I so enjoyed chatting with Wife and her Mom. Wifey is just as sweet, friendly, and funny in person as she is on her blog. Now I really hope that she gets to move to Mississippi soon and next time I am buying the coffee!

CyberMonday

If you are like me and have no desire to get out in the crowds of Black Friday, then Cyber Monday is your day! 

Here is where you can find the list of a lot of the deals of the day:    Click Here!

Happy Shopping!