Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ghosts of New Year's Past

Can you believe they were ever this small? Happy New Year Everyone!

Goals for the New Year

What goals are you making for the new year? Some of you may call them resolutions, but I call them goals. I try to trick myself into thinking that if I call them a goal I will actually follow through with them. I have to tell you, secretly, of course, that it really doesn't work. :)

I am sitting at work today and wanting to post on my two blogs, but I don't know how long my hands will hold out. I am having some arthritis problems in my hands and they are not cooperating with me in the least. I have all these things I want to do, like clean and organize my entire house, but alas, the hands are keeping me from doing them! ;)

Anyway...here are my goals for the year. I try to keep them to five.

1. Exercise
2. Start a Bible study with friends
3. Post to my writing blog everyday
4. Organize more of my life
5. Love more

The last one is from a post from earlier this month about being overwhelmed by the holiday season. I have already started thinking of how to show my love in tangible ways to those that I love. I will keep you posted on this. #1 on this list needs to happen everyday, but we will see. I am actually shooting for three times a week. We will see. #2 will actually stretch me a little. I will have to organize this and ask people to participate and take a risk that they will say no. This is so hard for me. #3 will be hard to maintain as well. I get in a mood and want to write, then the next day I don't want to do it. I need to gain more discipline in this area so I will keep working on it. And #4 is just there because it is there every year. Maybe I can actually follow through this year....

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ben's Santa Gifts


So...apparently it was okay with Ben, at least for the moment, that he did not get the stuff from Target or Build-a-Bear that he decided that he wanted on Christmas Eve. When he opened his "Big Gift" from Santa this was his reply:
"WHAT I ALWAYS WANTED! A NERD LONGSHOT, HOW DID SANTA KNOW???"
Good job, Santa.
Until about 45 minutes later when all the gifts were open...
"But Santa didn't get me the black dog from Build-a-Bear, or the leopard from Target."
Oh well...maybe next year.

Video letter to Santa

Last night after having dinner with Grandma and opening presents over at her house we came home and opened our Christmas pajamas. The kids wanted to open their gifts to each other and then we put out the reindeer food in the front yard. When we came back we made the plate of cookies and the kids wanted to leave Santa a video...

video

You want a WHAT??? That wasn't on your original list to SANTA! ARGGHH! AND, Yes, the cookies are store bought. We ran around all day on Christmas Eve, visiting Santa, delivering cookies, and doing last minute shopping. I decided in the line at Target when Emily said, "Mommy, I WANT those green cookies!" Hey, that's not a bad idea, I might get to bed before 2am.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Holiday Favorites

I love most anything sweet, but my mother-in-law makes one of the best treats in the world. My mom makes one of my favorite cookies in the world, and they only make them at Christmas time.

Mom makes springerle cookies. These are German cookies that have anise in them. I am not usually a big black licorice fan, but there is just the right amount in these cookies. The cookies are not easy. The dough takes forever to mix up, and then they have to be pressed with special wooden cookie presses, and then left out over night to dry out. Then you bake them and they puff up. They are so worth it. If I had a press I would make them. They are the best when you are having coffee. LoVe them! Here is a picture



This beauty is hand carved and runs about $45.00 at http://www.cookiemold.com/, just in case you needed a last minute gift mom! This site also has a couple of different recipes for these pillow cookies.

This year my mom-in-law made some of these treats and I have already eaten all of them. I think Chris and the kids got about 1 each. I REALLY love them. They are called haystacks and I decided to make some tonight.

Santa's Village - last year

These are some pictures from our visit last year. You will notice that Emily would not get her nose painted last year, so that is a step for her.





They both look so little to me!


Taking stuff off the tree while mommy waits in line for them.



Santa's library with Curious George or "HooHoo HaHa" as he is fondly called in our house.

Good times!


Monday, December 22, 2008

Santa's Village

This is our second year to venture out to this craziness. It is a little village made up of little houses that you wait in line to go into and get something free. Mrs. Claus' house gives away cookies, the police station gives away these little coupons that say you have been good, the reindeer house paints the kids noses red, the fire station lets them try on the suits, etc. If you look close you can see the kids' red noses.


Posing with the fireman.
Posing with Sparky the firedog.

Petting the chickens.


Riding the sleigh.
A good time was had by all, well, at least the kids! ;)









Saturday, December 20, 2008

Little Girl Fashion

Okay...those of you who know me know that I am CRAZY controlling about clothes. I want my kids to look cute, and above all MATCH. We do not leave the house with spiderman pajamas, cowboy boots and shorts. I am not judging anyone who does. I just can't stand to see MY kids that way. I know this is a GIGANTIC problem for me and my kids think I am CRAZY.

So I told Emily to go and put some clothes on before we started our day of crafts and sewing. Here is what she came out of her room wearing.


Makes me laugh, even though I have this compulsion to make her change, I didn't. Later when we actually leave the house to meet grandma for dinner she WILL be wearing something different. But for now...baby steps!

Flashback Friday - late

Sorry this is late. I meant to do it last night when I got home, but I was so tired. We went to Santa's Village, which is code for crazy people pushing and shoving to get free junk for their kids. Yeah, I am crazy for going and we never get to see Santa because the line is just CRAZY long, but the kids do have a great time waiting in line to get their free junk. So we had a pretty good time, I was just TIRED! So, here you go...

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Story of Peter

I was driving to work today, rested and late. Our very dear friends, Cher and Ed, decided that we needed a break so the kids went over to play last night. As soon as we got there Cadence and Ben decided that it was a good idea to have a sleep over. Cher was okay with it, and it meant that I could actually get some sleep so I was okay with it. Apparently not a lot of sleeping went on in their house last night, though. I slept until I woke up and took my time getting ready, responding to email before I left for work. So I am finally a little more rested, less overwhelmed, and more open to the things around me.

So as I was driving I had Third Day playing very loudly. My friend, Nicole gave me the CD so when I reference the song I will not be able to tell you what the title is. But...there is a song on the CD about how Peter probably felt when he denied knowing Jesus three times. I was very moved by this song. It talks about how Peter can't live with the shame of leaving Jesus alone to die on the cross.

I started thinking about this story. It occurred to me that I have left Jesus alone to die on the cross. Every time I have denied Him I have left Him there alone. And thinking back on my life I have denied Him too many times to count.

Then it occurred to me in the very next thought that maybe that is why the story is included for us to read. If Peter who walked with Jesus, sat next to Jesus, prayed with Jesus, and learned from Jesus could deny Him it is not so surprising that we would also deny Him. I believe Peter really did love Jesus, I mean who couldn't love Him? There really is no guilt or condemnation. This is what means to be free. Even when we deny Him, He takes our shame and lets us know He still loves us, always has and always will.

Thank you, Lord. This is what I needed this week. I was so low and I left you there alone on the cross. Thank you for reminding me how much You love me even in the midst of the messiness of the world.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Positive thoughts

After yesterday I really need something positive to happen. Just like it often does this event came from my children.

Last night I spent most of the evening sewing Christmas gifts. I am no where near done, but I have at least started and can start to move forward and get more done tonight, and maybe finish by the end of the weekend.

Well, when I started to pull out the fabric I had on hand and pick out the ones I was going to use, Emily came into my room. She wanted to sew too. She ran and got her wooden sewing machine that my friend Sandy gave her for her second birthday. It comes complete with the little foot thingy, and yes I do sew a lot, but I can't think of what it is called right now. It also had a little wooden box with little wooden spools of thread, so cute, and it is pink. She loves it.

Anyway, she ran and got her sewing machine and set it up on the bed by my sewing table. She picked out some fabric that she liked and sat with me in the kitchen while I cut out what I needed. While she sat there she cut out her fabric as well. She and I chatted and had a very nice evening together.

This morning she came into my room and climbed in bed with me and said, "Mommy, let's stay home and sew today." My heart just melted. That's what it is all about my friends.

So can you guess what we are doing tonight?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Okay...

Okay, it is now 11:15pm and I have managed to make about 14 gifts. I am now a little less overwhelmed. I still have a mountain of laundry to fold, and more gifts to make and wrap, but at least I got a lot accomplished tonight. I was going to take a picture, but I realized that lots of you who are reading are getting some of the gifts I made tonight...no peeking!

Still Overwhelmed

How is it that I could feel this overwhelmed? Don't I know that Christmas is coming? Doesn't it come every year at the same time? It isn't even like Easter when you don't know EXACTLY what day it will fall on. ARRGH!

I moved into that state of being so overwhelmed that I don't want to do ANYTHING. This attitude is not helping me get anything accomplished except sitting in front of the TV watching Tom and Jerry wanting to drink the whole bottle of wine my dear friend Cher just brought over.

Now that I have vented I am going to try and push through this and get one thing accomplished tonight. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mom's birthday. I hope she will be reading this today. I have been thinking about this post for a few days now. Trying to figure out how to best say Happy Birthday to her, but it totally eludes me.

Since I can't seem to find some words I took some pictures of my African violets. These are kind of a family legacy. My mom raised them when I was little, and her mom raised them. I love them and have managed to keep one alive and healthy, with my mom's constant supervision. Whenever I have a question she is always there to help me keep them healthy. Love you mom!



Monday, December 15, 2008

Overwhelmed

Can you believe that Christmas is only like ten days away? I am so overwhelmed. this year has been tough for so many reasons. Not the least of which is that I lost my last two grandparents within about six months of each other. I just have not been able to focus and get anything accomplished. I still have gifts to buy, gifts to make, gifts to wrap, cards to send out, sweets to bake, and the list goes on and on. Not to mention my daily chores like the mountain of unfolded laundry in my hallway. (it's in a basket, no worries. :)

This weekend Chris let me have some time to myself to get a few things accomplished. It was so helpful and I am so thanful, but I really only got my house in some kind of managed chaos. I did decide that only a few decorations were going up this year, my way of keeping it simple.

Last night in the midst of posting to my other blog, doing the laundry, and baking cookies I really starting thinking about this madness that is known as the holiday season. Why do we wait to do nice things for people in December? Why is it that we try to cram a year's worth of how we feel about someone into a month?

Now, don't get me wrong, I do understand the meaning of Christmas. It is the celebration of our Lord's birth. I also understand why we give gifts this time of year, Jesus got gifts. But, couldn't we remember His birth everyday? Could we not give little gifts to the ones we love all the time? Maybe then I wouldn't feel so overwhelmed at this time of the year. Maybe if I made more of an effort all year I wouldn't feel like I had to make it up to everyone in December.

Okay, so here is my New Year's goal (I don't make resolutions :) I am going to try to really love the people that I love. I am not sure what that looks like, but I don't think I have been doing a very good job lately.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Gingerbread House - a photo story

Yeah, we get to make a gingerbread house and play with Lilly, what a fun afternoon!

I think Bubba has more candy than me. Thanks for sharing, Lilly. Now Emily has more candy than me. Mom, can we get started. I really want to put this candy on the house since I can't eat it. Look at the wreath I put on my side. Look at all the candy I put on my side. I really want to eat this candy!

We're all done. Can we actually eat something sweet now? I smelled sugar cookies baking in the kitchen, then we all want to go for a walk!


Look at our beautiful gingerbread chalet. Mom, take a picture and let's go for a walk now!


Thirty minutes and a dog later...


I want to thank my friend Allison for giving me the idea for this photo story. The one with Charlotte and Santa was priceless!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Writing

So for those of you who are following me, known and unknown, I have some news. I have started another blog. The purpose of this blog was to see if I could keep up with it, and I feel like I have been pretty successful, so far. :)

Anyhoo, I started a blog specifically for my writing. There will probably not be any pictures there, but I do plan to write installments for short stories, devotionals, and other various writings. If you are interested check it out. Feel free to comment on the writing. I am using this to hold me accountable and get me writing on a regular basis again. But, please remember that I am a writer and that makes me a bit sensitive. If it is craptacular, please find a nice way to say it, but please say it. I need feedback.

www.glimpsesandstories.blogspot.com

Flashback Friday

Breakfast at the Nativity, December 2006
Our friends, Karon and David, have invited us to their church every year and for Breakfast at the Nativity and the kids love it. We eat pancakes, then the kids hear the story of Christ's birth. Then they put on costumes and the older kids read it as the younger ones act it out.

Emily as the angel
The angel speaking to the goat.

Ben as the goat.


The animals standing around the manger.



Look at me mommy! :)





Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Putting up our tree

So with the trip to Houston before Thanksgiving, and the trip to Indiana we had not put up our tree. Ben has been relentless with the nagging and complaining about putting up the tree...so...we did it tonight. I still have a lot of decorations to put up, but at least the tree is up. Here are some pics from the merry event.


Aren't we really cute!


Bubba, I don't think you are putting that in the right place!

This one goes RIGHT HERE!

Finally...I get to put some ornaments on this tree!

Big happy family...who finally figured out how to use the timer on their camera!

That was fun...


I just spent my entire lunch hour jumping from one handmade website to another. That was a lot of fun. The one I like the most right now is Sweet Baby Creations. They have other things besides baby creations. My favorite thing there right now is the personalized ribbon keychains. They are on sale through today for $8.00, what a great gift for teachers! :)

Random Rantings

Okay...so most of you know that I live in Texas. And I assume those of you who don't live here know that the weather here can be extreme in the summer time. We can have 105 degree days with 100% humidity and not a cloud in the sky, or worse a drought. Well...let me tell you that our weather here all year round is just CRAZY.



Yesterday in Dallas it was 68 degrees when I dropped the kids off at school around 8:00am. By lunch time when I went out it had dropped to about 48 degrees. Then by the time I went to play bunco at 7:30 it was snowing. OKAY...if that isn't crazy I don't know what is.



Crazy or not, it was really nice to see the roof tops dusted with snow this morning, but more than likely by tonight it will be 70 degrees again. Welcome to Texas. If you don't like the weather wait about ten minutes and it will probably change.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Forgiveness

I was kidnapped by my friend Tracy for a pedicure this afternoon, which was just heaven. And when I got home Emily had been sent to her room for some minor infraction of the rules. I went in to talk to her and she told me she did not want to say sorry because she was scared what daddy would say. But I talked her into it. Well, when she came out and apologized Chris greeted her with a big smile and a hug and showed her that he wasn't upset anymore at all. However, a little while later she did exactly the same thing she had done to get in trouble before. This time I sent her to her room to cool off. Then she came out and threw her arms around me and apologized. It was such a sweet loving moment. Will she do it again? Probably, but she knows that what she has done is wrong and is trying to get better, right?

Tonight with our LifeGroup we talked about forgiveness a lot. One of the questions in our study had to do with forgiveness and it got us into a really heated debate. I immediately thought of this interaction with Emily. This reminded me of how the Father must feel when we ask for forgiveness. He freely gives it whenever we ask we only have to apologize. It is such a sweet and loving moment when we give ourselves over to Him and ask forgiveness. Will we do it again? Probably, but we know what we have done is wrong and we are trying to get better, right?

As an aside...THANKS Tracy! I really needed that today! :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The mad Boy Wonder

video

For those of you who know my son, this is HYSTERICAL! He is such a show-off, but apparently he was VERY MAD about something last night.

I HATE CHAOS

Okay, so we went to school last night for the kids program. I realized that this is not my favorite night of the year. It really never goes well for our family. Everyone else seems so relaxed and lets their children just run around and have fun. I, however, CANNOT relax at all. I find myself really hating the night and the kids pick up on my feelings and their night is ruined as well. Do people really enjoy participating in these things?

I realized last night that is really the chaos of the whole thing that I hate. Why do I feel I have to control EVERYTHING????? Why can't I just relax and enjoy the whole thing? This is a big problem of mine. Oh well...here are some pictures from the night and a little video if I can figure out how to get it to upload.


Feliz Navidad, Lizzie!
Do we always have to pose????
AHHH...friends!


You will notice that I am the one doing all the singing here...NOT Emily. Ah...good times!

video

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thanksgiving with the Cullum's


Remember how I said I wished I had pictures of Thanksgiving to share?

Thanks Gayle! :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Flashback Friday

Ah...the Saturdays of long ago when we used to go to Gymboree...how I miss those days. Where has the time gone? Where is my little man?



look at me mommy!

thanks for your help, daddy


now I think I will do it on my own!



Hey, Molly, look at me!




Boy Wonder and his dog


Here's the thing...we have a dog. She doesn't live with us right now, but we still have a dog. We got Daphne before Ben was born, about two years, but she is still HIS dog. Daphne lives with grandma right now because of issues which drove my husband BANANAS! And Emily's allergies. You see Daphne is a lab mix and she SHEDS like you would not believe. But in spite of all this we love her.

So last night this was the conversation in the car....
B: "So I got an idea about Daphne."
M: "What's your idea?"
B: "If we can bring Daphne home I will cover my nose and mouth EVERY time I cough."
M: "Really...shouldn't you do this anyway?"
B: "Yes, but she will help me remember better."
M: "I don't think we can bring Daphne home right now."
B: "Okay, I got an even better idea. Sister, will you cover your nose and mouth too?"
E: "Nope!"
M: trying not to die laughing while driving...this could be hazardous to every one's health
B: "Well...she said she wouldn't but I still want Daphne to come home. I promise I will cover my nose and mouth, mommy."

I proceeded to tell him the reasons, but he was still very sad. I wish we could bring her home...truly I do. She is a great dog, most of the time. :)


Monday, December 1, 2008

BFF's

I am not sure if boys have BFF's or not, but I have managed to get pictures of both the kids with their BFF's playing the piano. Very cute! We love you Lilly and Cadence!

Emily and Lilly singing "We Three Kings".
Ben and Cadence making up their own songs.


Moments

I missed a couple of days so I have a couple of posts that I have been thinking about so you will have to read more than one today. :)
There are moments in life that just take your breath away, don't you think. Then there are moments that you just feel so much emotion you can't contain it. The emotion comes out in laughter, crying, or shouting. Sometimes I think that I am more emotional than most because this happens to me often.
Saturday night I had some of these moments with Emily. She and I were home by ourselves because she had lost the privilege of going out to get ice cream after dinner. But I think our time together was much more fun for her, so not such a good punishment, oh well. :) Here are some snapshots we took together. I took some and she took some. Enjoy.
Me getting ready to play "Jesus Loves Me" on the piano for Emily. This is her favorite song. She just couldn't get my head in the picture. She took five of them. :)

"Mommy, lay down and put your hands like this and smile."

"Emily, now you."

"Mommy take a picture of me shaking my booty!"

"Now my booty!"