and kids

and kids

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A scarf with a story

Today I was shopping at Wal-Mart with Daegan and Tavis.  I noticed a lady with an interesting scarf, so I complimented her on it.  I kept shopping.

A few rows of shopping later, she waved me down.  She took the scarf off and handed it to me and she said, "Merry Christmas".
This scarf will always have a special story behind it for me.

Thank you Stranger Lady!!!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Friends as Family

This year, we spent Thanksgiving with the Gregory Clan.  It was very different not to be with cousins for Thanksgiving, but it was a lot of fun.

I didn't take a lot of pictures, but here are some:

Food Prep - which involved A LOT of turkey grease smoke.
 The guys each cutting a turkey.
 One of the twins (sorry dear, I'm not sure which one you are?)
 But I should have been able to tell you apart, since your sister was naked most of the day.
 Mac on the deck driving remote control car.
 Abby cheering him on!
The kids tables:
 And game time - Xbox play for the afternoon.  
 Ella on a DS
 Daegan on a iPad
 And more game time.
It was weird, since the Gregory's have five girls and a boy, Mollee was not outnumbered this time!
A fun day!!!

Be Thankful

If you let something steal your thanksgiving, you let something steal your joy, and if you let something steal your joy, you let something steal your strength.

Thanksgiving is the only thing that heals our view of the world.  Without Thanksgiving, our world distorts.

Ann Voskamp

What an appropriate time to learn to be Thankful in ALL circumstances.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Old Friends

Not friends that are old, but friends from our past.  Very, very dear friends.  Heath and Shannon.

These guys have seen us thru a lot.  When we met Heath, it was just him.  Later Shannon was added to the mix and we enjoyed being a part of their wedding.  We had kids around the same time.  We ate dinner together once or twice a week as families.  Plus, Shan and I got together with our babies during the day.  It was fabulous.

Then they moved away.  Shannon struggled to fit into their new city, so I had to be the "strong" friend.  I felt I couldn't be sad that she moved away, but it was very hard.  She was in a new city, but I felt very lonely "left behind".

It has been 10 years since they moved away, but when they come in town and we get together, it is like no time has passed since the last visit.  Those are the best kind of friends!!!
 Not sure why the guys posed like this?
After many, many laughs, we got this shot:
 Here are our beautiful daughters: Mollee and Jennifer GRETCHEN
 And the boys - they didn't want to stand too close
Usually, we get a group shot of the kids, but we ran out of time....

411 Goals

I work with three wonderful, Christian men.  We are a real estate team and I have to guess that not all "teams" work as well together as we do.  It is a blessing.  We all have very distinctly different job titles (Jim is Team Leader and Listing Specialist, Jose is Marketing, Jeremy is Sales Agent and I am the Closing Coordinator - and apparently the only one without a "J"), and yet we cover for each other as needed and, honestly, rejoice with one another when accomplishments and goals are met.

Jim is our Team Leader and he encourages us to keep a running list of goals - business and personal.  He says unless you have a goal in front of you, you may say you are working towards a goal, but you may never really strive for it.  I am not one for "bonding" - but I have truly enjoyed this time.  Even if I might not admit it to Jim.  :)

He has some great insights and sees things from a different perspective than I.

Our meetings are called a 411.  I do not know if this is a business term or if this stands for something.  Maybe I should ask that question one day?

My business goals would mean nothing to you, but I thought I would list out my personal goals, just another way to put them before myself.

1) Prayer Journal - prayer is what we are studying in SS right now and it has been a incredible study for me.  I desperately NEED this time.  I talk to God all day, but I rarely sit down with an earnest, deliberate prayer time.  My goal is to have a set time for this and to keep a record of what I praying for, so I can see how things are answered throughout the year.

Jim mentioned doing this after kids leave for school, but before I sit down at my desk.  This is typically the time I fold a few loads of laundry and wipe down the kitchen.  He said, "But isn't it better for your family to have a mom that is connected with God, rather than has a clean house".

2) Save for a Vacation - we have not taken a vacation in many years.  In the past we have had people offer places for us to stay and that has not happened in awhile, which is fine, but we have not had the financial ability to go somewhere.  Some of you know the story, but a few years ago, we incurred a huge credit card bill that did not belong to us.  We are still working on this expense and I am such a credit card natzi, I cannot fathom not putting all the "extra" towards the debt.

Then Jim made this comment - you have already let this other guy "steal" three years from you of working off his debt.  Your kids are not gonna stop growing and then they will be gone.  Save half "extra" for vacation and half for the debt.  AND TAKE A VACATION!  

This made me teary to think about - and I appreciated his point of view.

3) Be Heathier - I'd love to get back to Advocare and get back to yoga and aerobics.  I need to do these things.  I must do these things.

Jim encouraged me to pick very simple realistic goals and change them throughout the year.  For example, do yoga once a week and drink no calories, except on one cheat day a week.  Diet and exercise is so daunting to me (even though I used to love it).  This goal seems so doable - and I like it!

4) More intentional Family Time - this will include one game night a month, better "turn the work phone off at night" on my part, date nights with the hubby - at least once a month, running errands with one kid each weekend, and one family movie night each month.  And I am open to other ideas!?!?

I am looking forward to these goals.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Silly Evening to start Thanksgiving Break!

My bearded man
 My sassy daughter
 Goof Troop
 Jr Higher wants no pictures!
 Naked Pale Native Boy
 and Omar

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Daddy's Sacrifice

Jason has been eagerly awaiting the Xbox One for a year.  This seems silly to many and actually doesn't exactly make a lot of sense to me, but that is his "hobby".  And I do respect that.   I scan Pinterest and check out Facebook for downtime.  Jason plays Xbox.

Ever since Microsoft set a date for the big release, Jason has been saving pennies towards it.  I even found this on his phone - it is the only thing on his schedule.  :)

As is typical for us, November and December are really hard.  We are both self-employed and both our jobs are much slower during the "holiday season".  We usually manage and make it thru, but this year has been particularly expensive.  We have exhausted our resources and I have nothing in reserve for Christmas, which is not typical.

I don't share that as a sob story, that is just where we are right now.  Granted, some panic attacks have occurred, but we are just praying and hoping something will come about so that December isn't as hard as it looks like it is going to be.

Jason saved enough for the Xbox One, even when we stole a little from the fund here and there for groceries.  But he didn't get it on Friday when it was released.  We have not paid our tuition bill (which is our main expense and which we have no doubt the Lord wants us to be at a private Christian school, so we press on even though it is really, really hard financially).  And we need a few more things paid for.  So, his entire fund is going to have to go toward bills.  Which really sucks!

The Lord always provides, so we are praying for a miracle!!!  Not to get the Xbox, just to pay the bills....

Sometimes it stinks to be an adult.  And I know that burden is even more for the Daddy of my children.  And I love him for the hard work he does to provide.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Our Holy Artist

Daegan took a picture of our sky tonight and it was glorious.  This was the view from our deck.

I actually saw about 15 different Facebook posts of similar pictures tonight.  

Monday, November 18, 2013

Yep, it is Monday!

I have never been a person to use the snooze button.  Actually, I have never been a person to use an alarm clock.  I have always been the person that wakes up ten minutes before the buzzer and just gets up and gets going.

Something changed about two years.  I do not know what changed, maybe it is just age?  I do not have any little ones, so I do not get my night sleep interrupted that often?  I do have a job now, so my afternoon nap rarely happens (and I LOVE naps - in college I slept from 3:00-3:30 everyday).  But, I have not come up with a good reason that I just cannot get up in the morning.

This morning I woke up, hit snooze, and I was laying in bed in my "zombie state", I began to think about the fact that we ran out of milk the night before.  Ugh!  Dry cereal all around!!!  Then I began to think about the fact that we ran out of peanut butter too (my kids live for PBJ).  It was a crazy weekend and I didn't get to any stores.  Oh, well - then I remembered, the peanut butter didn't really matter because we didn't have any bread.  Yep, it is Monday!

I jumped out of bed and wondered what lunches were gonna look like today, because as I washed my face and really began to think, we didn't have goldfish or pretzels or many fruit options either.

So, we scrounged.  And how thankful I am that we have the ability to "scrounge"?

The lunches were pitiful.  I'm not even going to list what they consisted of.  Actually, let's never speak of this again.

I did post something on Facebook about it and tonight Mac's teacher sent me a message that made me laugh out loud.  There is a rule in the younger grades that you have to eat your sandwich and healthy items first.  As she was reminding her class to eat their healthy items first, Mac raised his hand, "I don't have anything healthy today".  She said she laughed and said she knew his Momma and she knew that wasn't true.

After she saw my FB post she was laughing at the memory of that conversation with him.

I'm just glad she didn't look in his lunchbox...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Remembering Freda

I have written this entry in my head about ten times already.  This happens to me often.  I have an entry I want to write, but it has to work itself out in m  y head before I can get it written.

Today we went to a memorial service for Freda.  She fought cancer for 5 years and doctors said she was close to the end of her battle, but they were hopeful she would make it Thanksgiving and possibly even Christmas.  However, she lost her battle on Tuesday.  As it is with most families that have had a loved one fight cancer and lose, we are all happy that she is no longer in pain, but she will be terribly missed.

Freda was an incredibly Godly women.  If you never knew Freda, but went to her service today, you would have no doubt how incredible she was.  A loving wife, an incredible mom, a superb Nana, a fabulous hostess.  She was patient, graceful, sweet-spirited, fun. The list goes on and on.  She was a lady that welcomed me into her home many times.  I was friends with her middle daughter before that particular daughter decided to be my sister-in-law.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post titled "Not What God Intended".  I could probably title this entry with the same exact title.  That was basically the sermon of the service today.  This topic has laid so heavily on my heart these days, which is probably why I sobbed so uncontrollably during the service.  It makes me wonder how anyone that does not know God handles any grief in their life.  Our only hope is that one day we will be reunited with Freda one day.  Not everyone has that speck of hope if such sadness.  Can you imagine?

I did sob.  Not my typical crying, because, well, I'm a crier.  But shoulder shaking, everyone passing me a kleenex sobbing.  To be honest, I was crying before our van even left the driveway.  I guess I should have been embarrassed by what I looked like afterwards, but I was not.  My dear friend (and sister-in-law) was just in my home on Monday - less than 24 hours before Freda's passing.  She was hopeful her Mom would make it to their big Thanksgiving.  She was trying to decide what to tell her children.  We cried, we hugged and hugged some more.  Freda was not only Sarah's mom, but also her best friend.

It sucks!  That is just the truth, and I am putting it as PG as I can.  As I sat there and cried, I truly was crying for Sarah.  I am sad for Freda's other two daughters and I am sad for her 90-year old mother who has to bury her daughter.  And I am very, very sad for her husband, Tom - Freda's incredibly loving husband who cared for her day after day after day for five years.  Such selfless love.  Such an example to all of us.

Because of my connection with the family, I was crying for Sarah.  For I knew the pain in her eyes not 24 hours before.  When I went to the reception right after the service, I finally found Sarah and hugged her and she said she had prayed that someone else would take her grief for the hour of the service so that she was not a blubbering idiot by the time she got to the reception.  When she looked back and saw me in the service, she knew I was it.  And I was glad to take it for her (minus the migraine afterwards).

Freda will be sadly missed.  It will be a really tough holiday season without Nana.  But you have to smile when you think of Freda, who has been in so much pain, running around the streets of Heaven - PAIN FREE!  What a glorious thought!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pencils in the hair

My children declare every night that there are no pencils in the house.  I beg to differ.

When I clean, I pick up pencils constantly as I go along.  And I never want to stop to take them to the time to put them in the pencil basket in the kitchen.  So I stick them in my hair.

This was my hairdo today!!!
In the kids defense.  Omar does eat one or two pencils a day.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Dumpster

Most people do Spring Cleaning.  Mine usually consists of switching out clothes and just "cleaning out" a few areas.  Maybe clean out the microwave and vacuum the blinds.  Maybe.

Since I started working 2 1/2 years ago, cleaning has been the bare necessities. You know - Bathrooms and vacuuming weekly.  Dusting monthly.  Washing sheets when I feel like it.  Kitchen is still daily.  Laundry, well, I feel like that is hourly.  

Last Friday, we had a local company bring us a dumpster.  We ordered a 20-yard, but they brought us a 30-yard because that was what they had.  It is no price difference.  The price is finalized by the weight of what you are dumping.  

The dumpster was huge and I laughed when they brought it to us.  And yet, this is what it looked like in the end.
I feel like I should feel embarrassed by the amount of stuff we put it in it.  And, maybe I am, a little.  But mostly I feel slightly free.

Jason is a carpenter.  He has brought home many things that we have used to enhance our house.  A gorgeous front door (that we brought with us from our last house).  Crown molding that Jason is amazing at and has pieced together for various rooms.  And scraps of OSB we've used for many different projects.  Our garage has become a collection site for things.

So all of that went in the dumpster.  He isn't retiring any time soon, we'll get more.

And we've had other things pile up.  Car seats (at one time we had four in carseats).  Strollers, different varieties for different stages in life.  Two broken dressers that were beyond repair.  A broken freezer.  A broken lawnmower.  A broken weeder.  Quite a few broken chairs (probably six different ones?).  A large screened TV that died.  All the scraps from Jason's roofing project months ago.  And the list goes on and on.

All of these were things we wanted to get rid of, but had no easy way to dispose of them.  And now it is all gone.

I went thru every closet and threw "out" (garbage or donations) A LOT of toys and clothes and jackets and shoes and household items, etc.

I don't think of myself as a hoarder or pack rat, but I have gotten lazy and it is amazing how fast things pile up.  I don't feel like I buy a lot, but we are so fortunate to get tons of hand-me-downs.

And for now, we are cleaned out......for now.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Ringing the Chimes on a Sunday afternoon

Target practice with Tavis' new gun consisted of trying to "ping" Grandma's windchimes.
 Lilly was just "hanging around"
And the old guys did the Crossword puzzle

Tavis' Other Birthdays

With the Browns
 A gift from Uncle Daniel and Aunt Heather and Libby
 Keyboard for the iPad
And with the Caines
 When you have a lot of cousins, you are always sharing a birthday with someone.  This week, Tavis and Eleanor.
 A gift that Papa actually went and bought himself....
 Of course, baseball glove.
Happy Birthday T!

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