Tuesday, November 30, 2010

May the Light of His Love shine in your lives this Advent

We closed Jotham's Journey and put it back on the mantel. Our first Advent reading this year. The first year without mom. This very special time of year----it was always Mom's way of 'reclaiming' Christmas for our family. It holds a very near and dear place in my heart. I remembered the Christmas from what seems like so long ago when Mom read that very book to my siblings and I each night of Advent.

After we tucked our children in for the night, I noticed a large envelope had come for me in the mail. The return address was from a friend from our Homeschool Group of many years ago, whom I hadn't spoken to in several years. I wondered what she could be sending.

My eyes quickly scanned the letter she had neatly and lovingly typed on a sheet of Christmas paper. She explained how, after having a certain conversation several years before, my mom had written an e-mail to her daughter. The e-mail contained three pages of my mom's ideas about Advent, why it was important, and how much it meant to our family. She was enclosing a copy of the e-mail for me to read, after God had laid it upon her heart to do so.
Three pages.

Three whole long, wonderful pages of my mom's writing, my mom's ideas, my mom's thoughts. Words I had never heard from my mom before. New words, almost like having a new conversation with her. And yet, the ideas, the thoughts, were so familiar to me already, they were almost like having my mom right there in the room with me. I could literally hear her very voice in my head. "How can I say that Christmas isn't about the presents if that's exactly how I'm living? How can I show the world what this time of year means to me if I'm not celebrating any differently?"

I sat there and read the words, slowly and carefully, savoring every single one, with huge tears running down my face. I cry now as I type this. Tears of sadness, yes, because now, at this time of year more than ever, I miss my mom.

But also tears of rejoicing, because I know that what my mom tried so hard to teach her children will. live. on. Advent will continue in our home. MY children will know that we are not just celebrating the birth of the Baby, we are celebrating, waiting, anticipating....a 'Coming'

Advent= Coming

"Come, Lord Jesus......"

The letter blessed me so much, and arrived on the perfect evening. Is God calling you to be a blessing to somebody this holiday season?

Monday, November 29, 2010

We have been hit!

With the flu bug, that is. It all started Saturday morning. Joel woke up at 5:30 to leave for Buffalo with his brothers for a Bills game. They were going to be gone the entire week-end. At 8:00 a.m., El started it with his throwing up. Noah soon followed. You must understand folks, that I do NOT handle this kind of thing well. It's like my worst night-mare in Mommy-hood. But I managed somehow, and for the whole rest of the day, Noah seemed fine. Eli was tired and laid on the couch a lot, but otherwise, no more throwing up. 'Oh Good', I thought. "That's the end of it" Nope. Early Sunday morning, I woke up with a gurgly stomach. I didn't sleep much because of it. But by the time church rolled around,I thought I could go. The kids were supposed to sing a special that morning, so I didn't want to miss. However, all during church, I kept feeling....worse. I never did throw up or anything, but I felt horrible. Like a truck ran over me. No, make that ten trucks. My bones hurt. My muscles hurt....everything hurt! I collapsed at my in-laws house after church, and then my Dad's a little while later. Finally, around 6:30,I felt I had enough energy to get home. Dad followed me and helped me get the little ones in bed before he left. I called my husband in Buffalo and practically cried over the phone "I don't feeeeeeel good!" Poor guy. Like what was he supposed to do from Buffalo, right? Oh, then right after I talked to Joel, Cosette accidentally dropped the phone in the tub. Haha. So now, the phone was dead, and we had NO connection with the outside world, save Facebook. I messaged my sister and told her to call Joel and tell him what happened to the phone. And then, I laid on the bed and moaned. Sweet Cosette brought me cool wash wrags, rubbed my back, turned on my electric blanket, and found my Tylenol to bring down my 102 degree fever. Finally, around 10:30 I felt well enough to go to sleep. But not for long. At 12:30, Cosette ( who was sleeping in my bed), bumped me. 'Mommy, I think Noah needs you" Oh no. He was throwing up again! After two full days of feeling fine! So there I was at 12:30, feeling not so hot myself, cleaning up Noah's puke (forgive the word!). Lesson learned from all of this? The flu shot does NOT guarantee anything!!
So, long story short (yeah right!) here we all sit at 8:00a.m. on what should be a Monday school morning. Instead, we're all collapsed on the bed, watching library movies. So much for the plans of grocery shopping today and getting the Advent stuff ready and returning my hearing aid for some repair. Nope. We are just going to 'hang out', and thank God that Daddy will be home TODAY!!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Learning what it means to be truly thankful this year. Because, during this year, I've learned that the people you love can be taken from you in an instant. And so, I'm more determined than ever to 'love' my family with that much more sense of purpose.
We are eating our 'main' meal with Joel's family today, so we had my family over last night for a 'pre-Thanksgiving' meal :) We didn't do a whole Thanksgiving dinner----just a 'fallish' type of meal, and it may become a yummy tradition around here.

Lovin' my baby

Noah waiting patiently (or not so patiently) for his dinner

Don't worry, it's just sparkling grape juice

Everybody :) And oh, look, I made it into a picture!

My grandfather, Leanna's Great-Grandfather

Apple pies are too much work to not get a picture of them!

Love that smile

Uncle Wray and Noah and Butterscotch pie :)

Table decorations made lovingly by Cosette

My grandma and Noah

Uncle Wray and Brittany, filling out their 'Thankful' leaves

My girls, pretty in pink

Our completed thank-you leaf banner

I've always wanted a mantel, even if it's only
over a gas fireplace :)

A closeup of Cosette's fall art-work

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

To make you smile on Thanksgiving

A more 'efficient' way to go down the stairs.

Our cat loves this red dot from my sister's key chain :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

So blessed

It really is so very wise and wonderful how God created this thing we call family. Tiny, helpless little babies, completely dependant on their parents for their very survival. And then, those parents have the chance to mature those precious little souls and mold them into responsible, loving adults. How cool is that?

And, in the meantime, there is a benefit for the parents as well. They get to fall in love with these little people. And, the funny thing is, no matter what your child looks like, no matter what they are (or aren't) good at or talented in, all (good) parents will love those children and they will be beautiful in their eyes.

Already, I am amazed at how Cosette, in a little less than six years, has already learned so much. Much of 'who she will be' is already there, is already a part of her. And, while Joel and I will continue to teach her, train her, and pray for her, it has just been impressed on me lately the importance of not wasting a single day.

Now, I don't mean that we should all feel like complete failures when we are a little less than perfect. I'm sure that you, just like me, are still a work in progress. There are times when we react in a certain way, and look back later and see that we should have done things differently. But, as the old children's song goes, "He's still working on me".

But, what I do mean, is to live purposefully, with a goal always in front of us.

And so, what am I thankful for this Thanksgiving? I'm thankful for falling in love with my children. For the chance to be their Mama. To have moments like these right in front of my very eyes.

To look at my children and feel so much love in my heart that it just kind of wells up inside of me, if that makes any sense at all.

And then, I pray for more of God's Grace to do things 'right'. Because, we know that our children are watching and copying everything we do, right down to our blue jeans, green shirts, and banana eating :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Picture Titles

I call this one "Undressed baby sitting up by herself for the very first time"

And I call this one "They don't come any cuter than that.... :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A little of everything

It's times like this that I am so glad I have a blog. Times when I have so much going through my mind that I want to share with somebody, and well, here is the best place to do that. Because, I figure if you care enough to take the time to come here in the first place, then maybe you don't mind reading all of my brain-dumping :)

So, first on the agenda: Cosette's first ballet class. We actually just signed her up for a mini six-week class to see how she likes it. Although, we assume that she will LOVE it, since she's been asking for dance lessons pretty much since she started talking!

Here's her first dance photo. You'll have to excuse the quality---I was trying to take it around a corner, peeking in a door with the baby on my other hip :)

Thanksgiving at our house is going to be a little weird this year without mom. Well, a LOT of things are going to be weird for a while without mom.We're just plowing through them, trying to make them as 'normal' as possible for the kids, even though I keep finding my own mind wandering back to all my child-hood memories, and the way 'mom used to do things'.

Today, Eli made his own pilgrims. I couldn't help but be both proud AND amused, all at the same time:

I mean, seriously, have you ever seen more handsome pilgrims??

Oh, and speaking of holidays, if you all need a unique gift idea, check these out. I don't usually wear jewelry, but these are just too precious! They would be an awesome gift for the mom or grandma in your life!

Our weekly Bible Study Group had our one year anniversary tonight. Kristin and I decided to go 'all out' to celebrate, and look what my wonderful sister put together:

Yeah, had to get a close up of that chocolate fountain!!

We talked, we laughed, (we ate lots of chocolate), and one side of the table beat the other side of the table mercilessly in a game of 'Mad Gab'. (Nope, not much actual Bible Studying going on tonight....) But it was good to rejoice over one full year of growing together in God, encouraging one another, and being there for on another. Seriously, I don't know what I would have done without this group as I grieved the loss of mom.

Oh yeah, there was also some baby cuddling going on. Because, quite frankly, Leanna still goes pretty much anywhere I go :) Oh, and this is my sister (i.e. best friend) in this photo. Isn't she beautiful? :) My kids pretty much adore her!

Oh, and last story on my agenda. Last Tuesday, I bought all new toothbrushes for the kids. I, in a moment of haste that night accidentally threw away my old toothbrush instead of Eli's. Well, I didn't have a new toothbrush for ME, so I had to use the only spare toothbrush in the house which was, you guessed it, toddler mini-size. Do you know how long it takes to brush your teeth with a mini-size tooth brush? So, the next day I got a new 'grown up' tooth brush. I used it for two whole days. And this morning, I found Noah with it. He had left it on the dining room floor. *sigh* So, here I am, back to using the mini-size tooth brush again. Oh, the things we moms go through :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Rainy Day

I do not waste rainy days. Nope. They are too few and far between to be wasted. For instance, on a rainy day, we definitely do NOT do any of this:

Oh no, it would be almost sinful to spend a perfectly good rainy day doing something as dull and boring as dusting! So, we ignore the dust, because we know that it will still be there tomorrow!

Instead, we do more of this kind of stuff:

Sack out on the school room floor while listening to a CD about Tchaikovsky. (Yes, you read that correctly. They weren't listening to a CD of Tchaikovsky, they were listening to a CD about Tchaikovsky. And do you know how hard it is to accurately type 'Tchaikovsky FOUR times? :)

Or, 'help' Mommy make a peach cake:

My 'helpers' like to turn their cooking creations into wearable art designs :)

Oh, and just to make this cozy rainy day pretty near perfect, we're going to be trying this recipe. Nothing says 'rainy day' better than an oven full of roasted meat and veggies :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

A conversation

(As I round the corner, Eli suddenly hops off of our stair banister, which he knows he is not supposed to climb on.)

Eli: (Sounding a little nervous) Oh, hi mom! I wasn't climbing on the banister.

Me: You weren't? But you just jumped off of it!

Eli: Oh, that. Well, I just went 'whoop', and was trying to get off of it.

Me: But how did you get ON it in the first place?

Eli: I dunno.

Me: So let me get this straight. You were climbing off of the banister, but you don't remember how you got on it in the first place.

Eli: Yeah

Something about this story sound a little fishy to YOU?

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I just realized today that I haven't posted much this week. But what to tell you about? Or rather, how to choose the one thing to write a post on? Life is full, as usual. I could tell you how Leanna is starting to crawl---I think that's the earliest for any of my babies, maybe even earlier than Noah. I could tell you how Noah has barely taken off his Elmo costume since we bought it. I could tell you about my awesome date last night, when Joel and I ate at Ruby Tuesday's, and sat there for two hours, just eating and talking. It was great :) Or how, when we got back, Cosette had gotten sick at Grandma's house and thrown up. She's fine today. It might also be beneficial to note that when I took the kids to get their flu shots, Cosette, for some reason, was horribly afraid, and kicked and screamed, and would not let them put the nasal spray in properly. No big surprise that she was the only one of us to get sick then, is it? GO flu shots!!!
I could tell you how I am learning how to keep this 'larger' house clean. Okay, some days I feel like I'm failing. No matter how hard or how long I work, there is always more following right behind me. But Joel assures me that my biggest and most important job is raising four happy, God-fearing children. So, in other words, if the laundry is falling behind, but I took time to love my kids, then all is well :)
Well, it's a Saturday afternoon and Joel is out in the garage fixing some kitchen stools, and I'm going to mix up some chocolate chip cookie bars. Yum....hoping for a cozy evening in my home with no more sickness :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I bet you will smile......

Had to record these somewhere so I wouldn't forget them:
  • When asked what kind of an animal a turtle is, Eli responded with : "A reptangle!" I loved this!

  • Joel's Dad was taking family pictures for us last Sunday. He had been trying to get Leanna to smile for quite some time. But it was Eli's turn now, and as he hopped up to get his picture taken, Grandpa started to make some more funny sounds to hopefully get a smile. Eli looked at him and said "Grandpa, stop! I'm a big boy!"

  • Cosette said to me the other day: "Mama, I really want to get married and be a mama some day! You know, sometimes I just wish the right man would come along for me!"

  • Eli prayed this morning: "Dear God, I pray for President 'Bama, or, whatever his name is!"

Monday, November 08, 2010

Fun, fun!

So, I can now share with you what my sister's birthday gift to me was a few weeks ago. This new blog design! I love it! Wasn't that a creative gift? She said she wanted it to be a 'mom-style' gift---from the heart, creative and fun. Well, she succeeded! I had a fun time working together with Jenn from Munchkin Land Designs to come up with a design that I love! Didn't she do a nice job? If you're ever wanting a new blog design, I highly recommend that you go talk to her :) So thanks, Jenn, for all your hard work, and thanks, Kristin, for my Mom-style gift!
I'll be adding new things to all my new links, etc, in the next few days, so keep checking back :)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The apple doesn't fall far.....

The year: 1989. Seven year old Jaime and her cousin Jenny, who spent the night, are making breakfast in bed for Jaime's poor, unsuspecting mom. It is 6:00 in the morning. On the menu? Soggy cheerios, burned toast and half a glass of milk.

We laughed about this years later, and my mom said "Just you wait!" This morning, my moment came.

The year: 2010. Poor, unsuspecting Jaime lays sound asleep in her warm, cozy bed. All of the sudden a bump in her arm and "Jaime, Cosette has brought us breakfast in bed." The time: 6:14 a.m. The menu? Cold, hard, peanutbutter and jelly toast on mostly-stale bread. Oh, and no drink. As I eat the cold toast and try to wake up, I groan. "I wanted an egg this morning!"

Joel laughed. "She IS your daughter, Jaime" :)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Being a mom has it's ups and downs, I know. The training, the teaching, the discipline, the cleaning....our days our full!

You may have days like this, where a simple instruction like 'Please clear the table' results in children climbing the fridge shelves (literally!)

Or you may have days like this, where children sit peacefully at the table, working diligently on their science projects.

It's a turtle!

As your children sit there peacefully around the school table, you think "I CAN do this! I CAN be a mama and a teacher and a wife, and I CAN do it well!"

But then, just as you're feeling a tad bit cocky about this whole mama-teacher business, something happens. Like, maybe the toilet clogs, or you drop the ceramic tooth brush holder in the bathroom and smash it to smithereens, or your daughter gets a really bad diaper and leaks yucky yellow stuff all over the place, and maybe all this happens at the same time. (I'm just sayin', like, in theory, IF all this happened :)
Oh, and while all that is happening, you forget about your oldest daughter's science experiment from the morning which is baking in the oven, and, well, you let it burn.
And while you're standing there, looking at the pan full of severely burned, hard like rock rolls, you think "I can't do this after all!!! I CAN'T be a mama and a teacher and a wife, all at the same time!" I break things and I clog things and I burn things and I let my baby daughter's diaper leak all over the place.

But then, just as it's almost too late, and you're seriously contemplating about running away to Florida, you remember that you're right, YOU CAN'T do this! It's only God working through you. HE can be brought glory through your day, through your life, through your actions, your responses.

So, you remind your daughter about her Bible lesson from that morning on persevering, and how it's never good to give up.

And you help her to mix up yet another batch of homemade rolls, and pay a little closer attention to them this time. And as you stand there looking at the perfect, soft, squishy warm rolls, you think, "Yep, it's ONLY God!"

And then, when lessons are over, and everybody has learned what they need to learn for the day, you decide to curl up on the living room rug and take a nap. Well, okay, you really only DREAM of curling up and taking a nap. Unless, of course, you happen to be five months old. Then you really do it :)


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