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Saturday, December 31, 2011

NYE

It's been a long time, I've let myself slack, and you know, it's a good thing.

Life has been so hectic, like, over the top hectic, that I'd been keeping up with my blogging, but more begrudgingly than I would want, like it was something I had to do, rather than something I wanted to do, so I'm going to remain to keep up with it again, but not at the sake of my sanity.

I'm not sure why things have been so hectic, but it seems like from the moment I started packing up our house in Illinois, they have never slowed down. 

It was moving stuff, or switching stuff over, or unpacking, or trying to get settled, or getting new insurance / license plates / etc, it was starting to prepare for Christmas, it was Bryton in swim lessons, a death in the family and an unexpected trip home, then lots and lots of Christmas responsibilities (that, to be honest, were more of a hassle than enjoyable this year)... everything has just felt hurried, and impossible to keep up with. 

I've been tired... and that is putting it lightly. 

So - that's partially the reason I've been gone for so long...

The other reason - I got a Kindle Fire for my birthday, and from then on (we're talking two weeks time, here, folks), I've read Water for Elephants, Twilight (half way through it the second time now), New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn, and a book called The Red Suit Diaries.  I guess I've buried myself in some fiction - and it's felt nice.  A good escape.  (Not to mention I'd always been anti - Twilight, but I'll admit - I'm a 'Twi-hard' now, according to a friend of mine ;)

So anyway - now it's NYE and I'm on a quest for some goals for the New Year.  I'll get those to you as soon as I figure them out myself...

-A

Saturday, December 10, 2011

MY Grown-Up Christmas List

I'm not going to lie, I enjoy getting gifts.  I do.  But I think it is partially because I love giving gifts as well.  I love all of the thought that goes into it.  I love wrapping them and hiding them from family, then stuffing them under the tree and waiting with anticipation as the receiver rips open the contents.  Awww... I love it. 

So - this year, when it was time to make my own Christmas list a lot of items crossed my mind. 

I wanted a Kindle Fire (which I purchased for myself for my birthday coming up... so all of you family who gave me money, thank you, you contributed to my new techy device ;). 



I could spend way too much money in the kitcheny section of Kohls.  I don't even know where to start with all of the wonderfulness. 

I wanted a new perfume (Crush by AE) which I received from my wonderful in-laws as a birthday gift. 

But all in all - there wasn't much, this year, that I just had to have.  I want to lose about 10 pounds before buying new clothes.  I want to be in 'our' house before I buy decor related or home related things.  Etc. Etc. Etc.


And then life started spiraling... and everything started changing... and grandpa passed away... and I got to watch my dad love and enjoy his grandkids in a miserable time in his life.  Seeing his (and my mom's) eyes light up with their grandbabies in tow is priceless.  (And bittersweet, knowing that I have to take them so far away from them.)

And then we got home, and then out of no-where Miss Ansley just started standing up in the middle of the floor, all on her own. 


Now she's started bending down to pick up toys while standing. 

And there's two weeks before Christmas. 

It'd be absurd, folks.  Not unheard of, but absurd none - the - less, but from the circumstances is birthed the one Christmas wish I have... the one thing I want most for Christmas, the one thing that only God can ordain...

I want Ans to take her first steps in the presence of my parents, who will be here in the coming weeks.  For grandparents who will miss many milestones in the lives of their grandkids... I want this for them more than anything.  My holiday season will be made. 

Now I'm not getting my hopes up, I'm not banking any happiness or joy on such a feat, and I realize I can control little, if any, of these happenings, but I'm not going to say that it wouldn't be wonderful. 

It would.

And so this year - I don't need any (or many) gifts under the tree.  Someone just wrap up a pair of walking shoes for Miss A, and let's get her moving...

Until next time -

A

To the Greatest Fans in Baseball, Cardinal Nation:

I have often heard it said that St. Louis Cardinal fans are the greatest fans in baseball.  It is an honor that they (or shall I say 'we') have earned through our commitment, faithfulness, and loyalty to our team and it's members.  It's an honor earned through our respect and grace demonstrated to other teams and their fans, and I'd like to believe it is an honor earned due to a deep love, respect, and understanding of the great game of baseball. 

Just a short time ago Cardinal Nation bid a congratulatory farewell to outstanding manager, Tony LaRussa.  He has walked the team through an amazing, successful time in it's history. 

Just days ago, we as Cardinal Nation found that we must bid farewell also to our beloved first baseman, power-hitter, and team leader, Albert Pujols. 

It is my hope as Cardinal Nation, as the greatest fans in baseball, as those who often boasted in the humility and grace of a player who was dedicated to the esteem of his team and his city more than himself, that we would bid farewell with such grace. 

We must believe and rest assured that the same grace and humility that Albert showed faithfully in 11 seasons of baseball, he has carried into his decision of furthering his career with the Anaheim Angels. 

It is my short experience as a member of Cardinal nation, to see a stadium full of devout fans stand and applaud for those whom at one time bore the Cardinal uniform.  It is my experience to watch fans show great respect to a player, even after they have departed. 

My hope is that we, as a devout fan-base, will know that the label we bear as 'the greatest fans in baseball' is not earned only from our loyalty to the Cardinals, but for our deep love for the game, and that we will continue in our support and encouragement to Albert as he continues to break records, win mvp's, and one day enters the Hall of Fame.  He has changed the game of baseball forever in St. Louis, and I, for one, am grateful for the privilege and opportunity to watch him display, not only great baseball, but outstanding character. 

The Angels need to know, with their $250 million they have not only landed one of the greatest players of our time (and possibly the greatest ever in their franchise), they have also inherited a great many of us deemed 'the greatest fans in baseball,' not to support their Angels, but to support our Albert, as he furthers his career.  We will remain loyal, and unless he is batting against those who wear our beloved Bird, we may even do so outwardly. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Does God Want B to Have a Leappad? Hmmm...

Phew.  Life has been hectic, and emotional, and overwhelming lately.  I've watched myself seep into some kind of sticky funk, and I seem to be stuck in it.  I've finally decided it's time to slowly start climbing my way out... and finally time to start making time for the stuff that matters.

My to do list has gotten too long.

Anyway - that doesn't have much to do with Leappads, so - I'll transition by saying this (nothing like being blunt and to the point, huh?) this little cheery story may be just what I need to get back on the road of joy.

For those of you who know me - you know I'm a deal searcher and a shopper.  Not so much a 'shop-aholic' kind of shopper, but a 'get stuff done, get a good deal, and enjoy it' kind of shopper. 

For those of you who know leappads (even in the past few weeks), you'll know that they have been sold. out. everywhere.

Now - a little bit of backstory:  my grandparents have us buy for the kids each year.  They figure we know what they want / need, and we can get to it easier than they can at this stage in life.  (And they are right.)  So - up until this year and our move, I've always bought for them, wrapped for them, and delivered secretly to their home so that when the kids were there Christmas day, they had gifts under their tree just for them. 

Just weeks before my grandpa passed... we'll say the beginning of November, I was making out Christmas lists for kids (as I get lots of emails and texts about what they need).  It was at this point that I thought B may like the Leappad.  We have other Leapfrog toys and are avid fans.  Low and behold, though, I could not find one (less than $180!!) anywhere.  (Apparently when products are in high demand, people who have them feel they can mark them up astronomically.)  My theory was, as Black Friday neared, stores would HAVE to get more in stock.  (Right?)

Wrong.  The only ad (and I searched ads, let me tell you) that had the toy anywhere was Best Buy, and they were guaranteed TWO per store.  (And if you know Best Buy and Black Friday, well, I wasn't doing that.)

So I really felt all was lost.

As many of you know, my grandpa passed away the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, switching our Thanksgiving plans around completely.  We found ourselves 700 miles away from where we expected to be, and me thinking zero about a Leappad. 

Fast forward to Thursday night (you know, when Black Friday sales started this year), and you would have found me first at WalMart, then I mosied on over to Target at about 11:15. 

Never shopping Target on Black Friday, I forgot they formed their line in the parking lot.  So, being that it was about 30 degrees outside, I'd forgotten my coat, and the doors weren't scheduled to open for another 45 minutes, I decided to drink my Steak n Shake shake (yeah, I know) and wait in the car until about 5 til.

At 11:55 or so I decided to go try the line (which had doubled in length by this point.)  I walked right in behind a lady, and as you do in such moments, you become quick friends.  She was talking about what she was there for, I was talking about what I was there for, and we eventually got to where I was on my search for a Leappad, to which the lady replied that not only did she HAVE a leappad (that she'd bought months in advance because she thought her six year old wanted one for Christmas and knew they would go out of stock), but it was in her TRUNK, wrapped, addressed, and ready to be shipped back to Amazon the next day for an 80% refund because her son decided he DIDN'T want one.  (Not kidding.)  She told me if I was interested, it was mine.  (Seriously.)

I totally that the woman was thoroughly confused about what it really was I wanted.  But she gave me her number, I saved it in my phone, and she said she had intentions of going to the post office the next afternoon to ship back.  If I wanted it, all I had to do was get a hold of her before then, but, if I wanted it that night before we left, I could meet up with her after we finished in Target.

Fast forward: I'm waiting in line to check out at Target (with my over half off gps units) and I think to myself, "It's at least worth texting her."

Long story short: I left Target parking lot that night with a Leappad, a gift to my son from the grandpa (who passed) and his grandma, for less than retail price, brand new, in the box, no tax, no fighting crowds, no shipping, nothing.

It's small, folks.  But I don't believe in coincidence.  If my theology allowed, I'd think my grandpa ordained the whole meeting... wanting B to have just what we'd tried to find everywhere.  But - since I don't think people are up there orchestrating things like Christmas presents, I do think God orchestrates things, even small things, for a reason... and if that means a little boy getting a leappad for a Christmas present from his great grandparents... then I'm thankful for that...

As funny, and a little foolish, as it sounds... it shows me that if he cares for things that small... He's got our backs... He's watching out for us... He has a plan.  Even when timing seems poor... circumstances seem uncontrollable, and life seems overwhelming... and there are times I need that assurance.  Even in a child's toy - it's good.

-A

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Where I've Been

Girls are supposed to think their dads are superheros.  In the twirling of a dress and the tapping of fancy shoes should be the arms of the father to sweep her off her feet. 

My grandpa passed away last Tuesday morning, surrounded by his family, after a long several weeks of fighting.  It took that long for him to die, but it only took that long for him to die.  I mean, he was still going to work at the business he owned before he got sick.  It seemed like forever of him suffering, but it felt like a whirlwind at the same time.  How quickly it happens... life really is but a vapor.  The Book says it... now I see it. 

And I hate death.  Maybe I get super theological or just want to place blame somewhere, but funerals make me think about the garden.  We came from dirt, we go to dirt... but mostly, death happened in the Garden... with one bite of fruit, with the desire to be God.  My grandpa's funeral was a visual reminder of the wrath, the awfulness, of our sin.  The pain of separation from our loved ones runs deep.  I grimace at sin.  Sin still hurts.  But sin hasn't won.  Jesus has won.

Have I mentioned that my dad had a massive heart attack 7 years ago this coming February.  It was possibly the most terrifying moment of my life.  I was six months from walking an aisle to marry my husband... and I couldn't fathom the thought of not having my daddy there to walk me down that aisle.  And you know - he almost wasn't.  There were several times we thought he wouldn't be.  And he was so young.  

And lying in that casket this past week, watching my daddy lay his daddy to rest, I couldn't help but think that 7 years ago this could have been my reality.  And I thank God so dearly that it wasn't... that in His divine plan, He chose to allow me more time with my dad.  He allowed him to meet his grandchildren, to become best friends with a little boy who would play baseball with him from sun up to sun down. 

Yet - as the eulogy was given, as my grandpa was being remembered, the words 'integrity', 'character', 'caring', and 'fair' kept coming up... and I realized something...

My dad wore that cape in my life.  He toted me around everywhere.  In the back of trucks to run dogs, on four wheelers, up to the lumber yard, or to get Fruit Stripe gum at Willi's oil.  I went with him to do inventory, to field trials, he pitched softballs to me... from a 'grown up' perspective: he has integrity, character, he's caring, and fair.  I'm so blessed with an amazing dad (and mom, for that matter.) 

And as I've gotten a little older, I now realize that the affection I feel for my own father must also be reciprocated between he and his... except they were not just father / son, they were business partners, they were hunting buddies, they were best friends.  My heart repeatedly shatters for him... at every thought.  I can't even imagine. 

And now - we live 700 miles away.  That little boy he loves so much can't even go see him.  For the first time, I'm having to deal with the distance.  I'm dealing with the idea that my dad can't frequent all of B's little league games.  I'm dealing with the fact that my parent's won't be able to make every birthday party.  And life, is, but, a, vapor.  But... I am remaining faithful.  What God promises is true... and if this is where He has us, it is better for us to remain.  Maybe B can go work summers at the family business when he's older.  If it's in His plan, I suppose. 

Anyway- I'm scattered, and trying to live in two worlds right now, and feeling a little as if I'm failing at both of them.  I'm normally pretty positive, and I will get back there, but right now, I'm in persevere mode, and I'm repeating to myself the promise that God is good, God is love, and He works together, for Good, all things for those who love Him and are called by Him.

Monday, November 21, 2011

How About Some Randomness

I've stunk at blogging lately.  I'll be honest, I've been too emotionally spent everywhere else to have much 'left over' to put on paper, er, computer screen.  So - rather than be super uber serious for today's blog, I (with inspiration from Flower Mama) decided a random blog may keep me from raining on all of your Happy Thanksgiving parades.

Speaking of Thanksgiving (and parades) - can I tell you that since for as long as I can remember I've faithfully watched the Macy's day parade on Thanksgiving morning?  It's more necessary than football, folks, I'm telling you.  One day, I will take my children (and my wonderfully obliging husband) to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. 

This year, though, we're settling for a little Thanksgiving meal in our temporary place, away from all of our family (and a lot of our friends).  Because of hubs' job, we haven't always been able to be with loved ones on 'the days' of holidays, but we always got to have holidays with family.  So this year will be, unusual.  I'll be honest, the hubs and the kids saves it... in fact, B saves it.  He can be rotten sometimes, but by golly, I'm watching him enjoy things like he's never been fully capable of before, and I love love it.  

Speaking of - we watched The Polar Express today.  It was actually my first time watching it too (well, that wasn't in a squished in hallway of 100 kindergartners during crummy weather, but that's another story).  It was marvelous.  Wonderful even.  And he sat through the entire thing.  He loves trains.  We're taking him on a 'polar express' ride this year at a nearby town.  I'm so stoked about it now I can't hardly contain myself. 

Back to the weather - that's going to be an adjustment.  You know what I love about this time of year?  (Be prepared... I may not be the norm.)  I love rainy, drizzly days.  I love that it gets darker sooner.  I love seeing Christmas lights through a light snow or even a drizzly rain.  I love the feel of walking into a warm house.  I love big sweaters and peacoats.  I love snowboots.  For real.  (Now, get me past January 1st and let's just move on to spring, but right now, I want the drizzly romance of winter.)  Yeah, the drizzly romance.  Oh - did I mention (aside from today) it's been like 60's or 70's and sunny?  Just thought I'd throw that out there.  I'm sure the 'nice' weather will have it's place.

So -  may as well mention it now - grandfather is still back and forth.  Not sure how much my family wants made 'public', but I'm worn out (and I'm not even there.)  I'm worn out in praying.  I'm worn out in phone calls.  I'm worn out thinking that he must be suffering.  I'm worn out searching plane tickets and worn out re-planning.  Mostly - I'm worn out in worry.  I know that the circumstances are putting stress on the family, and I worry about the health of my own parents.  Granted, circumstances can't be any different at the moment... but it seems like we are continually wondering 'will he make it, or will he not...'  And that, friends, is exhausting.

On a completely other note:  we have finally started looking in homes.  Real homes... homes that could be 'ours.'  And of course I fell in love with the first one.  It's wonderful: 3 bed, 2 bath, a study (playroom / guestroom), large living, dining, kitchen area that is all open concept, huge back yard, master bedroom with a master bath with a separate tub and shower and GI-STINKING-NORMOUS walk in closet.  Oh - and it's 5 years old and looks BRAND NEW.  I'm not excited.  I promise.  Problem?  Still waiting on our house up north to close... gotta get on that. 

So - there is still life happening here in the house, I'll keep you posted as I have energy for it! 

-A

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Change in Perspective

I love being a SAHM (Stay at Home Mom).  It's wonderfully rewarding.  I get to see my kids (under most circumstances) accomplish milestones, learn new things, and I get to contribute to their rearing. 

That being said - it is easy to fall into the mundane. 

Every day I wake up to a little 3 foot tall figure standing next to my saying, "I have a snack now?" 

I inevitably get up and get going on his breakfast, get him settled with a Mickey, and by the time I've got him settled it's Ans' turn to wake up.  And so the day goes on.  Most look much like every other, with a special thing sprinkled in here and there (because, let's face it, those take planning, and I don't have time to breathe most days, much less plan).  Tomorrow B gets to put up his first Christmas tree (of his very own, in his room) and decorate it, together with mom.  That's special, and by golly, I'm pumped.

But that's beside the point.

The point is this:  sometimes I feel like I'm going through the motions.  Same thing, different day.  What does this really matter, anyway?  Know what I mean?  I'm sure everyone in every profession feels that at some point in life. 

And God has began a work in me.

The work that I am doing with our kiddos is of eternal value.  It's not for here, it's for there.  Not for now, for later.  (And that goes for whatever job God has called you to!)

Another dirty diaper changed?  Eternal value.

Choosing to cut out paper turkeys with Bryton and make cards for grandparents (pics coming soon!).  Eternal.

Choosing to be calm when fit number 9,437 happens by 11 a.m.  It all points them to later. 

Every nose wiped (which we've done a lot of lately), every game played, every scripture taught (thanks to a dear blog friend, B has Psalm 19:14 down at this point), every cookie baked together.  That is eternal value. 

We all live different lives.  All on different journeys.  All experiencing different circumstances, yet our objective is always the same... whoever you are with, however you communicate it, in good and in bad, be glad in God and point others to Him. 

In this time of Thanksgiving, it seems an appropriate time to be so incredibly thankful for the eternal value that comes with being a wife, mother, and family planner extraordinaire.  I'll take that title any day!

-a

Monday, November 14, 2011

And Now, There's a Limp

Just when you think... well, I don't even know what I thought?  I certainly didn't think "things can't get any worse," because we are a long way from rock bottom.  I thank God everyday for our blessings... we are very blessed.  But somehow, I did think, maybe we are at the end of this yuckiness.  I mean, we've been at this for a month now.  It has to be nearing an end, right?

Apparently I was wrong.

So a little bit of back history, we found a large knot on the back of Bryton's knee in March or April of this year.  Everyone was worried (for once in my life, a little more than I was... he's a boy, he has knots everywhere) so I took him to the doctor.  Everything I had found online (yep, I'm an internet diagnoser) pointed towards a Baker's Cyst, but they are very rare in children. 

A trip to the doctor suggested just that, a Baker's Cyst.  Rare, but not impossible.  We didn't do any 'tests' to prove it, besides feeling it and confirming that it did indeed go away when his leg was bent and come back when it was flexed or extended.  Doctor's orders: 'Watch it, as long as it doesn't interfere in his daily activity or cause any pain, there's a great chance it'll fix itself in time.'  And every website I've looked at has said the same. 

And then, last night, as we were walking Bryton to bed, we noticed a limp.  Not an awful limp, but a very obvious limp, none the less.  Feeling the back of his leg, his cyst is definitely still there, and quite possibly larger.  (We just had it looked at about 10 days ago at the doctor, so I'm sure it's not that much worse, maybe we just notice it more?)  He is definitely limping on the leg with the cyst.  (Or what we think is a cyst). 

He woke up today, and he's not any better.  In fact, he's struggled up and down stairs all day.  He fell down the stairs on our porch twice tonight.  He's tripping all over the place, seemingly because he's trying not to bend the right leg...

Worrying got the best of me and I called our doctor.  He has an appointment at 9 a.m.

Please pray.  Poor guy says he isn't hurting, but he doesn't have the mobility to prove it.  I'm worried it's something more severe.  I happened on a site about juvenile arthritis today and literally had to close the page before I could read through it fully.  I don't even want to entertain the thought of a 'lifelong disease.'  (And there's very little chance it is that, but still.)

All in all - it makes me so thankful.  Overall, I have very healthy kids.  Overall, we are a very healthy family.  It makes me grateful that a snotty nose is the only ailment I have to really complain about with kiddos right now.  Praise God for a snotty nose.  That snotty nose is just a snotty nose with their health great in other areas.  Praying that news continues outside of tomorrow.

You know - he is a three year old boy whose favorite past time is playing football with Ansley's ducky by running through the house and throwing himself around like a rag doll.  His leg issues could be that he's a three year old boy.

I just want an answer. 

Thanks in advance for the prayers...

-A

Sunday, November 13, 2011

All Occasion Cookies

Back in a time long, long ago (ok, really about 3 years ago, maybe even 3 years ago exactly) when our first born was, ahem, born, we had great friends take care of us and bring us food. 

I love this for so many reasons. 

1.)  Who wants to cook after they've pushed out an 8-10 pound baby?  (What?  Normal people don't have 8-10 pound babies?  Hmm.)

2.)  Who wants to do dishes after having an 8-10 pound baby?

and

3.)  You can get a lot of new recipes with other people cooking for you for a week or so. 

And that's where this cookie wonderment came from.  Back when Bryton was born a dear friend made us the most awesome cookies I'd ever eaten.  For real.


Now - I feel like if anyone has children, you (or I) should make them these cookies.  It should be mandatory.  They should be called "make the pain and sleepless nights enjoyable" cookies, because that they do. 

Anyway - if you don't know anyone having a baby, you should fix them anyway and eat them yourself.  So - since I knew no one having a baby (who lives close enough to deliver cookies to), I made them for Small group snack.  Um hum.  All occasion cookies. 

Now let me tell you a little secret.  These cookies have an amazing (or should I say, amazing) cookie recipe, but there's been a lot going on in this house lately, I've been tight on time, and I was trying to make as little homemade as possible with all the sickness roaming around.  So - I waited until children were napping, I washed down everything (including myself), and I did this:


Yep - that's a roll of peanut butter cookie dough.  I used two of them, because let's face it folks, sometimes cookie from the fridge are better than no cookies at all.  Can I get an amen?  Amen.

So I spent the next hour or so cooking up all those cookies.


Then - while letting them cool, I whipped up the little concoction that can set apart the store bought cookie forever.  It goes like this:

1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
and 4 - 5 Tbsp. of milk (except I probably used more like 6, because I like creamy, not chunky, filling)

Put it all together and mix it all up until it's smooth.


Yum.  Hungry yet?  I am.

Then you take a little of the peanut buttery goodness and spread it on good and thick:


Mash the cookies together and 'voila' - peanut butter yumminess that you would swear is completely homemade.  I promise. 



Saturday, November 12, 2011

Death, Where's Your Sting

I have such mixed emotions and lack of understanding regarding death, even as a Christian.  Though I'm not afraid to die, and I know where my eternity lies, I'd be lying if I told you I was ready to go at this moment. 

I even have a hard time understanding those - even after great pain and an exhausting lifetime - who are ready to go towards the end of their lives.  I pray God gives me that peace at that time. 

And so the 'death, where's your sting,' idea I get.  I get it from the perspective of a Christian who believes that it's not over, and where we are going is better than where we have been.  However, the hard part for me is the sting that is felt by a world lived minus a loved one.  It's seeing the pain of those left behind.  It's the unknown of the unknown... ya know? 

Maybe I'm strange. 

But when someone I know and care for is near that time in their own lives, it makes me re-examine death all over again. 

As I write I have a loved one who is reaching nearer and nearer to death.  Reaching nearer and nearer to seeing the face of his creator and his sustainer.  And the rest of the family is reaching nearer and nearer to what does sting. 

Please say a prayer for my dad, who may be nearing the moment of telling his own father 'good-bye.'  I'm so not ready for that day - but then, how are we ever?

-A

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hello, Transparent Revelation!

I'll admit - I had another blog planned for the day.  Another blog that got pushed back and pushed back and pushed back, in every sense of the word.  It's Bryton's birthday blog.  I know, right?  I'm already a week late.  And it was on today's agenda, but you know what, the internet is moving warp snail and I'd really like to give you some pics of little man in the blog... so it will have to wait, again. 

BUT - that doesn't mean I've got nothing to say.  (Do you know me at all?  I always have something to say!)  No - I've been mulling around and chewing on this thought since yesterday evening, and now, I've gotta put it out there for ya'll to chew on with me.  Let's chew and digest, shall we?

So we've been tackling a John Piper favorite, Don't Waste Your Life, during small group.  A 'read' I've already read, but is worthy of re-reading.  (Lots of re-re's in that sentence.  Phew.)  And something switched on for me last night that I'd never really thought about before... until now.

Piper here is talking, quite obviously, about 'going' - or missions - and puts something out there that not many mission minded individuals will put out (and trust me, Piper is 'mission minded' - by his own definition, crossing cultural bounds to share the gospel).

This spoke in so many ways to me:

"Let no one who is devoted to local ministry or to crucial secular engagement take offense at this plea.  Rather, rejoice!  You are free to stay, or free to go.  Many of you must stay.  You're staying is crucial for God's purposes where you are, and it is crucial for his purposes where you are not, but where others may go." (emphasis added)

And the big neon sign says: "It's not about you!"  Sometimes - He needs us to not be there (wherever 'there' may be for you... I'd argue that it is wherever you are not currently, assuming you have been obedient to God's call on your life.)

The really transparent side of me says this:  If I packed today and moved to India, it would directly effect The Mount, as that is where I have currently been called.  The big kicker - if we wouldn't have left our old town in Illinois, we'd be hindering the ministry God wanted to do there.  It's not about us... it's not about me. 

God uses our presence. 

And He uses our lack thereof. 

Sometimes - it's time - and best - for everyone involved - to. move. on.  (And, sometimes, to stay.)

And HE is the one who makes that call. 

Because it's not about us. 

It makes me wanna sing "DO I stay or do I go now?? IF I stay there could be trouble..." LOL. 
Heavy posts have to have a little humor.

But, seriously, where does God have you - or where does He want you?  Or - let's add the question, "where doesn't He want you?"

Just chewin' over here.  Just chewin'...

-A

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Stansy Ansy

It's another day, another milestone here in our humble abode.  Lil Miss has decided to try (albeit, not always successfully) to pull herself up to standing.  She's a little 'leany' in this picture, but you get the idea. 

 And I'm not sure how - but we're still fighting sickness.  Sickness is exhausting.  I'm saying it now, it is not welcome in this household anymore.  Bryton has developed some sort of cough (overnight, mind you, he was fine yesterday), and Ansley is still leaking from the nostrils. 
It makes my normally happy child look more like this:
and that, friends, will drive a momma nuts in the pitifulness. 

Hopefully we can beat these bugs (or allergies, or teeth, or whatever it is) soon. 

-A

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Can I Share a Little Love

Please.  Do let me.  'Cause this girl got some love built up in her heart.  So let me tell you what I'm loving with all of my heart today:

{1 Love} Decaf Pumpkin Spice Lattes.  Delivered by friends.  Because life's not been the easiest lately.  I also love that the friend sticks around for a chat.  Much needed adult conversation.

{2 Love} Dear sweet child had hung all kinds of thanksgiving leaves on the thanksgiving tree this morning.  I told him we should probably write something on them, since it is a thanksgiving tree and all.  So when I asked him what he was thankful for, he thought hard for about ten seconds and said, "Jeeshus."  Melt my heart in a little warm sugary pile, I tell you.  I little warm, goopy, pile of sweetness.  I love that boy.  Love him.

{3 Love} Sweet, slobbery sick child seems a small bit better today.  At this any improvement seems like we've walked on the moon, so I'll take it.

{4 Love} Christmas Music.  Don't hate.  I love Jesus, which just means most Christmas music can be all occasion music.  (But the other Christmas music is great too!)  Let me share some holiday music love with you, may I?  I hope you {love} it as much as I do... for real.  If there's a Christmas love song, this ones it... and I'm a sap for love songs.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Thanksgiving Tree

What a day to tell you about it, too.  Good golly - if there's a day to (a. say 'good golly') think about the things in which we should be thankful, today was the day for me.

{warning - short rant - just move on if you are trying to avoid Debbie Downers in your life} Ans is sick - seems like a viscous cycle between her, B and myself... sometimes overlapping, of course.  Last time there was snottiness with the two of them it was definitely allergies... now I'm thinking her's is definitely a head cold, and the day has been... trying and tiring to say the least.  Lots of crying from a baby who doesn't cry.  I'm tired, exhausted, and frustrated.  OH - and the time change makes it all the better!  (Can you sense my sarcasm, hardy har har.)

Anyway - today's a good day to tell you about our Thanksgiving Tree:

 It's another little pinterest find that sparked my - ahem - interest.  Being a {creative} writer (though I don't showcase that much on here anymore), I love the metaphor behind it.  A bunch of dead sticks in a vase don't do much for the eye, but we, as a family, are spending the days of November adding leaves to these dead sticks, written on the back, the thing that we were most thankful for that day.

 When it's all said and done I hope we have a tree blooming in this here dining room, overflowing with thankful thoughts and recognition of the many blessings we have.

 And you know what I wrote on today's leaf?  Today - on a day of lots and lots of tears (confession: from me and her) I had to remind myself time and time again, "I'd wipe this little nose all of the days of my life to have it here to wipe."  So I wrote on that there leaf, "wiping little noses."  Even though I'd rather them not need to be wiped, I'm so thankful God's given them to me to do so.


-A

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Another Milestone...

I read something the other day that articulated how I've often felt... sometimes it's the little changes our kiddos go through that seem more monumental than the big 'official milestones' that we, if honest, worry our little brains about a little too much.

It's not crawling, or talking, or walking, don't get me wrong, those things are exciting and to be celebrated by all means, but sometimes it's our lovely offspring suddenly being able to put the 'j' in 'juice' that we miss so monumentally. 

It's the day when Bryton can, officially, dress himself, and he knows when he's put his clothes on backwards. 

It's the day when the jumper just isn't fun anymore.

It's the day when the book is being read to me rather than I reading it. 

And today - it's the day that I stop. fighting. naptime. 

Bryton is three. 

He has reached a healthy age to nix the nap.  He'll go to pre-k during his three year old days, and he will get no nap there. 

It is o-k.  (Breathe, breathe, breathe.)

So today marked the first day of the rest of our lives.  I even want to shed a little tear as I write this.  Not kidding.  The baby has napped every. day. for the last three years.  It's like the umbilical cord.  It's the last thing I have from his infancy.  Maybe it's why I pressed to keep it so long.  Who knows. 

All I know is this:  from this day forward, all that is required for little man, to remain discipline free, is that he remain in his bed and quiet for one hour.  He may look at books, but he may not play with toys.  If he falls asleep, great.  If he doesn't, and the timer goes off, he is free to get up and go on as he pleases. 

Mothers I have talked to have sworn by this method, saying that eventually their kids get bored and go to sleep. 

And guess what.  Maybe it was day 1.  Maybe it was that time change messed us all up, but at the 30 minute mark, Bryton was awake, at the 40 minute mark, snoozing away. 

There wasn't one fight.  Not one protest.  Not one tantrum.  There is, apparently, freedom in the fact  that he. gets. to. choose. 

He is big, isn't he? 

Ugh.  My baby Bryton is growing immensely.  I love him dearly. 

By the way - sweet child is 38 inches and 31.8 pounds. 

Until next time -

A

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Scentsy Black Friday Presale / Preview

Alright folks, not much Scentsy talk here, but this seemed like a good way to get Scentsy promotions underway!  (For those of you who get my Scentsy emails, be expecting one of those as well!)

We had a huge month of deals in October, and November's deals are going to run all month long.  Trust me, this is the month to buy to get the most proverbial bang for your buck.  (Ka-pow!)

The way black Friday sales work is as follows:  The sales you'll see below are good now through midnight on Friday, November 25th.  This gives you time to save, organize your Christmas list (ya know, gotta figure out who has really been naughty and nice this year), and get your order to me.  An Important Note:  This order will not be 'placed' until Saturday, November 26th,  in other words, your orders will arrive in plenty of time for Christmas, but if you place an order today - you won't get your order any sooner than if you placed it on Friday the 25th.  IF you plan to order holiday item and are concerned it may sell out - your best bet is to order the item now through the website.

Orders should be emailed or facebook messaged to me in order to receive discounts.  (Email is alicia_gregg05@hotmail.com)  Shipping will not be applied to orders going to (or near) our old home town in Illinois (but will be required to be picked up at a designated location - will discuss more in an email if you're curious - can't put everything out in blog world) or near our current location in Texas.

So - with all of the fine print out of the way, without any further ado - Black Friday Scentsy Sales:

  • Great Stocking Stuffer! Scentsy Solid Perfumes, $3 off!
 
  • Scentsy Buddies - Buy 2, get 1 half off! 
 
  • Buy 2 Scent Circle Packs (6 Circles for $15), Get 1 half off! (Great for Christmas Cards!)
 
  • Buy any 3 warmers (any size), get 3 free bars!  
 
  • And lastly (but certainly not 'leastly') any parties booked for the month of January or February, the host will receive a free plug in warmer and everyone who buys from the party will receive 10% off of their order (not valid with online orders)!  This is a great way to earn customers to your party!  
Think of Scentsy as great gift-giving for moms, grandmothers, sisters, friends, secretaries, loyal customers, etc.  Think stocking stuffers and Christmas cards!  Or - maybe this is just a great time to stock up for you! :)   Either way... don't miss out!  

-A 


Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm Birthdayed Out... Until Mine I Suppose

Don't get me wrong.  I love a good birthday with the rest of them, but let me just give you a glimpse into what my week has been so far:

Sunday - I almost stayed home.  Sick.  Bleh. Congestion.  Headache.  Scratchy Throat.  Could you be allergies?  Are you a cold?  Hmmm.

Monday - Still feelin' lousy... kids finally seem completely better.

Tuesday - Bryton wakes up and within 20 minutes states, "I no go outside.  I is sick."  Being he had just gotten better, I figured he was repeating something that we'd told him for several days.  So, I say, "You're not sick, of course you can go outside today!"  10 minutes later he threw up the first time.  It would continue throughout the day and end with a trip to urgent care with a dehydrated little boy and a half a tablet of Zofran.  (Did I mention I still don't feel good?)

Wednesday - Carpet is FILTHY from Tuesday's vomiting adventure (we clean it up, ya'll, but the carpet needed steam cleaned.)  I wouldn't let Ans on it, which, just so you know, makes for one very unhappy mobile baby. 

Thursday - Every one seems to be better... except me.  I'm sick still.  Scratchy throat.  Headache.  Congestion.  Not better, probably worse.  But it's Bryton's birthday, and by golly, he deserves that.  We go out and rush, rush, rush to get Aaron home for a meeting.

Friday - Birthday celebration continues at a little kiddo funpark.  Oh - and B got 3 shots.  Apparently we Illinois folk don't worry about Hep A since we don't have much of it.  Apparently people in Texas worry about it.  So - 3 shots, continuing birthday celebration, already puny momma = tired and more puny momma.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a balloon festival.  My head hurts.

We'll see what happens. 

Can I have a vacation day... or three? 

-A

Thursday, November 3, 2011

He. Is. Three.

I was a swollen, platelet loosin' mess.  After a short stint in the hospital, we were really hoping the doctor would induce and get Bryton in our arms and out of my belly before halloween, but no such luck.  I wasn't spilling any protein, preclampsia was out, and I was going to have to spend, possibly, another three weeks or so in my husbands shoes since none of mine fit. 

It was a rough end of pregnancy I had with him. 

Luckily- little guy took it easy on me, and the Sunday after the Wednesday that I got out of the hospital my water broke at home.  17 days early.  Praise Jesus. 

Labor was short, and hard.  The epidural didn't really "take" (though they told me I was lucky to get one... thank you low platelets, but I don't consider myself lucky to think I may get some relief and then not get any...anyway) and most of my labor was back labor.  But it was short.  And that's all that matters. 

Pushing, on the other hand, took two. and. a. half. hours.  In 'pushing baby out' verbage - FOREVER! 

I was tired.  It was hard.  And I was watching the clock tick away.  The doctor even threatened to take it down. 

I watched Bryton's birthday change from the 2nd to the 3rd. 

Over and over the doctor told me, "Once he's here, the pain goes away," and you just can't believe it in the middle of the worst pain of your life, but sure enough, at 1:15 a.m. I moved from the absolute worst pain of my life to zero, and 100% elation as they handed me my little olive colored child (thank you jaundice) with a head full of dark brown hair and baby blue eyes.  He was huge (or so I thought pre-Ansley) at a whopping 8lbs, 3 oz.  20 1/2 inches long.  He looked just like dad.



Look at all of that brown hair!  My goodness he was so tiny! 


My goodness he's so big!

I can't explain the feeling of holding your baby for the first time... or even the second or third time... or you know... he's 3, and there's something about a hug from his little arms that makes my day every time.

I just remember lots of teary days after he was born.  Not post-partum depression teary, but elated, thankful and grateful teary.  It's appropriate that he was born in November... he reminds me every day of all I have to be thankful for. 

And today... that little 8 lb baby boy is huge.  At least he looks huge.  He's playing and jumping and talking and becoming more independent as he day goes by.  His life has flashed before my eyes. 

And he's three.  He's a three year old who loves sports (and is good at all of them), loves Mickey and Cars, suckers and popcorn, any kind of boot, and the STL Cardinals.  He loves his little sister, loves singing, and thinks choo choo trains are the greatest things ever. 

And I can't believe how he's growing... but he is... and I can't stop it. 

Happy birthday, Bryton.  Regardless your size or age, you will always be my baby boy.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Some Thoughts on Faith

Pastor said something in church on Sunday that I'd often thought of and had never been able to articulate.  He said:

"The way we live, act, and treat each other either causes others to make much of God or make fun of God."  

Lord, I pray I'm a 'make much of' person.

In my mind, it has always looked like this:  I pray that I can have real relationship with people who aren't Christians (Buddhists, Muslim, atheist... whomever) and earn their respect in regards to my faith.  In other words, to put it bluntly, I hope they see me, know what I stand for, and because I walk out my faith in a strong, yet non-judgmental, kind of way, they respect my faith and can't make fun of it.  I'm not saying they will soon - or ever, for that matter - agree with my faith, but they can see how real it is in my life. 

In a small way in my world - that's making much of God. 

I've mentioned this before, but I'll mention it again.  I was voted 'most likely to change after high school' for my senior year 'class favorites.'  A short bit of background (and I mean really short), I'd professed being a Christian since Freshman year (when I did, indeed, become one), but my massive over the top shift, happened after Junior year.  Senior year I was talked about and made fun of.  A lot.

Looking back, I don't blame anyone.  You know why?  Because the way I had been living before, and the way I had started living, caused people to make fun of God.  I had to prove myself real.  And the voting for senior class favorites was proof of that. 

Did I mention I was devastated and humiliated at that vote?  I was.  (I say that ashamedly now.)  I don't know if I was more embarrassed because of who I had set myself out to be, or because they still didn't believe I was real. 

I'd say now - most people who voted me most likely to change would either say I haven't changed, or if so, hopefully I've changed in deepening of my faith and in being more gracious because of it.  Less judgmental.  More forgiving.  Easier to love.  All in all: that my life would cause others to 'make much of' (even if it's just a silent respect of my faith) rather than make fun of. 

I pray I have friends like that.  Friends that, despite our faith (or lack thereof), we can get along, tarry together, and I can earn that respect from them - not because I feel I deserve it, but because my faith is so real to me that it can't be made fun of.  

Maybe I'm rambling.  Maybe not.  But I hope that, though I'll never be perfect, my life would be an overflow of joy and grace to others as God has given to me.  May my life make much of and not make fun of the Lord whom I love. 

-A

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Some New Things Coming

Alright folks, a couple things I'm working on this month:

First - I have a couple of friends wanting some pictures / info on our new church, so I'm planning on getting a post going on that soon! 

Second - We are starting a new month... a wonderful month... the forerunner to Christmas!  Have I mentioned that I love ChristmasI do.  I just LOVE it!  So - I'm going to try to do a month in pictures blog.  It's something I've wanted to do for a long time, but as you all know, the last three months or so have been a whirlwind to say the least.  So - on my list is just that... look for it December 1st! 

Third - We live in Texas, now.  Have I mentioned that?  Ok, just checking.  So much is the same here, but so much is different.  It's on my blog to-do list to get you a 'Hey, We live in Texas now," blog.  I mean, c'mon, we have longhorns living, literally, 50 steps from our house.  Hello big ole bulls.  I wonder if they really will come after you if you get to close.  Hmmmm. 

Fourth - (See how energetic I suddenly am, after I've neglected the blog so much lately?) I'm not going to go nuts with it, but be expecting some more deal blogs.  Mostly, because I need to do better with it myself.  I'll be honest, with 5 different grocery stores close, every possible clothing store, kids store, housewares store, etc etc etc within a 10 mile radius, I'm overwhelmed with the number of deals I can actually produce on.  So I'm relearning to pick and choose wisely.  So be watching for more info on that.  

Lastly - You know you can expect our personal daily struggles, triumphs and randomness.  This month brings a birthday, the first big holiday away from family, the start of our 25 days of Christmas, etc. etc. etc.  I'm sure you'll love hearing it as we're living it ;) (I like to pretend that you do, anyway.)  So lots of faith talk and life talk coming as well.

And can I just say... (it is November, time to make an extra effort for realizing what we are thankful for - though we should do that all of the time), I'm super thankful for you that read this blog.  Afterall, it's called, "If a tree were to fall" for a reason.  I feel it's pointless for me to write if no one is going to read, so you all are the reason I do this.  I love sharing life with you, thanks for obliging! :) 

Until tomorrow! 
-A

Monday, October 31, 2011

Where I've Been / Halloween Lore

Oh friends.  A busy season it has been... and only about to get busier.  Let's hope I beat whatever this sore throat / sickness is that I've been battling for the last three days before the festivities really get underway.  Have I ever mentioned how much I loathe {*said with a beastly growl.  the word 'loathe' is not even strong enough, but I regress} being sick?  Moreso at this point in my life than ever before.  Momma's don't get sick days to recuperate, we tarry on, changing and feeding and coughing into our sleeves so it's not in the face of the little children who, in much innocence, probably gave us this nastiness. 

But I wouldn't change it.  Really.  (cough, sneeze)

Anyway.

We're taking today as low key.  There won't be much teaching, preachin' (ahem - gettin' on to... we talk about Jesus all days of our life.  Even when it hurts to talk...) or strenuous activity today from this momma, unless you count chasing a 7 month old who is crawling at 100 mph and whose favorite pastime is to chew on cords and play near outlets.  That could be considered to be strenuous.  But all in all - I'm saving my energy up for Bryton's first time trick or treating tonight.  We had an entire halloween day planned, starting with taking B to a 'scary good time' at the local library, but you know, today - I'm not dressed like supermom.  Maybe next holiday...

However - I do have some mighty cute pictures of the lovely offspring at our church's fall festival Saturday night... want to see?  I knew you did.

B went this year as Mickey Mouse.  It's only appropriate that we take his favorite thing and run with it.  Ansley went as Minnie - for the same reason.  It's been amazing how 'into' dressing in "classrooms" (ahem - costumes) Bryton has been this year!  It's totally fun!

I. Love. And. Adore. this picture of my daughter!  She doesn't get all dolled up very often, but just look at her sweetness.  Love love it!


Ok - are you ready for this shocking statement?  B did this on his own.  Sure - we had to ask him to do it again since I wasn't camera ready when it happened the first time, but luckily he obliged this time. 

B got to learn to lasso at the fall fest.  He seemed to really enjoy it!


I can't believe how big my baby boy is getting.  It was just yesterday I was up all night with him, staring at his little face, giving him a bottle.  How is he so big?  So frustrating!


A boy and his ears.  

And this was the continual question - how to get yellow shoes?  Final decision: spray paint.  The shoes are almost too small for him anyway... so they work :)

Look at this precious, slobbery face.  So very blessed.  Who cares about a little sore throat.  

Well - folks, that's all for today.  I have to go rescue A from behind the recliner.  I promise I will try to better this week... it's a big week, so I'll have to keep you posted. 

Until next week -

A

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm a Control Freak

I should join a support group - or, err, an anti-support group... someone who could encourage me to relinquish some control (though, let's get real... did I really have it anyway?). 

It's what I really mean when I say, "I'm type A."

It's the reason I make all of my lists. 

It's the reason I schedule things.

It's the reason I crave routine. 

And, you know, it's a great part of the reason we weren't going to do Santa.

Now - let me preface by saying this:  I don't believe that the administrative, leadership qualities that I have are sinful.  I believe they are gifts... given to me by God.  However, any gift used poorly - or dare I say, any gift used aside from to bring Christ glory - can become an idol.  And, from time to time, I can get a little controlling with my control.  Ya'll following? 

And how does this play into our decision with Santa Claus?

Somewhere along the line I got really confused.  Somewhere along the line I was convinced that I am the underlying determining factor on whether my kids make a decision for faith in their lives.  I did!

I thought if I read enough Jesus to them, if I prayed enough with them, if I taught them to put their dishes in the dishwasher, their clothes in the hamper, and to say 'please' and 'thank you' at appropriate times, I would lead them into a faith decision.  

And you know - those things may be vitally important tools that Christ has (dare I say it, again) pre-destined for us to use with our children for Him to lead them to make a decision for faith.  (Or just to not drive their spouses nuts later in life...)

I've had to come to a place of realizing that if I'm being faithful to what God is impressing upon my heart (and Aaron as well, obviously) as to how to minister to and grow His children (because, again, being honest, they aren't mine)... then it is His work that is ministering to them... not mine.  I am only the vessel.  It is not about me. 

And you know, if I would start treating these children as if they are His, and not mine, we may hit a level spiritually in this house that we've never come to before.  If I treat them as if they are His, maybe they will see Him and not me, because let's face it... I kinda suck sometimes... and "sometimes" is being generous. 

And Santa?  Well - he was part of the control.  He was part of the idea that I could do A.), B.) and C.) and whip up a recipe for a Jesus prayer. 

And then - as my controlling nature has surfaced over and over again, I see in my pinterest a letter explaining who Santa really is to the writer's daughter... and it brought up an idea about Santa that I had never even considered. 

If Santa does anything for us... he teaches children to believe in something... again, dare I say, have faith in something, that they cannot see or touch.  He provides hope... and joy... and not so much for gifts, but for the idea that there is someone out there who is ultimately good (by the world's definition, of course) and you know - somewhere in this letter it hit me...

Santa could be a tool. 

Is he the answer?  No.  Will my kids be allowed to create mile long Christmas lists and sit on Santa's lap asking for toy after toy.  Absolutely not.  This will not be a season of want in our lives.  But I hope it's a birth of the idea of belief.  I hope it's the birth of thankfulness, contentment, and the joy that comes with believing in something.  I pray there is a movement of Christ that reigns free in our family, because ultimately, our decision to do Santa, comes only from a contentment that we've been given the green light in the peace we feel about it. 

And you know... it's not about me anyway... and I'm sure He knows what He's doing. 

-A


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Monumental Decision






Yep - I'm sure you've put two and two together. 

This isn't a 'we were wrong' post... or a 'they were wrong' post, it is a 'rethinking life' post. 

And we've done a lot of that lately.

With theology.

With family.

With life.

And once avid "no Santa" gift-givers, we know that this is probably the year that will make every bit of difference for Bryton.  He's catching on and remembering things... he's retaining information... he's learning.  This is the year we had to decide.  For good.

Who and what will Santa be for us?

And a pinterest post I ran across made Aaron and I do some reconsidering...

More on that later. 

But one thing is certain - Jesus IS and always will be the center and the reason for our season. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Why I'm a Cardinal Fan

My break from life has been the world series lately.  I could be a season ticket holder for the Cards, I tell you... the ballpark is one of my favorite places to be.  

So - while the playing field is neutral, I thought I'd list a few reasons why my ties in the world of baseball will forever be knotted to the Cardinals... it's really more in-depth than you think...
  1. Local.  Of course this has to play in... born, raised, and bred in the good 'ole central U.S. and STL is (and probably will continue to be) one of my favorite. cities. ever.  (And we've been fortunate enough to see many.)  Granted, this isn't enough to make a fan, as I can't see myself ever rooting on the Rams. 
  2. History.  And not World Series appearances or pennant wins, a long line of influential athletes make up the history of the Cardinals.  
  3. Pujols.  Yadi.  Carpenter.  And even past greats like Edmonds, Eckstein, Rolen, and great hitting pitcher, Marquis.  
  4. Busch stadium.  Wowza.  One of my favorite places to be.  
  5. 4 words:  Greatest. Fans. In. Baseball.  And before I was a fan, I thought it was a crock.  But the 'stick with your men' attitude married with the sincere sportsmanship to other teams and players (minus a few idiots here and there), keep me proud to be a supporter.  
Minus an insane night for game 3, it's been an unbelievably evenly matched series, thus far... and regardless what happens games 5, 6 and 7... We are proud to be Cardinal nation!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

It's 3:00 a.m. - I Must Be Lonely

Don't get me wrong... if there's a time that I want to be lonely - it'd be 3 a.m.  This girl *two thumbs pointed dramatically at me* likes her sleep.  And I'm not even kidding.

But sleep the past two nights has not come easily for some reason.  I really can't seem to turn my brain off, and half of it is because I'm just not feeling 'the norm of life' yet.  You know what I mean?  We're not so much in our house, with a regular routine, with a defined budget (and girls and gents - this girl *insert dramatic thumb point again* thrives on and financial peace rests on a defined budget, especially with the holidays coming up!), with an established kid schedule.  And me - I can handle change, and normally can handle it pretty well, but phew, give me normal, please! 

As crazy as it sounds - I believe I've adapted more easily to the 12 hour move than I have my youngest sleeping a good two naps a day.  (Btw - I'm totally not complaining about this!)

So - all of the explanation to say why I'm up at 3:00 a.m. a writin' and a bloggin' - to give you some miscellanies and news -

1.)  Ansley is officially a crawler.  She beat her big bro out by about 2 months.  (Have I ever mentioned how much gray hair I earned from that boy?  Because I worry too much, and he took his happy time about everything, geesh.)  And let me tell you - it takes them what seems like forever to get it figured out, but, once they get it, watch out, buddy!  She's everywhere, and getting there quickly!


2.) Have I ever mentioned how much I love my husband?  I should totally do it more often!  It's awesome to have the support to be able to stay home with my children, and the encouragement to get out for awhile.  I spent the entire day today 'junkin' with a new friend... hitting all the resale shops in a 10 minute radius. (Did you catch that I said 'all day' and ten minute radius?  Wow!)  And when I got home he was chipper, supportive, and encouraged me to go out Monday night to a ladies get together with the church.  Have I mentioned how much I need this with two under three, napping with only a very short overlap, while being confined to the house most days of my life?  I need this.

3.)  In the midst of all the chaos - I have two, count them, two sick kiddos.  B developed the ever dreaded snotty nose the other day.  Let me tell you about me and kids with snotty noses.  YUCK!  That pretty much explains it.  And don't get me wrong, I'll tolerate it with my own kid, but they just don't know what to do with it.  The snot, I mean.  B has felt the need to touch it and lick it and wipe it... bleh.  AND - besides the yuck factor - small colds or even allergies in my medical history almost always led to a sinus infection... so when kids become snotty - I become constantly frazzled that the next trip is going to be for antibiotics (and as much as I took them as a kid... I don't want my kids to have to live on them.)

4.)  Check this one out: hubs and I have some weight to lose... I'm not sure what happened after I had Ansley.  My diet wasn't bad... and definitely wasn't bad enough to gain this weight this fast, but I went from 'down to pre-pregnancy weight' to 'up (as much as) 9 pounds from that'.  And the weight gain happened, literally, in about 6-8 weeks.  Quickly enough, mind you, that I was (and still am, a little bit) concerned that something has brought on the weight gain.  (But I keep writing it off as, "Of course I want to blame it on something else.")  But in reality - it may possibly be my bc.   It's the enemy, I tell you, the enemy.  (And I've NEVER thought that before...) 

So anyway - all of that to say that the hubs and I are in a friendly little competition to see who can lose the weight, keep it off, winner gets to choose our vacation destination / activities next year. 

And folks, I like to golf, but I don't know that I like to golf that often. 

I'm thinking a cruise.  Or the ocean.  Or Disney... I have lots of thoughts, actually ;)  Guess I should win the challenge before I start planning ;)

So there you go - there's some random facts to tide you over until the bloggin' resumes... preferably not at 3:00 a.m. next time...

-A

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ever-changing

Maybe I'm a little more stressed than I thought I was...

And it's not moving.  No, I can't blame it on that.  The move has been, well, much easier than expected.

But I think it's more ages and stages of kiddos overlapping...

It has come to be that Ansley is taking up twice my time than what she once did, and it comes at a time where Bryton needs (for the sake of keeping he and I both sane and behaving well) me more than usual as well.  Ok, maybe he doesn't need me so much, but he needs to do something, exert energy, jump (on things that aren't my couch), run (preferably not into me when I'm trying to get something out of the oven), and just. be. a. boy.

Ansley - though - has dropped a bottle, which you'd think would free up all kinds of time, except the dropping of the bottle adds three times of 'meals' a day that must be fed to her... which all take time, as she cannot do it herself yet.  Add onto it that 'lil Miss' is now 'lil Miss Mobile' - and I find myself trying to get something in the house clean, trying to do something with Bryton, or trying to fix a meal and she's pulling on a cord someplace, sitting inside our fireplace (seriously, I'm not kidding), or she's gotten all of our shoes off their shelves to chew on.  *Sigh*  So I find myself chasing her all over the place, making every other task (which seemed impossible to begin with) take twice as long.

On top of it all - Ansley - and this is a good thing - has finally "gotten" the two naps a day idea, but doing so takes a huge chunk out of the morning (meaning, by the time I bottle feed her, get Bryton ready, get myself ready, and 'feed feed' her I have maybe a spare half hour combined before it's time for her to nap again. 

Now - all of that being said... it isn't really driving me crazy... if there's one thing I've learned from my firstborn, for every phase there is a season, and the seasons are usually much shorter than we'd ever expect them to be.  I give her a month and she'll be finger feeding herself, meaning she can do that at the bathroom door while I shower in the morning (mine and Bryton's old routine) or while I accomplish something with her brother.  So - I'm not going nuts, just trying to adapt...

Another change - this long morning nap she's taking is pushing back the long afternoon nap... which means that when 'normal naptime' comes along at about 1 or 1:30 (when this momma needs a small break), she's usually only been up an hour or so and has another hour or so to be wide eyed and bushy tailed.  B goes down at 1 still... but their naps don't overlap like they once did. 

Having kids is good for me... it ensures I don't get to comfortable and I remain adaptable.  That's for sure.

Phew - there was 10 minutes of a breath and a vent... now, on with the day...

-A

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Little Pinterest Post

It'd be a bigger pinterest post, but I've gotta work on making my other image smaller... bummer.  Anyway... Saw on pinterest a little snip snip here and another snip snip there on an old t-shirt to make a little boy (or girl, for that matter) one nifty, spifty cape.

SO - when I discovered a hole in one of my t-shirts I thought "tada", and here is our Superhero in all of his glory, and it took me all of 2 minutes with a pair of scissors. 


Note  - you can run so fast with these capes that the neck becomes a litttttle stretched out ;)


Monday, October 17, 2011

A Little Fall Decor

I've been getting by not having all of my things out and in places (since over half of our stuff still lives in boxes in the church office's garage), but I'd be lying if I said there weren't times that I reaaaallllly wish I had something. 

Like every Sunday morning when I look through my closet...

Or when I'm going to cook something and need my dutch oven (who knows where that thing is...)...

Or when I can think of the perfect toy Ansley has finally grown into...

But I really, really wish I had all of my things when it comes to seasons. 

I'm a seasonally decorative person... especially from the beginning of October through the end of December.  I firmly believe that every home should be pumpkined, snowflaked, and evergreened out!  For real! 

And so - I have a small collection of our fall decor out - but not much, and I don't really want to buy anymore being that I don't know what our next house will be like, and I need to wait and buy up when I'm going to have an idea of what it is I'll actually be decorating. 

So - I used some pinterest ideas and B and I got to work.  (Ok, ok.  First confession, this was intended for B and I to do, but considering the pattern I 'not on purpose' developed was totally not 3 year old friendly, and B is all boy and has the attention span of a... boy... I ended up doing the tracing, cutting, and patterning myself.  BUT - he contributes later on in a very cute story.  I'll share that eventually.)

And so, together was formed some leaf garland with nothing more than some scissors, a hole punch, some yarn and construction paper. 

 Do I feel a little bit like we live in a Kindergarten classroom?  A little.  But hey, I have a almost 3 year old in the house... and you know what he told me??
 After hearing Aaron tell me, "Hey, honey, the house looks great,"




The next day Bryton looked up at me with those baby blues, completely unprompted, and said, "Momma, the house *long pause* looks great!" with a big 'ole cheese on his face. 

And he said it again the day after that.

I'll decorate my house in construction paper all year round if it looks great to my three year old... just sayin'.

Oh, and let me leave you with a spooky picture of my blessed offspring:

 Watch the facial expressions... I'm already learning about the art (or luck, rather) of getting both of your children looking and smiling at the same time for photos...
 I swear they just exchanged facial expressions...
At least dad's smiling in this one.  Ansley is smiling.  B is looking.  I guess that's a good start =)

-A

Sunday, October 16, 2011

7 Months Old

How does it go by so fast?  I mean, really?  I was prepared for how quickly it goes by this time... I knew not to blink... I knew how quickly Bryton had grown. 

But as I sit I have a mobile, two teethed, laughing, grinning, life - enjoyin' little girl.  

Since life was crazy when we would have had 6 month pictures professionally done, I took some 7 month pictures with our new camera myself... for your viewing pleasure: