Thursday, December 31, 2009


My dad and I are alike in millions of tiny and some not-so-tiny ways. We like to have a plan. We share favorite authors. We use the same phrases. We like to make lists. Lots of lists.

Today, however, my dad got a call about the only list that matters right now.

He's being listed for a lung transplant.

It's almost surreal. This is definitely something we've been aware would happen for many years (like 16 years!), but it's here. His transplant coordinator said, "Pack your bags and leave them by the door." It could be three days or three month or three something longer before the lungs that are a match for him become available.

That's the hardest part for me. "Lungs become available." I know what that means. I know that when my dad is given another chance at life, someone else's father-son-mother-daughter-friend has died. Of course I want my dad to live another 10, 15, even 20 years! He's only 59, for goodness sake! But I hate, hate, hate that for him to live, someone else has to die. I'm praying for that family now. That when the time arrives and my dad's new lungs are available, that the other family, who will have lost someone precious to them, will know that they've given THIS family the most precious gift we could ever want: more time with my dad. More time to make memories. More time for M, my niece, and my unborn niece or nephew to know their grandfather.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Thinking about Resolutions

As 2009 comes to a close and the end of a decade quickly approaches, I'm really thinking about what resolutions I should make. There are, without a doubt, areas in my life which need major renovations. Do you make and follow through with resolutions? Are they a January only thing, made with good intention, but then life happens and they fall by the wayside as the busy-ness of the day takes over?

I'm thinking about my defining word for 2010--and I want it to be a good one. One that is really reflective, like simplify was in 2008. Ali Edwards does a wonderful job of explaining the idea of one little word. Discovery comes to mind when I think about my one little word for 2010. I've let things slide that I really need to get a handle on, but I want to discover why I have such a hard time with controlling the clutter, impulsive spending, the need for MORE, why I am not content with what I have.

By using a word to define my year, I'm finding that I don't have a desire to make resolutions. I know there are things I want to accomplish:
--following FlyLady again so the house will be under control. I'm so very, very tired of living in CHAOS. (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome!)
--paying down my credit card debt by at least half during 2010.

I don't just want to DO these two things, I want to know why I have such a hard time keeping clutter at bay. Why do I hate cleaning so much that I'd rather live in chaos than just take the time to straighten, purge, and clean? Why am I so irresponsible with my money?

Both of these "goals," if you will, trickle down into so many other things: purging the extra junk around here, using what we have instead of buying more, enjoying the things we've been blessed with.

So, at the beginning of this new decade, I'm going to focus on discovery. On learning more about who I am and the role I play in this life that I live. I think it's going to be a very good year.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Lots and lots of family time. We "posed" for some pictures today before leaving.

OB, Nona, me, M, and H

Zach, me, H, Brooks (my aunt)

M and Uncle Zach
(I think this is my favorite picture. That is SO M!)

Four generations:
Me, Nona (my mom), GiGi (my grandmother), M, and Uncle Zach

Aunt Brooks and M


We were not short on entertainment during our visit with my family.

For example, Uncle Zach (or just uncle, for short, if you please) had no problem picking M up and holding her aloft.

And then letting her free fall...
on her bean bag.

We ate some fondue. (That was H's secret suprise electric fondue pot!!!) Saturday evening, we made Deviled Crab and Cheese Fondue. For dessert, Velvety Chocolate Fondue. DELICIOUS!

We are a family that loves the Wii. H got DJ Hero for Christmas. We had a blast competing against each other.

We might or might not have played a hand or two of Texas Hold 'Em.

We were treated to several "puppet" shows by the budding actress of the family.

Occassionally, back ups were called in for the shows. Here, Peanut Butter (the horse), Sophie (the doll), a lion, and Elmo helped pull of a resounding musical that left us all in tears and hurting sides from the laughter.

Oh, yes. There was plenty of entertainment.

December Daily 25: The Loot

We all had a most wonderful Christmas. The first thing M said when she woke up Friday morning was, "It's Jesus' birthday, Mommy!" As excited as she was to be the recipient of so many wonderful things, she remembered the real reason for the day.

I can't begin to tell you all the fun gifts we gave and received. Trust me when I say we won't want for anything for a long, long time.

I hope your Christmas was delightful and you have many sweet memories of the day.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

December Daily 23 Exhaustion and 24 Tradition

First, Merry Christmas! My prayer for you and your family this Christmas is that you can focus on the REAL reason for the season. I hope you and your family enjoy sweet moments together as we celebrate the birth of our Lord, who humbled himself to live amongst us. Praise be to God!

December 23: Exhaustion

Our plans of a stay at home day quickly disappeared when we realized that M and I would need to deliver our goodies to so many of our friends! We left the house at 10:30 and didn't come home until 5:30! We were both exhausted! But we enjoyed a sweet day together and M was the perfect gift giver. At each house, she would say, "Merry Christmas! We love you!"

December 24: Tradition

Last year, M's cousins (15, 12, and 10 years old) came over to bake Santa cookies on Christmas Eve. I was so thrilled when they were able to come again this year. We have more fun when they are here. M adores them and they are so sweet to her. Because we've been so busy, I didn't have "fun" cookies planned for us, but we did a few batches of cookies. The youngest boys weren't too into it this year--probably because there were few M&M's involved! The oldest boy sat patiently with me and helped roll out the second type of cookie.

In Him,

Retail Cheer

I have a write a quick post in response to my friend Arizaphale. Her husband, Himself, had a terrible retail experience.

I had quite the opposite. I decided, very belated, to start the whole Christmas pajama tradition this year. When we were out shopping Sunday, I looked and looked for cute pajamas for M to wear tonight. Most places were understandably picked over, but Target did have a few pajama sets (set of 2) of zippered pj's, which just happen to be M's favorite. Unfortunately, they were all marked incorrectly for sizes. H and I were looking at tags and inside labeling to find a set of 5T that would fit M. Finally, H found ONE pair of pajamas hanging alone in the middle of Christmas t-shirts. The tag clearly said set of two and this pair just happened to be the one without the price on it. At the register, I asked the sales girl if she'd sell them to me and explained the situation. She had to call a manager. The manager listened to the explanation and looked over the pjs. I was fully prepared to pay half the price of the set ($15.99, half would be $8), but would not pay more than that. The manager rang them up and said, "I can sell these to you for $2.48."


You bet I grabbed those pajamas and ran out of Target like a madman. I couldn't have bought pajamas cheaper anywhere else! What a bargain!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December Daily 22: Believe

December 22:
It's all about believing, isn't it? Believing in the magic of the season. Believing in the goodness. Believing in Him, who was born the lowest of the lowly.

Monday, December 21, 2009

December Daily 20 and 21

December 20: Done shopping!

This is the final haul of Christmas presents. YEAH! It felt great to be done and not panicking at the *very* last minute.

December 21: Happy Birthday! This little man is 10 years old now. I wasn't officially part of the family when he was born, but I've loved him to pieces since the moment I met him. We love celebrating with him! (My aperature wasn't high {large] enough, so M is in perfect focus, but the birthday boy is a little fuzzy!)

Just a side note. This is what we dined on for breakfast this morning:

We saw it at The Fresh Market last night and just had to try it. It's called a pomelo. It's huge, sweet, sour, and absolutely delicious. It was a rare treat as it costs $5!!! I'd never seen one before. It was fun to try something new.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

December 19

We went to a ballet performance for one of M's best friends in the whole world. Neither one of them seem to mind that she's 10 and M is only 4. They ADORE each other. When the big girl is around, she reclaims some innocence (she IS ten, after all, and often acts like most 10 year old girls!) and plays with M. M could not stop dancing and mimicking what the dancers were doing on stage. We have to enroll her in dance class next year. Another fun tradition to add to our Christmas season. Another memory made.
I took my picture for today, but it's late and I'm going to wait and catch up tomorrow.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

December Daily 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18

I am proud of myself for keeping up (sort of) with December Daily. I just placed an order with a local photo processing place to pick up the last 18 days of images and will get them in the album this weekend.

December 14: Welcome home! There is something about this little guy that just makes me smile when I get home. I love that he's here to greet visitors when they come to our house.

December 15

H and M LOVE to decorate the van like Rudolph. I find it a little humorous that 75% of the time I'm in the van, I'm by myself (during the school year, that is), so I look sort of strange driving the Rudolph van around town. I've noticed this year, that kids really notice it and it makes them laugh, so I don't mind driving the Rudolph van at all.

December 16

December 17

This ornament will forever say friendship to me. It was passed around at a party earlier this week and my sweet friend, E, knew how much I would love to have it. She "stole" it. The next evening, E called to ask if I'd checked my mail yet. I was shocked when I opened the wrapping and this little treasure was lying inside. Thank you, E.

December 18
H and I LOVE to exchange gifts and we go way overboard. We just can't help ourselves. Birthdays are MUCH smaller. Some years, H finds the perfect surprise gift for me. Rarely can I shock him. But I think I will this year. That green snowman wrapped package is his shocker this year. I'm so excited about it and hope he loves it!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

December 16

Today was the day of programs for M. Her preschool program was this morning. It was amazing to see how much she's grown in the past year! She was singing and clapping this year. Last year, she just sort of sat in the stroller and looked at the crowd (she was rolled in because of the cast last year). This year, it was all about the performance. She really enjoyed the children's program at church tonight. She had the special job of wearing this "joy" sign and she was so proud of it! This year has been the best year so far for Christmas memories. M is SO into all the fun celebrations.

Yes, yes, yes. I know I let two days slip by. I'll have to catch up during the week. I've got some "tasks" that need to photographed, but just haven't had a moment to catch my breath. I'll fill in December 14th and 15th soon.

I hope you're enjoying every moment of this Christmas season.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December 11, 12, and 13

December 11

I snuck away for a girls' weekend in the mountains with some of the girls from my small home group. It was the most delightful weekend. Lots of talk. Lots of crafting. Lots of talk. A trip to the small mountain town. Lots of talk. Lots of eating. It was amazing and really refreshed my spirit.

December 12

While the cat's away, the mice will play. H bought this for me and set it up. I LOVE it. I'm so thrilled that we added this to our family decoration.

December 13

The oven is on right this moment. We've been busy making M&M cookies, a tradition from H's childhood. He's in charge of this project. M and I help with the decorating. H's mother passed away when he was a teenager, so I never knew her. I love that we're giving M something from the grandmother she'll meet in Heaven.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

December 10

I'm holding back a few images for the evenings when I'm just too tired to take a picture.

When M was an infant, I began the tradition of making our Christmas cards. The first year, in a fog of new-mama-ness, I made batches of cards, not bothering to design just one card. For her one and two year old Christmases, I spent hours agonizing over the design and capturing the perfect picture to send everyone. Last year, even though M was in a cast and just a few days post-op, I dressed her up and took a delightful picture. I spend hours designing the card. And never made the first one. There just wasn't time to make and send them. So, I knew I had to come up with something really great this year. As December approached and I consulted my calendar, I knew handmade, handcrafted cards were out of the picture. I'm rather proud to present our first ever computer generated card. I had so much fun playing around designing this. As much as I love handmaking cards, this was a great alternative this year.

So...without further ado, here is our Christmas 2009 card!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December 8 and 9

December 8

Pottery is our special elf. He visited last year, but this year has really become part of our Christmas celebration. Each morning, M hops out of bed to find his hiding place. She is very worried about what he tells Santa and is working very hard to only have good daily reports. She wants to be on Santa's "good list." Last year, M wasn't very interested in naming him, but this year named him immediately. We're glad Pottery is part of our tradition and we're looking forward to many fun years ahead.

December 9

I have a very serious addiction to snowmen. Nothing says winter, warmth, welcome more than a sweet little ball of snowman goodness. Over the years, I've accumulated quite the collection of snowmen. I couldn't resist making a family of these precious little snowman heads last year. M and I enjoy making up stories about the antics of each little snowman.

A little update

Dearest M,

Even when Mama has to discipline you, I love you. Even when you disobey or tell a lie, I love you. Forgiveness is immediate. One of the hardest parts of being your mom is helping you learn right from wrong and disciplining you when you need it. It completely broke my heart tonight when I walked into the bathroom and you had poured out your shampoo--again. And what was left broke into a million smaller pieces when you realized what you had done. Daddy told you if you ever did that again, you would have to give Beary to one of your friends. All those million of Mama heart pieces shattered even more when I heard you crying for Beary as you went to sleep. Because you only poured out a little bit, Daddy and I have decided that you just have to go without Beary one night. If you ever pour your shampoo out again, you will have to give him away.

I love you, sweet M. I'm sorry tonight was rough for us. I hope tomorrow is better. As much as I hate these moments, I know that I have a responsibility to you to teach you the right things to do. I know that you will grow up to be a more responsible, caring, thoughtful, loving woman if I take the time to discipline you. I do it completely and utterly out of love.


Monday, December 7, 2009

December 7: Delicious, sort of


Not taking one moment for granted.

Focusing on family.

M and I made her Gingerbread Train tonight. It's not perfect. It's not gorgeous. But it's ours.

She thought it was delicious. Sort of.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

December 6: Traditions

A train in the Christmas tree.
M loves trains. When we were shopping one day, we found one that wraps around the tree, so we snatched it up. M helped H put it together and couldn't wait to press the button for the inaugural trip around the tree. I have a feeling that this little train is going to provide hours of entertainment.


M puts the first ornament on the tree. We started this little "tradition" last year. She doesn't put much thought into the ornament she choses, but she thinks it's a special honor. I hope as the years progress, she'll think carefully about the ornament she puts on first.

The first ornament for 2009.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

December 4 and December 5

When I was growing up, my mom and dad always bundled us up one evening and drove us around to look at Christmast lights. I enjoyed doing that even when I was a teenager. This is one tradition I want to start with M. So, last night after much Chrsitams shopping and dinner out, we picked up coffee and hot chocolate from Starbucks and drove around looking at Christmas lights. To say she enjoyed it would be a major understatement. I hope we will do this several times a year.

We finally got our Christmas boxes out of the attic today. When we gave M her nativity set from last year and the new one Nona and OB gave her, she played with it for several hours this afternoon. I heard her whispering the nativity story to herself. What sweet faith to know so young that we are really celebrating the birth of our Savior.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

December Daily 3: Joy

Joy is:
--listening to 10 years olds sing Christmas carols on the steps of the city auditorium.
--watching your four year old dance around your legs while she listens to the music.
--looking at the fun decorations hanging on the lamposts.
--doing a countdown for the tree lighing with three hundred people.
--cheering when the tree is lit.
--making this memory with your favorite girl.

Tonight, we experienced joy. I hope you find a few quiet, peaceful, joyful moments this Christmas season.

HELLO FRIENDS!! Why in the world did no one point out that I had a FOUR up there instead of a three???

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December Daily 2

Welcome home, holiday edition.

"The holidays cause me to take stock of our house. As I pull out the Christmas decorations, I'm ultra aware of how our home is lacking. Sure, I wish I had spotless carpet and less clutter. But the reality is, there are random dishes in the sink, always; there are dirty baseboards and dusty blinds. This is our home. We live here. We're comfortable here and we want our guests to be comfortable here, too. So, come on over. Sit with us for a while. Sip on a mug of hot chocolate and let's enjoy each other's company."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December Daily 1

Welcome to December Daily! I'll be journaling and photographing from prompts this month, so I'm super, super excited. At the end of the month, and hopefully periodically in between, I'll be printing and putting the stories--both words and images--in my album that is just waiting.

Although today I did not follow the photograph prompt: take a "Welcome to December!" photo of everyone in your family. M and H didn't get home until dinner was ready, she walked in having a meltdown. I decided it probably wasn't the best time to take a "Welcome to December!" picture!

Write your thoughts about your family's holiday values.

"Christmas memories are magical. Santa Claus, family, baking, anticipation, excitement. I want to wrap my arms around these things and hold them tight, passing them down to Meryt as she is ready to accept them. I want each moment of the Christmas season to be glittery and magical for her. I want her to know how blessed we are and to share our blessings with others. I want this season to be full of time spent with each other. From the first "Merry Christmas" to the last, I want her to know the true meaning of the season."