Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to all!

The presents are unwrapped and loved. A new bike and new dress up clothes. Lots of stocking stuffers. Cookies eaten by Santa and oatmeal eaten by the raindeer :) A new microplane for me and the best one of all--the best egg rolls from the city of Louisville brought to me by my hubby--gotten on one of his trips there. We used to live there and I have raved about those egg rolls ever since we left :)

As we get ready to travel to visit family, I hope you all have a great Christmas filled with sweetness and love. Safe travels to you all and to all a good night! ;)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Let go of Rockwell

Life happens. Even at Christmas time. Each year, especially since I've started a family, I've had this little vision of a Norman Rockwell painting for the holiday--family gathered around ethereal-looking Christmas lights, joyous smiles, presents perfectly wrapped, everyone dressed nicely, children behaving....then I snap back to reality.

Kids and parents get sick. Arguments abound. Screaming. Crying. Pulling of hair. The presents are not perfectly wrapped. Some don't get wrapped at all. Christmas candies and cookies don't look like the picture in the cookbook and some aren't prepared at all.

Troubles outside of the family loom as well. Friends and family sick and in the hospital. Estranged family. Tensions. Work problems. Money tight.

It's not Rockwell, but it's beautiful all the same. My husband and I just watched "The Nativity Story". If you haven't watched it, please try to do so. It's so touching and moving, seeing how Jesus, Lord of all creation, humbled himself to be born into a poor family in a stable, among parents who weren't even supposed to have children yet. The movie dramatized the struggles Mary and Joseph may have faced as they learned of the impending birth, then the journey to Bethlehem. We don't know for sure if it happened the way it did in the movie, but we can be sure that life was hard. He wasn't born into luxury. He wasn't born into a Rockwell scene. His parents were scared, unsure, tired, and frustrated, and I'd say much more so than most of us.

I've reminded myself the last few days to let go of the Rockwell vision and embrace the gift that came with that humble birth. Life happens. Perfection comes only in that gift, that hope--knowing that we were bought with the price of that humble life.

We tried to get Megan to watch the movie--she was much more interested in watching cartoons with Zoe in the other room. But we did get her to watch a few important parts. Although the whole family didn't gather serenely around, watching the story of Jesus' birth, we were able to communicate the importance of the season. We also listened to Megan telling us how she was a shepherd, then a wise man, yesterday in a Sunday School re-enactment of the birth...interrupting the movie, of course...but what did I expect? Rockwell? :)

Friday, December 21, 2007

When you can't go shopping....

Get some junk food :) That was my therapy yesterday for taking a rain-check (literally) from my shopping for Christmas goody and meal ingredients. We dropped off some goodies to a few friends just as the rain started and it didn't let up all day. So, I drove by McD's for the girls, then DQ for a double cheeseburger, small fry, and a peppermint chip blizzard.

Now, I don't usually go for the seasonal blizzards because I'm kinda afraid I'll be disappointed, but that one looked good and it was! Yummy little chocolate pieces, peppermint candy pieces, and peppermint syrup in there. Mmmmm!

Now you want to try one, don't you?

Well, I'm off to shower and shop today. No rain, so I'm going to brave it...with both girls...pray for me.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

In the news

A Christmas Tree Hunt Gone All Wrong A man and his kids went out into the wilderness in Northern California looking for a Christmas tree. Well, they got lost in the freezing snow. Luckily they found shelter in a drainage pipe and their signal was spotted just before the rescue was called off. I'm thinking, "Why not just go to Wal-Mart? If you get lost in there, you won't find any employees when you need them, but you've at least got some Cheetos."

Jamie Lynn Spears is Pregnant The star of Zoey 101 and Britney's little sister is pregnant at 16. Lots of outrage and uproar over a "teen role model" being so irresponsible. I'm thinking, "Why haven't we learned not to put our trust in the Spears family...or the Hiltons...or the Richies...or the Lohans...you get the idea. I wonder why people are so surprised?!"

Eek! It's a Mutant...Not Really A man left the state of Oregon because people there aren't very nice to people with blue skin. The video link here shows a man with obviously blue-toned skin that may be suffering from a rare skin disorder or the effects of drinking a supposedly cure-all solution of colloidal silver. Either way, I'm thinking, "Shame he didn't surface a couple years ago during the filming of X-Men III. They spent a lot of money putting blue makeup on Kelsey Grammar for the Beast character. They could have saved a buck or two."

And that's my news for the day--have a good one!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

On the mend

Zoe is finally feeling better. She's back to getting into things, jumping on my bed, and following me around, generally wreaking havoc ;) That's how I know when she's better.

I hate to see my girls sick, but if there is a bright side to it, it's that they are really agreeable and quiet when they're ill. Zoe just laid around all day yesterday. At the doctor's office (she did have an ear infection), instead of bouncing around like she usually does, she just sat calmly on the table and in the waiting area on my lap. Last night, she was content to lie on my bed watching cartoons, drinking 7-Up. Not our Zoe at all, though not unwelcome behavior, LOL!

After one dose of antibiotics and a few doses of Ibuprofen and ear drops, she's already on the mend.

Last night she also did something she has never done, but I sincerely hope she does again (and I hope Megan does too). Not too long after dinner, she came into the kitchen holding her mouth and looking ill. I asked her if she needed to puke. She said, "Yah." I happened to have the garbage bag out sitting there in the floor and I said, "Here, just puke in here." And she did!! Every bit of it went into the bag!! That has never happened before. So gracefully too. She puked a bit, and then said, "Wipe my mouth." Sounded so pitiful, but we were so amazed. I didn't have any vomit to clean up at all. Just took the bag out. I know that will never happen again like that, but I sure it wish it would!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday, Monday

And it's a crappy day. I think Zoe has an ear infection now. We visited some friends in Nashville yesteray afternoon and we all went to the Opryland Hotel to see the sights. We had a great time with them, but didn't get home until after 10 pm. The girls both went straight to bed, but Zoe woke up about every 1/2 hour to 1 hour crying. We thought maybe she was just overtired and having trouble sleeping. She wasn't running a fever and she would say different things every time we went in there.

I think she finally went to sleep around 4 am, and the alarm went off at 5:30 for the school day. Ugh!! Bryan and I both have colds and were medicated (I had just had one Tylenol PM), so it was very difficult getting up. Megan did ok, and I went back to bed after I got her off to school, but was only able to catnap.

When Zoe got up, she started complaining about her ear, and she had a fever. She hasn't eaten well all day and has been lying around. I've got an appt with her doc at 1:30 today. We seem to be keeping her busy this month.

All that, and then I find out my brother is officially on his fourth marriage after a visit to a judge last Friday. Wonderful. (*not*) Wish I could pretend to be happy for him. I'm so disappointed and angry with the choices he's made in his life. I won't go further into ranting about it because I'd be here all day.

Isn't it sad that I dread interacting with my family this Christmas? I should want to go back to my old home, the place I grew up. I don't even want to think about it. I can see why some folks move away and just never come back now.

Anywho, this was quite the depressing post, wasnt' it? I'm determined to get over this hump of a day and enjoy the rest of the week, enjoy preparations for Christmas. I have an awesome little family of my own that I wouldn't trade for the world and I'm going to love and cherish them, even through the snot, coughs, and doctor trips :)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A few of my favorite things...

Thursday night, hubby was out of town. I got the girls to bed without much fuss and was able to sit and enjoy the beautiful lights from the Christmas tree and Christmas village, watching "A Saturday Night Live Christmas" (too funny) and just enjoyed the time with Poncho and my Zachaboo (yep, Zach's got a nickname now). I journaled in the baby's journal and enjoyed some Lucky Charms--I love cereal at night when I'm pregnant :)

Friday night, a Christmas party in O'boro with hubby. We rushed around to get ready and drop off the girls and we both were kinda cranky with colds brewing, but we were able to sit and eat a nice dinner there at a table to ourselves! Quiet, relaxing dinner. Decaf coffee with derby pie. A magician who was hilarious. We were dead tired when we got home, but it was nice.

Today, rainy and icky outside, but warm and cozy in here. Morning with sausage biscuits, jelly, OJ, and coffee. After that, Meg and I made out Christmas cards for family and friends. Sweet treats while we worked. A hot shower, a few chores, then I made a batch of pretzel candy. Our "Buddy" is here now for the afternoon and he and Meg are having a blast while Zoe is napping. I just enjoyed some honey/chamomile tea (so good on my throat) and am listening to some great instrumental music from "Maggie's" site. I'll be taking a bit of a nap soon, then baking some cookies.

Good stuff of the season. God is good!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

But not the season to fit in all your clothes :)

All that eating may keep you from wearing your favorite outfits, so beware! Treats in moderation, people.

My problem, however, is my pregnant body is rather hard to accomodate. I'm pretty much restricted to maternity clothes now.

I finally tried on the little black cocktail dress that my sis-in-law found for me. It looked quite lovely and fit wonderfully in the belly area--nice and loose--kind of a babydoll dress style. The top, however, was a different story. Bryan could barely get it zipped. My chest just didn't want to fit in there. :) When it was finally zipped, I couldn't move my arms up and down.

So, I've decided that comfort is more important than the sparkly fashion of the cocktail dress. I'm opting for the gray maternity dress pants, the red maternity (actually a juniors XL) short-sleeve roomy shirt with a white tank under it. I'm still wearing my heels though and I'll carry the purse that sis-in-law got to go with the dress.

Still wish I could wear it--bummer. And I was afraid it would be too BIG :)

Tis the Season....

To EAT! I absolutely love all the treats of Christmas time. I love making them and I love eating them. Hubby got a nice tin of flavored popcorn from a business associate, and I'm eating that now. We made some candy for his employees in his department at work as well. We've been doing that each year. It's a fun and yummy way to bless them and thank them for their hard work. He also found some nice worklights for each of them too, so he got to play Santa Claus this morning ;)

One recipe I made for the guys came from www.razzledazzlerecipes.com. It was quite yummy, very easy, and really economical! I'm sharing with you here:

Pretzel Candy Crunch
2 cups broken pretzels
1 cup tiny marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped salted cashews or peanuts
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup half-and-half or light cream
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup chocolate chips
Combine pretzels, marshmallows, and cashews or peanuts in a large mixing bowl; set aside.
Combine sugar, half-and-half or light cream, and butter or margarine in a heavy saucepan. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Add chocolate chips. Let stand 1 minute to soften pieces. Stir till combined. Let stand 5 minutes.
Pour chocolate mixture over pretzel mixture; stir to coat. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto baking sheets lined with waxed paper. Chill till firm.
Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.
Makes about 30 pieces.Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare candy and store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My time waster this morning

But so fun! Now I'm moving on to my chores, but I wanted to share what I've been doing. For the past few years, I've been printing out Christmas gift tags I've found online, but today, I decided to try designing my own. I thought I'd share them with you here.

I'm not sure about image copyrights, but I will list the websites I got the images from here. The clipart from the first two tags came from http://www.cutecolors.com/. The clipart for the last two tags came from http://www.hellasmultimedia.com/webimages/. I downloaded the Snowflake brushes from http://www.easyelements.com/index.html. I created all these with Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0, saved each one as a jpg file and made a sheet with two of each one side by side in Microsoft Word. I added black borders around each in Word as well. I suppose you could save each of these files, then add them to Word and print them out as well. Since I'm not selling them, I wouldn't think it would be a problem. If anyone knows if it is, let me know.

By the way, I designed each to be 2 inches high, by 3 inches wide, but it didn't reflect that here. You may want to resize to your desired size.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tuesday stuff

Meg is feeling better. Her doctor saw some major infection there in her right ear yesterday at her appt. She said it looked like a big pimple in there. Gross. Anyway, she's on Zithromax for 5 days and ibuprofen for pain and fever at bedtime and before school. Also some ear drops I'm just using at night for now. She's not complaining of pain since Sunday, so no sense giving her tons of meds.

Hopefully, everyone will stay well enough for us to attend Bryan's company Christmas party on Friday night. Luckily, our youth in the church have decided to host another Parent's Night Out that very night, so we didn't have to put anyone out for babysitting. I love Parent's Night Out. If you have a church with lots of teenagers, you may want to suggest they start doing that. A few adults hang around of course, to keep the teenagers in line too :)

I've got to get my "outfit" together for the party. I will try the dress that sis-in-law found for me--I think she paid about $1 for it and it was $100 new or something like that. If it's too big or too short to keep me warm enough :) I'll go with pants and festive shirt. We'll see.

I'm going to have to paint my toenails too for my heels. I may have to have hubby do that, since I can't bend so well anymore. He's done it before and spoiled me. If your hubs have never painted your toenails, you should get them to--it's such pampering! :D

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday, Monday

This morning's first headline on GMA: "Terror at church". Not what you'd expect to hear.

Some crazy maniac shot several people at a missionary training center at a small town in Colorado and later on at a large church in Colorado Springs.

I apologized to my baby this morning for having to bring him into such a frightening world. When I was this far along with Megan, the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 happened. When I was pregnant with Zoe at this time, I had a terrible car crash. I wonder if these poor kids have a chance. :(

Yesterday, Megan developed what we think is an ear infection. She actually started crying and laying on my lap at lunch because of the pain. A call to her doctor, a trip to the pharmacy, and this morning, she went on to school. I'll be bringing her in to her doc to have a look though as soon as they can see her.

Saturday--it was nice. We decorated the tree, finally. I decided to go with a white tree this year, and bought a new one at Wal-mart. Why choose another tree when I had two already? I wanted something between the size of Charlie Brown tree and Rockefeller Center tree. This one fits well in front of our living room windows. A new box of shatterproof ornaments allowed the girls to decorate it almost all by themselves. We watched Rudolph as we decorated.

I also made 3 loaves of cranberry orange bread for our neighbors that day. I love holiday baking. Tiring a bit, and hard to find the time sometimes, but something I look forward to anyway.

Well, now off to call the doc!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Pregnancy--The good, bad, and ugly

Good: Watching my belly grow, feeling Zach kicking around, wearing cute maternity clothes.

Bad: Worrying every day that he's not moving enough...until he kicks me hard as soon as I lie down.

Ugly: Watching my thighs and bum grow as much as my belly, and the most embarrassing (*drumroll please*)....peeing when I sneeze.

And there you have it--some of the ups and downs of pregnancy. I wouldn't trade it for the world. :)

Do you like it?

My new Christmas header that is! I figured out the Magic Extractor tool yesterday in Photoshop Elements and got crazy with some clip art and pics :) It was fun!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

God bless the Flylady

I still get daily e-mails from www.Flylady.com, the lovely lady who's mission is to help us keep up with our daily chores without them weighing us down. I don't keep up with the e-mails often, I must say, but I do read some from time to time. Today's was poignant to me, reminding me that it's my attitudes that hold me back from improving important areas of my life. I share it here:

Dear Friends,We all have said this in our lives when we have been asked something.These words come out of our mouths before me can stop them. "I know"…These words are not said with an affirmative tone! They are said witha defeated tone and possibly a hint of anger.

Let's look at what this is all about! To me I know means we haveprocrastinated once again. We are saying that yes we knew we weresupposed to do something and then we didn't do it! We are taught that when we know to do something and we don't do thatwe have made a mistake. We don't like making mistakes. This is wherethe defeated attitude and anger comes in. Why do we do this to ourselves?

Here are some meanings to those habitual "I Knows".
A way to shut the other person up.
You are right; I need to think about that (just not right now!)
I can't make a mistake.
Puff yourself up (YES I KNOW THAT I AM NOT STUPID!)
Not being aware of what is coming out of your mouth
I already know that so just leave me alone!
It is just a habit.
I may know but I am still not going to do what you tell me to.
It's just too hard.

These words may have become a habit to say but it is important that weare aware of the words that come out of our mouth, how we use them andhow they are perceived. Just like with the word perfect we have tofind new ways to describe our feelings. Please watch yourself today with these words. The key to not sayingthem is DOING. Just knowing doesn't get something done! We have totake action! Then you can celebrate instead of being defensive!Do it now! Don't wait! FlyLady

Monday, December 03, 2007

Monday, Monday

I have began to look forward to Monday mornings just a bit. I don't look forward to getting up early to get Meg off to school and Bryan off to work, but I do look forward to sitting for a while, drinking my coffee, watching Good Morning America. Of course, Zoe does eventually get up (right at 7 am this morning), so I have to get her settled down with some breakfast and juice, but then we can hang out in our PJ's for a while before the work begins.

Perhaps I should try being more productive right from the start, since Sunday's supposed to be our rest day, but Sunday for us is usually pretty busy with church activities, and I just don't have the chance for that quiet morning time. Should be spending this time doing Bible study too, but I'm just kinda in a slow down cycle at this season of my life. Whatever the case, I like my Monday mornings right now....just a bit. It's still MONDAY for goodness sakes!
By the way, we kicked off Christmas season with our annual Christmas banquet last night and had some great gospel music from the Conquerors afterwards (a men's quartet made up of some local fellows, including a great bass singer from our own church). Good stuff--great way to get in the Christmas spirit!