Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas 2012!!

Christmas this year was everything I wanted it to be. Last year was good, but this year was PERFECT! Tommy is old enough to understand  presents and to love the Christmas lights.

A few nights before Christmas, we drove through Lights on the Lake. He kept gasping in awe at the lights and kept turning to look out his window or sissy's window. They had a place where you could stop and see Santa. I thought we'd be wasting our time because Tommy does NOT like anything big and loud, like mascots or people wearing animal suits or like Santa would be. We've taught him that Santa says, "Ho, ho, ho!!" But other than that, he has no clue what Santa actually does. But none the less, I wanted to try for the picture that every mother wants.....her babies on Santas lap! He did really good while we waited in line. He told Santa hi and said ho, ho, ho!! But as soon as we went to put him on Santa's lap..........not so much. He did the whole body-stiffening thing and was NOT having it. But Tessa liked it!  I just wanted a picture, even if it was of Tess smiling and Tommy screaming but the guy taking the pictures kept waiting for Tommy to sit down, so after a few tries I just told him to take the picture of Tessa and Tommy got out of it for the year!

Christmas morning, Tommy woke up around 6:30am. He was SUPER grumpy but I was trying to be nice even though it was obviously waaaaaay too early for him to be up! He wanted nothing to do with presents, so I made him some eggs and apple juice to try to get him in a more pleasant mood.

It took awhile but he FINALLY snapped out of it! We woke Daddy up (Tessa was still sleeping and I felt a little bad for starting without her but wanted to let her sleep).

His present from Santa was a 4-wheeler power wheels that we  Santa had found over the summer at a consignment sale. It's pretty big so we left it unwrapped in front of the tree so it would be the first thing he saw. Yeah............bad plan. He HATED it!! He was scared to death of it! Nick kept asking him if he wanted to drive because he looooves "driving" Daddy's truck, but he would not go near it! We decided not to push it and went for the other gifts.
He got a bunch of books......

Some bath crayons and a wooden ambulance and fire truck....

 .......and a Mickey Mouse. He has a love/hate relationship with this mouse because it sings and dances. He likes to watch it, but not be too close while it's happening. The first several times, he would say, "Mom! Do it! Ne (which is 'me' in Tommy language) NO do it! Tease (please), Mom!" So Nick or I would push his foot and Mickey would start dancing and Tommy would run as far away as he could, but dance the whole time. Then he finally got to where he would push it, but he'd push his foot and then take off running! Hilarious to watch!
Nick had given me one of my presents the night before, which was a flash for my camera. I've never been so happy to get a present before! I had dropped my camera back in October and the flash broke, but I wasn't sure if it was just the bulb or the whole flash mechanism. The camera place said it would cost $160 to fix. I was heartbroken. But then I got the idea to try an electronic flash, which is just a big flash that connects to the top of your camera. I wasn't sure if that would fix it, but Nick bought me one and it did!! SO glad! We wouldn't have had any Christmas pics without it!
He also got me a massage (SO excited for that!) and Tommy got me house slippers and Tessa got me make up brushes.
  I got Nick a trail camera (like a motion sensored camera to put where he hunts so he can take pictures of the deer that come down the path--sounds thrilling, huh?), a few SD cards for the camera, some BBQ rubs (because he loves trying new rubs) and some socks and a shirt. Oh, and a lumbar support pillow that he was really excited about!
Tessa got some clothes and boots and books. She was thrilled, as you can imagine :) She DID really enjoy ripping the paper off and trying to cram it in her mouth!
 After we were all done opening presents, we tried to get Tommy to ride his 4-wheeler.

He still hated it. We even showed him that Mickey Mouse liked it and wanted to ride it.....

......but he didn't care. He wasn't having any part of it! All day, if something he wanted was by the 4-wheeler, he would point to it and say, "Mom! Dad! Do it!" We'd tell him that he had to go get it and he would cry and whine and refuse to do it. So funny! Hopefully he'll want to ride it SOME day!

After we did our family Christmas, we headed to my mom's. We got soooooo much stuff! We came home with a new set of pots and pans (praise God!! I'm convinced my cooking will be much better with these!), some new utensils, money, a carbon monoxide detector (thanks, Mom ;) and a ton more I can't remember.
 Tommy got a choo-choo that he is obSESSed with! And a basketball goal that he kept trying to open!
They each got some books and other little things.
 But my FAVORITE thing they got was this........
Thank you, Santa!!! We got 2 or 3 boxes of each size we need! And some wipes! We were so excited to open those!!!

Overall, we had such an awesome and blessed Christmas. We got everything we could have wanted and more! I thank God for all of our awesome family and friends that helped make it such a special time of year. My favorite part of the day was snuggling my babies and reading them the Christmas story. There's nothing sweeter than sharing the story of our Saviour with my kids and praying that someday, they understand and accept Him as their Lord. I hope you all had a VERY, MERRY CHRISTmas!!!

Christmas happenings

This Christmas has been the best one I can remember! Everything worked out so well and we had SO much fun at each event we hosted/went to. It started on Saturday evening. I had planned a party at our house for our familIES and Michael's (Brooke's husband) family. On Saturday morning, I was so tired and stressed out that I was totally regretting planning it. I had no desire to clean the house and get ready for a party.

But we ended up doing our homeless handout and that totally turned around my heart and made me excited to celebrate with our families. It turned out that none of Nick's family could make it, but my mom, sister, Michael, his parents and brother, Whitney and Nick and the kids and I had a GREAT time! We did a white elephant gift exchange that was so much fun! I ended up with the Farmer's Almanac for 2013. Brooke and I fought over an Este Lauder make up case and even though she ended up getting it, she left it at my house! Hahaha! She'll never get it back now :) Nick got some bird seed. I LOVE the randomness of white elephant!

We also played a heated game of spoons! We haven't had the best of luck playing card games with Nick and Michael, but they actually enjoyed this one and got into it. It's such a simple game, but it gets people SO riled up! Love it! Brooke and Michael's mom made it to the final round and duked it out. I can't remember now who won......I think it was Brooke............but it sure was fun to watch!

Then on Sunday, we went to church as a family. I loved it. I love when my whole family is in the House of God together. We kind of relaxed the rest of the day and tried to finish up last minute wrapping and stuff.

On Monday, Christmas Eve, I had to work. No fun. But it was only for 2 hours. Then Hannah and I did some last minute shopping. It didn't feel like Christmas Eve until we got to Nick's parent's house around 6:30pm. We had an untraditional and delicious Mexican Christmas Dinner. We all stuffed ourselves full and then headed downstairs to open presents. All the kids are at such a fun age! I am SO glad Tommy has cousins he can play with that love him to pieces!

We tried SO hard for a picture of all the kids in their PJs, but it wasn't happening :) However, I think it makes a great Christmas card for next year!

Tommy and Tessa got a swing set as their gift from Grandma and Papa! The box is just the hardware and they'll have to get the lumber later, but Tommy kept saying, "Out! NOW!" Tommy also got a football and Mickey Mouse characters to play with. Tessa got some princess characters and a teething necklace! I'm sure they both got a lot of other stuff, but I can't remember at the moment!

They got to open one present from us on Christmas Eve.

We got them The Christmas Story and are going to read it every Christmas! I'm loving starting some new traditions this year!

The kids got to bed around 10:30pm so Santa could come. I had an epic fail as a mom and realized I forgot the whole cookies for Santa thing until Christmas morning. But that's okay! They're too young to remember, right? :) But Santa still came!! More about that tomorrow.............

Thursday, December 27, 2012

5 months

My sweet are getting SO big!!

Tessa, at 5 months, you are:

*around 16 lbs

*25 1/2 inches long

*in a size 3 diaper. Your size 2s were getting too short, but in the size 3, you seem to have a little leakage because they're kind of big. We really need 1/2 sizes!!

*in size 2 shoes. I think you're going to have big feet like your brother

*making the FUNNIEST noises! You just blow raspberries all day and spit all over yourself. You coo and giggle constantly. That's the noises that wake us up every morning. I love it!!

*SO happy. You wake up happy and smiling and you smile over EVERYthing! Especially at your brother.

*can pretty much sit up by yourself. We have to get you in the sitting position, but then you stay up pretty well! You do really good for a few minutes and then it's like you get tired and you just let your body relax and roll :)

*a momma's girl. You love daddy a lot, but you get so excited when you see mommy! You smile and your little legs get to kicking and your arms flap like crazy. I'm not gonna makes me really happy :)

*finally getting your hand/eye coordination together. You have put your paci in your mouth quite a few times and are able to hit your toys on purpose.

*rolling over a lot and we are now unable to leave you unattended on a couch or bed! You can get where you want to be very quickly and it makes me nervous! You CAN roll from your tummy to back, but rarely do unless you're trying to roll across the floor towards something you want.

*playing with anything and everything you can reach. You love anything that makes noise--like the crinkly wipes package, wax paper, stuff like that. You're all about texture and sound right now!

*just so stinkin sweet! I hope your personality stays that way. You're just so laid back and go with the flow!

*eating rice cereal and you LOVE it! Daddy gave it to you for the first time on 12/19/12 when mommy wasn't at home. I was so mad when I found out! But you just gobble that stuff right up!

*drinking 6 oz bottles every 4 hours or so.

*sleeping SO good! I am so blessed that you sleep through the night and am grateful every morning that you sleep so well. God knew I needed you to be a good sleeper! You fall asleep around 9pm and sleep all night until 7am.

*enjoying tummy time much more. You hold your little head up and look around at everything. I'm so glad because you didn't like it for awhile.

*baptized!! On 12/16/12, Pastor Jeff at the Towanda Methodist Church baptized you into the Kingdom of God! I am SO happy we got that done and it went so well. You were happy as could be the whole time!

Tessa Grace, I enjoy every single second of our time together! You are the sweetest little girl and I love holding you and snuggling your and kissing you and making you laugh. I am so happy to see your funny personality coming out more and more and getting to know who I THINK you're going to be! I can't wait to see what the next month holds for you, baby girl!

Homeless Handout

We decided to change up our Christmas traditions this year and I am SO glad we decided to do what we did! We decided to do a homeless handout the Saturday before Christmas. It's something I'd done with the youth group before, but my family wanted to join in this time. We told people we knew about it and ended up having a ton of donated items to hand out. We packed reusable Dillon's bags with a pair of socks, gloves, scarf, hat, water bottle, food and a Christmas card with McDonald's gift cards in each bag. We ended up with 15 bags and had some sweaters and blankets that people had donated.

Saturday morning started out not so great. Satan was trying to ruin our day and I totally let him for awhile. Brooke and I got grumpy with each other and each called my mom, who got grumpy too, so we weren't all that excited to have together time. Plus, I was a little more emotional due to certain monthly things that happen to ladies :) Anywho, I was over it and did NOT want to go, but my mom got everyone back to happy and Brooke and I apologized to each other and our group set out to visit the homeless. It ended up being mom, Brooke and Michael, me and Tommy, Brandon, Whitney and my best friend Hannah and her neice Callie. It was the perfect group of people!

I've found in that past that even though we start out trying to bless them, we end up getting blessed in SUCH a huge way! I was worried not many people would be out because it was cold, but we saw a ton of people. We just went to the library downtown and started asking the homeless if they needed anything. People were so grateful and excited to get the bags that we had. Towards the end, we had people that had heard about our handouts and were trying to find us to get one, but we were out. My brother decided to run to McDonald's to get some more gift cards, so we were standing on a street corner with a huge crowd of homeless people surrounding us, waiting for gift cards. I have to admit, it was intimidating at first, but it turned into a blessing once again.

Michael and I started talking to a guy named Mark. He started speaking to me about something that's been on my heart and mind a lot lately (which I'll blog about later). We had a 20 minute conversation about God and things to come and he said so many things that confirmed things I'd been hearing from God. It was amazing! At one point, he said that he wasn't one to usually talk about religion because he didn't want to offend anyone, but that he felt called to talk to me about all of this.

I realized in that moment, that I am TRULY a part of something SO much bigger!! God had used a homeless man on a day that I had not wanted to be out there and spoken to me through him. How amazing that He thinks enough of me to go through the trouble of arranging that meeting! It's overwhelming when you really think about how much God loves us and how little we deserve His love. I couldn't be happier that we ended up going, even though we seemed to have a lot of things trying to keep us from doing so.

I feel the need to share this because I think a lot of people have negative thoughts about the homeless. I hear a lot that they should go find work, help themselves out, quit begging for food and money...... and I understand where everyone is coming from. But Jesus didn't call us to help only those who try to help themselves. He said that "whatever you do unto the least of these, you do unto Me." It doesn't matter WHY they're homeless or WHY they need help. If you feel God's call on your life, you just do it! Easier said than done, I know and trust me, I'm preaching to myself as well. But I hope people remember this holiday season that God's love isn't partial to certain people and ours shouldn't be either.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

23 months

Only 1 month away until my sweet boy is TWO YEARS OLD!!

Tommy, at 22 months, you are:

*29 lbs--almost to that 30 pound mark, buddy!

*35 1/2 inches. Still pretty tall, but your growing has slowed down a bit

*in a size 5 diaper--although hopefully not for much longer! You are starting to get interested in potty training. We're not pushing it yet because I don't think it's worth it to stress us out and you out, but you've gone potty on the big boy potty 6 or 7 times so far. And each time, you've asked to be put up there, so fingers crossed!

*in a size 8 shoe. You've pretty much outgrown all your size 7 shoes

*NOT as good of a sleeper as you once were. You keep waking up anywhere between 6am and 7am. Not cool. I tried keeping you up later, but that doesn't make you sleep in. We have GOT to get this figured out, because neither one of us is a morning person

*still obsessed with Mickey Mouse. Have I mentioned I am SO over Mickey?!?
*talking up a storm! You love to say cracker and juice. Those are probably the 2 words I hear the most during the day. You've also started saying, "Now!" I don't like that. You say about 40 words overall.

*my favorite thing you do is say, "Otay, mom!" Even when you're getting in trouble, I'll tell you to fix your attitude and you VERY enthusiastically say, "Otay, mom!!" Makes me laugh every time.

*such an angry little guy after naps. I don't know what it is, but you cry every time you wake up from a nap. You're fine in the mornings, so I know it's not just waking up that makes you mad. Just at nap time. I'm clueless how to fix it.

*SO funny on the potty. You ask to be set up there quite a bit, but as mentioned earlier, you have only pottied on it a few times. But each time you sit up there, you strain and strain and if any potty comes out, you jump off the toilet, yell, "YAY, MOM!!" and then get back on to strain some more. Hilarious.

*quite the character in the mornings. You do the same thing every morning. I'll hear your little feet pitter-patter to my room, you push the door open as hard as you can, rub your eyes for a few seconds and then run to the bed to crawl up there with me. And see your sister. And you FLIP OUT. You get SO happy, it's insane!! You hug her and kiss her and say, "Hi sis!! Hi! HI!!" I love to see that.

*when someone is sad, you stop what you're doing and say, "Hug." Sometimes you actually go hug them and sometimes you just say the word.

*getting sneaky. You aren't supposed to say the word hush, so you'll say it, then look at me when I get onto you and then you put your hand over your mouth and whisper it again, thinking I can't hear you. It's so funny, but we have to try not to laugh because you get in trouble for it constantly. You have also been sneaking into the spice drawer. One day, you dumped a bunch out and you smelled like oregano for days.

*in size 24 month and 2T clothes. A lot of the 2T stuff is too big, but if we buy any smaller, it's too short.

*more cuddly lately. You used to hate snuggles and hugs and kisses, but now you give them out all the time and your kisses have become particularly.........special. They last for like, 30 seconds, and whoever you're kissing has to literally wrestle themselves away from you!

*such a weird eater, as most toddlers are, I think. There are days you won't stop eating and days when you eat 1 cracker and you're done. But you love hotdogs (which you call do-dogs) and you always ask for cheese, but never eat it.

*funny! The other day I told you that you needed to go do something and you looked at me and said, "Duh, mom!" I say that to myself a lot when I'm forgetful. I'll say, "Duh, Brady!" and apparently you've picked up on it :)

*emotional! You've just started acting sad when you get in trouble or if your feelings get hurt. It's pretty sad and I feel bad, but it's kind of cute.

*know that Santa says, "Ho! Ho! Ho!!!" You say that when we ask what he says, but I don't think you understand the whole concept just yet. You did good when we went to see him until we actually set you on his lap and then you cried a little. But it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be!

Tommy, you are so fun at this age! Busy, but fun! You always have us laughing, even when you're getting in trouble because you just say some of the funniest stuff and do some of the funniest stuff. I love snuggling you and am so glad you let me because VERY soon you're going to be "too big" to do that. I can't believe you're almost 2 years old and am wondering where the time has gone. I love you so much, buddy!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Fear not

There is nothing in the world that will sober your mind quicker than the loss of life. I want to say I have no words for what has happened in Connecticut today, but I have so many words (many of which are not nice) that are rushing through my mind. I'm trying not to let satan drag me down with the guilt and shame at how I interacted with my child this morning.  Knowing that I took his presence for granted makes me sick to my stomach. So many parents are left grieving and wishing their children were waking them up tomorrow morning at 5am, demanding juice and crackers. I know that's satan's intent in all of this----to make as many people as possible feel as badly as possible.

My heart is broken for those families and parents and children. I am scared for my children. I am sick at the world we live in. I am ready for REAL life in Heaven to begin. I want nothing more than to run home to my babies.

But at the same time, I don't want to live in fear. My God is a God who says fear is not of Him. I'm devastated for these parents and children who may never step out of the fear that will now surround them. I haven't been reading my Bible as much as I should, but there is one chapter that I consistantly go back to in times of adversity. It is such a strong, promise-filled chapter that makes my heart beat in anticipation of my Saviour.

Psalm 91

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.

4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.

8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,

10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;

12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.

16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

Although I should be, I am not to the point where I can be anything but glad that the shooter is probably in hell where I feel he deserves to be.....but for the grace of God, we all should. I can't imagine, and can only hope and pray that I never have to, what those who are involved are feeling right now. I DO have a heart for the shooter's family. To know your child had chosen a path such as that would be a heart-sickening, devastating, gut-wrenching reality.

Dear God, I pray in Your name that you heal and protect those whose lives have been shattered. Please give them the peace and comfort that only You can provide. In YOUR name, I demand Satan to get back in the hell he deserves to live in. I ask that you send your angels to surround this community, to rid them of the fear that fills their hearts. Jesus, You have promised that if we turn to You, we will not fear, we will not stumble and we will not be overcome with the ways of the world. Thank You, Lord, for your protection on our lives. Heal these people, God.


Friday, November 30, 2012

4 months

Well she's already 4 months old. I truly can't believe it. She's SO BIG!!

Tessa, at 4 months, you are:

*15 lbs 11 oz. HOLY SMOKES!! I love those little chubby cheeks! I thought you were a big girl but when I looked at Tommy's 4 month post, he was 2 pounds bigger!

*25 1/2 inches long. All of your pants are getting too short!

*in a size 2 diaper.

*eating 4-6 ounces every 3-4 hours.

*an AWESOME sleeper! You have been consistanly falling asleep around 8:30 or 9pm and sleeping until anywhere between 6:45 to 8am. LOVE it. So thankful every day that you sleep good!

*SO happy! You are always smiling. ALWAYS! Especially right when you wake up.

*talking a lot. You just sit and coo and smile and giggle.

*in some 3 month stuff, but mostly 3-6 month stuff. Your shirts we are getting a little bigger, like 6-9 months because they're usually too short. But it works well with leggings! Mommy is addicted to buying you clothes. LIttle girl stuff is just SO stinkin cute!

*OBSESSED with your toes! You never stop playing with them. Even when you're in an awkward position, you still try to grab them and play with them. The other night while Mommy was decorating for Christmas, you fell asleep holding onto them :)

 *a master at getting your socks off. Truly, it's like some kind of crazy trick you do. I almost don't even bother with socks and shoes. If it wasn't so cold, I wouldn't put them on you! You always, ALWAYS get your socks and shoes off. Drives me nuts because you have some REALLY cute shoes!!

*officially rolling over! Aunt Brooke said you did last month. She didn't actually see it but you were on your back and when she came back in the room, you were on your tummy. Then, just 2 days ago, she saw you. And then Mommy saw you do it at your 4 month check up at your doctor's office. It was so exciting! Big girl!

*holding your head up well. You enjoy tummy time a little more!

*drooling like CUH-RAZY! It's insane. We either have to change you 3-4 times a day or keep a bib on you all the time! I keep waiting for a tooth to poop in, but no sign of one yet!

*just the sweetest thing. You really are. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED having a boy and I'm glad I had a boy first, but having my little girl is so awesome. You are so calm and laid back and sweet. I love your little snuggles!

Tessa Grace, you are an absolute joy. I can say that in 100% honesty! I can't wait to see you grow up and get to know your little personality even more. I couldn't have asked for a better 2nd child!! You completed our family in a way that I didn't even think needed to be done. I love you so, SO much and I can't believe I get to call you mine! Love you, sweet pea!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

22 months

Tommy, at 22 months, you are:

*28 lbs still

*about 35 1/2 inches

*still in a size 5 diaper (for about a year now!)

*in a size 7/8 shoe
*SO ornery. It seems to have gotten particularly crazy in the last two weeks or so. You KNOW what you're doing and you give the most devilish grin before you do it. You've also gotten really good at giving "mean" looks.

*talking a LOT. Like, ALL the time. You find a phrase and just say it over and over and over until we want to cry. You say, "Minni-minni-mouse!!" constantly. You always want to watch it, but you say it even when it's totally irrelevant. You also have been saying, "Dog--digga--dog, dog!!" No clue what it means, but you say it every 5 minutes. But you say a lot of actual words too :)

*sleeping much better. For awhile, you were waking up at like 6:30 in the morning. SO not okay with mommy. It must have been a phase because now you're back to your normal 7:30 or 8am wake-up time.

*a horrible eater. According to your aunt, you eat a TON at lunch and you eat stuff that's really good for you like peaches and noodles and vegetables. You will not TOUCH that stuff at home. I try constantly and you just refuse to eat it. We're working on it, but I'm not real sure how to go about MAKING you eat good stuff!!

*obsessed with choo-choos (which you call doo-doos). You yell choo-choo a lot in public but since it sounds like you're screaming DOO-DOO!!!!!!!!!! we get a lot of weird looks :)

*still liking football, but not quite as obsessed with it as you used to be. You still get excited and yell, "BOOBALL!" whenever you see one, but you don't talk about it constantly.

*entranced by the TV. You would sit and watch all day if I let you. I'm ready for it to be summer if for no reason other than to le you outside! You always pick the outside if you can, but when it's cold, you like being a couch potato.

*so silly! Lately, when I've been asking you for kisses, you just go, "Muuuuwah" and make a kissy face without actually kissing me. Like you just can't be bothered to give kisses. You want to sleep with 3 books--your prayer book, your train book and your animal book. You have just started saying, "Yeah!" when we ask you a question or when we say your name. Also, whenever we tell you to do something, you say, "Otay!" You say both words with such enthusiasm that we laugh almost every time you say it.

*the cutest little thing. Except you're not little anymore :( It's hitting me more and more every day that you're going to be TWO YEARS OLD in just 2 short months. How did that happen?!? Even though you're getting bigger, I see little things about you that will always make you think of you as my baby. Your right ear is still wrinkles and has a mole right on your earlobe (your only other mole is on your tooshy!). And your eyes are still the gorgeous blue color you were born with that everyone said you would lose and you never did.

*so grown up. You want to do everything yourself. You always go get your step stool or a chair if you want to reach something. When you get hurt, you don't want cuddled. You hold your hand out and say, "NO! NO, NO, NO!" You try to put your own shoes on (unsuccessfully). You have just become so independent and I know it's only going to increase.

*in LOVE with Mickey Mouse. I think we're going to do a Mickey themed birthday party. You have to know I love you if I do that. I am so anti-Disney that it kills me to buy Mickey Mouse stuff, but it just makes you so happy that I have to do it!

*still in love with your sister. I thought maybe once the newness of her wore off, you would start ignoring her or be mean to her, but you haven't. You love her so much. You're always patting her or kissing her. You run to get her paci when she cries and wipe her mouth when she spits up. You are the BEST big brother a girl could ask for.

Tommy, I can't believe you're almost TWO! I love you so much, little boy. It's so fun to watch your personality come out and learn a little more about who you're going to be some day. You keep us on our toes. Just when I think I'm going to have to run away from home to stay sane, you do something exceptionally sweet that brings me back to sanity and the realization that you all are more than I could dream of. I love you, Tommy!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Shift work

If you follow me on Facebook, you already know that Nick is FINALLY back on 1st shift! Yesterday was his first day back and it feels like a little slice of Heaven already. This last weekend was SO amazing!

When the kids woke up on Saturday morning, my whole body groaned. And then I remembered......we could actually wake up as a family and have the whole day together. Usually, we wake up as Nick is going to sleep. And then we either have to leave the house and find something to do (which is REALLY hard with 2 kids) or we have to try to be REEEAAAAALLLY quiet at home (which is REALLY hard with 2 kids). Trying to keep them quiet always had me super stressed because I felt like Nick wasn't sleeping well, but at the same time, the kids were just being kids. They don't understand right now WHY it's important to be quiet.

It's so nice to come home from work and have the whole evening together rather than just watching and waiting for 8pm to come around. I dreaded seeing him get off the couch to go get dressed and get his boots on. I felt like dinner was always rushed and play time was rushed and hang out time was super short. Every night after Nick would leave, at some point, Tommy would walk around the house and say, "Daaaaaaad!! Dad!!! Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad!!!!" Kinda sad  :) Then I would have to try to get Tessa to sleep without Tommy waking her up 500 times.

Thank God, my mom came over almost every night. Here's a little shout out to nanas around the world--THANK YOU!! My mom was (and still is) awesome. She's there whenever I need her and gave up a lot of her own personal time to hang out with me and my kiddos so I wouldn't be too lonely. Last week, she stayed the night a few times.

The first time, she was already here and I went to put Tommy to bed. He kept pointing at the corner and I asked him what he was pointing at. He said (without hesitation), "Dosts!" At Halloween, Brooke had ghosts hanging in her tree, so he knows what they are. Creepy. I begged my mom to sleep with me ;) And being the good mom she is, she did!

The second time, she had left my house around 10pm. Tommy ended up getting really sick and Nick was working. His fever got high and I got nervous. I do okay when someone is with me, but I hate being alone with my kids when they're sick. I feel like I can't give my full attention to the sick kiddo if they're both awake and I hate making big judgement calls by myself. I was thinking about taking Tommy to the ER, so I called my mom at 1:30am and asked her to come over. And she did. And she said, "Thank you for calling me." (Told you she was awesome!). While she was on her way over, Tommy puked all over me (disgusting) but seemed to feel SO much better afer that and his fever broke, so she just slept with us again.

But I digress. It's been almost a year to the day that Nick went to third shift. It was right after Thanksgiving last year that he switched shifts. This Thanksgiving is going to be SO much better than the last one! I keep trying to remember what we did last year and then I realize I was in the ER the whole time for my kidney infection and didn't get to see Tommy for more than an hour. Sad day. But this year--I'm NOT pregnant (YAY!!!!), I will NOT have a kidney infection and my hubs will NOT be sleeping all day!!

Thank you God!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012


The room is a mess of loud children, streamers, art projects and birthday cake. The weather is cold and the wind fierce enough to drive everyone inside for the day.

I can see him wandering in the sea of legs and balloons. I'm watching him, every step he takes, but he doesn't know it. He's bound and determined to get to the balloon he wants--the orange one. He's scared and timid to be among so many strangers, but the temptation to have what he wants overcomes the fear of the unknown.

His little blond head is bobbing up and down, in between jeans and winter coats and metal chairs. I can tell his confidence wavers momentarily as he looks up at all those who are bigger than him. But he's on a mission and nothing is going to stop him.

He's so lost in catching the orange one that he gets farther away then he intended. He's only 40 feet away, but to a toddler, it might as well be a million miles. I see him finally reach what he's been chasing after. He bends down to grab the balloon, looking furiously over each shoulder to make sure nobody else was going to dare steal it away from him.

As he realizes that his prized possession is in his hands, he turns with a victorious grin to share his triumph with me. And even though I can still see him, he can't see me. I can see the panic rise up in his eyes--if I could hear his heartbeat, I know it would be racing.

He looks frantically in every direction, searching the crowd to find a familiar face. I see the grin start to crumble and know that in a matter of seconds, there's going to be tears. He starts walking through the crowd, his steps quickening with every movement. He holds the balloon close, a lifeline to something familiar and good. As the tears start sliding down his cheeks, I stand quickly to go to him, catching his attention. My heart breaks for him as I recognize the feeling of being lost, if only for a moment.

His eyes meet mine and everything inside him relaxes and knows that he has found home. My heart quickens at the thought that I am his person. I am the person that makes him feel warm and safe. He runs to close the distance between us and lets me lift him into my arms. I treasure the few seconds that he is still and holding me as tightly as I'm holding him.

It doesn't last long.

After a few moments, he's begging to be let down and ready to explore again.

And the prayer of my heart becomes one that God himself prays for me--that I will always be home to my children. That they will always know I am a constant and steady presence in their life and that even if they venture away from home, I WILL be here waiting for them, my heart beating in anticipation of their arrival.

Jeremiah 24:7-I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


For as long as I live, THIS.................... how I will remember him. As a tiny, little boy...... on a lazy Saturday morning..... dressed in dino PJs.

I love you, sweet boy.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Company picnic

At the beginning of October, Nick had his company picnic. I was SO not excited to go. The weather was pretty bad that morning and I thought we were going to get out of it. But then of course it cleared up right before and turned into the muggiest day of October :)

It ended up being pretty cool (as most things I'm dreading usually do!). It was at Eberly Farms. They have a petting zoo.........
Tommy LOVED the horse. He kept feeding it and wanting to pet it. But he was a little scared too. He's never been so close to an animal so big!

They also had a swing set that he was obsessed with. Swinging is his favorite thing to do!

The pond was a big hit too! He loved throwing rocks into it.

It provided a VERY scenic backdrop for a few of my all-time favorite photos with my FAVORITE little girl!!

The last thing we did before we ate was go on a hay rack ride. It was the last one of the day and I was glad we got on it. I thought Tommy would love it. And he did......for about 5 minutes. And then he wanted to stand up and walk around. He was SUPER mad that we wouldn't let him, so he decided to throw a full blown tantrum consisting of body stiffening and screaming. I thought about telling everyone he had seizures to try to avoid the embarrassment, but once he started screaming, "NOOOOOO!" I figured the whole seizure option was out :) The hay rack ride lasted about 15 minutes, of course. He finally stopped screaming for the last 5 minutes of it. It was a loud, but beautiful ride!

We finished off the day with grilled hamburgers that were pretty tasty and both kids fell asleep on the way home. It turned out to be an almost perfect fall day!