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.