I can't believe it's time to officially say, "Merry Christmas!" But the children's energy level tells me that it is indeed December 24th.
I hope that your Christmas is filled with plenty of help in the kitchen,
plenty of yummy food for your belly,
and plenty of time loving on your family.
I'm going to close up the blog to focus on my family.
Let's try to remember the true reason for this season:
"But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.'" Luke 2:10-11 (NIV)
I can't believe it's time to officially say, "Merry Christmas!" But the children's energy level tells me that it is indeed December 24th.
Rick recently received four tickets to the Dallas Stars hockey game. Because Liam gets bored with watching sports, he volunteered to stay with my mom while the rest of us went to the game.
Garrett was super excited before the game.
And JMan, too.
I think what they were most excited about in the beginning was wearing their mittens.
But after they saw one decent brawl, they were hooked on hockey. Jack spent most of the game here:
We had excellent seats on the fourth row, but being the people watcher that he is, Jack was happiest standing next to the visiting team.
He and the players chatted it up down there. I imagine they talked about the Dow Jones. Or getting good punches. I'm not exactly sure, because I sat in my seat with Garrett, who was freaked out the first time the players ran into the glass in front of him.
As the game was ending with the Stars on top, the Columbus Blue Jackets' trainer handed Jack a broken stick. How cool is that?!
In this shot, he's saying, "No, Dad, this is MY stick. Keep your paws off!"
As soon as Garrett woke up the next morning, he wanted me to take his picture with the stick.
They've since taken turns carrying it around the neighborhood and showing it off. All the boys, old and young alike, drooled over it a bit. I plan to hang in on our gameroom wall, drool and all.
And Liam now plans to attend the next game, because he thinks that he'll be handed a stick, too. Before we attend another hockey game, we'll have to gently explain to the boys that fans don't typically receive a gift with every game.
I'm glad we're not talking in person, because I might cry the ugly cry on you today. You know the one where my face turns beat red and my nose forces me to blow my foghorn. I'd rather you not see me that way.
We're using the What God Wants for Christmas nativity set again this year. In this set is a booklet that parents read to their children for 7 days leading up to Christmas in order to help young children understand the true meaning of December 25. Each day refers to one or two scripture references, and a child can open a numbered box that contains that day's character. For instance, day 1 uses Luke 1:26 to explain Gabriel's role in telling Mary that she would carry and give birth to Jesus. The child opens a box containing Gabriel.
We sat down as a family to go over day two yesterday, which explains Mary's role and uses Luke 1:26-38 as its reference. Rick had my bible open to Luke 1 on his lap, while he was further explaining what he had read to us. Jack was sitting next to him and fighting the wiggles that creep up on him after 2.2 minutes of listening to anyone.
Suddenly, Jack shouted, "THAT'S MY NAME! JACK! SEE?!"
Indeed, it was his name written next to Luke 1:45 in my bible. A verse that spoke to my heart on September 9, 2004.
Luke 1:45 (NIV) "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"
What the Lord had said to me at that time in my life was that Jack was going to be our son. Jack was not yet born, but we knew that his birth mom was pregnant with him. At that time, she had asked us to adopt him, and we were anxiously preparing his nursery for his December/January birth.
But my heart told me that his adoption would not be an easy ride. I believe the Lord was preparing me for what was to come...the roller coaster ride that we would have to take in order to get Jack.
(For those new to my blog, you can read Jack's adoption story using the links at the right of this page. It's a long story and you, too, might cry the ugly cry, but it's a great story that will point you to God's goodness in the form of his sovereignty.)
Because I felt that his adoption was not going to be easy, when I read that verse in 2004, I had to underline it and add his name to it. I knew that I would someday need to be reminded of God's promise to put Jack in my arms. And I knew I would need to be encouraged to believe that this child was to be mine.
Back to 2008, Jack saw his name in my bible. Even though I couldn't see the bible from where I was sitting, I knew exactly what he was seeing. I've seen it numerous times throughout the last four years. Each time I see it, my heart flutters to remember that God truly accomplishes what He sees fit for me.
As my nearly four year old read his name in my bible this weekend, the tears welled up in my eyes. I could not explain to him the meaning behind it, because my voice becomes unpredictable with the ugly cry. Rick doesn't cry the ugly cry, so he was able to explain it to him. And he then told Jack to climb up in my lap for some love.
It was a hug that he and I both needed, as Jack has been especially challenging lately. It was a hug that refreshed my soul.
That moment reminded me the Lord is not going to leave me alone to parent this child that pushes every limit. It reminded me that there was a time in my life when my heart ached for this baby to be mine. And it reminded me that not only did He fulfill His promise in handing me that baby boy, but He will continue to fulfill His promises in this child's life.
Christmas is one week from today!!! Are you ready?
Don't hate me, but I am officially ready!
But I'm a little bummed to think that all of the gifts will be opened by this time next week.
If only the opening could take as long as the planning.
I ran across a fun family Christmas project last year, which we never got around to. Because I'm trying to be more intentional about our family time these days, I presented the idea to the family a couple of weeks ago.
The idea is to create ornaments for your family's faces. The idea came from Family Fun magazine. (I thought about claiming the idea for my own ingenuity, but I knew you would see right through it.)
In birth order, here is our family hanging upon the tree:
Moi. If only my lips were that luscious in real life.
Liam. The child thoroughly enjoyed this art project.
Here's Garrett. Remembering that he and Jack are only 26 days apart, you might be impressed to see two eyes, two ears, one mouth, and one nose on G.
As a sidenote, yesterday's photo was taken in Las Colinas, near Dallas.
But that photo was definitely not taken yesterday, as it was only in the 40s for a high on Wednesday. To all of you northerners, I realize that a high in the 40s is rather balmy, but for Texas, it is quite chilly.
Because it was cold and there was nothing on the calendar, we decided to make it a PJ Day! (Now, go back and read that sentence with a "Woohoo!" inserted with "PJ Day!")
We heart PJ Days and have one every week. In fact, what I love most about my job title as homeschooling mom is that one PJ Day per week is an absolute requirement.
It is written in fine print as item number 847 in my job description. Are you impressed that I read the fine print? Oh, yes ma'am, I do, especially if it's telling me to put physical comfort as a priority.
I do have a photo of the boys in their pj's at the beginning of our school day:
Now, don't they look comfy?
You might be wondering if we have school on the floor, leaning against the wall for the duration of every school day. Of course we do. Don't you?
Are you kidding me? These boys will not sit by a wall for more than two minutes! Instead, we begin by the calendar and then move to the table. Truth be told, we move around a lot in our school.
Are you also wondering if I will show a photo of myself on PJ Day? Um, no, thank you. And to tell you the truth, I do not wear my pj's on PJ Day. I just cannot stay in them all day. I feel like a slug if I do, so I trade my pj's for yoga pants and a long sleeve T. (No, I do not do yoga, but I do love me some yoga pants. Nothing says comfort like they do.)
My boys typically love PJ Day, but they were disappointed that we had to stay home today, so I quickly added hot chocolate to our to-do list this morning. And all was well.
This post has quickly turned into rambling. I am sorry.
Item number 49 on my job description also says to keep everything short and sweet, so without further ado, have a good day, y'all!
I received these 3 letters as part of a gift a few years ago. I often keep them out beyond Christmas, because who couldn't use a little more joy year-round?
Plus, they remind me of how my life should be ordered: Jesus, Others, then Yourself (myself).
Some little hands rearranged the letters the other day, and this is probably a more accurate picture of my life:
At Awanas last night, the Christmas "store" was open for the kids to spend their "shares", which is money they earn each week for accomplishing various tasks. Before dropping Liam off, I asked if he would be spending any of his money on his brothers. "No, I want to spend it all on me."
Mkay, apparently we have not made any progress in the sharing department.
When I went to pick him up, he was so proud to show me what he spent his money on. And he was so excited that his purchase was the first thing he asked for this morning.
Because this purchase is of such importance to him, I thought I should take a picture of this momentous shopping spree.
In case you can't figure it out, he bought Louisiana hot sauce in jalapeno flavor and a bag of 50 marbles.
Because nothing says "Merry Christmas" like jalapeno sauce and marbles.
Or something like that.
As I took those photos, I asked him, "Who helped you read the label to know that was jalapeno sauce?"
He said, "Some old lady. I asked her what it was 'cuz I didn't want to buy green soup. I don't like green soup, but I like jalapeno sauce."
Green soup definitely doesn't say "Merry Christmas".
He also informed me this morning that he won't be sleeping anymore before Christmas.
The excitement is clearly building around here.
After reading a story about a cooking contest, Liam said, "Mommy, you should enter a cooking contest."
"I'm not a very good cook, Bubba."
"You can cook good spaghetti!"
I'm glad I only have to boil pasta and warm a jar of sauce to impress this kid.
Liam wants the world to know that he finished this book before Thanksgiving.
World, Liam finished this book last week:
He's so proud of himself, and so am I. I can't wait until he can read anything he picks up.
Well, maybe I can, because then I after worry about what he's picking up. Ahem.
I'm happy to be back in the saddle of blogging again. I can't exactly say that I have come out of writer's block unscathed, but at least I have some photos to share. I'm hoping that posting those photos will get the writing wheels of my mind rolling again.
Two nights before Thanksgiving, Rick was expected to come home late, which I used as an excuse to skip cooking dinner. The kids don't care how long I slave in the kitchen, so why bother?
Around 5:30pm, I asked Jack ( age 3 11/12), "What do you want for dinner?" He responded with, "Hmm, wet me see. I'w be wight back."
A moment later, I could hear some scrounging around in the refrigerator. I thought I better check on him, and this is what I found on the counter:
From left to right: a bowl of leftover mashed potatoes with 2 clementines, a bag of sliced bell peppers, bread, a lemon, an apple, feta cheese, shredded colby/monterrey jack cheese, and sour cream.
"J-Man, whatchya doin'?"
"I'm getting dinner weady."
"Well, that looks delicious, but I was thinking of grabbing some burgers."
"OKAY!" [insert scampering of three boys' feet to see who could get shoes on first]
"Don't worry, Jack. I'll just put this food back in the fridge by myself. No, really, I got it. No problem."
I feel certain that the energy I put forth on cleaning up that mess negated the burger, fries and cherry limeade I devoured that night. I also feel certain that Sonic meal had nothing to do with the 4 extra pounds on my scale this week.
Hope you're having a good week and remaining sane with the holiday rush. I hope to be back in another day or so.
a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work.
I hope it's only temporary.
Thank goodness I don't write for a living.
We'd be hungry.
I hope this "condition" ends sometime before the new year.
Garrett knows how to woo me. At bedtime, he puts both arms around my neck and says, "You can sweep wif me if you want to. Bucuz I wuv you."
Although I love him, I decline, because I also love a good night's sleep.
But he has also been charming me during the day with, "I wuv you bucuz you're cute."
He said it at the lunch table yesterday, and Jack had to add his two cents. "Mommy, I wuv your husband," he said.
They have had their parental preferences since day one, and I guess it will never change.
It seems like I can't fit everything into my life these days. As soon as I get a good quiet time routine going, the exercise regiment falls off the wayside. Once I get a good handle on my to-do list, my blog suffers. My life without exercise and blogging leaves me feeling rather chubby and boring.
I've been thinking lately that I would try to fit exercise in whenever I can, which might even mean that we drop everything after lunch and head outdoors. Which is exactly what we did today.
After lunch, I told the boys to exchange their long pants for shorts so that we could head to the tennis court. They asked if they should also change into short-sleeved shirts, but I said, "No, it's still a little cool, so long sleeves and shorts will be perfect. You'll be cute and comfortable."
They looked at each other with doubt. I reassured them that I knew what I was talking about. I have been dressing myself for a few years, after all.
A few minutes later, they strolled downstairs in the appropriate attire and with smiles on their faces. I asked, "So you like this way of dressing?" To which they agreed. These days of telling them how to dress are short-lived, I realize.
Before playing, I asked for a pose, of course. I'm a blogging mom. What can I say?
Jack looks unhappy, but he was actually having a good time, too.
Anyway, we took tennis balls to the court. We don't have rackets yet, so what the boys enjoy doing is throwing their balls at me. They "score" every time I miss a ball. My competitive spirit won't let that happen too much, so I get my exercise in by chasing and returning three tennis balls over and over again.
I multi-tasked, you see. We all enjoyed the outdoors. We all exercised. And I got photos for a blog post. I'm one happy mama this afternoon.
Here's a shot of them ganging up on me:
They only scored 1 point for this round.
20 minutes of that game constitutes proper exercise time, right? Good. I'm glad you agree.
We headed to the playground for a few minutes.
Jack insisted that I take this shot:
He's quite the ham today.
And Liam needed to see himself on the camera while hanging from the monkey bars. He just doesn't understand why this vertically-challenged mama can't help him across these monkey bars.
Garrett likes to pull his glasses down and look at me over the top of his glasses.
Gosh, he looks so big! They are all growing by leaps and bounds physically and mentally these days, it seems. Part of me is sad to see them grow up, but I know that it's part of life. I just need to love them to pieces today.
Well, now that I can mark exercise and blogging off my list, I should go hug them one more time. And then hit the to-do list. Catch ya later.
My boys have dubbed this construction worker as "Big Daddy", the same name they call my dad.
(Please pardon the blurry photo. Roll with me here.)
Does my dad resemble that man? No.
My dad's hands are not two times the size of his head.
Although my dad is a handyman, he is not a construction worker, nor have I ever seen him wear a hard hat.
My dad does not drive a dump truck.
This is the real Big Daddy.
All 130 pounds of him.
He's not a big daddy. But he's the Big Daddy.
Perhaps in my boys' eyes, he's as strong as that construction man.
I exercised my American liberty and voted early. If you haven't already done so, make sure you hit the polls today.
I cannot wait until this election is over! The campaigning seems to have run every single day for the last four years. Enough already!
This is how the boys and I plan to spend this election day:
Not listening to the news.
Not looking for elections results online.
We even told Daddy to skip giving us the moment-by-moment results.
Wake us up when it's over.
Over and out.
We actually spent Halloween night camping, and I'll post pictures from that fun time later this week. On October 29th, we attended our church's fall festival, which is called the Countryside Fair. It is the typical church festival with various games and treats.
I had my mom make last year's wise men costumes a little big in hopes that they would be able to wear them again this year. I'm glad the costumes still fit this year, because the thought of dreaming up a new idea for this year might have put me over the edge.
What do the boys want? New costumes and a mommy in the asylum, or the old costumes and a mommy to take care of them on October 30th? I asked them, and they answered correctly.
I'm totally kidding. I didn't ask them, because I'm afraid which answer they might have chosen.
And besides, my boys really don't care what they wear. They just want to play and eat candy.
Of course, I really wanted a quality photo shoot before leaving the house.
Of course, they did not.
This is as good as it got:
I wish I had let them wear shorts so their jeans weren't showing. Since summer has reared its ugly head once again, they would have been warm enough.
After the evening, I asked each boy what their favorite part of the evening was.
Garrett named the train ride, and you can see his pure excitement here:
Jack also loved the train ride. But he especially enjoyed the third train ride in which he was surrounded by passengers of the female gender.
He didn't say those exact words. Actually, what he said was, "I weawwy wiked the twain wide wif da giwls." He's such a ladies' man.
Liam's favorite part was playing with his cousins. Here are the fabulous five:
They are a hoot.
Immediately after this shot, tears commenced, as it was time to say goodbye to the fair and the cousins.
But we bribed them to the car with the promise of a piece of candy. We're great parents. We only use the tool of bribery when absolutely necessary.
After putting them to bed, Rick and I dug through the loot and chose a few of our favorite treats. I'm not sure why so little candy is left now.
The boys struck up a conversation about baby Hudson one morning that I must share.
Garrett: I remember seeing Hudson in his bed at his house.
Me: You do? I don't think we've been to his house since he's been born. We've only seen him at our house.
G: He was still in Kristin's belly. Did she push him out?
Me: [Mentally: Where is this going?] Yes.
Me [Mentally: Oh no! I'm not ready for this! Stay calm!] I don't know how. I've never done it before.
Liam: Did it hurt?
Me: [Mentally: I'm so glad I don't have to lie on this topic!] I don't know. Ask Kristin. [Mentally: Will this conversation stop here?]
Silence while the boys resume eating and I breathe a sigh of relief.
I haven't decided which of these two events will be the death of me first:
- 2008 Presidential Elections and all of its campaigning
- Chutes and Ladders (Yes, the bored, I mean, board game.)
We were greeted with one of our favorite gifts this morning...cool weather! It was downright chilly at 47 degrees this morning.
There's no greater way to get me out of bed in the morning than to know I can open the back door and be greeted with the rush of cold air.
Well, if Rick woke me up and whispered that he's taking me to Europe that very day, then I suppose I would hop out of bed for that event as well. But that didn't happen today.
At any rate, I hopped out of bed to experience the weather change firsthand with the opening of the back door. Pure bliss!
When I walked upstairs to get the boys up for the day, I whispered, "Boys! It's cold outside! Let's go open the back door." They sprang out of bed and ran downstairs. They love cooler weather as much as I do.
When it was time to dress for the day, they were thrilled to choose long sleeves and pants and insisted the I take a picture. I let them twist my arm.
Garrett chose a Beatles t-shirt, naturally. Liam wanted camo and an army shirt, of course. Jack chose a shirt merely because it has a pocket on the front. It's the little things that thrill these boys.
A silly photo was snapped, as well. Naturally.
Liam's love for paper grows by leaps and bounds by the day. He's loved drawing and coloring for quite some time now. But he's recently been trying to write sentences almost daily.
He brought me a piece of paper last week that said:
I must have graduated from kindergarten with flying colors, because I was able to read that without Liam's help. Translation:
I love you Didi [my mom] because I play with you.
He came back with:
Wsuo roo ike pin
[He's referring to a poster project that he began with her a couple weeks ago.]
My question was met with silence. He was equally confused by his own writing.
Perhaps I need your help. What could it be?
We were able to have baby Hudson overnight recently. The night before he came over, I told the boys that I needed them to get a good night's rest in order to be my big helpers.
All three boys cheered.
And Jack asked, "Mommy, is Hudson's head still expensive?"
After a good laugh, I said, "You mean 'sensitive'? Yes, his head is still sensitive."
The Aggie received his latest edition of Aggieland Illustrated last week. And he just can't put it down.
Notice that he is using a bean bag correctly in these photos.
But that was last week.
Today...the bean bags have all found a new home in the attic. Bury the brother under the bean bags went a little too far this morning.
I hope to bring the bean bags out again. Maybe when the boys are 13.