Merry Christmas!

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)

Hooked on Hockey

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.

A Good Reason for the Ugly Cry

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.

Friday Funny

Have you seen "The Don't Song" on YouTube? If you haven't, it's a must-see! Take 4 minutes to laugh your head off!


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.

Our Beautiful Mugs

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:

Rick. He has a little more hair on the sides of his head in real life.

Moi. If only my lips were that luscious in real life.

Liam. The child thoroughly enjoyed this art project.

Jack. This would be a good time to tell you that I hope to repeat this exercise every year to see how the boys' self expression changes.
That Jack is not gifted in the artistic department as of yet.

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.

And we could not forget our dog. Winston has the face that only a mother could love.
Since I'm not claiming this idea as my own, you can go here for the directions.

Proper Attire Required

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:

Yourself (myself), Others, and then Jesus.

I'm just being real. It's ugly, but I often put myself before others and Jesus.

I'm working on it.

Liam's Shopping Spree

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.

Friday Funny

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.

A Proud Boy

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.

Jack's Idea of Dinner

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.