Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Party time for Elijah

Elijah finally got his "Cars" birthday party. This Sunday, we asked our close friends to join us and celebrate Elijah's fourth birthday. He was so excited! Like every four year old, he constantly asked when we were having his party.

Pleased with his cake

I was pretty excited, this was my first foray into cake decorating!

We played "where's the car?"

Waiting to come downstairs and find the hidden cars

"Where's the pizza?"

Decorating "Car Sun Catchers"

Complete with "Mater Hats",  the crew sings to Elijah

Elijah greatly enjoyed his birthday party. We appreciate the friends that chose to share this special day with him!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Elijah is 4!!!

Elijah turned four on Wednesday.  As with all the kids, the years are flying by. Elijah is such a special little boy. We are blessed that he is a part of our family. We love you buddy!

Big brother, Daniel, made Elijah's day by taking him to Marbles. Daniel texted me, "This place is nuts!!". They were there a day when school kids were out, so I'm sure it was wild and crazy. Then if that wasn't special enough, Daniel treated Elijah to Krispy Kreme after their play outing! What an extraordinary big brother he is!!

We had a little family party that night, and tomorrow he is having his friends over for another party.

Practicing for tomorrow
Any good party, no matter the size includes presents!

He's already learned to love Link Belt Cranes
Anna scored with some cars themed toys and book.
 Spiderman dreams about looking this cute!
For his special dinner, he chose...:"Old McDonald"

Chicken nuggets, something he'll actually eat!

Crazy crew, with their ring leader on the left!

Tomorrow is party day for our Elijah!  He's so excited and has been talking about it non-stop. All about that mini-shindig in the next post.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Birthday celebrations

Yep, the calendar has rolled around again to remind me that I am old! My birthday was on Monday. It was a big birthday, as they say. So big, in fact, that I forbid my family and close friends to breathe a word of it to the outside world. I didn't want any parties or other types of fanfare. We had two small celebrations. The first had to take place on the Saturday, because John had to go out of town on my actual birthday.

Saturday night we went out to eat Chinese and then came home and had cake and ice cream.

Responding to an "old" comment by my beloved

It was a nice time to have everyone together. Anna and Jamie even got to come and join us!

My actual birthday day joy was overshadowed by John having to go out of town. He tried to get out of it, but the "powers that be" at work wouldn't allow him to stay home.

The morning brought a special treat. Jody came and took us to Krispy Kreme. Kristi and her kids joined us. It could have been called the "Krispy Kreme invasion" Our kids sort of, well...not sort of, but actually took over the place. I'm sure the doughnut folks didn't quite know what hit them. But it was quite fun for us!

Later that day Mom and Dad came to visit and celebrate. Mom spent the day imparting her cake decorating wisdom. I'm decorating Elijah a Lightning McQueen cake for his party on Sunday. My Mom was quite giddy that I was doing one of her handicrafts. She's always tried to teach me some on her many, many talents, but I always brushed her off. I'd much rather read a book than knit, crochet or whatever other handicraft she was into at the time. But, I have wanted to learn how to decorate cakes!

 Then we grilled out and again had yet another cake.

It was a nice uneventful day. I enjoyed visiting with Mom and Dad. It helped take my mind off of John being gone.

Anna stopped in the see my Mom and Dad, so she says, I think she just wanted more birthday cake!
My big kids called me. I can tell my kids know what my love language is. Beth wrote me a sweet note and Daniel posted a post on Facebook that made me cry (tears of joy).  Anna told me some very sweet words about our relationship, as well as offering another free babysitting event. (Woo-hoo!) John, Jr. told me my card was in the mail. (I'm sure it will be hand written and heart felt) They all made me feel very loved.
Daniel's post:
I just wanna say happy birthday to the best mom ever. You are loving, generous, honest, and always there for me. I thank God everyday for blessing me with such a wonderful mother. You are the best, and I am going to miss you so much next year.
“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” -W. Irving
Happy Birthday and I love you!

I'm not quite sure why this birthday bothers me a little.  I really think that the whole falling accident thingy has been a bit sobering to me. I hate losing some of my independence, and  I know that further down the road,
( much further, I hope), it will not just be temporarily lost, but gone for the rest of my life.  I certainly don't feel old and don't think I look that old. I appreciate my friends and family doing what I asked and not making a big hullabaloo about my birthday. I've got a great bunch of kiddos. They made me feel loved and that is a great feeling at any age! I'm one blessed Mama!!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Valentines Day

This Valentines Day,  I was still trying to figure out how to deal with the changes my broken knee would bring to my life. On the first few days, I was so exhausted. I felt like my whole body had been doing manual labor for days. My emotional state wasn't much perkier than my physical one. I was trying to claim a joyful attitude, but I don't think it was working very well

In the morning, I woke up to a hand-written love note from my dear husband. When he came home that evening, he didn't come empty handed. Such a good guy, I think I'll keep him!!

So pretty!

On Saturday we had our annual Valentines Day scavenger hunt.

Out from their sequestered room, they rush down the stairs .

Reading a clue
On to the next one

They had to google the saying in one of the clues.
I tried to make some clues difficult in order to keep the big ones on their toes.


I was so glad that it worked out that Anna and Jamie could join us. I love having them live close by!

The little traditions we have that are unique to our family make me smile! And with my situation this Valentines Day, I really needed a smile.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Choosing Joy

Isn't it amazing how God manages to often have us in the place he wants us to be; in order to hear what we are going to need?

This past Sunday, our sermon was about choosing the gift of ,"joy", even when circumstances don't seem very joyful.

Early Friday evening, I was doing my usual weekly cleaning. As part of that cleaning, I was going to vacuum my hardwood stairs. Abbey was shadowing me, as we had just finished baking cookies together. I asked her to unplug the vacuum when I got to the bottom of the stairs. I turned, somehow missed the next step down, hit the one below that one and began a quick descent down the stairs. I remember trying to catch myself on the opposite wall, and thinking, "It's no use, I'm going to fall down all 12 of these stairs!" I landed at the bottom in a heap. I quickly covered my head as the vacuum came crashing down after me-still running. I began to yell for Abbey to get John, as he was in the bonus room working. He had heard the banging and was already on his way down to me. My first thought was, "Whew! I hurt like crazy, so I didn't break my neck." I laid there for a few minutes before I felt like I could get up. As I took inventory, I counted several places that hurt, but my knee was quickly swelling up to about 3 times its usual size. By late evening, I was having trouble walking on my leg. John called around, trying to find me some crutches.

With little sleep Friday evening, Saturday morning I hobbled to watch Daniel swim at State Championships. I really wasn't very comfortable all day. I had a big bruise on my hip, back, shoulder and thigh. I couldn't walk down my stairs without feeling like my knee was going to give, and each time it buckled, the pain was tremendous. So, I'd sit on my bottom with my legs out in front and scoot down the stairs. Not a pretty sight, I'm sure!

Sunday brought a little improvement, I was hoping I was going to come out of this little accident without any major damage. When I woke up today, I really felt a lot better. The only thing I couldn't do was bend my knee. I really was considering not going to the Dr. I asked John's opinion and he said I should go and just get it checked out.

So, with my good friend, Julia, driving me, because I didn't feel like I could be 100% safe driving with my bad leg, I went to the orthopedic Dr. Routine x rays discovered that I had fractured my patella, or knee cap! I'm now suited up in this super strong leg brace to keep my leg straight for 4 weeks. (The Dr. said 4-6, but I'm pretending I didn't hear the "to six"). I have to go back in two weeks to make sure it is healing and not separated more, because then we'd be looking at surgery. You can bet your bottom dollar, I'll faithfully wear this contraption!

So, here I am. I can do most anything, except for drive. I've tried to get into the car, but it is my right leg that is injured. I can't even get in behind the wheel, without bending my leg! Anyone who knows me, knows I detest asking for help. I'd rather die trying, than ask for help. Not a great way to be, I know. (maybe God's working on that?) My first thought is to cry, and fuss, and say "Why me?"

But, tonight, the Lord brought that sermon to mind. I must choose joy. So, I'm trying to do so. I'm trying to think "joyful" thoughts.
1.Four weeks isn't that long.
2. I do have 2 kids close by who can drive. In fact, Daniel is quite relishing the fact that I have to ride with him! He thinks that means I can't complain about his driving, (He thinks inaccurately)
 3.I'm blessed that I didn't get hurt a lot worse. It was a heck of a fall!

So, I'm not perfect and this little exercise in joy claiming is just beginning.  I'm sure there will be days in the next month where I'll not think to look for something to be joyful about, but I'm going to try.
 "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials" James 1:2

Friday, February 10, 2012


After visiting her friend, Lily, who is taking violin lessons, Abbey decided that she would play her "violin"!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's all His

Yep, it happened to us this weekend. The thing that makes your skin crawl, to think of a stranger with ill intent rummaging through your stuff.  The thing that makes you every so vigilant about locking doors and checking them twice. The thing that brings about uncomfortable conversations with your young kids about the fact that not everyone in the world is nice, as you try to paint a view that is accurate, but not one that instills intense fear in their little hearts. That thing is being a victim of a robbery!

Sunday morning as I got into my car, I vaguely noticed Elijah and Abbey yelling  about something. I mean they often yell, and most often, it's about something inconsequential. As I was yelling back for them to just get into their seats, so we could get to church on time, I noticed the envelope where I kept my tithe money was on the seat, and it was empty! Immediately, I knew that they were yelling because their brand new, Christmas present, DVD players, were gone from the car.  I knew that someone had gotten into our car and taken their DVD players and my tithe money. I began to look around and noticed the mess. They had taken everything out of the center pocket, taken the money and left the rest on the floor.  They had even taken some of my mints that I keep in the car. Abbey yelled, "They took my Little Mermaid towel!" What??? But they hadn't taken the towel, they had just gone through her backpack and thrown everything on the floor. Her towel was on the floor, safe and sound. I wondered what in the world they expected to find in a pink, little girl's butterfly covered backpack? Who knows?

We called the police on the way to church.  To say that John and I were angry is to put it mildly. How dare someone take what we had bought with our own money? It was ours, and they had no right! Going into church, I knew that they sermon was going to be on one of the "Fruits of the Spirit". I thought, yeah, probably on love, being that that is the first of the list. I sarcastically thought, "Now they are going to tell me that I've got to love the folks who steal little kids' toys?" To say I didn't have a great spiritual attitude, is to put it mildly.The music began and I begin to silently have a dialogue with God.

Me: I can't believe that they took my kids' DVD players. I was so looking forward to peaceful car rides, where we don't have to answer, "Are we there yet?", or "How much longer?" fifty million times.
God: Do they really need them?
Me: No, of course they don't. But, Lord they took your money. It was plainly marked, "Tithe". They took it, and it belonged to you. What kind of low-life would steal from God? Doesn't that make you mad? They stole from you. It was yours!
God: Everything is mine. Everything you have, everything you see, it's all mine. I choose to share with you, because I love you. I love them too!
Me: Hmm, well ok. Since you put it like that...

As I've chewed on God's message to me over the past couple of days, I can honestly say that my eyes have been opened a little bit. If it's all His and on loan to me, then I have an obligation to use it wisely, in a way that will bring Him glory. If I don't, I'm just as guilty of stealing from God as the folks that took my tithe.

For instance, the most valuable things in my life, my husband and children. I have been given the trust to make sure they have every opportunity to know and live for God. I need to make sure that my words and actions point them to God.  Do I reflect the heart of my Lord regarding his love for all people? Do I encourage His highest will for my family, even if it means they aren't with me, or are in dangerous situations?

What about my material possessions? Do I use the resources that God has entrusted me with to show His love, or do I hold back in fear that some of my needs might not be met? 

What about my time? Do I fret over not having time for myself, and look for ways to achieve it? Do I take the time to pray and study His word, or do I rush through so I can get on with my list of chores?

I could go on and on. Sometimes I feel that, yes, I can say that I'm using God's resources wisely. Then other times, I know He's shaking His head, saying, "Come on girl, you can do better than that!" But, you know what? He still keeps right on giving! Praise be to God! Whether I use it properly or not, He keeps right on giving, right on loving me.

So the thief in me has been shown her error by a theft. Just another example of God taking something bad, and working it for His (and my) good!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

From the mountain top to the valley...

Daniel is an avid swimmer.  During the school year he spends more time in the pool and lifting weights than someone who works a 20 hour part time job. He is totally devoted to the sport and desires to continue swimming in college. Participation in the sport has taught him many valuable life and spiritual lessons. His favorite verse, Phillipians 4:13, became his favorite verse during his first Championship meet when he was 10 years old. Today he learned another thing about life. Things don't always go the way you want them to, and during the down times, you just have to trust in the Lord and just keep on plugging.

Last week he was on cloud nine. He swam at High School Conference Championship Meet and finished 2nd in 200 IM and 100 Breast. His time in Breast, which is his specialized stroke, was a great time of 58.71. This broke the school record he had set earlier in the season.  He was particularly glad that a certain "friend" had not beaten him, because this "friend" has been bragging about how he was going to beat Daniel. The "friend" got 3rd. All was bright and rosey.

It was the last meet for Seniors, so Daniel and all of the other seniors were recognized before the meet.

With his "Senior Flower", which he gave to me.
Before this meet, Daniel had not had to go to school for several days because he was exempt from exams. He had plenty of time to rest.

Then he began the new semester. He has a grueling schedule this semester and has spent many hours doing homework. His year round swim team has also increased his weight training from 2 days per week to 3. So going into the regionals championship today, he was less than refreshed, and that translated in his swims.

When the waves settled and the hands touched the timing pads, Daniel had placed 3rd. Third behind, as you might guess, the not-so-good friend. His look on the podium spoke volumes.

He was not a happy camper. On the positive side, he did qualify to swim both events at State Champs next week. The top 8 finishers in regionals go to states. He has another shot at it. But, it still stings.

What a great lesson to learn! When things don't go the way you want, you have to look for ways to change in order to achieve your goals and keep on plugging. What next week holds, only the Lord knows, but I know that Daniel will do everything in his power to have a different outcome next week!

Win, lose or draw, I'm proud of my boy. He will learn from this little set back and be a better person because of it.