May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hodge Podge

I really failed at December.

We have been sick here a lot lately.

I loathe cleaning the microwave.

I mailed out most of our Christmas cards today. I sent only the picture card. I am really disappointed in myself. I even had a start on a letter. I am such a dork! Maybe I will post it on here sometime.

Ashley was in the hospital for chest pains. He has pneumonia and has to go back for a really comprehensive stress test on the 29th. I am trying not to feel like my cooking caused this. I would rather blame all the pop he drinks and the corndogs he eats at work.

I am not feeling Christmasish. Not sure what the deal is.

My house has not felt really clean or under control since before Thanksgiving.

I have been having trouble sleeping lately which is so not like me. Usually once I get to go to sleep, I sleep until a child or an alarm wake me.

I don't like to wrap presents. Jonathan helped me with some so that made it more fun. How that child loves tape!

I made eight batches of fudge for Ashley for work. Sadly I consumed way too much in my little tastes here and there. Perhaps that explains the stomach ache! Jonathan wondered why I was "wasting" all the fudge and giving it away.

Eli sat up today. Not for long but he did it. I think babies look so cute sitting up.

Jonathan actually said today as I was getting Elijah ready for bed, "but I didnt get to talk to him much today." Jonathan was sick today so pretty much out. He has made such a huge HUGE change in his attitude and actions towards Elijah. I am so so so so thankful. A miracle in my mind!!

One of Jonathan's presents and a couple of Ashley's will not be here before we leave for Kansas. I did not do well with gifts this year. Elijah only has one and it is a CD. That was mainly a conscious decision. He needs nothing and will not realize he is not getting any thing. But there are a lot of things that would be fun to give him!

Our dog ate one of Ashley presents. Literally. I was so mad! I made a calendar for him on shutterfly. That is just as creative as I get. I was pretty excited about it and thought Ashley would enjoy having pictures of the boys at work. We got home the other evening and I noticed a part of a shutterfly box in the carport. I got a sinking feeling right away. Ashley found the calendar out in the yard. Of course it was also raining. So now he has seen the calendar, splattered with mud and rain and with one corner totally chewed off and several other teeth marks. I cleaned it up best I could and wrapped it anyway! All of the pictures are still good.

I miss my Grandma. Christmas time holds many wonderful memories of her.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

14

Things about Elijah:

1. He pulls my hair. A lot!
2. I love when he lays his head on my shoulder. I am hoping he will be a snuggler.
3. He has a fascination with ceiling fans and overhead lights.
4. He is quite ticklish. Ashley found a new spot today and he just laughed and laughed. He will often giggle when I am changing his clothes.
5. The changing table is a happy place for him. He babbles away and smiles and laughes.
6. Rolling down the windows in the car is a go to move he likes. If paci, music or talking is not working, we try the windows.
7. He likes to be outside. He gets quiet and just looks around.
8. He likes his bouncy seat. For this I am very thankful. This helps soooo much with getting dishes done or a shower taken. Some sort of chewable object must be provided for the bouncy seat to last long.
9. He likes music. If he is teetering on the edge and I start singing, he will quiet down. Bless his heart!! The other morning I was singing Arky Arky and Alice the Camel for him as I got ready. I am horrible at recalling songs.
10. He has been rolling over for awhile now but it still seems to surprise him each time.
11. I love when he touches my face.
12. I have no idea what color his hair is or will be.
13. God has shown me love through this precious child so sweetly.
14. He is deeply, deeply loved.

Friday, December 10, 2010

15

Things about Jonathan:
1. He likes a reaction. He gets this from his daddy!
2. He often will pick the lint or whatever it is from between his toes. This often happens when he is supposed to be getting ready for bed. For some reason I find it endearing.
3. He did most of the decorating of our tree. While it will not win any Martha Stewart awards, it is quite pretty. He had the fun idea of using the cotton he picked this fall to put on the tree to look like snow. It really looks quite neat!
4. He places no pride in fashion.
5. He will do or do without most anything for ice cream. He is not picky on flavor. He more goes for quanity!
6. He has a little trouble with his "R" sound. When he says "more" you can tell and I noticed it today when I heared him say "sir." I wonder if this is something he will outgrow.
7. For him to feel truly listened to, you must look at him. Ashley is the same way. Most stories involve some sort of visual reenactment or drawing.
8. He is not a morning person. Not at all!
9. He has a friend at school named Samuel. I ate lunch with them today and it was so great to see them laughing and playing and Jonathan being so real and relaxed. I think I heard Samuel call him Johnny.
10. He loves to tie knots. We found some string on the sidewalk today and it totally turned around an ulgy attitude (if I were making a gratitude list, that rope would make the list!). He found all kinds of things to do with the rope, including tug of war with me. He is not so great at getting the knots out. I have spent quite a bit of time doing this!!
11. He is totally learning to interact with his little brother. Today he said "I got him" when Elijah started to squak a bit when he woke up from a nap. He likes to make him laugh.
12. He can make scrabbled eggs and brown hamburger. I am there supervising and helping but he truly does most of it.
13. He does this thing with his tongue when he is excited but a little nervous or shy.
14. He LOVES to wrestle with Daddy. He will give up books at night to get to do this.
15. He is deeply, deeply loved.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Just a picture


Too sweet not to share.
No list tonight. Not even sure what day I should be on. Hope to get better.
My heart has been heavy and my mind exhausted.
Great is His faithfulness. His mercies are new every morning. Clinging to this.
Thank you Lord for loving me.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

22

Things I did do today:
1. Laundry
2. Unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher.
3. Washed sheets and actually got them back on the bed before last minute at bed time.
4. Changed three dirty diapers very happily. Elijah has been a little constipated so I was quite happy for him. Even in the middle of the night!
5. Sustained life (thought this sounded a little more exciting than nursed a baby!!)
6. Read to Jonathan
7. Watched Jonathan WILLINGLY, totally of his own iniciative entertain Elijah!!!!!!!!! This was a monumental, store in my heart moment. it acutally happened several times. Eli started fussing and Jonathan went to him and growled at him and jumped around. He can make Elijah laugh more than either Ashley or I. I was so proud of him today. He said his name rather than just baby. he willingly touched him. Thank You, Thank You Lord.
8. Bought a Christmas tree. Live and it smells so good.
9. Flaked off dried milk from behind Elijah's ears. Lovely huh!
10. Found the Christmas gift that Jonathan has been asking for!!!! He has asked for a helicopter like his cousin Caleb has. He loves the hook it has on it. If this child can hook and tow things with a toy, he is happy! I had found several helicopters last week but none with hooks. Today I found it!!
11. Got a shower. even shaved. and then ran out of hot water!
12. Fought hard to take captive my thoughts and focus on what is excellent and praiseworthy and not let bitterness or what if or why not take over. Some moments were successful. some not so much.
13. Started to clean out several moldy items from the back of the fridge. Got interrupted.
14. Laughed out loud.
15. Craved chips and queso. This has actually been going on for a while. There is just no redeeming nutritional value in this but oh it is yummy!
16. Remembered again that we have Krispy Kreme doughnuts in our freezer. So far untouched! and they need to remain that way first of all because they are designated for something but also because once opened, the trouble starts.
17. Watered the plants. Several were looking quite droopy so it was time.
18. Have some anxiety over a box of Christmas decorations we have not found. My grandma gave us an ornament every year that she made. I will be so sad if we can not find them.
19. Snuck a handful of chocolate chips when Jonathan was not in the kitchen. It was a small handful. But actually I did it twice!
20. Was so thankful for "paci!" Even the pink and purple one my sisters gave us before we knew Elijah was Elijah. It is his at home paci. He doesnt care!!
21. Kissed my sweet boys. all of them.
22. Sang Christmas songs.

23

Things I should be doing:
1. Dishes
2. Laundry
3. Vaccuming
4. Finishing Christmas decorating
5. Working on Christmas cards
6. Working on thank you cards
7. Catching up on email correspondance
8. Planning next weeks menu
9. Finding the source of a nasty smell in the laundry room area. Not sure I really want to know. But very sure I want the smell gone.
10. Changing the batteries on the smoke alarm. The beeping is about to drive me bonkers!
11. Working on a Christmas gift for Ashley
12. Sending some pictures to my sister that she asked for quite a while ago.
13. Doing my quiet time that has not happened today yet.
14. Exercising. This has not happened today yet either. or yesterday. or any time of any consistency lately.
15. Washing diapers.
16. Putting my summer clothes away.
17. Taking out my overly dry contacts.
18. Doing some paperwork for Ashley.
19. Dusting.
20. Going through a pile of mail, Jonathan school stuff, magazines, random items that need to be dealt with. I at least collected it all from various places around the house.
21. Figuring out a birthday gift for a friend.
22. Making final decisions on Christmast gifts for different people.
23. Sleeping!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

24

I have to add two more to the Kansas list:
Six days without cloth diapers!!
My sweet niece Anna Jo asked if I wanted to be "besties" with her and her mommy. Anna has such a servant heart. She is an incredible little girl. And she loves snacks too! I totally smiled when I heard her telling her daddy about going shopping with the girls on Friday. She started off by telling him what all we had to eat! Polly says I do that about experiences too.

Yesterday belonged to Kansas so on this 24th day until Christmas, I am going to find 24 things I like about Tennessee right now. I know I can do it!

1. Elijah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sweet Eli is a TN native so for this alone TN will always be special to me.
2. Less wind. Ahhh less wind. Sunday in Kansas was absolutely crazy.
3. Gorgeous leaves
4. Cotton fields, cotton gins, cotton smell, cotton pickers, cotton farmers
5. Elijah sleeping better again!
6. A good washer and dryer
7. A dish washer that works
8. Pepper, our sweet, loyal dog
9. Elijah's doctor. I really struggled with having to leave Dr. Marla. We all loved her. and trusted her. Dr. Amy is no Dr. Marla but she and I have similiar view points, she is positive and encouraging and she likes Elijah.
10. I don't actual like this but I need this. Being forced to face some fears.
11. Mrs. Ashlee, Jonathan's teacher. I nearly cried the other day when I realized she will not be his teacher his whole life! God has given me such comfort through this woman. He hand picked her I truly believe. She likes to shoot guns;she drives a jeep with big tires, she speaks his love language with candy incentives, her husband operates an excavator; she listens to his stories; he tells her his stories; her name is Ashlee. Could there be a better fit??!!
12. The accent. Most of them, most of the time. The other day I was in an ugly mood and even the accent here was irritating me!
13. The library. They have several seasons of Little House on the Prairie. Jonathan is working his way through them! And they have good selection on books.
14. Our TV. Ashley's dad has a really big TV, which we now have. The thing I like is we get, literally, two channels! Two. Cracks me up!
15. Our 4-wheelers. We all really enjoy riding around and exploring.
16. The many gun carrying, loud, tall truck driving, patriotic, hardworking men here. that sounds bad, it is not the men but the way Ashley fits here. It explains a lot about him. Bless his heart coming to my world.
17. Lori. She loves my family. She loves her family deeply. She is real. She looks out for Jonathan at school. She texted us several times on his first day of school to let us know how he was doing. That meant so very much. Her strength is based in Christ.
18. Caramel pie. A recipe we learned from a friend here. Really quite simply and sinfully delicious. I will make it for anyone who comes to visit. It is worth the drive!! :)
19. My Jeep. I really do love it!
20. Our pond. Ashley and Jonathan get a lot of delight out of it.
21. All of my family has been to visit.
22. Ashley seems to enjoy his work here and exploring new ideas and dreams.
23. Our shooting range. It really is quite cool.
24. God is here too.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

25 days

I am really not creative. I wanted to come up with something fun to write about in December. The most creative I got was thinking about the 12 days of Christmas. So I am going to make it in to the 25 days of Christmas and write something around the number of each day.
Since it took all my creative work to borrow this idea, I am going to revert back to November and write about the 25 things I am thankful for from our trip to Kansas

1. Safe arrivals there and back.
2. Mashed potatoes!! Mom makes the best. This could make the list several times.
3. Not having to decide meals for six days. I did help with cooking. Or actually I started numerous different things and then someone else would have to take over as Elijah needed something. It was fun to cook with my mom and sisters.
4. Watching Elijah snuggle with Mom when she went to get him from a nap on Sat.
5. Surviving picture taking of all the cousins. We started taking a picture each year of all the grandkids for my parents and for us several years ago. Each year a baby has been added and then anxiety about the picture seems to have risen also. Considering eight kids seven and younger including a 4 month old and two toddlers were involved and one sweet girl threw up on the way, the event went okay. I still have not seen the final results, but it is done for another year. And if it isnt perfect, it probably is just all the more realistic of the kiddos.
6. Elijah being super cute when we first arrived at Mom and Dad's. Mom and Polly were still awake and Elijah smiled and babbled away. I loved it! And then he still went to sleep really well. that might be my favorite part of the memory! :) The next couple nights would not make any thankful list!!
7. Seeing my niece Cammi literally bounce up and down in happiness at seeing Grammy. Mom has a really sweet relationship with Nikki's children. Cammi did her bounce a couple times at seeing Elijah. She is a sweetie.
8. Polly highlighted my hair. She is so sweet to give up time and sleep to often cut our hair when we see her. I am still adjusting to the hair but so far people have been kind about it and Ashley likes it which was the point.
9. Mom gave me a hen and chick plant. This plant reminds me of my sweet Grandma.
10. Going to church at Garden and seeing precious friends. It felt good to be there. Did make me miss that church even more though. and the people.
11. My sisters had hand-me-downs for both boys. Some were perfect size and season for now. Such a blessing!
12. Ashley made room in a very packed car to fit in the clothes and plant and other "necessary" things to bring back. With very very little complaining!!!
13. Playing nertz, a card game, with my cousins. Nikki and I held our own pretty well against some very competitive players.
14. Jonathan playing with his cousins.
15. Watching my oldest nephew Corbin play with and talk to Elijah in the car. All my nieces and nephews are super sweet to Elijah and want to hold him. Not sure what I am doing wrong with Jonathan.
16. Polly's homemade rolls, her pumpkin roll, Mom's corn dip, and cinnamon rolls.
17. Getting to see Matthew and Sherlynn. I have such deep respect for these two people. They are so thoughtful and fun.
18. Fairly successful black Friday shopping. Elijah did quite a good job.
19. Getting to have Jonathan sleep with us. This is always a treat for him and for us when we are traveling. It does get a little crowded but it is special to watch him sleep. Not sure how it works with multiple children!
20. A husband who is patient and supportive about longer stops while traveling because of nursing.
21. Dad keeping a warm fire going.
22. Mom giving Jonathan some of his favorite BBQ sauce to bring back with us.
23. A calmer Saturday after a very busy few days. Even got a little time with just Mom.
24. Grammy and Papa spoiling Jonathan with ice cream. He counts on there being some in the freezer!
25. Feeling loved and like I belong.

Last one

November has ended. It has been good for me to do this. There were days it was very necessary to be forced to look for the good. And the good is always there. God is so very good!

1. Dishes done, laundry further along(putting everything away really does not count! that is a good activity to do with Eli.), grocery shopping done. No fresh fruit in the house bothers me so a late night trip to Walmart was in order.

2. Elijah's noises. He wakes up happy. this should make the thank you list every day. He is the only one in the family who does this. He will be cooing and babbling away first thing in the morning. Wow, thank You Lord!

3. Heat. It is cold here. I am so thankful for heat in the house. and yesterday our friend Zeb brought a heater to use in the office since that one is still not working right. It was so very uncomfortable in there. Ashley has a small heater in his actual office so Elijah was taken care of but the rest of the building was miserable. Every thing went better when there was some heat. Zeb was the hero of the day.

4. Cooking chili with Jonathan. he really likes to help. That is something we do well together. He even put on an apron yesterday. It soon became a cape and a lasso and who knows what else but he looked mighty cute in this yellow flowered apron from my Grandma.

5. People who have been so kind about reading and encouraging me on writing. it totally made my day when someone would say they enjoyed reading.

Welcome December.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Empty

Not sure if it is just fatigue from the excitement of traveling and seeing family and way too much driving. Or if it is not feeling the best and worrying about a sick Ashley and a sick Jonathan. Or if it is post traveling mess of laundry, grocery needs, adjusting back to schedules and off sugar highs of travel snacks. Or if it is a mix of feelings and worries and battles to get truth straightened out in my mind instead of focusing on emotions which are so momentary.

Whatever it is, I am tired and feeling empty. I want to catch up on the days I missed. I just saw all my family and have many many things to be thankful for, but I am sort of blue. So I am going to just focus on now and write for today and start fresh again tomorrow. November is almost over. I need to decide what I will do for December. I really did lose the challenge to myself so maybe I can try again in someway in December. and I need to get some more pictures up. Jonathan and Elijah are too cute not to show off!! :)

1. We are not driving right now!!!!!!!!!!
2. Jonathan's cough is sounding a little better. I feel horrible for letting it go this long and am thankful it is hopefully getting better. He has been sick more in the last couple months than in his whole life it seems. I guess it is school and so many more germs.
3. My nephew Mac calls Jonathan "Johnny" and it is just precious to hear in his little voice. His sister Cammi is starting to call him that too. I love hearing Mac say "Hi Johnny" or "I want to sit by Johnny." I don't think anyone else would get by with calling him that. It was great to see them playing together again.
4. I bought a couple new soap dispensers. Usually I just get the big jug and refill the dispensers we have but one was getting really icky and we needed one for the bathroom at the shooting range. So I got two new ones the other day and so enjoy how the soap smells! It is the little stuff. :)
5. Playing Zingo with Jonathan and Ashley. We had been playing games a lot in the evening a few months ago but have not done much lately. It was fun to do again. Jonathan is competitive and likes to win. Everything is always a lesson! Sometimes that is exhausting. Elijah did great just watching and listening and babbling away.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weary

I am tired tonight. The last few days have been extra busy. I am worn out physically and mentally. We have a long drive tomorrow so hopefully sleep tonight will be revitalizing.



1. Elijah weighs 16 pounds! He had his four month check up today and all went well. The doctor called him pudgy! I am so thankful he is growing and healthy and I love all his rolls.



2. Reading with Jonathan tonight. I stopped at the library today to get some books on tape for our drive and checked out a few books for Jonathan. It amazes me how he can be going all out, full speed, full volume and then will drop to the floor and be totally engrossed in a book when he sees one. I love LOVE that he likes books. Jonathan and I have been clashing a lot lately so it was good to have some positive moments.



3. Finally finally getting to the end of the first part of a big project for Ashley. It is so nice to have it as far a long as we do.



4. Elijah go the giggles tonight. it was so cute. he just laughed and laughed. He was watching Jonathan and Ashley who were doing nothing and he giggled away. I layed him down on the bed and he laughed. Anything made him smile. It was such fun.



5. Most of the packing done. Just last minute things to do in the morning. Ashley thinks it is ridculous that for me this will involve vaccumming. Really is rather silly I guess, but it is so nice to come home to a clean house. Right now Ashley is sewing. He is fixing a car cover that our dog is tearing up. How I love this gun shooting, fast driving, loud truck owning man of mine who crochets and can put a button back on much better than I do!



Can't wait to see my Mom holding Elijah again!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Passed!

A day late but lots to be thankful for this weekend:

1. I took Ashley's concealed carry permit class on Saturday and passed! He wanted to me to take it and I said sure and then when the day came, I was rather nervous about passing the written test and really nervous about the test on the range where I would have to do actual shooting. But I passed!!

2. Ashley was proud of my shooting. That felt really really good!

3. The day went smoothly. I was nervous about being a mom, a wife, a student, an assistant and providing the food for the day but it all worked out well. The boys did GREAT! I was so relieved and so proud of them. The timing went well for Elijah, the food was ready on time, and I truly learned things.

4. Got everyone ready on time for church this morning. And had a good breakfast.

5. Got the house picked up today. The last couple days have been really busy and the house and dishes reflected this. Dishes are done and laundry is in process. I need to have it done to start packing!

6. All of us riding 4-wheelers. Elijah just looks all around and takes it in. The weather was nice and it felt good to be outside. The leaves are just gorgeous.

7. All of us singing together on the way to church. Jonathan and Ashley are certain Elijah likes the music loud!

8. Eating yummy Mexican food for lunch today.

9. I made some good sweet tea. I do not make the best tea. But it worked today. Not too sweet but sweet enough. It is a little indulgence. I get the caffeine free kind of tea bags. Not sure why I have trouble with something simple like tea. My sister Nikki makes good tea. Of course she makes it really sweet!

10. Elijah in the bath. He laughs and kicks. And he smells so yummy afterwards.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday

My thankful list:

1. Watching Eli respond to Ashley. His eyes light up and his feet kick and he laughs his sweet laugh. he has started this little growling noise which is so funny. and he wore his yellow hat again today which just makes me laugh.

2. A productive day at Ashley's office. It just feels good to cross things off the list.

3. Watching Ashley teach. He is a natural. And when it is about guns, his love and passion for the subject is so apparent. he really wants people to learn and improve.

4. A movie to watch with Ashley now as we work on some more paperwork. It makes it a bit easier to face when there is entertainment. It feels like there is lots to do before Thanksgiving break.

5. Hearing Jonathan's love for his teacher. He just thinks Mrs. Ashlee is wonderful. We do too! I love that he feels so good and safe with her. If she says something is a certain way, then that is how it is. I have heard him say several times "Mrs. Ashlee said it is _______, so that it is." I remember thinking teachers were just incredible. I remember being shocked that they did such regular things like go to the bathroom. They were superhuman in my mind. She makes it okay to leave him at school each day.

Off to paperwork. I think a bit of ice cream might be in order!

Late again.

I am thankful for....
1. Elijah has this knit or crochetted yellow hat with a ball on top. It is nice and warm. It is hilarious! He looks so cute everytime I put it on him. It makes me laugh outloud.

2. The dishes are done. Sometimes it is the very basic things that make me happy.

3. Elijah's schedule was off quite a bit today. But it worked out okay. I am not crazy strict about a schedule for him but we go through a sleep, eat, wake/play cycle throughout the day and it works well for him. It got a little mixed around today but thankfully, things still went okay.

4. The feeling of a freshly washed face, contacts out, teeth brushed. It just feels so clean and refreshing.

5. Jonathan had a thanksgiving program at school. I will have to put on pictures later. He was the pilgram mayor. I have to brag and say he was the only one with an individual line. he had to say "bless this land" three times. He did great! He would start out loud and then it seemed he would realize what he was doing and he would fade out. His sunday school teachers would be surprised to know he did this. Miss Becky, Miss Jenny, Miss Deb, I need to thank all of them for not giving up on him when he did not want to stand and sing and for encouraging/insisting he do so. He is singing in school now. Still not his favorite thing. And he much prefers Johnny Cash and Sugarland to church songs at this point, but I catch him singing along to praise and worship CDs sometimes too. I love it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Better Day

Today I am thankful for......
1. A better day for Elijah. Yesterday was a really fussy day for him. Today he was a little more back to his fairly laid back self. It is such fun to watch his legs start kicking and his smile get so big when he sees me. Even his eyes smile. He is beyond precious.

2. Getting the house cleaned, or at least cleaner. Dusting did not happen. I despise dusting.

3. Listening to giggling all the way home from school. Two friends came over to play with Jonathan. They laughed all the way home. Then they were in constant motion while they were here. There was quite a bit of wrestling happening so Jonathan was thrilled!

4. Sunshine.

5. French toast for breakfast.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Basics

Today was not a good day. Far, far from my worst day, but not a good day.
I even thought at one point that I would have nothing to post. I decided
that for December I would write five things that went bad each day! But that
was just pitiful, feel sorry for myself thinking. So today's grateful things are very
basic because that is where I needed to get to....

1. I am thankful that God's mercies are new every morning. I have a new chance
even when I slip back into bad habits and old behaviors that are not healthy or positive.

2. I am thankful for shelter in the rain. It rained literally all day. Usually I like the rain, but
today's rain was cold and I could not get warm all day.

3. I am thankful for a reminder of Who won the ultimate battle and Who fights mine.

4. I am thankful for the love of sisters who really know me and never never give up on me.

5. I am thankful the day is over.

Oh, and I am thankful for getting to Skype a bit with Polly and her family. My nephew Caleb has the sweetest voice. When he says "Tia Jo" there is no where else I want to be than listening to him. Can't wait to kiss all their sweet skin!

Look, the day was better than I thought. Thanks God for another day.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday

Today I am grateful for:

1. Taco soup. This is probably Jonathan's favorite meal. When we had a special Jonathan day before Elijah was born this is what he chose to eat even in the heat of July! It is really yummy and easy to make and goes in the crockpot. I feel extra homemakerish when I use the crockpot!! It was so wonderful to have a warm meal ready at the end of a busy day. Thanks for the recipe Lacy!

2. My sweatshirt. I found a hoodie at a garage sale this summer. it is just the right size and very warm and so comfy! it felt so good to put it on at the end of the day today.

3. A recovery from an UGLY time with Jonathan. It was the end of the day. we were both tired. I did not handle my frustrations and emotions well at all. he was in tears and not being respectful. I was nearly in tears and not being mature. But we were able to turn it around and the end of the day held some sweet moments. Parenting is tough!

4. The fall leaves. The colors are just amazing. Isn't God incredible with the details He provides for us to enjoy!

5. Listening to Jonathan sing Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire. He loves that song. And I love him!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Does this mean I lost?

So I have missed a couple days. Not sure if this means I lost the challenge? But since I am the one who created the challenge, I guess I create the rules. So I am hereby adding this clause: "if at any point, due to the participant's life or others' needs or exhaustion or puking or no computer available or really any other factors, it is allowable to miss a day. the participant need only to attempt to makeup the days if possible or simply begin anew."
I think I like making my own rules!

So the following will cover the weekend:

1. I got to see a dream come true! Ashley held his first concealed gun carry permit class this Sat. this is perfect for him; combining a passion for guns and a passion for sharing knowledge. Ten people went through the class and passed. Must have been the good teaching!! The last month and a half has been busy getting the range ready and meeting all the state requirements and paperwork.
2. After a week of gorgeous weather, it rained yesterday. The range is not covered yet so Ashley was anxious all morning about the outdoor shooting portion of the class. It was lightly misting when they arrived to shoot; the rain stopped altogether once they were in the firing line and then began to really come down once they had handed out the certificates. The timing was perfect!
3. Mac!!! My nephew turned 6 on Friday. I so remember six years ago when I first got to hold sweet Mac. He and Jonathan have such a good time together. They are constantly busy building something or digging somewhere or riding bikes or plotting something. Mac is not the biggest on physical affection so the hugs I do get are extra special or when he lets me hold his hand a bit longer after we cross the street, it makes my day! His stories are always entertaining and his voice is precious. Wow, do we miss you Mac! We hope this year is wonderful!!
4. Water. This may sound like I am searching, but really it is because I cleaned up puke off the floor last night and I am so thankful for water to clean with and to wash my hand with, several times!
5. Diapers are washed! it is not the washing I am thankful for but that it is done!
6. We had pizza to eat Friday night. I have been craving pizza for nearly a month I think, and not the kind I make. So Friday we splurged. I had to get several, actually a ridculously full cart load of stuff to the point where it was hard to push and I was carrying several things and several people asked if I needed help!, things at Walmart and knew we still had lots to do at the office to prep for Sat. So Ashley picked up Jonathan from school and they finished things out on the range before it got dark and Elijah and I ran the errands and picked up pizza! We ate at the office and finally made it home about 10. The pizza was so yummy!
7. My role in playing with Jonathan today was to stay covered up with my eyes closed and stay quiet. He was fighting off the polar bears and rabbits and other wild beasts. I think I did my role quite well as I drifted off to sleep several times! It was good to see him have energy again after a day and a half of not feeling well.
8. Shooting skeet with Ashley today. Or attempting to! I think I crossed the line into redneck as I shot the shotgun while my baby sat barefoot near us in the stroller!!
9. The timing of a busy Sat went very well. We got everything delivered to Ashley class that we needed to and Elijah's schedule worked out fine and Jonathan was able to stay warm and rest and not puke until the evening.
10. Feeling hopeful.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

10

I missed yesterday. We had this computer at the office and I forgot to bring it home with me and Ashley did not get home until really late so I had a decent excuse. Ashley's first concealed carry permit class is this Sat so this week has been really busy with preparing for that. So I am playing catch up tonight......

1. Watching and listening to Jonathan and Ashley throw water balloons. I got to fill a few myself. No wonder Jonathan loves his daddy so much. He is a lot of fun!

2. This is really materialistic, but I am thankful for our Jeep. I know very little about vehicles. Ashley gets annoyed with how little I know and how little I am impressed by fancy vehicles, but I have always liked Jeeps. I drove Ashley's dad's Lincoln for almost a year. I felt like an old person. But was thankful to have a car. Now I get to drive this cool looking silver Jeep!

3. This one is HUGE! Last night when I talked to my mom, she was safe and cozy on their couch. A year ago last night, she fell through our attic to our garage cement floor and broke her neck and arm. She was in tremendous pain for quite some time. I am so very thankful that God heals and chose to heal my mom. I will never forget seeing her fall and the sheer terror of that moment.

4. Remembering a year ago made me also very thankful to not be in the moving process right now!! :)

5. I have to say the weather again. It has just been exquisite!!

6. A really good hamburger yesterday. I love to have lettuce, tomato, pickles, cheese, all the works on a hamburger or sandwich. It was a treat!

7. Jonathan's good attitude about leftovers tonight. He usually is pretty good about eating leftovers but by the third meal, he is tired of it too. Both Ashley and I don't like to waste food, and tonight we all got home late and hungry. I was thankful to have soup leftover and receptive mouths!!

8. A lady who gave extra effort to help me. I am trying to help Ashley with something and really don't know what I am doing. This lady was very kind and gave me some great information that will be very helpful. And she didn't have to do it.

9. Singing for Elijah. He really responds to music. even my pitiful attempts at it!

10. Sleep, sweet sleep.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Another day

Today I am thankful for

1. Ashley's delight in simple things. There were lots of honey bees outside his office door today and it was fun to watch his excitement about feeding them Dr. Pepper and showing Jonathan and monitoring their progress. I have always loved Ashley's interest in so many different things.

2. Made one of my favorite meals tonight, a chicken and rice and vegetable dish. Jonathan was very complimentary which was so nice. We have been struggling with him being a pickier eater lately when he has usually been a good eater. So it was fun to have him like the meal and eat a lot of good healthy food. And Ashley said we should have this several times a week!

3. Progress on a few phone calls for Ashley. Some that I have been putting off but I did today and got some positive results.

4. A fun walk with Jonathan. Everything is an adventure with that boy!

5. New library books for Jonathan. I love the library! It is always fun to have new books to read to Jonathan. I think I get as he excited as he does. After reading them for the fourth or fifth or sixth time, I am not as excited. I had to pay 10 cents on a book I checked out for me and rechecked several times and never finished it. This is just not a stage of life to read for fun.

Oops, late!

1. Only with God, I faced a situation that has terrified me for a time. And I remained under control during it. Truly truly, ONLY THROUGH GOD.

2. Laughing with Elijah. He seriously has a sense of humor. His laugh is just precious. I really think it might could bring world peace if everyone could hear it! :)

3. Timing worked that Elijah was napping and so Jonathan and I got to sit and read together. We often do when I am nursing Elijah and Jonathan is great about holding the book and turning the page when I say "ding." He requested I do this because he has listened to some books on tape and that is how they work. But it was good to get to hold him on my lap and read together and talk about school.

4. Talking with my nephews on the phone. It was fun to hear about their day to day things like hiccups and birthday cupcakes. And to learn that my sweet little niece is great progress with potty training. Sometimes talking with them or about them hits me the other way and I am so sad to be missing so much of their lives.

5. Progress on a couple things at Ashley's office. it feels good to get something done that won't have to be done again right away. My days are filled with things that have to be done again and again such as changing diapers, cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. And I wouldn't want anything else right now, but it does feel good to complete a task and have it truly completed!

One extra, the weather has been so gorgeous! The news said we were having an Indian Summer. Just perfect weather during the day and then it gets cold during the night so a supper of fresh bread and hot soup tasted so yummy.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ah Sunday

Today I am thankful for....

1. A good breakfast. Sunday should be a day to have a good family breakfast. It seldom seems to work that way for us. Today it did. This did mean that both boys were awake at 6:45 this morning. Yes, on a Sunday. Someday I will sleep in again!! But we had bacon and eggs and raisin bread. nothing fancy but it was a good hot breakfast. Jonathan cooks the eggs for us. I crack them. He used to like to do this but then decided he didnt want to anymore because I made him wash his hands after he cracks them! So my five year old cooked the eggs while I put my make-up on!

2. I put our down comforter back on the bed. I love it!! It is so warm and makes our bed such a happy place! :)

3. Our sweet friend Lori was glad to see Elijah at church today. Since we don't have grandparents here for the boys, I am thankful for a loving pair of arms that sincerely are glad to see our boys. She is an invaluable friend and support to me.

4. We went for a walk as a family around our pond. The weather was perfect. Jonathan is such a delight. he is truly happiest outside. perhaps because the opportunities to get dirty are so much greater! We walked and talked and explored and laughed. Elijah fell asleep and had a great nap even after we got back. That should have topped the list!

5. Melanie Stahl. Her friendship and her walk with Christ and her willingness to share truths she has learned has truly changed my life.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cotton Pickin


I have experienced my first cotton harvest. I had more pictures but cannot find them on the computer now. My non-native status was confirmed again when I asked someone if their cotton was cut. Ashley informed me you pick cotton, not cut it! My Grandpa Niehage used to sometimes call us little cotton pickers when we were little. Ashley informed me that would have been very racially inappropriate around here. Quite certain Grandpa was not trying to be inappropriate! I have seen the cotton fields blooming and the aftermath of the harvest but it was neat to see it all in action. Cotton lined the ditches and roads, we met or passed or saw in fields countless cotton trailers and cotton pickers (the combine for picking cotton). The gins ran all the time to process the cotton. Dust from the cotton was everywhere. Late in the evening you could see lights in fields with famers eager to get the crop in. The weather was in complete control. Different crop; same scenerios!!
Jonathan's class got to go to a cotton field on a field trip. He came home with a bag of cotton that he had picked. He learned that money is made from cotton so he had big plans to make lots of money with his cotton!! One evening we were outside and saw a church group go by on a cotton ride. I grew up going on hayrack rides. This was the same thing but in a cotton trailer half full of cotton. We drove the 4-wheelers out to a cotton field that used a new method of round cotton bales. Jonathan and I had fun climbing on them. Ashley had us smell the cotton. It was a unique smell. I believe the harvest if over now. The gins are still finishing all the processing. It was neat to see something that is so important in this area.

Weather

Ashley was making Elijah laugh and laugh. It was precious to hear.
We went for a walk today to get eggs from our neighbor down the road. I think Elijah looks so cute in the sweatshirt I found for him at a consignment sale.

Jonathan did a great job pushing the stroller, with a few reminders to slow down and stay on the road! I was then in charge of Pepper on the leash and making sure the eggs did not break!
1. Incredible weather! It got very cold last night but was just gorgeous today. Today was a good day to live in TN.
2. Wonderful walk to get eggs with my sweet boys. We made it there and back in one piece even with a high strung dog, two dozen eggs, several stops to adjust socks in boots, a run in with a cat, and a little off roading in the stroller. Anywhere with Jonathan is an adventure!
3. I heard Jonathan say these words "It will be okay," to Elijah!!! He was putting in a different CD and Elijah was starting to fuss a bit and so he spoke reassuringly to him. Thank You Lord!! And when we were walking, he was conscious to not tip him out of the stroller when going down hill and to protect him in the sun. It was sooo good to hear him considering Elijah.
4. Ashley changed two diapers. One was even poopy. Enough said.
5. Seeing a positive change after a discipline incident. Oh how I pray daily for wisdom in parenting. It is hard! And I so want to reach their hearts.
Now to thank you notes. Sort of anxious to see how the time change will affect Elijah. I remember it messing up Jonathan's schedule when he was little. I shudder at the idea of anything altering Elijah's sleep.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!




Happy Birthday Mom. I hope you had a most special day. You especially feel way too far away today. I wish we could have gone on a walk or brought you your cookies in person and sat at the kitchen table and ate them and listened to Jonathan's stories and Elijah's sweet noises.
Even though you are hundreds of miles away, you still touch our lives on a daily basis.
Today I am thankful for the ways my Mom touches my life even from miles away....
1. The green cups. My parents have had these green glasses for years and they are my favorite for drinking water at their house. I know it doesnt make sense, but the water tastes better in those cups. At one point in moving to TN, my thoughtful, unselfish mom gave me those cups to take along. I was so touched. I use them on a daily basis and think of you Mom. They make the water taste better here too!! I confess I try to sort of hide them in the cupboard so nothing happens to them by other users!
2. The plants my Mom has given me. We have several plants in the house that my Mom has given to me on various occassions such as new year of college, new baby, move to TN. I am thankful they are still living! And thankful for the visual reminder of you Mom and of your appreciation for plants and flowers and for teaching me to enjoy them also.
3. Meal preparation. When I plan a meal, I aim to cover all food groups. This is the way I grew up eating. We would have fruits and veggies at meals always. It taught us to like them, well except for Nikki :), and had to help us all stay quite healthy. Now I try to cook this way and when I hear Ashley appreciating meals, I thank you for the example Mom and when I see Jonathan learning to eat a range of foods, I thank you Mom.
4. Elijah's blanket. Since the day it arrived, he has been wrapped in that blanket or the one you made for Jonathan for every nap and every night. I am determined one will become his "blankie!" Not sure how much say I actually have in this, but I am going to give it my best effort. I am so thankful for such lovely, soft blankets made with love to wrap him in. They both have such neat texture. Elijah is currently chewing on them a lot! I am so thankful my boys have a Grammy who loves them dearly and prays for them and calls to hear about them and talk to them , or at least the one who can talk!!
5. My quiet time. All my life I have seen you spend time reading the Bible. Your life is a testimony to the faith you have in Jesus Christ. So when I attempt to discipline myself to spend time in the Word and to live a Godly life, I am thankful, so very thankful, for the example you have given to me Mom. Thank you for living your faith. You are an incredible, strong women.
Thank You Lord for my Mom. I pray for wisdom and strength for her in the year ahead.
I love you Mom.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sick Day #2

This picture is for you Mom. Ashley let me have an evening to myself last Friday. Wish we could have gone shopping together! When I got back, all three boys had tatoos. Yes, Elijah's soft, flawless skin had been marred. But selfishly, those three hours to myself was worth it! It washes off anyway! :)

Today I am grateful for .....
1. My two sisters. They are both such an encouragement to me and I admire both of them so much. Today I actually got to talk to both of them for more than just a minute with amazingly minimal interruptions considering the eight children involved!

2. No throwing up. Jonathan and I had different ideas of what foods to eat today. He felt he was ready for ice cream; I was more on the line of rice or applesauce or toast. We compromised with popcorn this afternoon. I thought that was fairly bland. It stayed down and he ate a decent supper so I am hopeful he is better.

3. Seeing more interaction from Jonathan towards Elijah. He played a sort of peek-a-boo with him and made him laugh and laugh in the bath tonight. Progress!

4. Everyone asleep by 8:30, minimal dishes to do, house not too messy.

5. Everyone, including Elijah which means me too, sleeping in a bit this morning since we did not have school to get to.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sick Day

Tonight I am thankful for....
1. Jonathan's sweet sweet teacher who took care of him when he got sick at school. She kept him from feeling embarassed or scared. I truly thank God for her on a daily basis!

2. Jonathan is good at throwing up. That probably sounds strange but what I mean is he is able to make it to the toilet and throw up in the toilet. For this I am very grateful!!

3. Leftovers from supper last night. and a husband who is not opposed to eating leftovers!

4. My sweet five year old who is all boy who LOVES to watch Little House on the Prairie. Ashley and Jonathan got me one of the seasons for my birthday this year and Jonathan loves them. He watched several episodes today curled up in a chair with his deeply loved blankie.

5. Rain today. Love to hear it on our roof. And to be warm and dry inside.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Searching a little today.....

His energy does actually run out. Fell asleep on the bull dozer helping Daddy with the range.

Today was not the best day but there is still much to be thankful for . . . .
1. The much dreaded dentist appointment for Jonathan is over! It was AWFUL! So very thankful it is over.

2. Ashley made it work to go with us to the appointment. It would have been so very much worse had he not been there.

3. Elijah's laugh. One of the best sounds ever!

4. Enjoying my favorite candy bar in Jonathan's halloween candy.

5. A warm house and warm sweatshirt. It turned cold here today. Jonathan still needed his outside time though. It did feel good and then felt good to eat a hot supper.

6. One extra----the opportunity to vote! How blessed we are to live in the United States of America!

Now to sleep and start fresh in the morning. Jonathan is having two friends over from school tomorrow. He has wanted to for a long time so he is quite excited!



Monday, November 1, 2010

Gratitude

Look how chubby his belly looks! He has numerous pudgy rolls now. He was sitting in Ashley's office watching Daddy work. He will just jabber away to us.

5 things I am thankful for today:

1. Jonathan often blows me kisses as he walks into school when I drop him off in the morning. All too soon he will not do this I know. So I treasure each morning when this happens.

2. Ashley makes me laugh. Laughing together heals a lot.

3. I successfully cut Elijah's nails. this is a task I deplore and his nails seem to grow so quickly. Got it done without drawing any blood!

4. Ashley brought me home some chocolate tonight!

5. Laundry done, most all put away, clean sheets on the beds.

Now to go sleep under those clean sheets until sweet Eli awakes.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Jon

(I am telling myself it is the angle of the picture that makes my face look so fat. I know the truth. I see it is the mirror every day but my self-esteem can only take so much so I am saying it is the angle of the camera!)

A few weeks ago I started noticing that Jonathan was filling in his name on his school papers
as Jon. I asked him about it and that day he said everyone but Daddy was supposed to start calling him Jon. I was surprised at how much I did not like the idea. I have always said we would just see what he choose as far as going with Jon or Jonathan. But my heart really did not like the idea of him being Jon. I think it made him seem too old. The request to be Jon has not stuck at all. I did not say anything about not liking it. He just has not wanted it anymore. Writing his name as Jon has stuck however. I am quite certain it is just because it is shorter and quicker to write.
So for now he is still my Jonathan. I know he is growing up. But I am not certain I will ever like it much!

challenge


A couple quick pictures from the pumpkin patch today. Gorgeous weather and a fun time all together!

So, I am challenging myself to write every day in November. Rather ridiculous considering the lack of anything lately but since I am quite competitive perhaps I will make myself do it. I am actually going to make it relatively simple for myself. In honor of Thanksgiving, I am going to post five things I am thankful for everyday. a friend had me start a gratitude journal in college and I have kept it up since then. I will just make it public for a month! It is neat to look back on and remember ways God touched my life.

I should really stretch myself and commit to putting at least one photo on each day also. But I fear that may just put me over the edge! I will get a jump start and begin a day early.
1. Stunning fall weather. Just insists you soak up the gentle sun. And living in the country even allows me to nurse outside so Jonathan can enjoy the fresh air after school all day. He even sets up a chair for us near where he is playing!
2. The most relaxing weekend we have had in months. It was good to all be together.
3. A fun bonfire with new friends. Elijah was great!
4. Three hours and 45 min all to myself Friday night. It was hard to chose how to spend it. Thank you Ashley! and somehow you still got out of changing a poopy diaper!
5. Telephones so I can hear my sweet nephews' voices. How I miss them!
Bring it on November!




Sunday, October 24, 2010

Because

Because it has been over three months and because he is the sweetest baby
and because I have had a writing block and no time or not until late and then
no energy.
So here a couple recent pictures:



And because my Jonathan still steals my heart daily, here are a couple recent pictures of him.


Monday, September 6, 2010

35

Today is my birthday. I am feeling nostalgic. I am 35 years old today. That seems really old to me. Especially when I think of how often I still make such basic mistakes. I am missing my family today. If I were home, my mom would make me a special meal and spoil our sweet boys. My nephews would make me cards and I could probably insist on a hug from them since it is my birthday. My dad would give me a hug and say a special prayer for me at the meal.

This has been a tough year. I am quite glad to leave 34 behind. With Ashley's dad dying, my dad having a heart attack, the decision to move, all the packing and so many trips, my mom falling and breaking her neck, the reality of having moved, the finality of our adoption plans coming to an end, the decision to have another baby, the realities of being pregnant, a painful and ulgy spider bite, being pregnant in the sufficating heat of TN, the decision about Jonathan and school, his starting school, the birth of sweet baby Elijah, the realities of a newborn and lack of sleep, my dear Grandma dying, my mom having to leave. Some really tough things. And one incredible gift of a precious son. And through it all God has been with me. Actually He is always there. It is when I can get past my fears and selfish wants and my desire to just wallow in misery for awhile that I can then see Him and feel His love and peace. Or maybe even more so it is when I am feeling all of those things and take the real emotions to Him and say "help!" He is there and always will be. No matter what this year of 35 brings.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dear Baby,

We are ready to meet you Sweet One. I know it is hot but we will do our best to keep
you cool. Grammy is here now and very anxious to hold you so you can come any time.

We have completed several lists the last couple days so really any time will work now. Your Grammy is a doer so we have tacked several things around the house.

We washed some windows that desperately needed to be washed.
I did get some extra food made and in the freezer. Jonathan was a big help.
The hand soap dispensers are all full!
I should vaccum again but it will be okay if I don't get to that.
I wrote a few thank you notes and I finally wrote a letter to Jonathan. I had been wanting to
do so since his birthday but just never got it done.
We did Jonathan's school shopping tonight. Sorry but I thought it would be easier without you!



If we wait much longer, I will create another to do list and then will feel a need to get more
things done before you come.

I am packed. Grammy is here to love on Jonathan while we are meeting you.

I am nervous. I am nervous about the birth and about the lack of sleep and about
how this will change things for Jonathan. I am nervous about being responsible for a new life.
I am nervous about teaching and training another precious child. But I am so thankful God is giving us another miracle to love.
So when you are ready, we are waiting to love you and care for you and hug and kiss you and hold you and sing to you(sorry ahead of time about that one!) and introduce you to an incredible big brother and a family who will love you so much and we are ready to protect you and show you the world and laugh you with and be amazed by you.

We love you so much Precious One. See you soon!

Monday, July 12, 2010

8 years

Tomorrow is our anniversary. Eight years.
There is just no way of knowing what life will bring when you say "I do."
Perhaps it is best that way!

I am not a confident person but I actually had the audacity to believe I would be good
at being a wife. I thought I could love well. And then I gave it a try. and I kept
needing to compromise and submit and consider someone else. It wasn't so easy
to just simply love. I found I am a VERY selfish person. And I am married to a selfish
person. Makes for some not so pretty moments!!

Our first year of marriage was ROUGH! We actually did save some of our cake and as
we ate it on our first anniversary (it was still really good!) I think we both shed a few tears
thinking back over the year and all that we had been through. We moved twice, Ashley moving
to a whole new state. (I know much better now how much of a change that was for him!) Ashley
started a new business. His mother died 6 months after we got married. We had a long distance relationship and engagement so we were not only getting used to living together we were getting used to being around each other on a daily basis. That is much different than seeing each other over a weekend. We tried to find a church we both liked which proved to be a really really tough thing.

It is crazy to think about all we have experienced together in eight years. It is sad to think of issues we still have not worked out in all that time. It gives me hope to think of ways we have grown in those years. There have most certainly been days or weeks when it was that promise made July 13, 2002 that kept us together. That and our belief in the Lord and seeking to obey Him. It was not that I liked Ashley (and I am certain this goes both ways!!) during those times or that I felt in love with him. It wasn't because I was feeling cherished by him or appreciated. It wasn't that I felt like submitting to him or trying to work things out. I shock myself sometimes with how rebellious my heart can be and how unwilling I can feel to act on trying to make things better. There have been hopeless feelings of "neither of us is leaving but is it really going to be this miserable for the rest of our lives?"

Eight years ago I didn't think about his snoring affecting my sleep or why can't he just put his shoes away or will he eat that last bit of ice cream or what Honduras trip will come up next?
And he didn't think about his place in my heart compared to my family or if I would be ready in time for church or if I would ever handle a gun or if I can ever learn to just laugh rather than take things too seriously. At that time we both thought the other was pretty great. And we still do!! But life has happened. There have been disappointments and let downs. There has been the stress of a new baby and the short tempers that come with lack of sleep. We have seen the best and the worst in each other. We know the other one's buttons and sadly sometimes we chose to push those. We have experienced the better and the worse, the richer and poorer and the sickness and health. And God willing we will experience much more of it!

A couple in the church we have been attending just got married this past weekend. They were giddy with love and excitement as the day approached. It was sweet to see but a part of me, a jaded part, thinks they are naive. They have day to day life to experience yet.

But truly maybe it is day to day life stuff that makes the love even richer. It is difficult most definately. It requires daily choices to forgive and love and try again. It requires a daily choice to attempt to deny self. It means accepting good and bad of someone who can drive you crazy!

But he comes home every night. He makes me laugh. I trust him. I trust his leadership. He loves our son and is an incredible daddy. He made me feel warm and safe and loved after our miscarriage before Jonathan. I know the soft heart that exists behind the tough exterior he often puts on. I see how he agonizes over big decisions affecting our family. I know the heart that reaches out to help people. He still reaches for my hand. I see the sleep, time, energy, money that he gives up for the people of Honduras and know that he would do even more if possible. He gets mad at a movie or show where a child gets hurt or sick. He lets me take sips of his Dr Pepper and Root Beer. He requires Jonathan to be respectful to me. He compliments my cooking. He promised to never leave me.

And I love him. Even eight years later. Knowing what I know now.
Happy Anniversary Ashley. Thanks for chosing me.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

UNCOMFORTABLE

I should not complain.
I should expect this.
But I am so uncomfortable!!!
I can not stop sweating. Day or night.
Nothing seems to fit anymore. Jonathan just does not fit on my lap.
I can't figure out a comfortable way to sleep. It is an ugly process to lean over
and pick something up off the floor. I have been having some painful, wake-me-up
cramps in my leg. They stop fairly quickly but they hurt like crazy!
I am tired of people's comments of "when" and "how soon" and guesses of gender
based on how I am carrying the baby and of how big/not big/ready I look. They are
all with such good intentions and encouragement. It just has always amazed me how
pregnancy seems to mean it is perfectly fine to analyze another person's body.

Perhaps it is because it has been five years or because I am five years older or because
God allows women to forget some details, but I just do not remember being so uncomfortable
and achy and hot with Jonathan. Maybe it is living in this insanely humid state!!
Ok, enough complaining. I feel a little better just purging for a bit.

I am thankful for airconditioning and fans and ice. I think I have been working our
ice maker over time. I am thankful for the occasional breezes that blow around here.
I am thankful for a full term baby. Due date is Thursday. Mom comes on Tuesday so
I am hoping so much the baby waits until at least Tuesday night or after so Mom can be
here with Jonathan. I am thankful to have had hand-me-down maternity clothes that have
saved us money and worked great. Just the last few days it feels like nothing fits!
I am thankful to have felt really pretty good for the last nine months. I know I am so
lucky not to be bothered be morning sickness so I should not complain about
a little discomfort. I am thankful for the chance to feel a life inside of me. That has
been the one part of pregnancy I like. I am thankful we get to love another miracle.

So I will sweat and wait and toss and turn. Really there is nothing close to tossing!
And soon we will meet this next miracle!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Kansas Guests

Yesterday brought us a huge treat from Kansas. Friends from our church were driving through TN on their way to a vacation in North Carolina and they made my day by calling to ask if they could stop by to say hi. It was such a delight to spend time with the Morrison family. Before they got here Jonathan said they should stay for 15 days and that we would do their laundry if they did not bring enough clothes. It was fun to catch up on their lives a bit and on life in Moundridge. It was a gift to me for them to take the time to stop and see us. It felt so good to be with someone who talked like me, who knew me, and who I respect as a Christian and a person and a friend. It was good to be with a safe person and someone who I already have good memories and an established relationship. Making new friends is hard for me and scary!!
So thank you Diane for feeding my heart!

I totally cracked up when Ashley was telling them about shooting a turtle while mowing that day. He made the comment that he or Jonathan probably shoot something every day (like snakes or turtles in the pond or targets or skunks). The Morrisons, very understandably, all looked at him with quite a look of shock and disbelief. It was hilarious to see this response which is how I would normally respond and my family would and most normal people! However, where we are now and how Ashley grew up, the typical response if he said he shot a turtle would be "how big was it?" or "what gun were you using?" or "did you eat it?" It is just really a different culture in many ways!

Hope you have a wonderful vacation Morrisons! Thank you so much for including us in your trip. Come back any time and stay longer!!

Pictures finally!

Jonathan lost his first two teeth. Daddy aided in both by pulling them. Jonathan was willing on the first one and quite brave. The second one took a little more convincing to do. He was still very brave when he finally consented to Ashley pulling it a week or so later.
The moment of the first pull. I think they were both a little surprised that it actually came out. There was very little blood which helped I think. We had been in the mode of cutting the corn off the cob for him and slicing apples. He looks quite cute with the bottom front two teeth missing.

Our garden is growing! Growing many weeds for sure! But also most of the plants are still alive. It is such fun to find produce with Jonathan. Such a celebration! Here is our first eggplant. No idea when to pick it or how to fix it but great fun to watch it grow!!

Trying to show off the missing teeth. Didnt work out but I still liked the picture. Except he looks so grown up!

Ashley had a class in Nashville last week so we went along and swam at the hotel and tried to find fun things to do out of the horrendous heat. Eating ice cream was a necessity! I even decided we would go to the big Orpy Land mall which is strange for me to decide to do and really strange to do with Jonathan but the heat mandates crazy things. And the mall had some cool stores I thought even Jonathan would like such as Bass Pro. However the whole thing and the huge Orpy Land Hotel near it was shut down because of all the flooding in May.
He and I did go eat at Cracker Barrel because we had a gift card and Ashley does not like this restraunt so it was perfect timing. Jonathan was so excited about his meal. It is a fun memory.
Here Jonathan is holding the gorgeous lilies he picked for me and was so excited to show me where they were all growing.

At the tractor pull enjoying a slushie thing. His mouth and teeth and tongue turned blue! The ear protection was necessary! We were good redneck parents.
Swimming at the hotel. We had a great time. Still long ways from really swimming but seeing progress. We sure missed the good Wellness Center lessons. It was fun to see him getting more confident in the water. And I was glad we were basically the only ones there since a pregnant women is not lovely in a swimsuit!!


Jonathan and I picked some delicious strawberries! We had wanted to for quite some time but with the spider bite incident and just life it kept getting put off. The day we actually went they had already closed the patch and a person could pick what they could find for free. It started to thunder and rain or we would have picked more and we were leaving the next day or we may have gone back. I love free!! Jonathan was great help for awhile and then got hot and bored and ready to go. The berries were yummy! And are disappearing way too quickly from the freezer. Jonathan's favorite bedtime snack lately is yogurt with blueberries and strawberries. He LOVES frozen blueberries. Ashley and I enjoy the snack too except for I just do not really like blueberries. I wish I did. They are so good for you but I just do not like them much.
The other day Jonathan totally cracked me up as I was going through some hand me down baby clothes. I was looking for some nongender specific ones to wash and have ready. He was hilarious with his comments. A lot of "too much pink!" Then he found a neat, soft tag blanket Grammy had made for him. He remembered it and snatched it right up and then wrapped up one of the kitties in it. That one may require extra washing now!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

One year ago


We were making preparations for a new arrival to our family. These preparations were very different from those we are currently making and the new addition would have looked very different than what we are expecting now. Isaias is the Honduran boy in the wheelchair we were hoping to add to our family. Jonathan was thrilled with the idea of having an older brother to wrestle with. This time last year we took a trip to the ISCS offices in Kansas City to turn in our final adoption paper work and do our fingerprinting. We had finally completed our homestudy, written the big checks, received the multitudes of paperwork we had to compile. And all this after months and years of praying about the best decision for our family. Isaias was aware of our intentions and was excited, at least to the extent that he could understand all the changes he would face. We had the insurance in place which would allow us to help him with his legs. We had begun construction, or mainly demolishing, in our basement to make needed changes for him. So this trip was the final step and then we waited.
In time we were made aware of some situations that caused us to question if this was the best thing for our family and for Isaias. And then God closed the door himself so we had no choice in the decision to bring him home or not. We questioned and grieved this loss and felt a lot of guilt about not being able to help him more. We still hope and pray to find some way to help Isaias.
Certain moments will make me think about Isaias. Jonathan will mention him from time to time. We include him in our prayers. His birthday, April 1st. He turned 14. This was actually a healing day. Our friend Anel from Honduras was visiting us on the 1st and I mentioned that date while we were eating. Anel was so thoughtful about it. He hesitantly said he knew it was sad for us that things did not work out but he felt it was for the best. He said because of Isaias age and background, it would have been a very hard change for him coming here and he would have worried about the influence Isaias would have been on Jonathan. Since Anel is a native Honduran and understands the culture way more than we ever will, his words meant so much. The final outcome was out of our control yet I still felt this guilt about it all not working out. Part of me had felt some relief about it not happening. It would have been such a big change for all of us and SO incredibly hard. Anel saying it was really what was best for Isaias and for us was such a gift of healing. We will continue to look for ways to help him and pray for him and love him. And maybe Anel will find us a sweet baby or toddler girl or boy who needs our family! We trust God will open or close these doors as is best for us.

Unforgettable

The first time I held Jonathan. Dr. Marla placed him on my chest and he was so perfect and whole and finally here. And felt heavier than I expected!

The first time I felt Jonathan move for sure. It was in the morning and Ashley was there with me. We were both so excited.

The first time Ashley kissed me. Cheesy I know but it was magical!

Seeing my mom fall from our attic to the garage floor. It was horrifying.

The first time I held my first nephew Corbin. It was the first time I experienced this overwhelming love and this deep feeling of a willingness to do anything to protect this life I would always love.

A phone call at 1am from my mom telling us my dad had a heartattack. We were in TN because Ashley's dad was very sick and KS and my family felt very far away.

Seeing the "I love you" Ashley wrote on his foot when we washed each others' feet in our wedding ceremony.

Seeing blood which was the first sign of the miscarriage I had before we had Jonathan.

Winning substate basketball in high school.

The first longer sleep after Jonathan was born. I chose sleep over food so I was definately tired!!

Watching my sister and her new husband drive off on their way to live in Maryland for a time. Even more than at their wedding, I knew things would never be the same.

Riding on a boat in the Fjords in Norway. The water was like silk, the hot chocolate was delicious, the friends were treasured. It was a moment of such peace.

An electricity black out in Honduras. One of many but this night my friend and roommate was gone for the night. I was so alone. I could hear other people outside their apartments playing and laughing but I could not understand their language. It was so dark and I felt so alone.

Watching a mouse run across the top of the back seat of the car while in the Credit Union drive through with Jonathan strapped in his car seat. It heightened my already phobic level fear of these hideous creatures. I was traumatized for nearly a year and still think of this crisis way too often.

Laying on the bathroom floor in Honduras so sick and so badly wanting to be home and have my mommy take care of me and be near not scary hospitals.

All sorts of memories stick with me. Some scary, some funny, some precious, some heartbreaking. I am thankful God gave us memories.

Numbers

14 days until due date!

2 squash picked and eaten from our garden tonight.

2 teeth lost by Jonathan. He looks mighty cute!

11 plus hours to drive home to KS. Worth every minute, cramp, "are we almost there?" to get to see family, play with cousins, be a little part of wheat harvest, get spoiled by Mom and enjoy some less humid weather!!

0 cribs or bassinets set up for baby arrival.

3-5 times I get up during the night to go to the bathroom and to try to figure out some way to sweat less!

1 name chosen for a girl.

1 name chosen for a boy.

19 items on to do list for Ashley before Baby. He asked for the list!! To be completely honest, several items have nothing to do with a baby but are things that have been needing to be done for months!

10 unpolished toenails. Tried to convince Ashley to paint them for me. I think I could but not sure how good they would look.

1 bottle of Dreft ready to wash some little clothes and burp rags and diapers.

2 kittens and one loyal puppy that bring my sweet boy so much delight.

8 year anniversary approaching in a couple weeks.

1 incredible mother willing to make the long drive and give up summer days to help with the arrival of the 8th grandchild. We can not wait to see her! Jonathan is so thrilled that Grammy is coming. He decided she needs to stay for three weeks. I totally agree!!

1 boy whom I adore getting ready to face some major changes in his life.

1 God who has all my worries and fears in His hands.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Flowers

The other day Jonathan rode up on his four wheeler and said "Mommy I want to show you something by the skunk house (an old shed on a far side of our property where he and Daddy saw a skunk once). No telling what was waiting for me. We rode over there and with a big smile Jonathan pointed to this area covered with beautiful orange lilies. My tough, four-wheel riding, gun-shooting, can't avoid a mud puddle, constantly in motion precious boy wanted to show me a field of flowers. In that moment I thought how I wished he could stay five forever and always want to find flowers for me and be okay with holding my hand and face each day with delight and eagerness to see what adventures may be in store and find joy in fireflies and ladybugs and kittens and ice cream cones and playing Uno and being read to and remain innocent of the ugliness of the world.

Then he proceeded to pick a handful for me! (something else I took a picture of but issues with the camera are causing problems with viewing the pictures. agh!) The picture here is from a while ago. This is probably quite obvious from his sweatshirt. Wearing that now would be child abuse!! We have spotted these lilies growing in many ditches and other places. I would like to dig up some of the bulbs and replant around the house for next summer. I love that he notices God's simple gifts of nature.





Haircut

Jonathan was in the other room and rather quiet.
I called out, "Jonathan are you okay?"

I received this reply:
"Kittens sure have a lot of hair!"

Rather curious and a bit alarmed at this response, I walked into the room.
One of our new kittens was receiving a haircut from a very proud little boy!
The kitten just sat there. Poor thing looks quite pitiful now with patches of hair gone.
I would have pictures but my camera is not cooperating. Totally frustrating!!

I am thankful it was the cat and not his own hair, though he is in desperate need of a cut!

Recently

It has become hot. Unbearably hot. The kind of hot I must plan my day around. Outside work and play time has to come in the morning and then again late afternoon or early evening. So we make all attempts to walk and garden and play ball earlier in the day.

Summer has come with its smells of fresh dirt in the garden and lawn being mowed and sun screen and bug spray and sweat being washed off at the end of the day. Flowers are blooming. The crepe myrtle bushes and trees here are so pretty and the magnolia trees. Jonathan points out the magnolia trees when we drive by one. They have these beautiful huge white blossoms. We don't have any in our yard but we do have two peach trees I am thrilled about and Ashley said there are blackberry bushes. Yum!!

Our garden is thriving. However, the weeds are too. It is a battle. We planted very very late. A garden has become a marriage issue in the last few years so I must prove myself capable this year. Not the best year to try to do so!! But I am greatly looking forward to fresh tomatoes and cucumbers and corn and squash and basil and cilantro (which I LOVE but no one else does. I have to make a seperate batch of salsa with it for myself!! I could eat it with so many things but no one else is willing.) Ashley and Jonathan planted two egg plant plants which will be interesting. I have no idea what to do with an eggplant should we get any. We also planted sweet potatoes which I have never done but will be great to have, especially with a baby.

We still are no closer to choosing names. Girl name we may have and Ashley is convinced the baby is a girl so he is not real motivated to choose a boy name. He has certainly nixed every option I have given!! And there is still not much set up for the baby or food in the freezer for us after the baby comes. I really need to get at it this week and next. I need ideas on what all to stick in the freezer. I am contemplating bierocks but not sure how bold I am feeling.

I am feeling a need to spend extra time with Jonathan and spoil him even. Not sure how even more time is possible since we are together most all the time already. But everything in his world is about to change and ours too. I am quite nervous about all the changes and preparing him for it all. I am tempted to take a day and ignore everything else and just let Jonathan dictate the day. No "okay but I need to get this done first." I have a feeling much of the day would be spent outside. I really think I might do something like that. I am bound to get some ice cream out of it!!

It has happened

Do not tell Ashley. Or my Mom. For very different reasons.



But the unthinkable happened. I actually felt the desire to have a gun with me.

Never did I think such a thing would happen. Look what Tennessee has done to me!!


How has this happened? Several things lead to such an occurance. A few weeks ago, Ashley was
gone all day and late at a class. Jonathan and I were outside and saw a rather large snake slither across the driveway. It was black and too big and too close for comfort. Pepper, our dog, went to examine it and the snake hissed and coiled up and stood up like a cobra. (I am fully aware it was not a cobra but just needed to help get the visual across.) Jonathan got all wound up and was finding hoes to chop the snake with and other materials to catch or kill the creature. We then watched it slither up the side of a tree!! Yes, right up the side of a tree we walk under all the time. It really bothered me. I decided maybe I could shoot it. So we went back in the house and my five year old helped me figure out which was a shotgun and then what bullets this gun would use. Yes, I was even further disturbed! It took me so long to figure out how to load the thing that when we got back, we could not find the snake in the tree. I am not sure if I would have had the nerve to shoot at it anyway. Ashley did make me shoot that gun the next day "just in case."
A week or so later, Jonathan and I were walking with Pepper and went a direction we do not normally go. We were walking past a house when this collie type dog came running out barking. She headed straight for Pepper who went crazy and yanked the leash out of my hand. I was trying to hold a crying and screaming Jonathan and get a hold of the leash again while the two dogs snarled and bit at each other. I was scared to try to get in the middle too much. We tried to get away but anytime Pepper would move the other dog would bite at her and attack her. I was scared and not sure what to do. We got a bit down the road very slowly with poor Pepper terrified. The owner eventually came out. She was an elderly lady walking with a cane. She tried to yell at her dog to come but the dog refused. She tried to hit her dog with her cane but nothing helped. Eventually she started to walk back to her house and told us good luck and to be careful. I was quite shocked! I had actually remembered to bring my phone with me and so I gave Ashley he call. About 15 minutes later he came roaring up and jumped out of his truck with his gun and shot near the dog just to scare it and it went yelping off. He was our hero(as he was yesterday when he got the AC fixed!!) I would never have shot the dog but had thought if I had a gun perhaps I could have used it to scare the dog. We have not walked that far in that direction again!
Ashley and Jonathan love to shoot at turtles in our ponds. We were walking again the other day and we saw a huge turtle in the ditch. Now I have nothing against turtles though Ashley said they eat a fish a day and that his is reason for shooting them. But something came over me and I thought it would be fun to try to hit that turtle. It hissed at us so I felt no kind connection to it! Plus I would have loved to see Jonathan's reacton and pride had I shot at it.

Now, I am not sure if I will ever actually carry a gun. But I am leaning a bit more to becoming more familiar with one and being proficient enough to use one if need be. Ashley would be so proud! I can't have my five year old talking me through me protecting him from a snake!!