Monday, December 29, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas

We have a tradition in our home; Greg will read the story "Twas the Night Before Christmas" every year prior to the kids going to bed on Christmas eve. This year I think was the topper on the tree. We try to keep the magic alive and this year it was a struggle...... I will allow the photos to tell the story of our fading magic.

This is the first year of the tradition...

Nick is more interested in his picture being taken in this one...

The magic comes alive this year......

The anticipation grows.....

Still going strong....

Still have it......

We still have the magic... but it is fading....

Ok, Sarcasm is starting to creep in....they are laughing at the really old book that their father scribbled in when he was little.... ( we couldn't find our regular book that year.)

Then there is this year...... sniff, sniff... no magic....

Greg tries to get some interaction.....

and he keeps going until he gets a smile.......

Can you at least PRETEND like you are into it for ONE picture???

So as you can see... the magic of Santa has faded. We now create magic and fun in other ways in our home... like wrapping gifts in duct tape or in chains with a pad lock and going on a treasure hunt to find the key. :)

Greg and I laid in bed on Christmas eve reminiscing all the Christmas' with the kids. I teared up thinking of how grown up they are and how the number of Christmas Eve's are dwindling with them still asleep in their beds under our roof. We only have one more Christmas with Les before she is an adult. Where did all the time go? I cherish our photos and videos and thank God every Christmas eve for yet another year to spend with my family. It isn't until you lose someone you love that you realize how precious each holiday spent with family truly is.

There is a magic that will never fade in our home, and that is the magic of Jesus' birth. As Santa becomes a childhood memory Christ continues to shine even brighter each year through our kids.

For unto you a child is born......

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Christmas Ranch

For the past 3 years it has been a tradition with my family to go to the Christmas Ranch. We drove to Lebanon tonight to see the display and it was beautiful. There were a lot of changes this year to the ranch. For starters, they are now charging a 12.00 entrance fee per car load. The proceeds to go the Ronald McDonald house and it is well worth the price. You truly feel the Christmas spirit while at the ranch and each year they continue to add more and more. For those of you who live locally and would like to visit the ranch take 48 south into Lebanon and turn left on rt. 123 at the Golden Lamb. Continue on Rt. 123, you will drive over 71 and then about a mile or two later turn rt onto Waynesville rd. The Christmas Ranch will be on your right at the bottom of the hill, you can't miss it; well worth the drive.. you will be happy you went. :) Here are some pictures of our visit tonight.

Dad with his grand kids

Greg and Jamie being silly...

Naughty or Niece, I mean nice? I think nice. :)

Greg and the flakes instead of snowflakes. :)

Group photo

Friday, December 12, 2008

Vomit anyone????

OK, first of all this post is not for those with a weak stomach. I was trying to remain positive and not talk about all the yuk in the house and stay all christmasy but I have decided today I am going to use my blog as a therapy tool and vent. (sorry guys)

This all started last week with Greg and I having a sore throat. Sore throat I can handle, a little bit of a nuisance, but doable. Greg then went down hill on Tuesday with the chills, aching, coughing, stuffy head so you can't rest illness. He was miserable poor guy and still went to work. Then Wednesday night I was hit hard with vomiting, aching, and chills. I haven't felt that bad since high school. We both were down and out on Thursday and stayed in bed all day long. Thank goodness for having older kids who can help get themselves off to school and make their own dinner. Greg and I took the weekend to relax and recoup and by Monday morning we were feeling more like ourselves.

This week I had two little ones here with me... one 2 year old and one 7 month old. Tuesday afternoon after lunch the 2 year old didn't look quite right..... he was clingy and he wasn't interested in playing with any of his toys. As he was getting off the couch he turned to me and I noticed he had thrown up a little on his shirt. Having the motherly quick reflex that I have I quickly swooped him up and ran to the kitchen. I knew some had hit the carpet on my way there but I was focused on getting to the sink before more came up. We made it to the sink in time for what I thought was the worst. My daughter Leslie was home early that day due to having an ortho appointment (lucky her) she stood in the kitchen traumatized by all the vomit. I asked her to please go into the front room and see how much was on the carpet and to see if anything got on the couch. As I am holding this sweet little boy who is now shaking after getting sick I can hear Les in the other room say " Oh my gosh.... there is A LOT on the couch... I mean A LOT!" I proceeded to clean up the little guy and get him into clean clothes and wrapped in a warm blanket before tackling the mound of vomit on the couch. Les was not kidding... it was a lot! How could so much come out of such a small belly??? He didn't throw up any more that day or any other day this week... I was blessed to experience the one and only vomit fit. :)

Then there is the 7 month old, he is as cute as a button and always has a smile on his face. I fed him lunch yesterday and he was all smiles. I finished giving him his bottle and then sat him in his little seat while I went into the kitchen to wash out his bottle and get something to wipe his face. As I came back into the front room I looked at him and from his waist down he was covered in vomit. It was like I sat him in a bucket full of vomit I kid you not. I looked at him and said out loud.... seriously??? Now it gets worse... like I said if you have a weak stomach stop reading now. I bent down to pick up this little one and get him out of his pool of vomit and as I picked him up he took his little hand (which was immersed in vomit) and put it on my mouth. Yes, my MOUTH!!! We ran to the kitchen (again) ... no time to clean my mouth so I did the 4 year old move wipe my mouth with my sleeve and kept moving. This little guy was still smiling ... he thought I was funny running around getting clean clothes, throwing dirty clothes and blankets into the washer machine and spraying out his seat. Here is the really gross part.... he threw up soooo much that the vomit actually started oozing out of the seat onto the carpet through the holes where the straps come out. I thought I had it all contained in the seat but when I went back out to the front room there were two large piles of vomit where it had oozed out. He too only threw up the one time so I guess I should feel honored they chose me to share in their experience.

At the end of the day I am standing in the kitchen talking to the mother of the little one who threw up and I received a phone call from a good friend who is also one of my son's teachers and she said " I have your son here in my room and he is sick, he is sitting next to the trash can. I am going to drive him home for you." I thought I was going to cry, NO MORE VOMIT PLEASE!!!

Nick came home and he was green, he had dark circles under his eyes and I knew it was just a matter of time. Sure enough he did get sick but the nice thing about older kids is they know when it is coming and most of the time they make it to the toilet. :)

After my vomit clean up duty yesterday I was blessed with the opportunity to serve the adopt a family program through Centerville Schools. I spent my time handing out gifts to families who were adopted by generous families and organizations within the community. It was so rewarding; moms who came to pick up their children's gifts were so appreciative and some were speechless and were brought to tears.

I am not sure if you noticed the sunset last night... It was incredible... so many shades of orange and red; not something you see in our state very often. I was speaking with another volunteer last night and she told me as she watched the colors change in the sky about a dear friend she had lost to breast cancer. She said while her friend fought the cancer she took notice some of the things she had taken for granted during her life, such as the sunrise and sunset. Her house was positioned where she could witness both the rise and fall of the sun each day. She painted her room all the colors of the sunset so when she was too weak to make it over to the window she could see them from her bed. The woman's daughter asked her mother how she would know she was still with her after her passing and she told her to look at the sky and she would see her. We all stood with tears in our eyes watching the sunset last night after hearing this story. I again realized how fortunate I am..... I stood watching the beautiful colors of the sun set behind the trees and I was healthy, my kids were healthy, (except for a little vomiting) I had presents wrapped and under the tree waiting for my kids to open them. I had a home to go home to and a man waiting there for me who is a saint and who loves me with all his heart. I do not feel worthy for all the gifts God has given me... I thanked God last night as the last little bit of red faded away from the sky, I thanked Him for loving me, for blessing me and for giving me grace. For without His grace I am nothing.

God always has a way of putting things into perspective for me. Vomit didn't seem so bad after coming home last night... Vomit I can handle... Vomit is doable. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree..

Well, the tree is finally up . It was actually a little easier for me this year. Greg helped our good friend Keith take his snow blower to Bellbrook to be serviced and on the way back they stopped over at our storage unit and picked up our Christmas tubs.

The storage trip is by far the worst part of decorating. We have a 5x10 storage unit; to say it mildly... we have put our space to good use... it is PACKED! Now, ideally we try to keep our unit organized. As seasons come and go we try to keep the next holiday tub in the front of the unit so it is ready to go when we need it. This year we were not so diligent, and I am ever so grateful to Greg and Keith (who may not be our good friend anymore after this) for saving me from the mountain of Rubbermaid tubs. :)

When Greg and I would look at a house to buy, before we moved here, I would always try to picture where we would put our Christmas tree. It was a huge selling point for me; a good place for our tree. When we moved to our current home I was so excited because we had cathedral ceilings throughout our whole house and I knew no matter where we decided to place our tree it could be a BIG one. The first 3 years of living here we spent over $100.00 each year on a real Christmas tree. They were beautiful and HUGE and I loved it. After the 3rd year we decided to look at artificial trees. We figured within a few years it would pay for itself and we would forever have our big tree.

We shopped until we found "the perfect tree"; (not to be confused with "the perfect cheer") it was big and it was the most realistic fake tree we had ever seen. We bought it and brought it home. Now, if you have ever purchased anything after looking at the display in the store you quickly realize after bringing it home.... things look smaller in the store than they do in your house. This tree was really big, we were so focused on the height of the tree that we didn't consider circumference. It stuck out pretty far in the middle of the room... so far out that we had to remove the last two rows of branches in order for it to fit in our front room and allow room for presents under it. To this day we have never used the last two rows of our tree.

This is the beginning stage of putting up/ assembling our tree:

We have thought about leaving our tree like this ......Feliz Navidad

We called in help from friends too....

Murphy: "If only I had thumbs"

Our First Christmas ornament....

Bulbs ......

Nick is building his icicle fort under the tree

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
Your beauty green will teach me
That hope and love will ever be
The way to joy and peace for me.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
Your beauty green will teach me.

I anxiously await to see what God will teach me this Christmas as we celebrate the most precious gift of all... the birth of His son.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I'll have a "flu" Christmas.....

Well, I guess all I can do is have Christmas spirit on my blog at the moment. We unfortunately have been plagued with an unexpected house guest this past week, Mr. Fluenza. Mr. Fluenza brought a nice basket of chills, fever and congestion to share with Greg, as well as a package of fever, vomiting, and well, you know... for me. I would have taken a picture of our guest to share with you, however he is a very ugly fellow and we try not to share him with our friends. Usually we encourage our guests to stay a while longer, however this guest can't leave fast enough. We are on the road to recovery after our 4-5 day visit and pray he doesn't return to visit our children. We will know within 6-8 days.

So, all I can do is update the blog and envision our Christmas tree aglow in our front room. We were able to get our Thanksgiving decorations down prior to our house guest arriving; therefore we are one step closer to holiday cheer in our home. .... but as Elf would say.... "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing loud for all to hear." Can you hear me singing???? (be glad you can't) :)

We were able to take the kids to La Comedia dinner theater Wednesday night prior to my visit with Mr. Fluenza and it was a wonderful show. We saw Miracle on 34th Street. I had not been to La Comedia in YEARS and Greg and the kids had never been so it was a neat experience for all. The actors did a fantastic job and it was a very festive family outing to kick off what we call "Christmas Magic". Christmas Magic starts the first day in December and it requires us, as a family, to do something "Christmasy" ( I know that is not a word) every day of the month till Christmas morning. Now, something Christmasy could be something as grand as a dinner theater show or as simple as watching a Christmas movie or show on TV or DVD. I told you we were crazy, click here if you haven't read HOW crazy. We will visit Clifton Mill, Woodland Lights, The Christmas Ranch ( a MUST see if you have never been) and many more festive outings before Christmas morn. Twenty-five days is a long time so if you have any suggestions please feel free to let us know. :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving left overs...

Ok,.... apparently Thanksgiving left overs have a whole new meaning to me this year. I still have Thanksgiving decorations inside and out... and it is December 3rd. We ALWAYS put away our decorations the weekend after Thanksgiving, AND put up our Christmas decorations.

As you can see this blog is still decked out for Thanksgiving as well. I would like to say it is because I was overly thankful this year and didn't want to see Thanksgiving end. However, that would be a lie. I am lazy and I dread getting all the Christmas stuff out. I am in a festive mood and I am looking forward to Christmas this year but when I think of the whole ordeal of getting our Christmas stuff out.... well, I get sick to my stomach. I will share later, in another post, what all entails "getting the Christmas stuff out".

So, lets talk about left overs...... aside from all the Thanksgiving decorations still left over and all the food we STILL have in our frig... (how long can turkey stay in the frig and still be good???) We have left over memories from our Thanksgiving day.......

First, and most importantly, big decisions had to be made.... where should we sit?
Bring on the food.....

After dinner naps.....

After dinner games.... and some more napping.

Greg asked Maya what she was thankful for and she pointed to him......what a sweetie!

These are leftovers I am NOT fond of...

Round 2: Dessert with Greg's family

More Guitar Hero we even have vocals.

More napping/relaxing....

Greg's Uncle Dan, Aunt Robin and Cousin Dani came into town from KY and we had a nice time visiting/jamming with them.

Both Les and Dani are laughing in this photo... I am sure one of the adults messed up.

So after recapping our Thanksgiving Day, I guess it really is time to get moving.... we are in DECEMBER after all. I promise the next time you visit (unless you visit again in the next day or two) :) I will have Christmas spirit inside my home as well as on my blog. :) Hope your Turkey Day was as nice as ours.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18: Be Joyful always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances (that is the tough one), for this is God's will for you through Christ Jesus.

We are so blessed, and even though my "left over" decorations have nothing to do with my measure of thankfulness.... I am sooooo thankful for all God has blessed me with, sometimes so much it is overwhelming.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

ME crazy?????

I have been telling my family for months now I think I am in the early stages of Alzheimer's. I seriously do. The kids think it is hilarious when they find house hold cleaners or lotion in the frig or milk placed on TOP of the refrigerator instead of inside. I on the other hand do not find it as entertaining. My most used phrase throughout the day is "please remind me to....".

Friends who love me and don't want to think the worst say "Oh, you just have a lot going on, that's all." Some friends tell me it is hormonal and it will get better. I am praying for the later but in the mean time I am writing myself notes, wrapping string around my finger and doing anything and everything to help me remember what it is I need to do.

Here is an example of a typical morning for me. I walk into the playroom to get something out of the pantry. Walking through the playroom I notice the rabbit is out of water. I walk back into the kitchen, fill up the water bottle and head back to the playroom. I replace the water bottle to notice the dog needs food. I feed the dog, then thinking my job in this room is done I walk back into the kitchen. I stand in the kitchen for a few minutes trying to think what it is I am supposed to be doing. Not remembering, I decide to go to the bedroom to get some dirty laundry. Once in the bedroom I notice I need to hang up some clothes and make the bed. I make the bed, hang up the clothes and head back out into the front room. Now, at least 20 minutes or more have passed and I STILL have not retrieved my item out of the pantry OR started the laundry. This can make for a very long day.

I then started to think.... "Maybe I am not forgetful, maybe I am crazy." How do other women do it???? How do OTHER moms keep from losing THEIR minds???? Then it came to me the other night while observing our family in all our glory... My whole FAMILY is crazy... not just me. :)

Now, before you start to judge me or think I am this ungrateful mother and wife let me say this.... I love my family, I love them more than life itself. I am a rather serious person...sometimes TOO serious. I do like to have fun and I enjoy a good laugh but not as much as I need to. God, I think, has a great sense of humor. Soooo, he blessed me with this incredibly funny man as my husband and then a little chip off the ol block as a son. They torment the ladies of the house relentlessly with their jokes. Nick found a little Fisher Price man a while ago and he spends his time trying to find places to hide him where I will find it and laugh. He hides him in my purse, shoes, pillows, washer machine... well you get the idea. He isn't even around when I find him, he just knows it will be funny.

Check out the video of my "flippy Nick".

Let me explain some of our craziness. We have weird sayings for things....... like the word "deets" means thank you. This is how Leslie used to say thanks when she was 2. Why do we still talk this way??? Crazy. Bread is a piece of "Nah"... we owe that one to Nick.

We see smiley faces on EVERYTHING! Our turkey was sitting on the counter yesterday and Les walked in and said "Hey look, the turkey has a smiley face on it". Sure enough... at that angle, the printing on the turkey looked just like a smiley face. Why????? Cause we are CRAZY!!! :) We see faces on cars, trees, clouds.. you name it... we see it. :)

Is it crazy to bring wild baby squirrels into your home??? Ummm... YES!

Here are a few more photos in my defense.......

Do you like the smell of electronics?

Who does this to their dog???

Who does this to their child....and then takes a picture?? :)

Ummmmm.....that is a crab hole!

Well,... a photo is worth a thousand words...

I am so blessed to have such laughter in our home. It makes my heart swell to hear our kids say... "Man, I laughed so hard my stomach hurts". I pray we can continue to have great times of laughter. I have found as life goes on it is the times of laughter that get you through the times of tears. It is the memories you share with a person that lasts a lifetime. A loved one may leave this world but the memories you share, the laughter you share, will never leave your heart.

My motto when it comes to me, my family, and our craziness..... If you can't beat em... join em, and have the time of your life! :) I have learned I am not crazy ENOUGH...the crazier the better!