With Thanks - Day 30

Sunday, November 30, 2008 0 Comments A+ a-

Well, my 30 days of thankfulness have come to an end and I have really enjoyed this little project. It forced me to look beyond the circumstances happening right now. It forced me to stop and wonder if there was something, anything, that I could be thankful for later in those same circumstances. Some days were easy, others were incredibly hard. But in the end, I think I have a new-found appreciation for at least trying to see the good in everything.

With Thanks - Day 29

Sunday, November 30, 2008 4 Comments A+ a-

Day #29: I am always thankful for new life, be it in the form of pregnancy or adoption. New life is such an amazing gift, a renewed hope. And especially thankful to be sharing this time with my sister, Christine, and my cousin, Colette. Here we are: Christine at 37 weeks pregnant, I at 33 weeks pregnant, and Colette at 26 weeks pregnant.

With Thanks - Days 25-28

Friday, November 28, 2008 1 Comments A+ a-

Day #25: The sounds of Jon and Hudson playing cars together on the floor. The clashing metal, the low sound of Jon's voice, followed quickly by a toddler-esque giggle. Such sweet, simple evenings.

Day #26: Devyn's excitement over one of her birthday gifts. My friend, Mandy, knowing Devyn's love of butterflies, bought her the most perfect gift. About five larvae arrived on our doorstep and we have watched them grow and move for the past week. There are now two crystallise hanging from the top and the other three are currently forming their cocoons. Devyn is so excited over watching the transformation from larvae to caterpillar to butterfly. (And truth be told, Daddy and I are having fun too.)

Day #27: My great-grandmother died when I was 18 years old, during my senior year of high school. That was 18 Christmases, Thanksgivings, Easters, and numerous other visits with a wonderful, wise woman. Each Christmas Grammie would make her infamous chex mix and it has quickly become a favorite in this house too. Just the smells of the roasting mix coming from the oven brings back so many memories!

Day #28: Receiving a phone call from one of my dear high school friends and being told that she's pregnant with their first child. Oh, I did a happy dance right there in my kitchen and longed to be where she was for a celebratory hug! I'm going to be an auntie again come July. So many blessings this year!

With Thanks - Day 24

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 3 Comments A+ a-

Day #24: I love unexpected movie nights! I mean those nights when there's an impromptu phone call or text message asking a sister if they want to come over and hang out. Jon sent a text message to Christine and Caleb tonight, asking if they wanted to come over. To our surprise and delight, they said yes and we just finished Stars Wars: Episode III.

This is just one of the many blessings of having family so close; I hope I never take it for granted!

With Thanks - Day 23

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 6 Comments A+ a-

Day #23: It’s happening; it’s really happening! I have been dreaming of this since they first laid that beautiful baby girl in my arms, the day that I could start working part-time. And that time is finally here!

We finished our interviews yesterday, discussed the candidates, made our choice, and offered the other part-time position to a wonderful lady. She is a mother who only wants to work part-time too. She brings some great skills to the position and will be such a great balance to me with her attention to detail and organizational skills. She happily accepted our offer and starts in two weeks.

I was given my reclassification papers this morning, showing my voluntary demotion and detailing my new work schedule once I return from maternity leave. I can only imagine what its going to be like to head to work for two and a half days a week! There is so much to be thankful for this year and this new part-time schedule ranks high on the list. I’m so thankful that God provided a way, both through Jon’s promotion last year and a willing supervisor, for me to be home with our babies more.

With Thanks - Day 22

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 2 Comments A+ a-

Day #22: No words necessary.

With Thanks - Day 21

Monday, November 24, 2008 4 Comments A+ a-

Day #21: I am so very thankful for the new Macaroni Grill Box Dinners; they are making our evenings so much easier! Now those who know me know that I hate to cook; I abhor cooking! Don’t get me wrong, give me a recipe and I can follow it, but it’s not an enjoyable task. (Now baking on the other hand, I love to do.) We have tried the Creamy Basil and the Chicken Marsala dinners and both are incredibly delicious, easy to make, and a huge time-saver. I’m thankful for anything that makes life a little easier.

With Thanks - Day 20

Sunday, November 23, 2008 2 Comments A+ a-

As excited as I am about the fast-approaching Christmas season, fear not, I'm still taking stock every day of things that I am thankful for. Even today, I asked Devyn what she was thankful for and she replied exuberantly, "My friends and my house. And all my toys!" It made my heart happy.

Day #20: This morning I went to the store to pick up some much-needed diapers for Hudson. I think we were down to about two or three diapers. As I perused the aisle of diapers, looking at the different types, brands, and sizes, my eyes fell on the yellow package of Pampers Swaddlers. I laid my hand on my growing tummy and smiled as I thought about how soon Baby Trece would be with us and using those very diapers.

Before I could change my mind, I tossed a package into the cart, next to the size 3 diapers that Hudson is currently wearing. When I got home, I opened Hudson's diapers first and placed them in the basket. I then opened the Pampers Swaddlers package to put those away and the sweet smell of newborn Pampers diapers filled my senses. There is nothing that says "new baby" than those diapers. I am so thankful for little reminders like these that a baby will soon be a part of this household again.

I couldn't help myself!

Saturday, November 22, 2008 11 Comments A+ a-

I've been teaching myself how to design my own layouts and I've been working on a Christmas design for a couple of weeks now. I was hoping to wait until after Thanksgiving to debut it, but I'm just getting so excited for this Christmas season. We have much to look forward to:
  • My long-awaited niece will be making her arrival.
  • Company in the form of many friends and family.
  • My sister, Courtney, is marrying her high school sweetheart.
  • One of the best celebrations of the year... the birth of our Lord.
  • And soon after that, the arrival of Baby Trece.

In celebration of all that, I think it's time to start decking the halls!

With Thanks - Day 19

Friday, November 21, 2008 0 Comments A+ a-

Day #19: It is just after 5:00pm on a Friday evening and I’m locking up the office. It has been a L-O-N-G week, filled with sick kids, a sick husband, a sore throat myself, and two grueling days of interviews. Interviews, you ask? Yes, I am happy to report that we have just completed over half of the interviews for the other part-time person that will do a job share with me once maternity leave is over.

Suffice it to say that I’m drained and tired, and so very thankful it’s Friday. Now it’s off to the bridal shop to try on Devyn’s flower girl dress and my bridesmaid dress. I just know I’m going to look like a big, round cranberry the night of Courtney’s wedding. But who cares… TGIF!

With Thanks - Day 18

Thursday, November 20, 2008 3 Comments A+ a-

Day #18: For seven months out of the year, Jon and I leave for work about the same time; he usually leaves about ten minutes before the kids and I do. (Of course, this will be changing after maternity leave and I start working only two and a half days a week. Whoo hoo!) Anyway, after almost seven years of marriage, it still never ceases to amaze me how great Jon is at anticipating my needs before I do. There is rarely a time, unless Jon is really running behind, that I go out to the garage and my car is not already started and getting warmed up for us.

I am so thankful for a husband that does so many little things for me; be it a Pepsi waiting in the beverage holder, a warm car, or coming out of the gas station with my favorite candy bar.

With Thanks - Every Day

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 12 Comments A+ a-

by: alison mcghee

One day I counted your fingers and kissed each one.

One day the first snowflakes fell, and I held you up and watched them melt on your baby skin.

One day we crossed the street, and you held my hand tight.

Then you were my baby, and now you are my child.

Sometimes, when you sleep, I watch you dream. And I dream too...

That someday you will dive into the cool, clear water of a lake.

Someday you will walk into a deep wood.

Someday your eyes will be filled with a joy so deep that they shine.

Someday you will run so fast and so far your heart will feel like fire.

Someday you will swing high - so high, higher than you ever dared to swing.

Someday you will hear something so sad that you will fold up with sorrow.

Someday you will call a song to the wind, and the wind will carry your song away.

Someday I will stand on this porch and watch your arms waving to me until I can no longer see you.

Someday you will look at this houses and wonder how something that feels so big can look so small.

Someday you will feel a small weight against your strong back.

Someday I will watch you brushing your child's hair.

Someday, a long time from now, your own hair will glow silver in the sun.

And when that day comes, love, you will remember me.

Happy Birthday, My Devyn Paige. You have no idea how many ways, how deeply you have touched my life. Every day that I get to mother you on this earth is a blessing and I consider myself so lucky to have you as a daughter. I thank God for you every day. May this next year be another year of blossoming for you. All my love, Mommy

With Thanks - Day 16

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 1 Comments A+ a-

Day #16: Guess what I’m wearing today? Short sleeves and sandals! I’ve had the air conditioning going on my errands and its November 18th in Colorado folks! Yes, we broke new records today as we experienced an unseasonably warm day. This is one of the greatest things about living here, the ever-changing weather and seasons. There’s an old saying that goes, “You don’t like the weather here in Colorado? Just wait 10 minutes and it’ll change.” And it’s usually a pretty accurate description.

I love this state most of the time (ask me again in the middle of a blizzard in March), but today I am especially thankful to have grown up, and raise my own children, in such an amazingly gorgeous place.

With Thanks - Day 15

Monday, November 17, 2008 1 Comments A+ a-

Day #15: Last night we celebrated Devyn’s upcoming 4th birthday at a popular pizza place and I was overwhelmed, but not in the way that you think…

I was overwhelmed by the amount of people in our lives, in Devyn’s life, that love us, that love her, and who wanted to celebrate with us. We are truly blessed with amazing family and friends. We had aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-aunts, great-uncles, cousins, and friends all packed into one whole row at the pizza place. I am so very thankful for the people that we get to call family and friends. You are all amazing and hold such a special place in our hearts.

With Thanks - Day 14

Sunday, November 16, 2008 2 Comments A+ a-

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

Day #14: When I've had a bad day, I am so thankful for God's promise that each dawn bring a new day and a fresh start. For the days when my patience is low; for the days when my temper is short; for the days that I'm consumed with to-do list and don't stop to play with my children; I rely heavily on this verse. There is such peace knowing that I can start over the next morning...

With Thanks - Days 12 and 13

Friday, November 14, 2008 8 Comments A+ a-

Days 12 and 13: With everything that has been going on in our family these past two weeks, there is one person that has remained a constant for all of us. In the past week and a half, our family has gone through the following crises/changes:
  • Dad was admitted to the hospital for a five-day stay. He is now home, resting and recuperating.
  • My sister, Allison, broke up with her boyfriend of almost three years.
  • I was mothered through a virus yesterday, where I wasn’t able to keep anything down.
  • My grandmother, my mom’s mom, was admitted to the hospital last night for high blood pressure.
  • And then the pièce de résistance, Christine was admitted to the same hospital last night to find the cause of an infection and, if needed, induce labor. We are happy to report, after a long night of tests, that Christine is fine, Elliana is still baking, and Christine will be released soon.

Throughout it all, my mom has been the strong pillar for all of us. Steady, unwavering, and a rock. I am so thankful for my mom, without whom I have no idea how our family would function!

With Thanks - Day 11

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 2 Comments A+ a-

Day #11: I’m thankful for checklists, if for nothing else, then for the mere fact that it feels oh-so-good to actually check things off my checklist. See below:
  • Call insurance company and clarify claims issue… check.
  • Order Devyn’s birthday cake for Sunday’s party… check.
    (Side note: My beautiful, sweet little girl asked for a butterfly cake with ladybugs and spiders. I happily delivered… minus the spiders.)
  • Pay two bills… check.
  • Catch-up on laundry, including folding and putting away… check.

It’s been a productive morning! Check.

With Thanks - Day 10

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 0 Comments A+ a-

Day #10: This weekend I went through 8 boxes of baby clothes! (Seriously? 8 boxes?! Seems a little ridiculous to me!) I was able to sort through everything gender-specific and came out with a enough unisex stuff to last us a little while. At least until I can start washing boy or girl clothes upon Baby Trece's arrival. I had Jon come home with Dreft to start washing the baby clothes and oh my, I am so thankful for the scent of that detergent. It is downright heavenly and reminds me of newborn smell. I even washed some of Devyn and Hudson's pajamas in it. =)

With Thanks - Day 9

Monday, November 10, 2008 3 Comments A+ a-

Taken on our honeymoon in June 2002.

Day #9: As we were going through boxes this weekend, trying our best to organize everything and start marking things off our to-do list, we came upon old photos. Photos from our wedding, photos from our honeymoon, photos from our dating years. Jon has kept every card, note, or letter I've written him during our 11-year relationship. We even have our very first "marriage license" from the Sadie Hawkins dance we went to during my senior year of high school; dated November 22, 1997. So very cool, and weird at the same time. I'm so thankful for old pictures, old memorabilia, and those trips down memory lane. (And yes, I know that I snagged a good one! He's simply the best!)

With Thanks - Days 6, 7, 8

Sunday, November 09, 2008 1 Comments A+ a-

Forgive me... I'm a bit behind.

Day #6: I'm thankful for family nights out. We took Devyn and Hudson bowling on Friday night and had a blast. It was Hudson's first time bowling and he took to it like a fish to water. I hadn't even had a chance to put my bowling shoes on, when Hudson had taken an 8-pound ball and tried throwing it down the alley himself. He decided to follow the ball and was halfway down the lane before I caught up to him. He and Devyn even bowled a spare together. We had a blast!

Day #7: Devyn was spending the night with Nana and Papa, Hudson had gone down for an early night, and that left Jon and I alone for the evening. We turned on Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and cuddled on the couch. It was reminiscent of our high school dates! I am so thankful for alone time with Jon, even if it is just watching a video at home.

Day #8: I laid in bed this morning, trying to will Hudson back to sleep, when I felt the familiar rhythmic motions of in-utero hiccups. I smiled to myself as Baby Trece stretched and kicked, showing his/her annoyance being unable to stop them. As the mom, I just thoroughly enjoyed watching my belly move from the stretches, kicks, and hiccups. I am so thankful to be pregnant, enjoying this time with the baby, sharing our secrets of hiccups, movements, and poking games.

My Freak Out

Friday, November 07, 2008 9 Comments A+ a-

Did you know that I’m pregnant with our third child?! That we’re having a baby?! And you didn’t bother to mention this to me?

“Now, Ms. So-So, here are your next two appointments. After that, the midwives would like to see you every week,” the scheduling lady told me. “We’ll schedule those next time you’re here. See you in two weeks.”

I’m having a baby…

“Jenn, would you like some help getting ready for the baby?” my mom asked. “You need to decide where to put another dresser, have you started going through baby clothes yet…”

Oh crap, I’m having a baby…

“When are you due?” asked a random employee dropping off paperwork. “Wow! That’s just around the corner!”

Oh my word, I’m REALLY having a baby…

And there I sat, across from Jon, enjoying a quick lunch-date at Wendy’s. As I listed all the things that we have to do between now and Baby Trece’s arrival, I felt the tears well up and I cried into my salted fries. I am suddenly very aware that there is only nine weeks between now and our due date… I have not done a SINGLE thing to prepare for his/her arrival.

There are newborn clothes to be sorted, washed, and put away; newborn blankets to folded and ready for use; perhaps we should start stocking up on newborn diapers; and I have yet to even go through Devyn and Hudson’s summer clothes.

Usually I am ahead of the game, so prepared in every way, that I usually find myself twiddling my thumbs as the pregnancy draws to a close. Yet I always seem to be two steps behind with pregnancy #3. It wasn’t until I was 20 to 24 weeks pregnant that it even started to sink in that there was a life growing inside me; it wasn’t until Baby Trece was constantly moving that I really started getting excited to meet this new little person; and now at almost-31-weeks, I’m realizing that Baby Trece IS going to come out and I should probably start preparing for his/her arrival.

We had a great appointment today; no extra weight gain since two weeks ago, baby’s heartrate continues to stay in the 140-range, and he/she is measuring right on track. Hang on, folks, we’re having a baby!

With Thanks - Day 5

Thursday, November 06, 2008 2 Comments A+ a-

Day #5: I absolutely love my children! The things they do and say keep me in stitches most of the time that we’re together. Some priceless things that have been said, or done, in days past:

  • “Mama, your toilet is too gross. I’m going to throw-up in my toilet.” Devyn, running from our master bathroom to the hallway bathroom. (And yes, my toilet probably is THAT gross.)
  • Hudson has decided he no longer likes diapers and constantly pulls at them; it is now commonplace to see a tiny plumber-crack on our 21-month-old.
  • As I was buckling a screaming Hudson in his car seat, Devyn ran up with the toy that was causing the tantrum. As she handed it to Hudson, she turned to me, “I’m a good big sister.”
  • We have a Christian kids worship CD in the van and listen to it on a daily basis. Devyn has all the songs memorized; her favorite is track #9, she calls it “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Even Hudson sings and dances along; this morning he actually sang “La, La, La, La” to track #6.

I am SO thankful to have these beautiful babes and my husband to help me keep things in perspective. Besides, how do you NOT laugh when I have these two for entertainment?!

With Thanks - Day 4

Wednesday, November 05, 2008 2 Comments A+ a-

Day #4: Something so sweet happened yesterday; something that makes me smile every time I think of it. Yesterday, while casting our votes, my beautiful, sweet little boy started calling me “Mama” for the first time. (He'd been saying something like "Mama" for a while, but this was crystal clear.) I had Devyn with me, and Jon had Hudson, when over the noise of the precinct, I could hear his tiny voice calling to me. I am so thankful to be called “Mama” and especially thankful that I get to mother such beautiful children.

With Thanks - Day 3

Tuesday, November 04, 2008 3 Comments A+ a-

Someone was excited to vote with Mommy and Daddy this morning!

Day #3: I am so thankful to live in a country where my voice can be heard by the vote that I place; I'm thankful to live in a country where I have a voice at all. It is an awesome responsibility, one that is not to be taken lightly. Did you vote today?

With Thanks - Day 2

Monday, November 03, 2008 2 Comments A+ a-

I really had a hard time with this today, just feeling sad, overwhelmed, and a bit of anger. I could have cheated... after all, how would you all know? But I would not let myself post anything until I truly felt led to share.

As I wandered around the Christmas section of our local Walmart, waiting for Jon and the kids to join me, and walking off a bit of mad, I came up with Day #2.

Day #2: I'm thankful for Christmas music, Christmas decorations, and overall, the Christmas spirit. How does one not feel thankful about being part of such a magical time of year?! And so, I'm sharing my favorite Christmas song with you. "O Holy Night" by Martina McBride. Enjoy!

This Monday Morning

Monday, November 03, 2008 3 Comments A+ a-

“Ney is not here this morning,” said my little girl as we pulled into my parents’ driveway. (Ney is short for Courtney, a pet-name given to her by Devyn and has stuck around ever since.)

I looked in the rear-view mirror and wondered how she was going to take my news. “Munchkin,” I began kindly, “Ney doesn’t live here anymore.”

Her lip started quivering and I saw tears begin to well-up in her eyes. “Why?” she asked in a shaky voice.

“Because she lives in her apartment now. Remember? We said good-bye yesterday.” And with that, I watched as Devyn started crying. Her heart, and mine, broke a little on this Monday morning.

On Friday, when I dropped the kids off at my parents’ house and saw Courtney’s car parked out front, I thought to myself, “This is the last time she’ll be here in the mornings.” Then I watched as Devyn bounded up the stairs to cuddle on the couch with Courtney, watching TV together and rummaging through Courtney’s make-up bag. I felt myself get a little teary as I realized how much Devyn was going to miss this daily interaction with Court.

Throughout the rest of the day on Friday, Courtney and I exchanged emails. We commiserated that this would be the last time we could do “Instant Messaging” with each other at work. She told me that it was harder than she thought it was going to be to say good-bye to coworkers; that maybe she wasn’t ready for this next step of “grown-up” after all. After work, she called sobbing, she’d just said her good-byes and they’d gifted her with a gift certificate to Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

This weekend, Courtney packed up the bedroom in our parents’ house and moved her belongings 40 minutes away. She gave a tearful hug to Allison; Devyn and I said our good-byes at lunch; and she drove away. She has moved into the apartment that she’ll soon share with Jeremy; their first home as husband and wife; her first home away from us.

Now don’t get me wrong; I realize its only 40 minutes away. And I realize how lucky (or sheltered, depending on how you look at it) we’ve been to have all four sisters as a part of each other’s daily lives all these years. But for us, for me, it’s the end of an era. The impromptu calls asking each other if we want to meet for lunch, the daily interaction my children had with their Aunt Ney, the ability to meet at a moment’s notice, its come to an end. I have no doubt that we’ll still see each other all the time and I know it’s a step in the right direction for Courtney, for the sisters, for all of us. But the daily life of four sisters will be missed…

And, my baby sister, I am so proud of you! I am excited for this new job, I am excited for the upcoming changes in your life, I am excited for the addition of a new brother-in-law, and I know this will be such an incredible time of growth for you. (And for me too, truth be told.) Just know that we’re all just a call away and we’ll always be here should you need us.

With Thanks - Day 1

Sunday, November 02, 2008 1 Comments A+ a-

It has been a hard weekend! Both Devyn and Hudson came down with a major bug; Jon and I have alternated between rubbing backs, cleaning carpets, and running baths. On top of that, my family is also going through some "stuff" and that is also taking a toll on me. (For those that are aware of what my family is going through, I ask that you remain mum for the time being. Without permission, I hesitate to write about it on this very public blog.)

I have decided that since this is the month for Thanksgiving, why not get into the spirit of things? I'm borrowing an idea from Andi at Tales of a Crafty Mama and posting an item a day for all the things that I am giving thanks this month. I need to keep my priorities in order and my perspective in check; I'm hoping this will be therapeutic for my soul.

Day #1: Despite the servitude that is required of parents with sick kids, I'm so thankful for moments like these; where just a nap or cuddle does wonders for the healing body. I'm thankful for extra snuggles and naps sandwiched between two little bods. Life can't get sweeter than that!

Halloween 2008

Sunday, November 02, 2008 1 Comments A+ a-