Monday, November 29, 2010

Our Thanksgiving in Pictures

You will remember that our family had that yucky stomach bug at the beginning of our Thanksgiving holidays. I guess it was as good as any time to be sick, with nothing to do and no where to go. Our Wednesday thru Sunday was wonderful. Gene was off everyday, we had some much needed family time, we decorated for Christmas, I did some Christmas shopping, we watched the AL/AU football game, Gene and I had a date night, and of course, we celebrated Thankgiving with all the family.

All the pictures are of my family. For the record, I love Gene's family and we went to eat with his parents, his brother, and his brother's two children on Thursday night and again on Friday night, but no one takes pictures when we are together. I always feel weird getting my camera out. I probably need to correct that during Christmas though because years from now, we will all regret not having pictures from both sides.

On the other hand, at my parent's house, everyone is taking pictures. I am actually sharing shots from everyone's camera...not just mine. Warning...there are A LOT of pictures ahead.

Our Thanksgiving Day....

My parents

Me and my sisters...I didn't get the black shirt memo!

Lori's family

My family

Lindsay's family

And random shots of the family...

It was soooo good to see everyone and just hang out together for almost the entire day. I love my family and feel so blessed that we get along the way we drama....thank the Lord. Sometimes I wish we could get together every single weekend....of course, then there might be drama. (Just kidding!)
I am so excited about the Christmas season. I am going to walk through an advent devotional book by myself for my quiet time each morning, and I have one to do with the girls each day as well. I am praying for great truths to be revealed to Reagan. She is like a sponge right eager to learn more about Jesus. It is a beautiful thing.
We have many family activities planned. I have a lot of Christmas movie nights planned, craft activities ready to go, and Christmas books ready to read. I am looking forward to truly enjoying the season with my little family.
Until next time...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I think our family is on the mend. A stomach virus is not what I had in mind as I anticipated the Thanksgiving break. I had planned on some relaxing family time, some shopping, taking the girls to the zoo at the beginning of the week due to the beautiful weather, getting caught up on some things around the house with Gene off work, etc. Sometimes things just don't work out like you had planned.

If I have to focus on my blessings, we have definitely had a lot of "family time" together, granted some of that was in the bathroom, and we have all had a good bit of rest. Being sick takes a lot out you (no pun intended) and we laid around all day Monday and Tuesday and slept about 11 hours both nights. The girls even slept late on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, like 8:30 a.m., which is a gift in and of itself.

Another washing machine and dryer. Who knew a stomach bug could produce so much laundry. Of course, some of that was my fault because I am a germ-a-phobe. If any item took a "direct hit", like a towel or a bed sheet, it got washed twice, in hot water. This was probably a waste of water, but it sure made me feel better.

Tuesday afternoon I did get out of the house to buy some groceries. I didn't really want to go anywhere and still didn't have any energy, but the trip was out of necessity. When I got home, I wanted to redeem some of our lost family time and got out the craft supplies with Reagan. We made two projects together and she had a blast.

The first project was a leaf turkey. Gene took her on a little scavenger hunt while I was at the grocery store to find the perfect leaves. Here are a few shots of the project. I didn't get any shots of her gluing the leaves down, just her putting on the finishing touches.

The second project was making a paper cup turkey. Here she is painting the body.

And again, I missed a lot of the middle steps, but here is the finished project.

Gracen was at the end of her nap during some of our art time and was in her high-chair enjoying a long snack during the rest of it. Here is a snap shot of her.

After we finished our art for the day, I read 4 books to both of the girls...two fun books and two "educational" books. Reagan loves to read and Gracen did pretty well listening to the stories too. If you are looking for a fun Thanksgiving book for young ones, Run, Turkey Run! is a really cute book that Reagan wanted me to read several times. Gracen laughed at some of the sounds I had to make while I was reading it, which made us all laugh.

Here are the two fun books, followed by a picture of the two educational books.

After reading these books, we spent some time talking about the true meaning of Thanksgiving and we each named things we were thankful for. Reagan's list was so sweet. It included things like her family, having a mommy and daddy who loved her so much, having a sister, her Gram and Pap, her Gran and Paw Paw, her aunts and uncles, her cousins, having her own room, her friends, having food to eat, Mrs. Vicky (her teacher), Jenna and Kimberly (from church), etc. I loved listening to her name different things, especially when she said she was thanful for Jesus, "her savior". That was powerful.
We finished the night with a classic movie on the air mattress.

When we put both girls to bed, Gene said that he thoroughly enjoyed the whole afternoon and evening, doing all the different activities. He said it kind of made up for all the sickness that we had endured and he was right. I treasure every moment with my family and I hope we are making memories for them that will last a lifetime.
Today, we are going to read our books again, do another art project or two, and Reagan has already asked to watch the Charlie Brown movie again.

I read a blog this morning that talked about "not being a grateful generation". I thought it was a good read and was definitely something to think about. You can read the entry here if you would like.

I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Until next time...

Monday, November 22, 2010


Well, so much for having a nice restful week. Reagan has a stomach bug. It has been going around our church for over a week now. I had been sanitizing every one's hands and being extra cautious, hoping to miss it. We even stayed home this past Sunday when I heard that two more of her friends had been sick on Saturday. Of course, Gracen had a snotty nose and a little cough so she probably didn't need to be in the nursery anyway.

All of my precautions were for nothing. About lunchtime yesterday, Reagan started complaining of a tummy ache. Her complaints got stronger and stronger until she finally threw up around 3:30. Ya'll it took everything in me not to throw up with her. I am the type of person who runs the opposite direction when there is throw-up. I certainly do not want to be in the same room with it. From the moment she got sick, I have felt awful. The visual will be in my head for a long time.

Gene came home from church yesterday and said he felt like he had been hit by a truck. He got in the bed and slept until 5:00 or so. Neither one of us have gotten sick yet but we both feel terrible. We are running on a few hours sleep, and anticipating Gracen to get sick at any moment. If this goes through the family, we will miss Thanksgiving, and that would make me really sad.

Over the course of the night, Reagan threw up about 6 times and I do have to share one really cute thing that she said in the midst of the grossness. I had mentioned that she had caught the stomach "bug" from church and after the 4th or 5th event she said, "Momma, I keep looking for that bug and I haven't seen it yet. I guess I am going to keep throwing up until it comes out, huh?" Bless her heart...she was really looking for a bug.

Well, say a prayer for us, especially Gracen. She isn't sick yet and I am praying that she doesn't catch it. Having a sick baby is tough! Feeling sick while dealing with sick children is even tougher.

Until next time...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Reagan's Thanksgiving Program

Again, I apologize for the blog break. It is never intentional. For some reason, I find myself busier and busier with each passing week. Here lately, I laugh at the term stay-at-home-mom and long for a string of days where I can actually stay at home. I think that week is finally here.

Thanksgiving break has begun and I have nothing to do all week...except be with family, which is a good thing. Reagan is out of school all week and Gene is off Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Monday morning, I do have a haircut and color appointment at 9:30, but I do not mind going to be pampered a little bit. On Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, we will be going to my mom and dad's house for lunch and then to Gene's mom and dad's house for supper. On Saturday night, Gene's mom asked to have the girls. She said we needed some time away, so we are going out to eat and then we will do some Christmas shopping. (We aren't exactly sure what got into her, but you don't have to ask us twice.) But, that is IT for the entire week. We are going to sleep late and be lazy. I am sooo looking forward to NOT having anywhere to be at 8:00 in the morning. Reagan is looking forward to the break from school too.

On Friday, Reagan had her Thanksgiving Program. It was outside at a local farm, followed by a "Farm Day" field trip. I took lots of great pictures and I accidentally deleted ALL of them when I got home because I hit the wrong button when I was uploading them. I just about died. Thankfully, Reagan has two great friends from church in her preschool class who took lots of pictures with Reagan in them. Thank you very much Cassandra Hicks and Megan Crosby.

Here is the class on their "stage" singing their little songs. All the kids were precious! Reagan is the second from the right.

In this picture, Reagan is in the middle of the group.

Here Reagan is right in the middle. Aren't all the kiddos cute?

And here are a few activities from "Farm Day"....face painting

The petting zoo...
Reagan with best friend Drew Hicks.

Here is a picture of Drew and Katelyn Crosby, another one of Reagan's best friends. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of Reagan and Katelyn together.

The inflatable...

The parachute... Cassandra and I are standing in the back comparing pictures..... this was before I lost all of mine.
Song time... Mrs. Vicky is singing "Itty Bitty Box"...where she kisses each child as part of the chorus. Reagan loved this. Actually all of them loved this.

And here is Mrs. Vicky with the whole class. Reagan is kneeling, third from the right.

We really had a fun day. Gene and I took Reagan and left Gracen with Gene's mom. It was nice to just hang out with one child and give her our full attention. The weather was beautiful....sunny and 70 degrees. We closed the day with a picnic lunch with friends. It was a perfect day.
Until next time...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Love Loud

Our church held a "Love Loud" event Saturday morning where we gathered together and took Thanksgiving meals to about 200 low-income families. We basically just went in small groups and knocked on doors. Gene and I took Reagan with us because we have been talking to her a lot about loving people by meeting their needs because Jesus first loved us. There is no way that her little mind can comprehend what that means without showing her. And this is something that Gene and I want to model to our girls all throughout the year, not just around the holidays. We have been very convicted about this lately.

As I drove to the event, I assumed that Reagan would learn something and we would have some positive family conversations. That did happen, but I forgot that God might have some lessons for me as well.

How easy it is to forget that people right here in Wetumpka, Millbrook, and Prattville are living in poverty. I knocked on the doors of several trailers that I almost skipped because I assumed that no one lived there. I thought this because the trailers were run down, the yard overgrown, and there was no car in the driveway. How easy it is to assume that every one has the means, the equipment, and the ability to keep up the outside of their home, and how silly to assume that every person even has a car. In the worst trailers, people answered the door. In a few of the homes there was no sound coming from inside the trailer, like the noise from a television or radio or the hum of an air conditioner or heater, and no lights were on. I am assuming that they did not have electricity. What they did have in these homes were small children and that broke my heart.

One young lady, who was probably 22 years old or so, came to the door with a toddler on her leg. This was a run-down trailer with no signs of electricity. I spoke with the girl for a few minutes and there was absolutely no light in her eyes. Actually, her eyes looked a little distant, like she was "on" something. She looked a little dirty...a little greasy...maybe no hot water for a bath. She eagerly took the food I offered but didn't want to talk about church or God. I wanted to shake her to make her listen....I didn't. I wanted to take the little girl and run....I didn't. I wanted to ask her what she needed, knowing she needed a lot. At that moment, I felt completely spoiled rotten, completely blessed, completely ashamed that I am never satisfied with my material items, but most of all, I felt completely helpless. I walked away with tears in my eyes. I can still clearly see her face and the face of that little girl. I have no idea what to do to make significant changes in her life. I could throw some money at her, but knowing Jesus is the only true way to turn her life around and she wasn't open to that.

After the Love Loud event I had to drop by Wal-Mart to pick up a few things. I needed milk, bread, yogurt, and eggs, and not because I was out of these items, but rather I was close to running out. It never occurred to me how I would pay for my purchase. It is a "luxury" to me to be able to walk into a store and get the things I need. I had the same thought as I went to put gas in my car. The morning gave me new insight into just how blessed I am. The young mom I spoke to doesn't have the luxury of jumping in her car, going to the store, and buying the things that she is "almost" out of.

Not too long ago I heard a pastor ask his congregation, "What is the opposite of being poor?" The congregation responded with the phrase "being rich". The pastor corrected the congregation by saying, "No. It is having enough." Having enough is definitely the opposite of being poor. Having enough makes each one of us rich. I saw clearly Saturday morning that I am rich, and I am pretty sure that I wouldn't have described myself as "rich" before leaving my house. I am rich because I have enough...of everything. I have more than enough, and I have got to learn to be more giving and to open my eyes to the needs of those around me. Too many people don't have enough.

Father God, help me to truly see people as you see them. Help me to see the blessings in my life, to be grateful for those blessings, and to truly desire to bless others.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thankful Thoughts

I don't really have any particular topic on my mind today, so I thought I would just share a few thankful thoughts.

1. I am so thankful for this beautiful weather we are having. It has been sunny and in the mid 70's all week and we have enjoyed just hanging out in the yard. I know it will be cold, wet, and nasty soon, so we are trying to savor moments outdoors.

2. I am thankful for my girls. They just bring me joy. We were sitting out in our yard today and I was watching them play together, kicking a ball back and forth...well, Gracen was trying to kick it back....and I just had to stop and praise God for their little lives, for their health, and for His blessings on my little family.

3. I am equally thankful for my husband. I just love him so much. We had a "date night" last night and truly enjoyed our time together. We went to Longhorn, our favorite restaurant and ordered steaks, of course. It was yummy. I found a list of "date night questions" in a parenting magazine and decided to take them along. We had the best time talking about things we wouldn't have talked about without the list.... things like, "What is the one thing you have not experienced that you would love to do before you die?" It was nice to talk about things besides our girls and church life. We did some Christmas shopping, looked at Christmas decorations, and ended up at Starbucks...of course. Being with Gene just makes me happy.

4. I am thankful for Jenna Sanders, who was our babysitter last night. She is our go-to babysitter because we trust her completely and because my girls love her so. I do not worry for one second when I step out of our house and I leave Jenna in charge. She is precious and loves the Lord so much. I hope she rubs off on both of my daughters. If they turn out like Jenna, we will have two gems.

5. I am thankful for couponing and the money it saves me, but it consumes way too much of my time. The process is suppose to take less time the more you do it, but this has not been true for me. I don't know what my problem is but I just can't focus on it and knock it out in one sitting.

6. I am thankful for the Word of God and the fact that I am saved by God's grace. This month, I am reading the book of Ephesians over and over again, and because it is getting familiar, verses are started to come to my mind at random moments throughout the day. Maybe, I will share some of that starting next week.

7. I am thankful that I am in a position to help other people. Tomorrow morning is a "Love Loud" event at our church. We donated Thanksgiving food items and we are going to go and pass out food bags to 200 needy families in the Prattville community. Gene and I are taking Reagan, so this will be her first real "mission project". I am excited to see what God does in her little mind and heart...and believe me, she will definitely share what is on her mind. I pray that our family will become more and more mission minded and we will be more and more excited to serve together as a family.

8. I am thankful for Wee-CBC, Reagan's preschool, her teacher, Mrs. Vicky Lowman, and all her little friends. She loves going to school and she is learning so much. She adores her teacher and talks fondly about so many friends in her class. Those things combined make a momma happy.

Well, I could list a bunch of more things, but I am out of time. Reagan has been pacing in circles around me for too long!

Until next time...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Thank the Lord for a good night's sleep.

If you read my last entry, you'll remember that I have been so tired. Having sick children who do not sleep is so draining. I know we all need sleep, but I often think this hits me harder because of my age. An almost 40 year old probably shouldn't have an 18 month old, but that is what God chose for me. Anyway, last night I slept from 9:30p.m. until 6:30a.m. I usually get up around 5:15a.m., but I forgot to set my clock. Nine hours of uninterrupted sleep is a beautiful thing. And the night before that, I slept from 10:00p.m. until 5:30a.m. I am so thankful that both girls are sleeping again, at least for now, and I feel so much better. I have been a much more patient mother and wife the last two days.

I think motherhood is the hardest when you are sick or tired because as every mother out there knows, the responsibilities just don't stop. Even when I am up all night or when I feel like crude, I still have to get up early and meet everyone's needs. It gets old sometimes doesn't it? There are days that I just want to curl up in a ball with a blanket, a cup of coffee, and a pile of magazines...or maybe a good line-up of Lifetime movies and chill out. I don't want to do anything or think about anything. I don't want change any diapers or make any meals. I don't want to clean up messes or read Reagan another book. I just want to sit and be quiet. I have had a few of those days lately and I just have to pray through them.

Prayer is another beautiful thing. In the moments when I don't think I can make it another hour, I quiet myself and my bad mood and I talk to God. He gives me the strength and the energy to make it through those Blah days. He often helps me hour to hour, sometimes minute to minute. I love knowing that He is always there, that I am never alone and that He will hear my desperate cry for help.

Staying home with my children is a wonderful thing and I consider myself blessed to be able to do it. But some days are lonely and monotonous, especially when I am tired and run down. Just when I think I cannot take another day of the same old thing, one of the girls will do something precious. Just this morning I was talking to Reagan and mentioned her birthday month, January. As soon as I said the month she broke out into a little song and said all twelve months in order. It was the cutest thing! I didn't even know she knew the 12 months of the year. I told her how proud I was and she said, "That's nothing! I know lots of things! I also know the days of the week." She proceeded to give me that list as well. That was a sweet moment of feeling proud of my daughter and seeing that she was proud of herself. I love everything that she is learning at school this year.

Oh, Lord help me to appreciate each moment and to realize that being here for ALL of them is truly a treasure to prize!

Speaking of special moments, look at these two sisters hanging out together.
Gracen has a piece of sidewalk chalk in her hand, in case you are wondering.
Their Paw-Paw found this old Jeep and despite the fact that it is 10 years old, it still works. It doesn't go very fast so I let Reagan drive Gracen around the yard and they have the best time. They ride it almost every day. Reagan keeps her arm on her in a protective manner and Gracen squeals and laughs all around the yard. I love watching them "be sisters".
Sweet memories that make the pure exhaustion worth it.
Until next time...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up

Well, I am happy to report that I had a wonderful weekend and I give God all the glory. If you will remember, I was asked to come and lead the fall Women's Retreat for Shoal Creek Baptist Church in Deatsville. This was a huge step out of my comfort zone and I prayed about it for days before saying yes to it. I knew that there would be about 40 women and that is a large group to stand in front of for sure. Talk about feeling exposed.

I worked on the three sessions for months and I have prayed over them and the event for months as well. Now that it is complete, I feel like I have delivered a baby or something. It is hard to believe that "the time" has come and gone.

I enjoyed the weekend so much. It was wonderful to be among so many old friends and to be supported and loved in such an amazing way. I also met some new friends as well. I have heard nothing but sweet things and have received many Facebook messages about how convicting the sessions were. I pray that God brings some fruit for His kingdom in all of our lives and through all of our lives.

I certainly missed my girls and they missed me. They both attacked me when I walked in my house late Saturday afternoon. We had a great evening just hanging out together. I didn't try to unpack or clean up or anything. We got out the air mattress and had a family movie night. It was wonderful to snuggle with my little ones for a few hours before bedtime. There is so much truth to the saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder. I missed all of my family in the one night I was away from them and we have been intentional about spending time together in the last 2 days.

Gene did a great job of being a single dad Friday, Friday night, and Saturday. He handled everything like a pro and only forgot to brush Gracen's teeth...the whole time I was gone. I knew by smelling her breath. But the house was clean, so I forgave him for that. I figure those aren't Gracen's permanent teeth anyway.

Many of you have asked how Gracen is doing. She is on the mend, thank goodness. All of that in her right lung is finally breaking up and she has been coughing a good bit....mostly at night, of course. It has been several nights since I have slept all the way through and I am ready for a straight 8 hour night. Maybe tonight will be that night.

I want to get back in the routine of blogging, but I won't do it every day. I just don't have time. My goal is to blog on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the girls' rest time. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday I have got to start exercising during their rest time. I have been slowly gaining weight. I was 8 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight and now I am 15 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. I started moving in the wrong direction when I sprained my ankle this past summer. I certainly couldn't go walking anymore, and actually my ankle still bothers me. But the weight gain is from a combination of not exercising, eating poorly, eating out too much, and snacking with the girls too much...and a lack of time. I don't have a lot of energy so I know that I have got to make a change. Exercise is suppose to energize you right,...we will see about that.

I love this cool weather and the fall season. I am so excited about the next couple of months and all the holiday activities. I have already started Christmas shopping and ordered our family Christmas cards yesterday. I love being a mom to two, and I am looking forward to this holiday season. Seriously, thinking about it just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. I am a blessed woman!

Until next time...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Sick Child and Halloween Costumes

I am behind with my normal weekend wrap-up. Gracen has been sick, and when your child is sick then everything else stops. She developed a little fever late Sunday afternoon, but I wasn't too concerned because Reagan had been sick the week before. Reagan had a low-grade fever with a cough and a runny nose. I thought that was what Gracen had too.

Well, on Monday morning she woke up with a fever of 103.8. She was burning up and you could just tell that she didn't feel good. With her kidney condition, a fever could signal a kidney infection or urinary tract infection, so I bagged her urine and headed to the doctor. He said there was blood in her urine and that he was pretty confident that it was a kidney infection. He took some blood and her white count was 32,000. The normal range is 5,000-15,000. She was hospitalized back in April with a white count of 37,000. Her doctor was concerned and starting talking about hospitalizing her for at least two nights. He also said that an antibiotic shot could turn her around in 6-8 hours at home...which did I want to do? Uh, home please....

The decision wasn't that easy. I called Gene because I would have never forgiven myself if I had brought her home and then something happened to her. He felt the same way as I did and didn't want her to be hospitalized unless it was absolutely necessary. He came home from work because we didn't know which direction Gracen would go. Thankfully, by bedtime she didn't have any fever and seemed fine. I thought all was well.

To identify a kidney infection the urine is tested for 24 hours. Well, the doctor's office called the next morning and said she DID NOT have a kidney infection, that there was something else going on inside of her little body and we would have to bring her back in for some more tests and some more blood work. We were told to be prepared to be sent to Baptist East based on the results of the tests and blood work. I started to cry! I try not to worry, but when it comes to my girls fear grips my heart easily. I confessed my anxiety to God throughout the day.

By 2:00, we were told that she had pneumonia...actually "silent or walking" her right lung. This showed up in her chest x-ray. We were prescribed the antibiotic Augmentin and got to go home instead of to the hospital. I was so relieved.

Today, I feel better, but I am still watching her like a hawk. In the back of my mind, I still feel like there could be something more. I certainly hope not.

Changing subjects... I would like to share a few pictures from our Halloween weekend.

Reagan wanted to be Barbie from the movie"Fashion Fairy Tale", one of her favorite movies right now. Luckily we found the dress from the movie at Target. Here is a picture of her on Friday morning, about to go to her preschool party. I thought she should wear her hair down with curls. She insisted on wearing it pulled up. She keeps tangles in her hair and really doesn't like me messing with it unless I just have to. I still thought she looked very pretty.

Here is Gene with the girls at EMBC's Fall Festival. Reagan dressed up in the same outfit and Gracen was a little cat. We had Gracen's whiskers painted on inside and you cannot see her little tail in the picture. She was precious. You will notice that Reagan's hair is down in this picture. I thought we would just pull it up again, but no, she wanted it down. I think she just likes to go against what I want. God, help us. The teen years will be difficult.
Here is Reagan with some of her favorite people...Kimberly Hunt, Jenna Sanders, and Shay Callahan.

Here is me and Gracen. I am laughing because the child simply would not be still. She had already knocked me over once and she was pushing against me in this picture to get away.

Here is one of the only shots of Gracen walking around. She just would not be still for a picture. I did want you to see her little tail though, and she had the cutest little "Meow" sound that she made. I guess I should have videoed that.

I have more pictures but I thought I would spare you from looking at picture after picture of Reagan and Gracen standing at each booth, playing various games.
This may be my only post for the week. I am leaving to go out of town for my women's retreat on Friday. I have lots to do before then since I basically lost Monday and Tuesday this week.
Pray for health for my girls. I couldn't leave them if they were sick. Pray for me too. I have a sore throat today...and I kind of need my voice this weekend, and I need clarity of mind.
Until next time...