Thursday, December 31, 2009

My 300th Post - A Farewell to 2009

It's quite possible that I've cried more in 2009 than in any other year. But let me clarify - they were not all sad tears. It was a very even blend of happy and sad tears. I am a sappy person after all...I cry about all kinds of things.

Like when I opened my Christmas gift from my parents and saw two Kenny Rogers concert tickets - a guy who just happens to be the one artist I've loved my entire life. I cried.

Or when Josh and I traveled to Branson - just the two of us - and I saw all the lights throughout Silver Dollar City for the first time. And being the Christmas crazed person that I am...I cried.

When Caleb had a part in the Christmas musical at church, or when he had his preschool both events, I had tears. When Sarah sings with me (and to me) and when I look at her and see what a pretty little girl she is, I often become choked up. As Gabriel took his first steps across the living room, and when I saw him making a huge mess with his first birthday cake (even though I was having anxiety about all the crumbs on the floor) I also felt tears as I realized how fortunate I am to have this sweet little boy in my life.

I cried at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure as I watched each survivor walk by during the Survivor Processional...because my aunt was a part of it this year.

As I watched my sister receive her degree from MSU, and knowing she would be starting her life as an adult, I had tears. I'm very proud of her. It's still hard to believe she's a grown up...she's still supposed to be 12.

But I'll be honest, there have been sad tears, too.

Like when I learned that a life-long friend of my dad had passed away after fighting cancer for several years. Knowing he was the same age as my dad, and knowing how much heartache and grief that would be for his family. I had tears. I couldn't even sing all the songs at his memorial service.

I cried when I realized Sarah would be having surgery for her eye, even though it was a very common procedure, I was nervous about her having anesthesia. I've had to keep myself from crying about Caleb's upcoming surgery, especially considering it's more invasive (I'll blog about that later).

When Caleb's best friend moved away, I had a very hard time with it. I miss their family, and I think I miss the kids as much if not more than their parents! It is sometimes hard to find children who are just genuinely kind and sweet and who play well with other kids. Payton and Alli were always so nice. I pray that they have found wonderful new friends, and I pray their parents have, too.

Tears have been in my eyes when I wondered if it was time to begin serving in another church. Up until this post, I haven't even mentioned this on my blog. I've kept it between only my closest friends, and I know they've seen how it's been so heavy on my heart. It's a very difficult thing to have to figure out.

So many memories were made in 2009. And while tears accompanied many of them, I was able to make some memories without tears! :o) I loved going to Michigan with Josh and Gabriel, and that's not to say that I didn't miss Caleb and Sarah LOTS while they stayed back in Missouri with my parents. But it was a really nice trip, and I enjoyed spending time with just my little guy who was 8-months-old at the time.

I loved our family trips to Chuck E. Cheese, Maramec Spring Park, The Magic House, Elephant Rocks, The Zoo, and Lions Club Park. It was great to see Caleb take part in the kid version of the Tour of Missouri. I also enjoyed going to a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game with just my parents and sister. We joked that it was the original four of us!

And let's not forget...I turned 30 this year. I managed to survive. Josh's surprise certainly helped.

I believe I will remember this year very vividly...and the main reason is because I have written about so many of the things I just mentioned in this entry. I even have a hard copy of my blog now, and it will be great to flip through the pages in years to come and remember so many happenings of 2009.

Thank you, Lord, for another year.

(Below are some of my favorite pictures through the year...scroll over the pictures to enlarge each one. You can even click on it to see it in a different window.)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Sarah in the Fall of 2007.

Gabriel on Christmas Eve 2009.

Both of them climbed up half way and just fell asleep like this!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Game With Papa

This is Sarah and my dad on Christmas Eve morning. I just love this video. They played this "game" over and over again. Mom thought they were being SO LOUD (which they were) but I just thought it was so sweet.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A New Perspective

Last night Josh and I watched The Family Man. I remembered watching it in the theaters back in December of 2000, and what I remember was that it had a nice story line, funny moments, and a sweet "moral of the story" so-to-speak.

What I didn't realize was that my perception of this movie as a college junior - who wasn't even married yet, who didn't have many life responsibilities, who didn't have children, and who hadn't started any kind of career or many thoughts of what life should be like as an adult - would be FAR different than my perspective of it now.

This very career driven, unmarried, no life beyond the next business deal man is given a glimpse into what life would be like if he would have chosen to marry the woman he loved 15 years prior.

They have a house, a minivan, a dog, and two small children. At first he is quite disgusted with it all. He hates the clothes in his closet, he hates walking the dog. He can't stand the thought of "only" working at a tire shop. He doesn't know how to change a dirty diaper and he barely knows how to make a chocolate milk.

As the movie progresses and he sees what he missed - the love of a family and the fact that he never actually stopped loving this woman AND how much he adores these two sweet children, he also realizes that he doesn't want to go back to his other life.

The night that he realizes that he will have to go back (even though he tries to fight it by not going to sleep) he walks into each of the children's bedrooms. He touches the face of his little 1-year-old, and softly strokes his hair. He gives a kiss to his sweet 5-year-old. As I watched each scene, I started to feel a lump in my throat (just like I am now) and tears streamed down my face. Maybe it's because I'm really sappy, but mostly it was because...

I've thought of what my life could have been like...

I've had times when I've wanted to wake up in 1995 and start half of my life over. If I could just go back and do some things different, work harder in school or at pitching. If I would have taken a different softball scholarship and gone to a different college. If I would have taken a different job after graduating from business school or if I decided to get my masters degree.

And even if that meant my children didn't come along, I wanted to know what a different life I would have had.

That is...until I watched that movie last night.

Strong (and I mean STRONG) feelings of guilt came over me. How on earth could I even think of wanting things differently? How could I even conceive the notion of not having these sweet, beautiful children in my life? Why would I give up living in a nice neighborhood and a sweet community?

And while the truth of the matter is...I've been struggling A LOT with hearing the voice of God and knowing what I'm supposed to be doing with many different situations, I felt like something as simple as a movie (a Nicolas Cage movie for goodness sake) spoke to me as if God was using it to show me how ridiculous I was being.

I didn't know why I grabbed this movie off of the $5 shelf at Wal-Mart, but I now realize that it gave me a very vivid image of what it would be like to kiss my children one night and then wake up in the world I "wish" I could have been in. It makes me cry just thinking about it.

So if you ever have those moments, I'd suggest this movie.

I'll loan you my copy.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Glimpse Into Our Morning

Because of other family gatherings, we decided to do "our" family Christmas on the morning of December 23rd. We had breakfast with my parents and sister on the morning of the 24th, and we traveled down to southeastern Missouri that night to awake with Josh's extended family on the morning of the 25th. So a few days early was what we decided to do for just us.

The night before I spent time wrapping presents. Yes, I always wait until the night before. I'm not sure why I do it this way. I guess I just like looking at each gift one last time and then strategically placing them under the tree so that the kids can unwrap them in a certain order. We have a "three gift rule" with our kids (which I meant to write about earlier in the month but didn't get around to it). I also put three small gifts in their stockings (probably $1 or $2 know...just little things). I picked up on that concept from an author who said she did this because Jesus received three that should be enough for each of them, too. It also kept the author (and certainly helps me) from going overboard on spending.

I also redecorated our tree so that the kids would have a decent-looking tree to see when the awoke! You may recall that half of it was ornament-free because of Gabriel. Well...I wanted to change that, even if it didn't last long after they all woke up. (I didn't even notice until I looked at this picture that a section of lights were out...Josh fixed it.)

Then they proceeded to peek into their stockings...

Then each of them enjoyed opening their gifts...

It was a really nice morning, and I loved seeing how surprised they were with each gift. They were so sweet to thank us after each one; the sincerity in their little voices just blessed me so much.

I hope each of you had a very blessed Christmas as well!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Comforting Words

Throughout my life I would say that my mom was the one who did the comforting when I needed it most.

As a 7th grader, I didn't make the volleyball team. I'm sure you can sympathize with a head-strong 13-year-old who thought for sure she was the best "hitter" OMS had ever seen. Up until that point, disappointment didn't really show itself to me. But that evening when the girls were separated into three different sections (actually it reminds of American Idol when they send the contestants to different rooms) and I found out I was in the section of girls who didn't make it...

Mom was there.

She was there to reassure me when all of the prom dresses I liked didn't fit or didn't look right on my frame. It's difficult for a junior in high school when all the girls are "a certain size" and can wear the latest styles, and I never seemed to fit that mold. And when I thought I wouldn't look as pretty...

Mom was there. She told me I was beautiful.

When I tried out for the CMSU softball team and the coach said she didn't have a spot for another pitcher...even when I just couldn't understand it...

You guessed it...she was there. She said God had another place for me to play.

Most of these may seem silly, but in those moments, mom knew they were a big deal. She knew what to say.

When bigger issues in life have come and gone, she's been there for me as well. If I feel like I'm not being the wife I'm supposed to be. Or when my children are acting as if I've never disciplined them even once. Or when I question where God has me. Even though she is a small, 5'4 woman, she has very big shoulders to cry on!

Yet...every once in a dad becomes a voice of reason.

To be honest, it's not very often that I call him with a hurting heart. Guys aren't generally ones who know the best words to say when a female is crying. I don't usually want to bother him with my emotions, and I'm horrible at talking about difficult situations with him.

But in a moment when I needed him most, he came through. "You are doing a wonderful job with your children. You know who you are, and you know your true character. Do not ever let someone else try convince you otherwise."

Wow. Thanks, dad. I'm not really sure he knows how much it means to me to hear him say those words.

I could never fully express how my parents have blessed my life. Even though my mom has usually been the one to comfort me, my dad sometimes steps up and gives me words of encouragement when I really need them.

I'm very thankful. And now that I'm a parent myself, I tend to thank them even more often.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Linus said it well...

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Favorite Ornament - And Final Thoughts on Santa

Yesterday my mom and I went to Jefferson City for some last minute shopping. While we were at the mall, she bought a new, family ornament for me! I simply LOVE it, and I proudly display it HIGH on my tree (out of reach of small hands)!

Josh has indicated that this must mean we're not having more children since I had an ornament made with only five spots for family members! ;o) Silly, Josh. We can always buy a new one!


As for a final thought on Santa, today I noticed that MckMama had a post on it. I wondered what she would say, and actually the way she described it with "Big Mac" is similar to how it was with Caleb last year and this year.

The reason I mention this post is because it was really encouraging to me to read so many comments from other parents who are like me. They tell their children that Santa is pretend. Some tell their children about the real St. Nicholas. Of course out of hundreds of comments there are those who do Santa. But the point is...everyone shared their different views, and when it came to the ones who chose to not do Santa (from the few comments pages I read, it seemed like this was the most common practice), it didn't seem like anyone was stunned or thought those parents were weird or mean or whatever.

There were even some comments that indicated that the adult did not grow up with Santa either and they did not feel like they missed out on any of the fun of Christmas morning.

So I'm not looking for more discussion. I know your views. I wanted to share another blog whose author was similar and whose commenters were also similar. One person indicated to me that I was brave for sharing that I don't do Santa. It's not that uncommon after all! :o)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Caleb's Christmas Program

You may recall this post where I addressed the fact that Caleb would make a great shepherd or wise man in our church's Christmas program. And how did I know? Well...because I'm his mom, of course! Mom's just know.

On December 13th, he did, in fact, show what a sweet little shepherd he could be - even if Miss Debbie had to stop in the middle of the program to rearrange the shepherds once since they decided to analyze each others costumes. They all still did a great job overall!

There were three shepherds with lines, and Caleb was the second...

Wes: Let's go to Bethlehem...
Caleb: ...and see this thing which has come to pass...
Eli: ...that the Lord has made known to us.

He also had a short solo in the middle of this song. I only recorded the beginning and Caleb's part:

You see the director get up and take his head piece off. It was bothering him the entire time, and eventually it got to the point where it completely covered his eyes. I wish you could see it better because it was so funny to me. You can probably tell that the other kids were trying to help him walk up to the microphone...that's because he couldn't see!

It's so funny how many camera flashes there were throughout it all. You could really tell how proud the parents were of those little angles, shepherds, wise men, Mary and Joseph!

My first experience watching Caleb on stage like this was wonderful. I enjoyed the short program and loved seeing Caleb and his friends do such a great job. I'm thankful for Miss Debbie and Miss Kristen for working with the kids and also for several others who worked behind the scenes to make it all run smoothly (Jeanette and George for doing the music, Randi and Bill for helping the kids enter and exit the stage, and Joe and Dave for doing sound and lights).

Perhaps next year he will be promoted to a wise man? Or Joseph? But I'm not sure if we could pass off a red-headed Joseph?! :o)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Our Sweet Song

If our singing doesn't make you smile, what Sarah does towards the end (about half way through I guess...starting at 26 seconds) surely will! :o)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wal-Mart...I'm on to you...

The commercials this time of year are quite laughable in my opinion. Just this morning I saw one for Toys R Us that said I would see "the savings of a lifetime." I looked at Josh and said, "Well, I'd better hop in my van right now...who can pass up the savings of a lifetime?" We both smiled.

I realize everyone is looking for a good deal. Stores now are constantly telling me how much money I'm saving when I check out each time. Even at K-Mart the other day I read at the bottom of my receipt that I saved $2-something on a box of cards I purchased. JC Penney is famous for this. Everything is ALWAYS on sale there. If it's always on sale, then it's never on's just that they have good prices. But that's just me.

But I'm really not sure I'm too fond of Wal-Mart's new idea of promoting their prices. Today I was looking for a pair of pj's for Caleb because I really think that kid has grown two inches in the last month. All of his warm, pants pj's are too short, so I thought I'd try to find a set just in time for Christmas. I looked over at one rack, and it said $10 -- was $14. For a brief moment, that nice, warm, fuzzy feeling came over me. You know, the one you feel when you think you're getting a good deal...or at least getting something for a few bucks cheaper? I knew $10 was the most I wanted to spend (I'm quite fond of the $5 sleepers in Sarah and Gabriel's size). Then I looked at the tag, and it was printed on there $10. There was no sticker over the top of it. It was always $10.

If you mosey on through the store, you will find that this is usually the case. If it says it "was" one price and shows the new price, the so-called new price is the price that is printed on the tag. Now...correct me if I'm wrong, but that's pretty misleading at best and lying at worst. They want you to think you're getting a good deal on something by telling you it "was" more.

So I'm on to you Wal-Mart. You may have lower prices (and everyone knows I love my Wal-Mart fix) but you can't fool me. Just tell me what your low price is now. Don't lie and tell me it "was" something when it wasn't.

Do not take this personally dear friends who work at the BFF's husband works there, too, and all should know I love Wal-Mart. Just an observation!

Under Construction

If my blog is like a small house, I feel like I've ripped out all of the carpet, taken down the curtains, and primed the walls with a plain white color. I even changed the name yesterday, but it just didn't feel right. To be honest, I currently don't feel like I'm Traveling Light or giving my cares and worries over to God like I should, so I've toyed with the idea of changing. I keep thinking someday my storm will pass.

ANYWAY, please excuse the "mess" while I get it all sorted out. I'm having a blog makeover by the girl over at this site, so hopefully my new look will be up soon!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Our Laundry Room

A piled up basket of dirty clothes over flowing in the laundry room - probably normal.

A piled up basket of clean clothes that I still haven't folded yet in the laundry room - also probably normal.

Realizing that you forgot which one was which - not good and probably not normal.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Mini Picture

Since I'm being frugal this year (or, let's be I went to Wal-Mart to get pictures taken of my kids. I am very good at sticking to the $7.99 package, so it was a no-brainer for me.

The pictures came in yesterday, and they are very cute. I am happy with the sizes I received (an 8x10, a few 5x7's, a few 3x5's, and enough wallets to give to the very select few who I will actually be sending a Christmas card to).

But there are these "mini" pictures that I don't know what to do with. They are literally one-third the size of a wallet, and they don't make sense to me. What do I do with them? Who do I give them to? Are they for people who don't make my wallet size picture list?

Anyway, I know this is a deep question. Hope someone can help! :o)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mommy's Sick Day

Mom's are not supposed to get sick. I'm pretty sure I saw that written somewhere in the contract I signed when I said I would be a mom. But evidently that "never shall you get sick" clause expired yesterday.

I was quarantined to my bedroom the entire day - besides the time I had to get up to puke or...umm..."go" (sorry TMI). I was constantly doing those two things if I wasn't laying in my bed. I felt so weak, and I just couldn't eat anything. It was pretty miserable, and I knew I wasn't going to be able to function as one who takes care of three little children.

So Josh called in to work and stayed home with me and the kids.

On a side note, I've always told him he'd do better staying home than I would.

I'd like to think that when I'm incapacitated and unable to function in my normal daily role, that somehow the house would just be a frenzy. Not that I want it to be that way, but you's nice to think that it's hard to be replaced. I've come to realize that this is not the case whatsoever.

Josh promptly began the morning routine of getting the kids their breakfast and then continuing by getting Caleb ready for preschool. After all of this was complete, he loaded up the kids and drove across town to drop Caleb off to his much anticipated Christmas party at his school. He came back with Sarah and Gabriel, and during the time Caleb was gone, he picked up the living room and then started unloading the dishwasher...and then loaded it up again to run another load.

He put Gabriel down for a nap, and then took Sarah with him to go get Caleb when the time came to do so.

When he got back, he began to fold laundry and start another batch of clothes. He also encouraged Caleb to clean his room - by that I mean Caleb did some and Josh probably did the rest.

And in between all of this, he often would check on me and make sure I was doing ok. A few times he brought me a glass of water, and one time - after telling him I just hurt all over - he said I needed Tylenol and decided to bring some to me.

He is very task oriented, and it just seemed like everything was functioning even better than it does when I'm home. Several times during the day I told him how much I appreciated him and everything he was doing. He made sure to point out...

"This is only one day, Chrissy. There is no way I could do this all the time. In fact, it's starting to drive me crazy already."

Oh. A sigh of relief came over me.

The fact of the matter is, I get all task oriented every now and then, too. It's just not every day. Many days, I just like to watch the kids play or help them color or draw. I like to watch Dinosaur Train or go with Caleb on an adventure during his Lego Star Wars game. Gabriel often wants to be by my side, so I often go in his room and play with whatever we can find. Sarah loves her ponies, so sometimes I take one and we talk back and forth in our pony voices!

Josh admits he is not so much this way, he's more of a "get stuff done then watch ESPN" type. And I'm ok with that. Actually, there are days when I wish the two of us could be home all the time together. We complement each other quite nicely. If it wasn't for the whole "have to go out and make a living" thing. Darn.

So today I'm back to normal. Hopefully we can keep the house as nice as daddy left it. But I'm not promising anything! :o)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

They bring new meaning to the term Entertainment Center.

The Beginning

It was two years ago when Ashley decided to start writing a blog as a way to "journal [her] thoughts and feelings for the last 11 weeks of pregnancy." She had been placed on bed rest, and she began to write about what that was like, what she missed doing, and how much she appreciated those who helped her throughout that time. I remember when she sent me the link to her page, and I became a frequent visitor.

While I read her writings I thought to myself, "I couldn't possibly come up with something every day and have a worthwhile blog." I began to read the blogs she had listed on her page, and I saw how all these young women, all so different, put into words their thoughts and feelings about various topics. Some were light-hearted. Some were serious. But I began to truly enjoy reading each one, and I thought it was time that I gave it a try.

I had only one ground rule: I was not going to discuss politics. I also wanted to stay away from heated topics and did not want to start any debates (I made it through the entire year sticking to this...until that darn Santa blog)! ;o)

I did wonder, however, what it would be like to express how I handled each day as a stay-at-home mom with three kiddos. Would I tell it like it is? Why would I sugar-coat anything? That certainly wouldn't be helpful to anyone else.

So I began to just freely express the ideas that came to me. The purpose - for me - was to share with other people how I deal with each passing day. To share how God was working in my life and how He spoke to me or revealed scripture to me.

I never - repeat never - write a blog with the intention of bringing attention to what I would consider someone else's shortcomings. By that, I mean that I wouldn't write something like my "Should You Trade Up?" entry thinking to myself, "Boy, I sure hope so-and-so reads this...that'll show them how materialistic they are." I also would not write about someone else more specifically like, "I saw a person at Country Mart the other day, and I can't believe how horrible she was being to her kids and husband," knowing that the person saw me, would read my blog, and know that I was talking about her.

Make sense?

If I do write about my family or friends, and if I know it deserves a phone call first, I do. I even asked Josh if it was ok with him to write the post about our friend Joe. Just to make sure I wasn't being too sappy about the guys! And yes, I even called my mom and I told her I was going to write my Santa story. She was completely ok with it, even down to the detail about me "resenting her" at that time as a child.

Most of you said you read blogs to keep informed of how your friends are doing. If you read other blogs, you read them because they have similar life circumstances, similar beliefs, or a likable writing style.

Secretly (or not so secretly) I wish I could become a "famous" blogger (whatever that means). I want people who don't even know me to read my blog because we are similar, they find encouragement from me, and I have a likable writing style. Part of this is probably because I am a stay-at-home mom with a bachelor's degree, and I feel as though my blog gives me a since of purpose outside of raising my kids. It is not that my children aren't extremely important or that I don't see the huge role I have as their mom, but hopefully other women understand when I say...sometimes I don't want to be defined solely as MOM. I am so much more and have so much more to give, even if most of my life is currently about them.

There you have it. My purpose of blogging.

After a LONG talk with a dear friend last night (which kept me up WAY past my bedtime) I know that God spoke through her and I am ready to get back to blogging more about my walk with Him.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Retraction

Who am I kidding? I cannot stay away from blogging. Even among the mist of a storm, I just can't keep from writing and sharing my day-to-day accounts of my life. Whether it will be encouraging to you or not, I can't tell for sure. But I will keep it real. What kind of Dr. Phil fan would I be if I didn't?

This post will serve as a lead-in to my follow-up entry about the purpose of blogging. And if you didn't share your thoughts back on this entry of mine, be sure to do that.

Should You Trade Up?

While I'm still sorting through my thoughts about my blog, here is an article Josh received via email this morning:

Should You Trade Up?

by Michael Webb
Author, 50 Secrets of Blissful Relationships

Athena and I have never had a car payment. Our current vehicles are 6 years old and our previous car was a 13 year old Honda Civic that ran just fine until the final few months.

When our Honda Civic was getting up in age (and didn't look so shiny) we have had friends and family ask us point blank "when are you going to get a new car" and tell us "certainly you can afford something new". Yes, we can afford just about any car that we could possibly desire. But no, we don't have any plans on trading in our perfectly fine Honda for something new(er) simply to impress others. Yes, when safety or reliability become a factor, we'll be shopping for something else.

I find it curious, but not surprising that every person who has suggested that we upgrade our car has been divorced at least once.

Back in 1988 Diamond Cutters International conducted a poll asking women if they would ever consider trading in their engagement ring for a bigger, better diamond. 46% of the respondents said yes.

Fifteen years later, these same women have been polled again. Of those who were willing to trade up, 81% are now divorced. And what about those sentimental ladies who would never trade in their original ring? 78% are still married.

Are you the type of person who wants a new car every few years and sees each raise as an opportunity to move to a bigger house? Are you easily bored with the latest gadget you bought just a year ago? Do you always have to have the best television among your peers? If so, studies have shown that you have a much greater chance of being tempted to "trade-up" spouses too.

Learn to appreciate what you have and don't be so quick to want to get the latest model. Otherwise it might REALLY cost you.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Blogging Break

I will be taking a hiatus from blogging. I'm not sure how long.

Thank you readers. I appreciate those of you who are a genuine source of encouragement.

Until later. And I'll be reading your blogs.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sarah's Hair

There has been a horrible injustice in my daughter's life. And I have to admit, it is my fault. Thankfully, I have recognized it and will be able to go on from here knowing I have remedied the issue.

For the first time in her short 3 years of life, I finally used a hair dryer on her hair. Let me tell you, I should have done this long ago. Who knew her hair would be so straight and cute? Well, I bet some of you just didn't tell me.

I have always just let her hair air-dry. It had natural curl, so I thought eventually it would just look nice and curly on it's own. It actually looks stringy and fuzzy when I do this, so my other option has been to put it up in pig tails and pull it back tight that way. Which, of course, does look adorable on a little girl.


When I had a whim to blow dry her hair last night before family pictures (which was risky you try something different before one pays to have a picture taken) I decided to just do what I could with however it ended up. To my surprise (and really, why was I surprised about this?) her long bangs - that we're growing out - laid down straight, and the back of it was straight enough...but with just a big of wave. It was really pretty. The prettiest I've ever seen her hair I think.

(The bottom picture is a "proof" of course...sorry for the words on her face!)

Now with it being almost winter, the static in our house is very annoying. It has made it hard to keep her hair from standing up, but I do the best I can. She has thin hair, so it makes it easy for the static to take off with it. will be thicker and even prettier. I know I sure love the color.

So I'm not sure why I never tried this before. Maybe I thought she wouldn't sit still for me. Maybe I didn't think it would matter. But it does. And I'm glad I figured it out.

You know...before she tries out for all those hair commercials and all.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Purpose of Blogging?

I have a few questions for you on this Saturday morning:

1. If you are an "avid" blogger, what is your purpose in doing so? Why do you write each day? What are your restrictions (what content would be off limits)?

2. What do you believe is the overall purpose of the blogging world?

3. If you read blogs but don't write, what do you hope to gain by reading them? Specifically, those of you who read about people you don't know in real life - MckMama for example.

I will have a follow-up blog to these questions and will more than likely include some of your responses.


Friday, December 11, 2009

O Christmas Tree

There were Decembers in years past that I simply adored putting up my Christmas tree. I took great pride in precisely hanging each ornament, spacing them perfectly apart, and placing the garland around the tree in exact intervals. (Yeah, who's OCD now?) I loved the fact that I had so many bulbs, angles, snow flakes, etc. to hang on the branches. It was full of color and full of personality.

I bet you know where I'm going with this.

Since I've had children, it now drives me crazy to have my tree up each year. Constantly telling a small child not to touch the ever enticing Christmas tree is quite tiresome. I usually begin to feel guilty for getting on to them about it, because really, it's just so tempting for them and I'm sure they just think it's small toys that they're looking at.

I don't remember Caleb being too difficult. I also don't remember Sarah having to be told more than a few times to step away.

Gabriel, on the other hand, decided the Christmas tree was most certainly his own.

So for the first time, I have had to remove ornaments from the bottom half of the tree because it's just easier than having to chase a 1-year-old around who found a bright, shiny bulb to play with.

There have been several people who have told me to be sure and take a picture because it will make for a fun memory. I'm sure there will be a few because we'll take pictures the morning we unwrap gifts, but I am not so fond of the tree this year, so I'm not sure if I'll step back and take a full-length picture this year like I usually do.

Maybe next year will be better. But I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Yummy Ginger Snaps

My mom updated her facebook status last night to let others know she was baking ginger snaps. Boy, I hope she knows she's in trouble if I don't get a few of those! They are my absolute favorite. But not just any ginger snap makes my favorite list. My mom knows that, even though the word "snap" is in the name, I like mine soft and chewy. And she makes them that way!

So, just in case you were wanting a new cookie recipe to try, here is the recipe she uses. It came from the kitchen of a sweet woman I used to go to church with. I think of her when I make these cookies.

Ginger Snaps

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ginger

*Cream shortening, sugar, molasses, and egg - beat well.
*Add sifted dry ingredients - mix well.
*Roll in small balls, dip in sugar, place 2 inches apart on grease cookie sheet. (I actually make them bigger so they are chewy.)
*Bake at 350° approx 8 minutes.

Hope you send a few with dad and Steve tonight, mom! :o)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

At my maternal grandparents' house for Christmas, December 1982.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Attn: Rain

Dear Rain,

You must know by now that, no matter what the season is, you will inevitably upset people when you arrive.

In the spring, you cause excited baseball fans to miss games.

In the summer, you cause the outdoor-type to miss out on float trips or camping adventures.

In the fall, you keep children from jumping into crunchy leaves.

And winter have been stubborn and kept yourself from freezing so that those of us who want to see snow do not see snow.

I try to give you the benefit of the doubt, but my patience is wearing thin. It's possible that I could forgive you if you would promptly allow yourself to freeze so I could see a nice, soft, blanket of snow in my yard tomorrow.


If this does not happen, I'm not sure if I can endure much more disappointment. There is only one opportunity that you have to totally redeem yourself. And that would be a white Christmas.

No pressure or anything.

Sincerely, Chrissy

My Santa Story

I remember the Christmases of my childhood very vividly. The tree that stood next to the fireplace, the greenery that was perfectly placed on the mantle, the nativity that was arranged by my hands - all of it seemed so magical. I would always wake up far too early with eagerness on Christmas morning. I would softly walk down the stairs...stop halfway...and peek to see if the presents had arrived.

And the center of my world - for this one night - was Santa.

My mom went to great lengths to make sure he was as real as he could be. The wrapping paper was always the prettiest from him. It was even wrapped neater. All the presents I asked for, I received.

If I ever questioned his existence, I was always told he was real. I was never asked, "What do you think?" And believe me, he was very real. Even as I grew older, and others didn't believe, it didn't matter to me. I held on to what I thought was true. Probably much longer than I should have to be honest.

The summer before I entered the fourth grade, I finally asked my more time...if Santa was real. I'm not sure what prompted this conversation, but she finally revealed to me that he was not real.

And even though this may sound over-dramatic, I'm explaining exactly how I remember it. It really was that "traumatic" to me at the time. I felt my heart began to beat faster. It seemed like everything I knew to be true was just not true anymore. I cried and cried. And even the days that followed would find me crying if I thought about it.

It was a big deal to me.

Now, I realize that not every child is this way. My sister, for example, just brushed it off as if she always knew. I remember asking Josh once if he remembered finding out about Santa, and he doesn't even remember how long he believed.

For years, even as a child, I felt guilty for asking for so many "things" because I instantly realized that my parents were the ones who had to buy them for me...instead of the free for all that I thought I was receiving. I was never told to limit my requests, so I didn't. And when I thought about everything I had opened as gifts over my short lifespan, it seemed so overindulgent. I felt like I didn't have the chance to thank my parents for giving me gifts because I didn't know THEY gave them to me.

Christmas seemed so empty to me for many years following my revelation, and that feeling was really difficult. There are times when I still can feel that emptiness, and I know it's because of the memory I have of suddenly realizing what I thought to be true...was not true.

So for those of you who know I don't "do Santa" with my children, I thought you might want to understand the background of it. It's not really anything religious/spiritual (even though I suppose I could discuss that side of it). It's more of my personal story that keeps me from incorporating Santa into our Christmases. I have a hard time seeing Santa everywhere. And even though the kids see him everywhere - on shows or in decorations - they understand he is pretend - like Buzz Lightyear.

Because of my own experience, I decided to tell my kids the truth right from the start. I just had to. And I know I am not the only adult who has experienced the same feelings as a child. You can read about others online, but I met a woman (used to go to church with her) who actually began questioning the deity of Christ as a teen and into her early 20's because of the untruth of Santa. When my parents do not tell the truth about one thing, what about other things?

Sound over-the-top? Like I said, not every child experiences it this way. But what if my child would? I'm not willing to take that chance.

For a lighter take on this subject, read this blog. The comments are interesting, too.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Christmas Card Habit

Back in the olden days, I believe that Christmas cards were a great way to stay in touch with family and friends who you rarely (if ever) saw, spoke to, or wrote to on a regular basis throughout the year. Each December, a person could sit down and go through their address book (you know, the kind with a black cover and paper in it that people actually used their own handwriting to record each address), and start writing names on each card, thinking of that person and knowing that they would be happy to receive a card from someone they otherwise would not hear from. Perhaps a family picture was included. Perhaps a family letter, complete with all of little Johnny's accomplishments through the year or the promotion that the husband received.

I do remember these as a kid. Seeing pictures and receiving cards from those who moved away, from those we never called or saw. It was a great way to keep in touch and know that they still thought of us. And we still thought of them - and they knew this by the card we sent.

Now this may seem a little Ebenezer Scrooge-ish of me, but this year I just can't bring myself to send cards.

I've been rethinking the entire process. I thought of all these years that I've been married, on my own, a real adult, and have sent cards to many friends and family. I sometimes included pictures. I think I wrote a family letter once.

But the problem is, as I look through my address list (the one on my computer...not a handwritten one...I don't even have a handwritten one) I would say that about 95% of these people are in touch with me via the internet. Whether it's email or facebook, these people know what my kids look like and know what I'm up to. They know I've been a stay-at-home mom for three years. They know Josh is still teaching in St. James. They know even more about me now that I started a blog.

So I wonder. What is the real point of sending them a card?

What is the point of the Christmas card station at church? For years (and we did this "back home" too) our church has had this station, and the point is to save the money you would have otherwise used for stamps and give it to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering. Great idea, but I've been thinking lately...why do we give cards to people we see on a weekly basis (and sometimes more than just once a week)?

Have we lost the meaning of the Christmas card? Or have I lost my mind? If I tell you "Merry Christmas" in person and give you a hug, isn't that more special?

Of course, there's the issue of all the paper we're wasting using to send these cards to people. What do you do with these cards when the Christmas season is over? Ah...the trash can. A great place for those season's greetings.

Yes, this all seems a bit cynical on my part, and I apologize. I have a feeling that I won't be receiving as many cards this year after this post. And it's ok. I know I'm still loved.

As for me, I'm breaking my Christmas card habit.

Oh, except for my childhood babysitter who is in her 90's and doesn't have internet. I might send her one...complete with a picture.

Be a "yes" mom...

I read this today and thought I would share it with my fellow moms. Interestingly, I have tried to be this way recently - before I read the article/blog - but it was a really good reminder. I find that I am all too often a "no" mom for no good reason. I wonder how many of us are?

See the blog by clicking here.

Her contest is over, but let's try this month!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hearts at Home - A Sale and Giveaway!

Everyone loves a good sale, Right? We'll let me tell you about a great one:

It’s a Hearts at Home
Black Friday after Black Friday Sale Dec. 7-11

Did you sleep in on Black Friday? Did you drag yourself out of bed, but still miss out on some awesome deals because you were standing in line too long at one store? Do you still have shopping to do, but dread the crowds, traffic, and cost? Let Hearts at Home help!

Their Black Friday sale has been extended to the week of December 7-11. Shop in the convenience of your own home and receive an unprecedented 25% off all of Hearts books and merchandise. They have great gifts for everyone in your family.

Find gifts for friends, teachers, bible study leaders, bus drivers, and everyone else on your list. You may even find something for yourself. This is a great time to stock up on all those Hearts at Home books you’ve been wanting to read.

Let your family know how much you would love a Hearts at Home gift certificate so you can use it for your Hearts at Home conference registration and/or Mom’s Night Out tickets.

Go to, choose your gifts, and enter code “HEARTGIFT” upon checkout. You will receive 25% off your total purchase (before tax and shipping).

I also want to fill you in on a couple of other great opportunities!
Be sure to check out Jill Savage's blog this month (she is the founder and CEO of Hearts at Home). She is doing one giveaway A DAY through Christmas.

And, if you stop by the Hearts at Home blog December 8 - 11, you will have an opportunity to win a Heart's at Home prayer journal. The prayer journal is a brand new resource from Hearts at Home.

Merry Christmas from Hearts at Home!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Of Sentimental Value

There is a huge, not-exactly-cute, stuffed bear that has been in the back of our closet since the day we moved into our house. This bear has pretty much always lived its life in closets. It's not the kind of thing that you have out on display for people to see.

But it has sentimental value.

And for the most part, I am not one to keep many things just for sentimental value. Even objects that used to belong to my children have ended up on yard sales. If one of them draw something at preschool or church, I rarely keep it unless it's somehow significant, and even then, those types of things aren't always safe from the trash.

I used to keep softballs from significant games. I had one from a no-hitter. I had one from a perfect game (against St. James ironically). I had the one when I pitched 10 innings in a district championship game. I had one when I struck out 16 batters in one game.

I don't know where any of them are now.

There used to be piles under my bed of things I kept from camps. I used to keep certificates from instrumental success (like state contests), and I even had certificates from college when I participated in student government.

I don't know where any of that stuff is now. Because I quit keeping that sort of thing.

Yet...there is just something about this big bear that lives in my closet. I can't get rid of it. And when the kids found it the other day, I almost panicked as I saw Caleb jump on top of it.

"No, you can't play with this! It's too special to mommy!"

You see, Josh and I had our first date at the State Fair in Sedalia, Missouri in August of 1996. We were just kids. I was 16 and he was 15. We walked hand-in-hand through the park, and even though I don't remember every detail, I remember quite clearly when we walked up to a "Make a basket, win a prize!" game that Josh just had to try.

What better way to impress a girl than to make a basket and win a prize?! Especially since it was those basketball skills that first caught my eye.

And he did. He took a few shots and won me this really big, purple teddy bear. I picked it out myself. It was the biggest prize I could find.

How was I to know the real prize was watching my husband shoot a basket for me back when he was 15-years-old.


So I just can't get rid of this bear. The poor thing will probably always have to sit on my closet floor. But I hope he knows how special he is. He's been a visible reminder of that first date. And I cherish it very much.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Stockings

*UPDATE* My mom offered to purchase these stockings for the kids! So...with Tina's suggestion and Bethany's promo code (she sent via email) I saved my mom LOTS! So thanks girls! And THANKS mom!!

Original post:

You may be shocked to know that even though I've been married for eight years...and even though my oldest child is five...

I still do not have stockings for any of us...

But I promise to change that soon. I'd like to order these for the kids: one penguin - because Caleb said he liked that stocking, one fairy - for Sarah, and one elf - for Gabriel. Is it worth $5 per stocking to get their names on it? Or does anyone know someone in my area who could do that for me for less (umm...less meaning free preferably).

Then I think I'll go to Wal-Mart and find something that matches (sort of) for me and Josh (something less pricey...even though the ones I listed are on sale).

I know it's a shame that poor Caleb, Sarah, and Gabriel have not had a stocking yet. Their lives have been so empty without one. I hope they have not experienced too much trauma. Hopefully the new stockings this year will fill the void they have had to endure.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Who do you see?

Warning: Yes, I'm still having issues with aging. Yes, I will get over it eventually. No, I am not feeling sorry for myself...just making an observation.

Have you ever looked at an old picture of yourself...

(May 1997)

And then looked at a recent picture of yourself...

(November 2009)

And wondered...what exactly is it that makes us look older? Because when I look in the mirror, I still see the same Chrissy. My self-image in my mind must somehow distort what I actually look like. When I close my eyes, I still see 17-year-old Chrissy. She's cute. She's skinny. She's young!

Perhaps that's a good thing? I guess it's good that I still see myself that way. Maybe it gives me self confidence that I would otherwise not have.

Who do you see when you close your eyes and think of yourself?

This doesn't count if you're one of my younger readers...ahem...Mindy! ;o)