Monday, January 30, 2012

It's Not Tattling

tat·tle (ttl)
v. tat·tled, tat·tling, tat·tles
1. To reveal the plans or activities of another; gossip. See Synonyms at gossip.
2. To chatter aimlessly; prate.
To reveal through gossiping.
1. Aimless chatter; prattle.
2. Gossip; talebearing.
3. A tattletale.

I've decided to reveal a huge pet peeve of mine. It's about the word tattling and how it's used with children.

If my daughter comes up to me in tears and says, "Caleb took my Barbie and put her in his Batman castle and he said he was going to keep her captured!" should I just brush it off and tell her not to tattle? Doesn't that seem ridiculous? Her feelings have been hurt, and in her world, poor Barbie being in a Batman castle is a big deal.

But I've seen moms say, "Oh, don't tattle on your brother." I think teachers are maybe worse.

Is she "revealing the plans or activities of another"?? Yes. But it's not in a gossiping,
let's get Caleb in trouble for something that has nothing to do with me manner.

What if she tells me that Caleb pushed Gabriel? Or what about name calling?

Here is my perspective and how I handle these situations. If it directly affects Sarah, like the Barbie and Batman castle example, I will address it because her feelings have been hurt and
she is coming to me for help. Caleb should respect her feelings, and they need to play together nicely. If it's something like one of my children pushed another, but it's the one that wasn't directly involved that tells me, I will say, "Thank you for telling me, Sarah," and may or may not address the issue until the ones involved come to me. If it's something completely out don't know..."Caleb put his backpack on the table instead of putting it in his room," (which has never happened as far as someone telling me this, but we'll go with it) I will still say, "Thank you for telling me," because I feel like the child must feel like it's important for some reason.

I think deep down most kids aren't trying to get other kids in trouble. I think they just want to trust adults, and they want to come to them when they are hurt or see something that doesn't appear to be right. Most of the time, I honestly don't think kids are tattling. I think they think they are helping, or they are upset and hurt! Why are adults so quick to say, "I don't want to hear it!" or "Don't tattle!"

Could we try to be more mindful in these situations? Perhaps they need us to just listen, perhaps they just want to feel like they're being heard.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Few Things On My Mind About Finances

You know you use your debit card too much when you get excited to see this:

There are no current day transactions pending.

Josh and I are trying NOT to use it, trying to spend less and be more disciplined. You may recall, we are fans of Dave Ramsey, reading his Total Money Makeover and attending an FPU class a few years ago. We are very close to being debt free, with the exception of our mortgage, and it's a great feeling...might just pay off that student loan this year!


We still tend to spend money on little things. Or random trips to the store that aren't necessary. Or trips to McDonald's that shouldn't be. Each day when I che
ck our account, it seemed like there was ALWAYS something pending, from a $15 trip to the store (for something we probably could have waited for or maybe even something we didn't need) to eating out somewhere.

This past week we started a financial study with our small group. I was not really all that excited about the idea since we felt like we had all the knowledge we could possibly need! But it did open up communication again between me and Josh about our budgeting, and I didn't realize how different we are. I THOUGHT WE HAD THAT FIGURED OUT! Even after all this time, even after all the Dave stuff, I didn't know that I had a different idea of budgeting than he did.

And it's pretty clear cut. I am simple. He is not. Ha!

For example, I might as well have just a Walmart section on my excel sheet, because I am not prone to care if I throw in a package of socks for Caleb with my groceries. I mean, am I ever going to be so particular that when I go grocery shopping and throw in dish washing liquid in the cart that I'll go and document that out of $100 I spent, $2 of it was not groceries?

But some people do.

So between a heated discussion about that and a heated discussion about using debit cards vs. going to an envelope system (which I don't want to do) we have our work cut out for us!

The one thing I am loving about this financial study is how the book that goes along with it puts so much emphasis on scripture. Dave Ramsey includes some, but this one is way heavier on it. And one of the quotes that has stood out to me so far is...
"We are charged to be faithful in handling 100 percent, not just 10 percent. Unfortunately, many churches have concentrated only on teaching how to handle 10 percent of our income - the area of giving. Although this area is crucial, we have allowed Christians to learn how to handle the other 90 percent from the world's perspective, not from our Lord's perspective."
While I don't agree about 10 percent being the only amount of giving (the book actually addresses this, too...I wrote more about it here and I couldn't believe that one of my concepts was stated almost word for word in the book...maybe I was
onto something) I do agree that all this effort to become debt free for some has become their mission, and they often lose sight of what God has in mind for their money outside of their giving to church, ministries, and charity. What do I do with the rest? Is what I'm doing with the rest pleasing to God? Am I striving to be debt free so I can bless others with my money or so I can do whatever I want with my money?

Half of the couples in our small group did not have a written budget. The rest of us are taking them under our wings and showing them how we've done it. I wish I was more of an expert! But it's ok, we do have one woman who is a very big nerd when it comes to budgeting! :) She will be a big help. What I can share is how freeing it is to h
ave no payments - no car payment, no credit card payment, no Lowe's or JC Penney or Dell payment. What it was like to take an anniversary cruise and pay for it all with our own money, no credit. Having an emergency fund for emergencies rather than depending on a credit card for an emergency. Living on one income and feeling great about it. Things like that are our story.

And I hope our story in the future is...we use our debit card WAY LESS, we became more disciplined, and I broke my McDonald's habit! :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Evidently He's Bored

"Mom, could we do homeschool again?" Caleb said to me with a sweet, sincere tone.

"Why would you want to do that?" I asked him.

He continued, "Oh, I just miss you during the day. And school is boring."

It was very sweet of him to say he missed me, I miss him, too, during the day.

I gave him a hug and said, "But Caleb, you are doing so great! You love art and music and PE! You're reading very well and your papers and tests look great!"

"I'm just bored."

I looked over at Josh, and he said in a whispering type way (so that Caleb couldn't hear him), "Maybe
it is boring for him?"

The thing is, I never used to believe this line of thinking. I know friends who have very bright children, and they started their kids a year early in school, working around the system and getting them in, fearing they would be bored because they were so smart. I always thought that everything would balance out, and kids are just kids after all. Surely they can find something to do at school that they like?

Let's brag about my own elementary days for a moment since they are so long ago, it's not like it really matters! :) I was in the top reading group right from the start, always tested WAY above level, always made all A's and probably wasn't satisfied with anything other than 100%. I was academically competitive even at an early age.
But I don't remember ever feeling bored. I wonder if this is a boy thing? Maybe this is why our school systems have been criticized as failing our boys?

Fortunately his behavior is not an issue (which is sometimes the case with boys who are bored). He has received Student of the Month, which is based on behavior, and his teacher tells me he is a nice boy. I'm not sure what the solution is. The solution is not necessarily me homeschooling again (that's another post altogether), but I do wish I could see what his day is like. I do wonder what it means for a 7-year-old to be bored during the day at school.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy 3rd Blogiversary (Belated)

Yesterday was my blog's 3rd birthday. Sometimes it seems like I just started writing, and sometimes it seems like it's always been a part of me. I really love looking back over past entries to see what was going on in my life. It's the main reason I kept going with my blog, even when I didn't feel like it, even when there were months when I didn't have it in me write. It's amazing what a person will forget, when something happens and you think you'll always remember it, only to look back on a journal (or in this case, a blog) and read about it years later and realize...I forgot that happened!

It's funny to me when I'll be talking with someone and say, "Oh, yeah...I wrote about that once!" Then I'll look back through my entries to try and find it, and I wrote it so much longer ago than I realized. I looked for this entry the other day, and I thought I just wrote it...but it was two years ago!

I started writing back when I had a 4-year-old, a 2-year-old, and a newborn who just turned 2 months. They are now 7, 5, and 3...and I'm expecting another. My life has had lots of ups and downs, lots of changes, lots of new friends and the occasional loss of a friend due to circumstances I wouldn't have expected. One thing I know...I really do enjoy looking back over my blog and seeing how my brain was thinking at any given time!

Sometimes I don't know how to balance real hurts when it comes to sharing on a public blog. Some people are really blunt, some people are really fake. I'm not sure what direction to go with that sort of thing. There is a thing called privacy! But I also hate when someone seems so perfect, that everything is so great, it makes others (maybe even me sometimes?) feel like I must be doing something wrong for someone else to have it all together so perfectly. If we put up a fake front, perhaps it does more harm than good.

That being said...

I'm taking each day as it comes. How vague is that?! :) If you've been reading very long, you know that I changed my blog's name a few months ago. I felt like it better reflected who I am, and to be honest, some of my struggles that weighed me down made me feel like I couldn't have a blog with my former title.

Thanks for sticking with me through the years, especially some of my long-time readers. I'm thankful to Ashley and Bethany who inspired me in the beginning.

*New look and new layout in the works...stay tuned...

Friday, January 20, 2012

He Wasn't Embarrassed

The first week of January brought the first practice of Upward Basketball for Caleb. He had his first game on Saturday, and after seeing a few practices and seeing his first game, I am loving this year's season just as much (maybe more) as the last...probably because I can tell Caleb is loving it, too.

The picture on the left is the team after the game, Caleb is looking up at me smiling. The picture on the right is during the game, Caleb is in the center of the picture.

Last night was picture night, so we arrived a little early like the coach asked, all dressed in his nice, blue jersey. His coaches are good about making the boys tuck in their jerseys - I don't know why I love this so much, maybe because I was always made to tuck in my jerseys when I participated in sports, might as well teach 'em young! Before we left, I asked Caleb if he wanted me to help him with tucking it in because he has a very long jersey, and it's sort of bulky with his blue t-shirt that goes underneath. He didn't want me to, so I just left him alone and sent him over to his team when we got to practice.

I noticed that the coaches began telling the boys to tuck them in not long after they all were together, and each boy did as they were told. I saw that Caleb had his shorts pulled up really high, and his jersey and undershirt were...well...very bulky and almost laughable! I waited on the sideline, wondering if he would be able to adjust it to look a little better, but it remained bulky. I walked over to the team, and I nudged one of the coaches (who is in my small group, so I knew I could kid with him), and said, "If I'm paying for pictures, I don't think I want him to look quite like that!" He smiled, and I continued over to Caleb to help him.

Since it was in the middle of the gym, in front of his teammates, I wasn't sure how to go about helping him. I didn't want to embarrass him or anything! But I just started pulling on his jersey and pulling on his shorts. It wasn't working, so I did what I would have done at home - I literally put my hands down the backside of his shorts and around to the front, fixing his shirt and jersey, making it not bulky and pulling on his shorts a bit so they weren't so high. Then I pulled out the front of his jersey just a bit, enough to see his number.

I said, "Looks all better kiddo!" and walked back to were I was sitting before the uniform adjustment.

Then I realized...he wasn't embarrassed.

Not a bit.

Not one, "Oh, mom!" or anything.

He just stood there, let me help him, and actually said thanks before I walked away.

He still holds my hand at Walmart if I reach for it...or anywhere for that matter. I remember being surprised when he wanted to hold my hand at school when I visited during the Halloween parade last fall.

And I'll take it. I'll take this non-embarrassed little boy as long as I can. I honestly didn't expect to have it this way this long. I'll brace myself for when the day comes and he doesn't want to hold my hand. After all, it would be quite odd if a 16-year-old still held his mom's hand at Walmart! :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

While I'm Nesting

Today I found myself in full-fledged nesting mode. I wish I could bottle up this motivation and determination and keep it for the days when I'm not like this (which are more often than not), but since I can't, I just have to take advantage of the moments when I'm excited to clean and declutter!

From the time I got home from taking Caleb to school - which was probably 8:15 or so - until I put Gabriel down for a nap around 1:00, I don't think I sat down. At all. This is not normal for me, and I can really feel it now. My poor back.

Fortunately for me, my two kiddos who are here with me during the day have extremely independent personalities. They do not tend to ask me to play with them, perhaps it's because they have each other? Or maybe it's because they are second and third born? I'm not sure, but on days when I'm just focused on a project to clean or put away or declutter, they are perfectly content to do their own thing. So today, I took a few pictures of what they do.

First, Sarah asked if she could play on for a bit. I love that website because it is full of preschool games for her to do, so while she's having fun, she actually has to think and be creative! Gabriel loves to watch while she does this.

Today she was playing Toopy and Binoo.

When they were done with their computer time, Gabriel decided he wanted to play with Caleb's Legos.
If Caleb knew I let him play with his Legos, he might be upset with me! But Gabriel is getting pretty good at it, so I got them down for him.

Sarah went into the playroom (soon to be girl room...that's my next project) and found her Daisy Girls which is a 40-piece wooden/magnetic mix and match thing for her to dress up those girls.

I was too focused on what I was trying to accomplish to take anymore pictures (this is either good or bad depending on how you look at it) but they also played in the play room for quite a bit, Sarah with her Barbies in the doll house and Gabriel bringing neighbors over to play with Barbies, which usually includes Batman and Robin or sometimes dinosaurs. She is a very sweet big sister, she never seems to mind when Gabriel finds random "friends" to bring to the doll house.

We did pause for a snack of applesauce around 10:00. We did have lunch around noon. Other than that, they were good kids who played on their own together.

What do your kids like to do when you're busy doing something around the house?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Documenting Firsts and Keeping Projects

After reading a post from a sweet friend of mine who is a self-proclaimed over-documenter when it comes to her children's "firsts", it got me to thinking. I wonder why I don't do that. And I don't mean I don't over-document their life happenings, I mean I don't document ANY of their life happenings. I don't even feel bad about it.

When I had Caleb, someone gave me a cute little calendar full of stickers that I could use to write down his first pediatrician appointment, his first smile, his first time rolling over, his first tooth. When I forgot to write down the first doctor's appointment, I didn't really think anything of it. The calendar just sat there, and every time something happened, I just never put it in that calendar.
I just don't know why. In my head I know that his first tooth came in around 4 months, MUCH sooner than Sarah and Gabriel's. I know that he started crawling in the summer because Josh was home on summer break and I wasn't there (I was very sad...I was working at the time). I know he took some of his first steps on his first birthday in front of all kinds of people at his party!

The same is true for Sarah and Gabriel. I have some of their firsts in my head, but I have nothing written down.

I think it's cute and great when moms take time to write it all down. Perhaps it's especially fun to compare different children in the house, finding out when the first child rolled over compared to the others? Or maybe that's why I never did it? I really have no idea!

Only one of my children have a picture with the doctor who delivered them, and that's Gabriel. Maybe it took me three times to figure out it might be nice to have that picture!

The same is true when it comes to what I keep that the kids make or work on at school. For example, each Sunday the kids bring home something that they've worked on in their Sunday school class or during extended session/junior worship. I can't think of a time when I've kept it. Can you imagine how much like a hoarder I would be if I kept everything from 4 kids? So it has to REALLY stand out to me.

Like this picture Caleb made in art class in December. I must of been having a mom moment, because I thought it was just the coolest thing. He loves art, and when I saw this, I could see why!

Or his letter to Santa. I love his creative sentences and his handwriting.

These were done this school year, in 1st grade, and I'm not sure if I've kept much else. I have one or two things that were really neat from his preschool days and kindergarten days, but that's about it. The same is true for Sarah and Gabriel. For me to keep it, it has to be something I know they've done completely on their own, and it needs to be something worth keeping.

I know all moms are different. Some who read this might just shake their head or gasp! :) But I know that I am comfortable with how I'm doing things, it would be different I guess if I felt horrible about it.

So if you're a mom, are you an over-documenter, an average documenter, or a non-documenter? I'd really like to hear from just one non-documenter! :) And how do you decide which papers/projects to keep that your kids work on?

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Clean House

When my house is completely clean, I feel _________.

How would you answer that question?

Sometimes there are days when I just don't feel like doing housework. I just want to watch
Team Umizoomi with the kids, bake cookies, play with Barbies or Legos, read a story I've read 100 times to them...anything besides what I should take time to do each day. I don't want to do the daily chores that are never ending. While I realize it's just part of being an adult (and, dare I say, especially part of being a stay-at-home mom), I find that I am almost childlike on occasion, in complete protest of cleaning my room!

But what I have found to be overwhelmingly true is how I feel when I've done what I should do. When the house is just as it should be, and I look around to see everything in its place... a toy-free, shoe-free, randompaper-free living room.

Or a bedroom with no laundry baskets, no clothes on the floor, no stacks of papers to go through.

Or even a dining room table filled with a few loads of folded laundry on its way to be put away.

When the dishes are done, when I've planned ahead for dinner, when the bathrooms have clean toilets and there are no Hello Kitty hair ties lying in the sink...I feel many things.

I feel proud that I'm taking care of my home.

I feel accomplished because I did my part.

I feel happy because I like the way my house looks.

But mostly, I'd say I feel at peace. And when I feel at peace about my home, it's a great feeling. I'd guess this feeling comes from doing something that is intrinsic to a woman. Perhaps that sounds unliberated, and I'm certainly not saying a man shouldn't help out. But when Proverbs 31 says, "She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness," it means to me that we are more prone to feel the need to have our homes in order. No matter if a woman works outside of the home or not, no wonder she must feel a sense of peace about her home when she's worked hard to keep it just as it should be.


That's a feeling I need daily. And somehow I need to remind myself of that peaceful feeling when all I want to do is do nothing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Just a random, normal morning in December.

Sometimes I wonder how the dynamic will change when baby girl arrives.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Decoding "What do you think?"

If you ask for advice, it's good if you let people know that you're wanting support of your idea instead of actual advice. Does that make sense? If someone really has their mind made up and they just want support, how could they best let this be known?

"I'm going to move to Alaska and start a snowboard business. What do you think?" It's possible that this person actually just wants you to tell them what a GREAT idea it is! If that's the case, there has to be a better way to word the part about, "What do you think?" Otherwise, you'll just make a level-headed thinker out to be a jerk when they tell you that maybe there is a lot to consider when going to Alaska (or whatever the example is).

"We're thinking about buying a bigger house." This is something my family considered recently, and I even picked out the perfect house! I only told a few close friends, and we discussed my budget and if it would stretch it too thin. I genuinely wanted their feedback, maybe it was because I didn't have my heart totally set on it? Well...I did a little, actually. But after sharing the cost of utilities with my friends, thinking about the closing costs, costs of selling our current house, etc, it just didn't seem to be the right idea for us right now. The friends I told gave me sound advice and even encouragement (in the form of prayer for wisdom), and when one of them questioned if this would really fit in our budget or if Dave Ramsey would approve :) I didn't feel like they were being mean at all.

So I keep can we discern when someone really wants advice or if they're just seeking support of their idea?

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Pregnancy Experience

Each pregnancy a woman has is different for her. That's probably a no brainer, right? Most people, especially women, would say they understand this concept. Most of the time, however, they are referring to the pregnancy itself. Maybe you'll puke with your first, maybe you won't with your second. Maybe you'll have a vaginal birth with one and a c-section with another. Maybe your blood pressure will be perfect with your first two, not perfect with the the third, and then perfect again with the fourth.

You get the idea.

But I think the thing I've found to be most interesting and fun is the difference it makes when children are already in the house. How they react to the news of their mom's pregnancy, how they react to mommy's belly growing, etc. This round for me has been the most precious by far, and I know it's because my kids are a bit older, ages 7, 5, and 3.

Each day before he leaves for school, Caleb gives me a hug. But I am not the only one he hugs. Of course he hugs his brother and sister, but he also hugs my belly. It makes me teary almost every time! He never forgets, probably because my belly is sticking out now! He sometimes gives my belly a kiss, too, and always says, "Bye, bye, baby!"

Sarah and Gabriel do the same thing, Gabriel more so than Sarah. Several times a day, they will ask if they can hug or kiss the baby. I always smile and say of course. It amazes me how they already have a bond that I didn't expect.

Sarah talks about teaching the baby how to do things. She wants to teach her how to crawl, how to sit and walk, how to say her ABC's. She talks about playing with Barbies together and playing with My Little Ponies together. I realize that their age difference probably makes this an unrealistic thing, but she doesn't know that right now! The one thing I do think will make them close is the fact that Sarah already has brothers, and this is her sister. I think that's sweet.

It's been a rough road with this baby...for me anyway. Lots of puking, a trip to the ER (and a two-day hospital stay) with gall stones and pancreatitis, a spell of high blood pressure, a diagnosis of marginal placenta previa, and now at only 25 weeks, I'm already have pelvic pain that usually doesn't happen to me until the end. But I cannot even imagine not having this experience. I'll admit this pregnancy wasn't exactly planned (of course, neither were the other three), and even though I've had some overwhelmed feelings about having a forth baby, it all fades away with a sweet voice that says, "Mommy...can I give the baby a kiss?"

And I can't wait to kiss her sweet face in April.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What if she doesn't match?

Yesterday I saw this exchange on facebook:

Girl 1: Did you see [my daughter] this morning? I begged her to change, she fought me and you see she won! She looks so ummm. Well not like I would have dressed her. Hahaha, but she picked them out and I wasn't gonna fight anymore so I gave in.

Girl 2: I didn't see. Lol.

Girl 1: Oh she wore her [mascot] shirt, the grey one, and jeans but the jeans are skinny jeans w/blue flowers down the legs w/rhinestones, and her tennis shoes.

Girl 2:
Lol. She's cute!

Which got me to thinking a bit. At what age should we no longer pick out our kids clothes? I am guilty of almost always picking out stuff for my kids, but they really don't give me trouble. That could be because I am very proactive about it, setting out what I have in mind before they get a chance to pick out something else or put something else on their little bodies. Every now and then, Caleb will have a certain shirt in mind, so I'll find it for him (no biggie).

If Caleb picks out something 100% on his own, it usually looks fine. He doesn't have that many options to look silly, generally just a pair of jeans and a shirt. Sarah, on the other hand, could pick out something odd, maybe like the little girl described above, or maybe put stripes with polka dots. Gasp!

And if that happened...why does it matter so much to me or other moms? I wonder what I'm worried about. Am I worried that my child will be made fun of, or am I more worried about what other adults will think of my ability to dress my child? There will obviously have to come a day when they do this on their own! How do we guide them in it...

...or...really...does it matter?

If you have children, how old are they, and do you pick out their clothes?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Reflecting on 2011

As I sit at my laptop, next to my children playing a game they received for Christmas, I am reminded how fortunate I am to have them in my life (and also reminded how long it takes to write when they are close and asking questions). The year was full of adventure with them, and full of adventure for me as well. I know it's so cliche to say how quickly the years seem to go by, but I really feel like 2011 was the fastest year ever for me. I'm afraid this is how my life will be for the next several years (or the rest of my life?), trying not to blink and miss all the precious moments in every year.

One year ago this week, on Monday, I started work again (after being a SAHM for 4 years). It was something that seemed necessary at the time, and it was actually really hard for me. Any time we take on a new title in life, whether professionally or personally (going from not employed to employed or from single to married, etc) it can be scary. I did the best work I knew how, applied my perky personality and work ethic to the position, and met lots of great people. Not only co-workers, but patients that I saw on a daily basis often taught me something. Like this man.

Caleb started school that same week (after a semester of homeschooling), and Sarah and Gabriel began staying with a sweet woman during the day. This all worked out to be a great experience for the kids, and I am thankful for that.

In January Caleb also started Upward basketball at our church, and then in March he began Taekwondo. Both have been great experiences. He continues with Taekwondo (now with his green belt) and will begin another round of Upward beginning this week.

Sarah completed her first year of preschool in April, and I simply adore the people and atmosphere of her preschool. It's always good to send your kids where you feel confident in the workers and in the content of what they're teaching. Thank you to them.

Gabriel started potty training in the spring, and Lord help us, we are still working on it almost ten months later. I know he'll get it eventually, I'm just not sure what the hold up is. He is only wearing underwear, no pull-ups to deter progress, but he still has accidents and will not tell me when he has to go. As long as I keep track of time and take him, it's an accident-free day (not counting poopy accidents).

In June, the kids welcomed their first cousin, Sylvia!

In July, Josh and I celebrated 10 years of marriage. We sort of weren't sure if we would take a big trip or not, but we got the hair-brained idea to go on a cruise around May or so! One of my co-workers at the time was crazy about cruises, so we asked her lots of questions and started planning. It was a trip full of fun and relaxation, that's for sure!

In August, Josh's grandpa passed away. It was a sudden thing, very difficult for us because he fell at our house walking out our front door, and the surgery that followed would turn out not to go so well.

I am thankful for the picture above, taken the day grandpa was at our house. I know he enjoyed seeing Caleb's birthday party that day. We know he is rejoicing in heaven, reunited with his wife, and singing praises to the Lord. :)

Also in August, Josh began teaching at the East Central College campus in Rolla. It is an adjunct position, and I think he really enjoyed this new experience as an educator.

We decided to announce that we were expecting our 4th baby in September. I was about 10 weeks when the news broke, and I was hoping to hold out longer, but I figured all the puking gave it away! I also resigned from my job in September, and the day after my last day of work, I was admitted to the hospital with pancreatitis and gall stones! Aren't I too young for that?!

The fall brought a student of the month award for Caleb and some cute, super heroes around October 31st.

And let's not forget, the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series in October!

My 20-week ultrasound was scheduled for November 29th, and on that day we found out our baby is a girl. I was so excited. So, so excited. We do have a girl name picked out, but it's top secret, so I can't tell until the baby is born! But don't worry, I can give you a clue. Her first name is in the Bible. ;)

We really enjoyed Christmas break, with Josh being off for two weeks! We did some traveling this year for Christmas, and I went to my first pro-football game on Christmas Eve!

With a new baby on the way, we have a lot in store for us in 2012! I hope I can take in every moment. I hope I can enjoy these days, and when I reflect this time next year, I can have a flood of wonderful memories to share with you.

Happy 2012.