Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 2009!

I don't usually make a lot of resolutions for the New Year. Sure, I always think of things that I want to do differently than the year before but I am pretty laid back about my approach.

In 2009, I have big plans.

2008 brought so many things for our family. Most of the things we learned were through trials that I didn't know if we'd make it through with our sanity in tact. We did and I feel stronger while being so much more aware of my weaknesses. I learned to lean more on the Lord than I've ever had to before. I said goodbye to my best friends and watched as they moved a world away. I sent my daughter to Kindergarten and realized how painful it was to do that.

In 2009, I just want to relax and enjoy this journey that we're all on. Sometimes I just need to remind myself to stop, breathe and take it all in. I'm learning.

In 2009, I will attend my first blogging conference and I couldn't be more excited. I may or may not get to move to a new state with my family. I will have frequent dance parties in my kitchen with a certain almost 4 and 5 year old. I will play countless kiddie board games and love it. I'll wipe noses and bottoms. I'll kiss boo boos. I'll kiss my husband more often. I'll love all of the people in my life more deliberately and selflessly.

I am so excited to see what the next year brings. I'm praying that it brings the fresh start that I've been needing.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

That's Hot

Don't you love those days when you just feel pretty? Your hair is cooperating and your clothes are well put together (and clean!)? That was me today.

I had a full day planned for the kids. We were heading to a local place that is basically a warehouse filled with inflatable jumping toys and then to another favorite spot of theirs to pick up a couple of gifts for family members that we'll be visiting soon.

I gave myself a glance after I was all ready and thought, "Man, I look pretty good today!" I was wearing a brand new sweater that I got (on sale!) at Ann Taylor and my hair was awesome.

To top it off, as he was leaving for work, Big Daddy kissed me goodbye and said, "You look pretty today!"

My large ego made it safely out the door and thanks to my swelling confidence, I didn't even get upset when we sat in traffic for an hour and a half.

All day, I was getting looks from people and I just knew what they were thinking.

"Wow! She looks great!"

"Has she lost weight?"

"I love that color sweater on her...it really brings out her eyes!"

After our full day, we returned home for dinner. I ran up to change into pajamas a few minutes ago and realized that what people were actually thinking as they stared at me today was:

"Um, that lady forgot to take the tag off her sweater. What a dork!"

Modern day Minnie Pearl right here, folks.

On the bright side, I bet at least half the Moms I chatted with at the jumping place thought, "OMG! Look at the bargain she got on that sweater!"

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Perfect

That's my description of Christmas this year.

It was just our little family of four this year and it was completely perfect. Last year, we were minus one with Big Daddy being deployed over the holidays. This year, it would have been enough just to be together but we were blessed beyond that.

I woke up around six that morning when my family started sending their Merry Christmas text messages and I couldn't get back to sleep for the excitement. I was just sure the kids would be in to rush us downstairs any moment so I laid there and waited for them.

By 7:30, I nudged Big Daddy and told him we were going in to wake them and rush them downstairs.

Sister was first and she was a little slow to wake. The girl has always loved her sleep and a promise of gifts doesn't change that.

We went in to wake Brother next. I asked if he was ready to get up and told him Merry Christmas. With his eyes still closed, he said, "Not yet, let me get warmed up!" With that, he stretched and groaned once and then shot up, eyes wide and said, "Now I'm ready!"

We spent the whole day just being together. We read the Christmas story first thing and then started opening gifts while breakfast was in the oven. So many times, one of the kids would stop and tell us that this was their favorite day ever. Mine, too.

At some point during the afternoon, I watched as my husband was showing both kids how to play a new game. I couldn't help but think that my family is so perfect for me. I felt a deep sense of contentment. I wanted the day to last forever.

Honestly, why can't it? Those same four people are always here, under the same roof. We can always make time to play games and just be with each other. We can slow down and be thankful and content for each other.

I'm making it a point to have Christmas more often.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I've been scarce around here for a couple of weeks and probably will be until after Christmas. I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! I hope you have a great time with your families. I'll leave you with a sweet little Christmas carol to enjoy. Turn up the volume, it's a good one!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Funky Fresh

Did you see my face on the back of your milk carton this morning while you were eating your Lucky Charms?

On top of a case of the Christmas Busy, I've got a terrible case of the Funk and I'm getting over a case of the Plague. Throw in just a little drama from the Air Force and you've got yourself a missing blogger. My hypochondriac-ness knows no bounds.

The good news is, Hey! It's Christmas! The bad news is, Hey! I'm tired! I'm hoping things are slowing down around here since tomorrow is the last day of school for the year and we can get some much needed rest.

I have stories to share and things to giveaway...starting tomorrow. Pinky swear. In the mean time, could you bring over some chocolate? I'm thinking it would help.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pigeons

I saw this video on Happy Meals and Happy Hour and although I don't know the author speaking, I am inclined to find out more about her. (Updated to add, I just found the author's web site and blog. She's all that, y'all.)

I'll admit that I usually don't watch videos in blog posts because I'm too lazy. I'm so glad I carved out five minutes to watch this.

I hope you have a group of Pigeons of your own.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's The Most Wonderful Time of The Year

Maybe at your house.

Something has been amiss at our house in the past couple of weeks and I'd like a full refund, please. It started with Brother. He started getting just a bit grouchy the week before Thanksgiving and we chalked it up to the Plague that has taken over our house for the last six weeks straight. Since then, he's been a ball of frustration. He gets angry with us for just about everything we say or do and the whining is constant.

Did you hear me? I said CONSTANT. As in, never ending. In case you didn't know the meaning of constant.

This week, our darlings decided that they were ready for Phase 2 of Drive Your Parents to Drink, otherwise known as Backtalk Phase. No matter what we say, there is a rebuttal from the five and under set. It doesn't even have to make sense. Let's say I tell the kids we're having cinnamon rolls for breakfast. One of them will likely say, "I don't want cinnamon rolls!" When pressed further on what they do want, you may get something like, "I want cinnamon rolls! I don't know why you never let me have cinnamon rolls!"

I won't lie and tell you that these things didn't happen at our house before this DYPTD (see above) Mission, but they were at least less common. Big Daddy and I have looked at each other eleven times in the last four days shaking our heads in wonder. We want to know who swapped our kids with a couple of Scrooges?

If you read this post about the Christmas tree debate, I'll first tell you that we did get a live tree and it's up. It's also beautiful. If you read the comments to that post and saw Sharon's beautiful memories of tree hunting and putting up, you're likely to think that's what it was like for us.

You are likely to be wrong.

By the time we were done, I was frustrated and hoping that next year will be the first real memory that my children will have of putting up our Christmas tree. I don't want them sitting around at my house with their own children twenty years from now sharing memories like, "Remember that year when we were putting up the tree and Mom kept yelling and then her eyes turned red and her head spun around? Yeah, that was fun."

If you happen to know the secret to getting my real kids back, I'm willing to try almost anything. Unless you tell me it would involve putting up another tree.

Friday, December 5, 2008

An Important Announcement

Well, important to me, that is! I figured out last night that my new posts weren't updating in any readers for blogs (Google Reader, Bloglines, etc) so I started investigating. As it turns out, something went wrong when I tried out Feedburner a couple of weeks ago and ever since, my updates haven't been getting out. Sorry about that! Here I was wondering why so many of my friends weren't coming around. I took an extra shower or two, got a new hair cut and my teeth cleaned thinking it must be a weird smell coming from me that was keeping you all away. All along, you were probably thinking I was just ditching the whole blogging thing and laying someplace drunk on egg nog. For the record, I hate egg nog.

Anyway, I got it all figured out now and they should update but if you haven't gotten anything on your reader from me in a while, browse around and see what you missed! There's a couple of really great contests running below!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Real or Fake: The Great Debate

Every Christmas since J. and I have been married, we have had a real Christmas tree. Unless you count the two Christmas seasons that we didn't have one.

I know. For shame, for shame.

There was our first Christmas when we were traveling from Montana back to the east coast for a few weeks during the holidays so we didn't see the point and there was no one to water it while we were away. Then, there was last year. The Awful Deployment of 2007. I couldn't bring myself to go out and lug one home without him here. I could have asked for help but I'm stubborn. Plus, I was just all around sad to be doing Christmas without him so we opted for the two tiny trees that we bought for the kids to put in their rooms.

Sorry about the rabbit trail, back to the tree debate.

This year, I made a passing suggestion to J. that maybe we should just get an artificial tree.

I think he heard me wrong and thought I said we should sell our first born to gypsies and adopt a reindeer.

I don't think he was fond of the idea. Don't get me wrong, I'm not convinced that it's what we should do but I was thinking about how much easier it would be on him putting it up with his still surgically wrapped hand. He said he'd suffer through the prickly pine needles and get a real tree.

It seems that some people have quite a strong preference about their Christmas tree. Do you? Real or fake? Is your preference true to how you were raised?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Laugh

Can I tell you a secret?

I love my husband.

Alright, it's not really a secret but it's something I just felt like sharing.

He makes me laugh so much. The kind of laugh that doubles me over and makes me thankful to spend time with him. He's home for several days from work because he had some minor surgery last Wednesday and won't return to work until later this week. I love having him here all day. Today was our first day without the kids (both were in school this morning!) and we did a little Christmas shopping and laughed like a couple of kids.

I believe that laughter is one of the most important elements in a marriage. Except when we're laughing because I ran over my third curb for the day.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Real Post!

So, how was your Thanksgiving?

I know, I know. I have been posting a lot of really cool stuff for you guys lately but no real posting of the going-ons of the Little People household. I have a huge, giant update coming for y'all so hang on to your horses!

As an aside, I said that to Brother today and he assured me that he didn't have any horses. Have I mentioned that I love how literal three year olds are?

Thanksgiving here was pretty awesome. My two Sisters and I were in the kitchen most of the day cooking, laughing and dancing. I brought in my MP3 player and we were getting down to some old school music.

You haven't lived until you've danced to "The Humpty Dance" and "You Give Love a Bad Name" while cooking sweet potato casserole.

We ate a leisurely mid-afternoon meal and then sat around lamenting about how we ate too much. We also watched the kids play and occasionally had to referee. I love that my kids have cousins close to their ages, it's just so dang fun. It's like my childhood all over again right in front of me. Only with less cigarette smoke and farting jokes.

So, hang with me. Join the the giveaway below. I have more coming up that you won't want to miss! There are some amazing companies and blogs out there that really want to share their fabulous stuff with you this Christmas season and I'm willing to help them out! I'll be back soon with an update that promises to be totally boring completely enthralling.

I Need Africa More Than Africa Needs Me

Remember last week when I talked about how I need Africa more than Africa needs me? I promised you more information from Mocha Club about this amazing campaign and today, it's here! Read below and please click the links to watch the video and go to Mocha Club's website and see what this is all about! Comment here because I really want to know what you guys think about this. There are so many other bloggers getting a great discussion going about this project...check them out here.
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I NEED AFRICA MORE THAN AFRICA NEEDS ME

When I think of Africa, the following images immediately come to mind: Starvation. AIDS. Child soldiers. Genocide. Sex slaves. Orphans. From there, my thoughts naturally turn to how I can help, how I can make a difference. “I am needed here,” I think. “They have so little, and I have so much.” It’s true, there are great tragedies playing out in Africa everyday. There is often a level of suffering here that is unimaginable until you have seen it, and even then it is difficult to believe. But what is even harder is reconciling the challenges that many Africans face with the joy I see in the people. It’s a joy that comes from somewhere I cannot fathom, not within the framework that has been my life to this day. [read more]