Friday, December 23, 2011

Our Early Christmas

This year we are going to KY for Christmas. My mom, dad, and brother are flying there for Christmas so we're going there, too! I'm excited to spend this time with my family. I'm real excited to do a gift exchange with my cousins like we used to do when we were little. I feel like it's one way of keeping mammaw's memory and legacy alive this Christmas.

Since we are going to KY, we didn't want to take all of Cooper's gifts there, then back. So Santa came early this year. A week early, actually. And he made Cooper a very happy boy.

We have had the Christmas tree very high up this year to avoid a Christmas tree disaster. We moved it into the living room so Cooper's gifts would surround the tree. When Cooper came down the stairs he started exclaiming, "Choo-Choo-Treat, Choo-Choo-Treat!!" He ignored the presents and went straight for the ornaments on the tree.

Cooper said, "oh boy" pretty much for an hour solid as we watched him open his gifts. He wanted to play with each one after opening it.

Our traditional Christmas breakfast: waffles. This year I put some almond extract in the mix, and we layered them with syrup, powdered sugar, and fruit! YUM-O.

Wanna know what made me really giddy on our early Christmas? There was snow on the ground. Something that hasn't happened for me since childhood. Why does it bring such excitement? Andrew said that the cooler weather and snow made things feel like Christmas. In FL it didn't feel the same.
At one point Andrew said, "this Christmas is way more fun with Cooper."
Amen. Amen. Amen. I know this type of joy and excitement won't always be with Cooper on Christmas. So, I'm soaking it in this year. Soaking in the excitement that beams through his eyes. Soaking in the jumping. Soaking in the "oh boys".


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thanksgiving in Florida

This post has been a long time coming. I finally took a bunch of pictures off my computer and had space to put new ones up. Here you go.

Our trip to FL this Thanksgiving was:

Simply wonderful would be the perfect way to describe our time.

Ah, the lovely sunshiney warmth of Florida. The highs were close to 80 each day. There were times I broke into a sweat just standing outside. Sweat? Yep. Just from standing outside.

...Heart-warming, too...
Our friends and family filled our hearts.

We had fun. We played cards. We went putt-putt golfing. I went to the movies. Andrew played video games. Cooper played with a train set, balloons, and cousins. We laughed a lot.

Believe it or not, we did have down time. We didn't open our computers much. There were times we were able to nap, or just sit. It was nice.

....Full of Friends...
Friends. We miss them. A lot. In Florida we had friends over all the time. And if someone wasn't at our house, we were doing something with someone else. In Ohio it is a different lifestyle and we are adjusting. But during our time in Florida, it was so nice to play games, go out, go to a movie, hang out, stay out late, eat HEALTHY snacks, and enjoy time with friends.

...Full of Family...
Since moving to Ohio a lot of our family members have gotten sick. Maybe dying. Maybe living. It has made our time with our family much more precious. I said that moving to Ohio would be good in the sense that our time with family would be much more intentional. And this trip it was. We were intentional in our time with our families. Cooper got lots of love from Mammaw, Aunt Chris, Uncle Jim, cousins, Nana, Grampsy, and Uncle Aaron. We got a little of love in there, too.

...Full of Thankfulness...
Thankful we are in a healthy place. Thankful we got to see such wonderful faces and spend some time with people we love. Thankful for Cooper and the joy he brings. Thankful for our marriage and that we've made it through this year still together.

...almost too soon...
We have not yet "settled" into friendships here in Ohio yet. We love the people here. Andrew loves his job. We love the church. We love the area. We just have not yet made the friendships we had in FL. The last time we left Florida, we left with excitement. This time when we left it was just sad. We now know what life is like without these people, and it's hard. We miss our friends. We miss our family. I think if we had waited a few more months it would have been easier. Nevertheless, we are glad we went.

I was a very bad picture taker. Here are the only shots we got.

Coffee Date Monday: 2012 is here!

I usually really look forward to the new year. There's something about the newness in it all. A new start. New possibilities. The unknown.

I have really become not so fond of the unknown.

This past month I have to admit that I have not looked forward to the new year. There are people whom we love that I am afraid we might loose this year. Every year there are hardships. I'm not sure I am ready for it all. And who knows, maybe there will be no loss and no hardship.

The closer it got to New Years and the more praying I did, the less down I felt. On New Years Eve we were surrounded by friends new and old that we love. We were also surrounded by family (Andrew's sister and her fam are visiting)!
Maybe it is just God's way of preparing my heart for whatever comes my way this year.

I keep praying that I can be aware of the tiniest blessings that God gives us. If I'm aware of each blessing, and appreciate each one, maybe when a hardship comes this year I will maintain a proper perspective.

A couple months ago I realized that the best year I had was the year I set goals for myself. So, I sat down and came up with some goals. Thought maybe I could share with you for some accountability. Some are fun, some are serious, some are personal and some I'm not sharing. But here you go. Hopefully these will give me something to strive for. Maybe even something to look forward to?

Join an gym and go at least 3 times/week.
Grow out hair for locks of love.

Pay off my student loan.
Emergency fund.
Increase giving.

Join/start a couples small group.
Find someone to mentor.
Fine a mentor for myself.
Date days/nights with Cooper.
Do something special for Andrew once a week.

Memorize 1 scripture a month.
Read and study the "E" books. (Exodus, Ezra, Esther, etc...)
Find a ministry to serve in.

Read at least 6 "fun" books.
Learn the ins and outs of my sewing machine - and use it!
1 year of home-made gifts.

“Ordinary people who faithfully, diligently, and consistently do simple things that are right before God will bring forth extraordinary results.” – Elder David A. Bednar

So, my most sincere wishes of a wonderful year for you, your family, and those you love.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Coffee Date Monday: Not feelin' it

Today I'm not feelin' it. If you had really come over for coffee I probably would have turned you away from my door step when you showed up...or made sure you know we were going to lounge with movies and naps instead of catching up.

Maybe it's the emotional roller coaster of the past couple of weeks.
Maybe it's the fact that this weekend we celebrated our anniversary and Christmas.
But today after breakfast, I fell asleep on the couch while Cooper played and woke up to him banging the vacuum around.
I have managed to bathe myself and Cooper, but we're both back in very comfy clothing.
I have played, played, played with Cooper.
We have worked on some fun Christmas crafts.
But I have not done a single thing to my home today. I want to. I want everything to be picked up, cleaned up, organized, and cooked. But today I'm just not feeling it. Is that so bad? Today I declare it is not.

Maybe it's because when I bought coffee I accidentally bought whole bean instead of ground, and we don't have a grinder, so I'm a girl without any coffee in her body right now.

And I'm going to go take a nap.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The time we fell of the face of the earth.

Seems like we fell of the face of the earth? Yep. Feels like that to us, too.

Last weekend I left for KY to go to a cousins wedding. As I was getting ready to go we got a call that Andrew's mom wasn't doing well.

I went on to KY.

Andrew flew to FL to be with his mom.

His mom is OK for now, but needs a liver transplant. We are praying she is close to the top of the list and will be able to get one soon. Would you please pray with us?

Grandpa has cancer again. I did my best to help them for a week. He starts chemo treatments again on December 28.

We lost monkey...but then found monkey.

Andrew got to spend time with friends and family in FL.

Cooper and I got some love from family in KY.

I actually missed ohio.

When we got back we had a good night with friends.

Cooper played with the Millers and Matt yesterday while Andrew and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary. We had a great time together. I love my husband, am thankful for all he does, and am grateful that God has blessed our marriage in lots of ways.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Never. Lazy?

I struggle with being lazy. Please, someone, tell me I'm not alone in this.

Truth is I would much rather stay in my comfy pjs all day, playing with Cooper, and just moseying around.

Bigger truth is that God has called me to something more in my life than that.

I know that without a doubt God placed a desire on my heart to be a stay at home mom. It came after a few months as a full time working mom. You can read my Big News Post to learn more of how this desire came to fruition. I told Andrew the other night how thankful I am that he supports me in this, and for his hard work to make it happen, because I feel more fulfilled at this time of my life than ever before. It's a wonderful feeling to know I am right where God intends me to be.

I recently finished a book called Beautiful in God's Eyes, which is all about the Proverbs 31 woman. I want to be like that woman that God so beautifully depicts. I know that it will take me years of hard work and dedication to get there. Anyhow, this book really challenged me. Challenged me with things like, "A proverbs 31 woman is never lazy." That's right, it didn't say "finds time to rest each day, rests on the weekends, or tries her best to be productive."

She is

That quote knocked me back a few thousand feet. I am far from never being lazy. So, I had to examine myself, my day, my activities, my whole world basically. And I had to figure out the things that made me lazy.

I was searching around Pinterest (doing a lazy thing) when I stumbled upon a great daily and monthly cleaning schedule. And then it hit me. I need to make a schedule. I need to set goals. I can't just go from day to day without a plan. So, I spent the rest of that day making a schedule. Each day I have a chore to do, which if I'm maintaing the cleanliness of my home, will only tak 15-30 minutes. I also TRY (I fail at this part often) to do one load of laundry each day. My day also consists of meal prep, dishes (I really miss having a dishwasher) and Cooper. It might sound crazy, stupid, or just too simple, but only having one chore/day makes me get through my day much easier. It's nice knowing that there's only one thing I need to get done. And, if I have a really busy and don't get to it, then that's ok, because that chore can wait another week and not get out of hand. Some of you have asked about this list, so here you go.

Mondays: Dust whole house
Tuesdays: Vacuum whole house (Cooper's favorite day)
Wednesdays: Upstairs bath
Thursdays: Downstairs bath
Fridays: Kitchen
Saturday and Sunday: I do an un-31 woman thing and relax and spend time with my family.

I have this typed up, hanging on our fridge, with the quote, "Love beyond words" because doing these things is one way I show Andrew and Cooper how much I love them.

I also make a list each morning of things I need to do that day. It just feels nice to cross things off a list.

Then I have a monthly chore chart. It's also hanging on the fridge, with the quote, "Find joy in the journey now." I have to find joy in doing these things, because this list is not as easy.

January - closets
February - bedrooms
March - fans and fixtures
April - blinds and curtains
May - kitchen
June - carpets and floors
July - baseboards
August - vents
September - bathrooms
October - laundry room
November - furniture
December - open for Christmas fun.

So, there you have it. The schedule that helped me. Hopefully it helps some of you, too.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the book:

My work at home is eternal, meaningful, and important, and it is my supreme service to God.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Coffee Date Monday: Iced Goodness

I have two wonderful words for you today: Peppermint. Mocha.

It's my all-time favorite coffee cream flavor, and the Christmas season has blessed this house with it's presence. Today I'm sipping it over ice, with a straw. Yum-O.

Guess what? The house is dusted, and vacuumed and while Cooper is napping I'm soaking the cleanness in, because once he's awake it won't last long.

Cooper is currently having a nightmare about the vacuum. Or me taking it from him. He's crying and yelling "vacuum! vacuum!" Cooper and his vacuum.

So, if you were over for a coffee date today, we'd be sipping on iced peppermint mocha coffee and talking about:

How Cooper's feet aren't wide anymore, but long and skinny. My baby will not much longer be a baby. Two in two months.

How I've been contemplating that I am Cooper's memory writer. I'm creating his memories he will have one day. Memories of day to day life, and memories of holidays. No pressure, right?!

How I really don't want our family to get caught up in the consumerism of Christmas. I've been brainstorming ideas on how to do this. So far my favorite is giving/getting three gifts to symbolize the three gifts the wise men gave Jesus. We'll see how my brainstorming morphs into something of a reality. Not this year, though. This year we've quite surpassed the 3 gifts. We have three large shopping bags and a box full of gifts for Cooper. I've gotten him little things here an there over the past few months, and while that has helped our pocketbook this month, I didn't realize how much we had gotten him. I wrapped everything the other night because he was starting to find the gifts. And that's when I realized he had more than plenty.

I'd share with you how I want our family to be different. To live as Christ wants us to, not the world, and how that means we have to do things differently than everyone else around us. That's never easy.

I would tell you that today I went through all my emails and unsubscribed from pretty much everything. Every time I get an email from a store or organization my head fills up with thoughts like "I wish we had money to get some of this" or "I think we might need this." Just stupid, wrong thoughts. We have plenty. We need little. My inbox will be a little sad looking now because I won't have as many emails, so feel free to send some fun emails my way.

I got some good girl time in yesterday with some ladies from church. Thankful for them. Andrew gets some guy time this weekend. Cooper and I are going to KY for my cousin's wedding, so Andrew gets to be a bachelor and hang out with the guys. I'm excited for him.

Today it is rainy. Makes me want to take a nap, or watch a movie under a nice, warm blanket.

I would tell you how very thankful I am for my friends from college. We are all pretty much in the same part of life, getting to experience things together, and encourage and help each other along the way. Today I talked to one of them for an hour and a half on the phone. Loved every minute of it. In my dream world we would all live close to each other. I'll keep dreaming, because I don't think it will happen until we've all retired, or we're all in heaven. This is one of my favorite pictures of us.

That's all ya'll. Off to look at my clean house some more. Won't be long before The Destroyer awakes.

Friday, December 2, 2011

He's not mine

The kitchen is the room I frequent the most. Between 3 meals/day, prep and clean up, plus snacks, and drinks, and coffee, trash runs, and the dryer being there too, I'm there often.

Yesterday I was cleaning the kitchen when I remembered:
Cooper is not mine.
He is God's.
And God is free to do with him what he chooses, when he chooses.
And that scares the heck out of me.

The parts where God will use Cooper to do amazing things is awesome.
Maybe God will use him as a preacher.
Or by leading his friends to Christ.
Or travel the world telling God's love story to all.
Maybe he'll grow up to be a man that lives for God in every area.
Those thoughts are awesome.
But what if God uses Cooper in a tragic way?
Like an illness.
Or learning disability.
Or his death.
Scary, right?

Thinking about those scary things makes it harder for me to give Cooper to the Lord.

But Jesus is my hope.
He is what I build my life upon.
And he is what I want Cooper's life built upon, too.
I hope I can always hope in yucky life situations.

So, despite the scary thoughts, I declare that Cooper is not mine.
He is God's.
Given to us to take care of at this time.

I just pray it's a long lifetime Cooper gets to experience.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I'm sorry - to those of you who actually read this blog with excitement - about my lack of absence on here the past couple of weeks.

We went to FL, had a blast, then came back to a very busy week in Ohio.

More of our FL trip later.

This week we put up our Christmas decorations. We opted for our small tree again this year. I tend to take showers while Cooper is awake, which leads to all sorts of mini-disasters. (Yesterday he opened the closet, pulled out a vacuum, tore it apart, and I came downstairs to dirt from the vacuum all over the floor). So, to avoid a Christmas disaster, we have our small tree sitting up high on the buffet table. Red and white lights, santa kneeling to baby jesus beneath, mary and joseph beside him. We have simple decorations this year. Nothing major. And our stockings are hung on the staircase with care, and red lights.

Cooper seems to be liking the decorations.

He gets to play with a little snowman we have out.

He hums to the Christmas music that I have constantly playing in our home.

He loves it when I pick him up and talk to him about the decorations on the tree.

He calls the Christmas Tree "Choo-Treat".

Last night he and I went to the mall to walk around because Mr. Sale had to work late. They had decorations there and he called them all "Choo-Treat". We also got a glimpse of Santa and waved.

What does your "Choo-Treat" look like this year?