Friday, December 23, 2011

A "what if" kind of week

I love celebrating Christmas and the birth of Jesus with my little family. I love that my kiddos know Christmas is about Jesus and that Santa, (while he's a fun character and we do take part in Santa-like festivities), is not the focal point.

The holidays, however, tend to stir up emotions deep down, as any parent who has had to give a child back to the Lord will tell you. I can't help but think about how another little boy should be here, with presents under the tree. He should be seeing his stocking hung on the mantle, right next to the others. I should be dressing him the same as his big brother, matching sweaters and all. Honestly, while I do have mostly good days and try not to dwell on this, some days just plain hurt.

( I like to put the kids' stockings in age order, but Danae wanted Josiah's in the middle.)

(Lovingly made by my mother-in-law...what skill!)

This week has been full of "what if's"...What if Josiah were still here? What would life be like with a six year old, three year old, and almost two year old? Would my boys like sharing a room? Would Josiah look like the little boy I met earlier this week...the younger sibling of one of Danae's classmates who will be two years old in January? I knew it deep down when his mother told me his birthday is next month. "Which day?", I asked, while thinking, Don't say the 27th. Don't say the 27th. Sure enough, she did say the 27th, making this little boy and my Josiah birthday true buddies.

I try hard not to analyze too much or dwell on things. I want to be grateful that my son doesn't have to suffer with sickness and complications here on earth. Trust me, I do see God's hand in all of this and realize His grace. In the end, though, we all still miss his presence.

So, I ask for prayers during this season, as well as next month when we celebrate Josiah's second birthday in Heaven. And I ask also for prayers for friends and families that you know who are also missing their babes. The emotions tend to be the same.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holiday decorating and memories

I love getting our Christmas tree and dressing up our house the weekend after Thanksgiving. Going through the ornaments and talking about where they came from, watching my kids' faces glow with enjoyment at putting up candy canes and stockings, having candles in my windows and remembering how much I loved falling asleep with them on when I was young. The memories and tradition of it all is just so wonderful to me!
This past weekend proved no different. In fact, there was an unexpected addition to it all that evoked even more childhood memories:

There's my little Caedon, his body burning up in fever and dealing with strep throat and the horrible rash that comes with it. He would hang some ornaments, sip a drink, hang some more, lay down, go play with toys, lay down some more...that's pretty much how Saturday went for the poor kid.

And when I looked over at him, my mind instantly went back to a Christmas season over 25 years ago, when my childhood friend Amanda was at my house, decorating and hanging up ornaments with me, my mom, and Grandma Markey. It was probably late afternoon when both of us started to not feeling well, and we each laid down on different couches near the tree, falling asleep. Both of us came down with the flu that afternoon...both sick on Christmas tree set-up day. I have such a hard time remembering things from my childhood, so it's funny how I can remember the feelings and people from that afternoon. :)

(Amanda and I, in the middle...she's the one with the great tan. I'm the pale kid with the rosy cheeks.)

I hope you are making Christmas memories of your own and enjoying this time of year!

Monday, November 21, 2011

My 3 year old and bedtime

Initial findings indicate he didn't go to sleep right away. Instead, he trashed his sister's bookcase, played with toys, and passed out in the hallway almost two hours after bedtime. This seems to be his nightly routine lately.

Time to intervene.

Friday, November 18, 2011

November Update

So much to say, with so little time! For whatever reason, life has kicked into high-gear, and the holidays aren't even here yet. Maybe I'll just give you a preview of life and what it's like to be inside my brain these days:

* Puppies: We are down to only three (YES! Count 'em: 1, 2, 3!) little eight-week-old pups in our house, and all three leave tomorrow morning! Whenever I look back over the past eight weeks, I wonder how in the world we maintained sanity with 10 dogs and 4 people in one house. No, seriously...even though the dogs were kept in one room (that needs a complete makeover anyway) or were outside all day on warmer days, between the smell, the mess they create, and the time it takes to feed and clean up after them, sometimes I felt like I was at my breaking point. And if you know me, I can usually juggle many things at one time, so admitting that I was ready to lose it is saying a lot! Yes, the puppies are super cute, and just like I tell my kiddos, they are lucky they are! :o) In the end, I am just SO thankful that God brought along the right people for these dogs. And for the record, we won't be breeding again until AT LEAST spring of 2013...if not later or never. :o) Next up in the doggy world: a special bath/grooming for Lucy, and maybe we'll throw in a little toy. ;o)

* Kindergarten: My daughter is doing really, really well in her first year of school. Scratch that...she's kicking butt! We had her parent/teacher conference two weeks ago, and Danae has met the reading goal for the year, as well as the number & letter recognition goals. Since our state has adopted the Common Core standards, math concepts will be introduced at the Kindergarten level within the next few which Danae will be very excited. (In the spring she was asking if she would be learning more math in kindergarten...yes, we know, we have an over-achiever on our hands.) ;o) For a few weeks we were dealing with crying before school, not wanting to go, complaints of being bored...but Danae seems to be over that now. I think her pediatrician telling her (at her six-year check up last month) that she won't be as bored next year in 1st grade and that she should look at Kindergarten as a "really fun play time" really helped Danae get over it. I also see in Danae the anxieties and home-sickness that I experienced as a kid, so that is playing a role, too. Ahh, yes, what a joy it is to see your shortcomings and personality glitches in your offspring! ;o) FYI: 6-year-old pics coming soon!

* My little man: Boy, oh, boy...does my son know how to work my heart! Caedon has superbly mastered the art of cuteness, and lately a little hug and flash of his dimpled grin gets him many things - a little piece of chocolate before dinner, extra snuggle time, sleeping in our bed here and there, extra tv time. Dude, this kid is one lucky boy! I'm not sure if it's because he's my youngest (and more-than-likely last), but while I try hard not to baby him (trust me, he gets his fair share of correction!), I also can't help but bend the rules here and there. My favorite part is when he gets that little piece of candy, and then sometimes asks for one for his sister, too. Yes! They sometimes DO look out for each other!

* Hubby: He's alive and hasn't fallen off of any roofs in a while. ;o) As indicated by my previous post, Hubs celebrated his 32nd birthday last week, complete with dinner out, a cookie cake (that had the most amount of icing I'd EVER seen), and a few presents. One of his favorites would have to be this little beauty, drawn by Danae:

Aww, how cute, you say? Look a little closer...see that person to the right, with the big red mouth wiiide open? Danae says that's me, her Mama. And the feature that made this masterpiece her Daddy-O's favorite? The bumblebees around Danae's mama, stinging her. Yup...this drawing was Hubby's favorite, earning the cherished spot of front-and-center on the refrigerator. (Maybe if I gave in to Danae like I do to Caedon, I wouldn't be the one stung by bees...just a thought.)

In other news, Hubs is also up for eldership at church. He won't know for sure until the end of the month, but it looks like he will be serving more...meaning more time away from home/the kiddos/each other. We prayed that God would just shut the door and not make this happen if it wasn't meant to be, but things seems to be falling into place. Hubby feels really comfortable doing this, and while we know it's a big time commitment, we're confident it will work. :o)

* Me: Well, since I'm here typing, you know I'm still alive, too! :o) Besides working part-time (partly in the office, partly from home), I've been trying to keep up with the house and dogs, maintain my kiddos, spend a little time with friends and the youth group, fit runs in and figure out what upcoming races we'll be doing, keep a girls' lacrosse club running, and now I'm adding School Board Director to the mix. No, of election day last week, it's official: CV School Board, you are stuck with me for the next four years! I'm thankful that one of our dear neighbors is also on the Board, and I'm familiar with most of the other members...but honestly, some days I look at myself and think, "Woah...I am TOTALLY under-qualified for this." It excites me to learn more, grow, and do more for the schools and community, and that's what drove me to slap my name on the ballot for the primaries back in May. But, to be honest, sometimes I feel intimidated. Scared about what others might think/say about me. Unsure if I'll "fit the bill" and meet the expectations. We had been praying (just like for Curt being an elder) that if this is not part of God's plan, that He'd shut the doors and not make this happen...but it did, and I'm very comfortable taking on this position and know it will balance into the rest of "life". Now I just need to work on getting over the "nervousness and insecurity" part!

So there you have it...our family update! Hopefully I didn't overwhelm you, and hopefully your life isn't overwhelming YOU! I realize God gives each of us what He knows we can handle, and we all need to realize that it's not the same for everyone. May you find the balance in your life, maintain it, and live each day to the best of your ability, using your God-given talents for what He made you to do!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Happy birthday!

In the midst of the mayhem (and boy, has it ever been!), we are pausing to say Happy Birthday to my hubby/our Daddy-O... hard-working, quiet, caring, teaches our babes with patience and love...

...he deserves so much and doesn't ask for anything.

Happy birthday, Curt!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Only 4 left!

Our puppies are growing fast!

At only 4 1/2 weeks old, they are super cute and playful.

We only have 4 available (three males and one female), so if you know anyone that's interested, send them our way!

Purebred, ready to go starting November 11.

You know you want one to cuddle with. ;o)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

6 years

Happy 6th Birthday... my beautiful first-born.

It's unbelievable how quickly six years can go by, but they do!

My girl went from baby to little girl to becoming a little lady. A cutie who loves Jesus and loves giving to others. So smart and realistic that, some days, it feels like I'm reasoning with a teenager. ;o)

Happy birthday, Danae! We love you SO much!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Boys and Bible Stories

I could sit all morning and watch these two chat about a children's Bible book over a cup of coffee (for Caedon, it's a cup of soy milk). ;o)

There's something about the way my boy's face lights up, mainly when the story involves soldiers, fights, or animals of any kind. He's in the "fascinated by bad guys" stage, so stories like David & Goliath are right up his alley.

 His Daddy is the same way...great at story-telling, total boy to the heart. Two peas in a pod, I tell ya. If you know them in person, you understand!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Seasons of Life: Puppies

We are still here, living and breathing in our corner of the world!

Life has been quite


these days. I realize I say that often, and times when I miss 2-3 weeks of blogging, that's my go-to excuse. But, seriously...with school starting and teacher meetings and class projects and crazy amounts of rain and flooding and work schedules changing and school board meetings and youth group and church small group starting up again and Fair season here in Lancaster County (you CAN'T forget about Fair season!), blogging sometimes does need to take a backseat while I figure out how to navigate what can look like a grand mess. I know it's a season of life, and things will slow down and be normal again soon enough. So, pardon me for the short breaks! ;o)

On top of all the floods and newness these days, our Lucy-girl contributed her own litter of excitement last the form of nine puppies!

Yes, nine...9! We have 5 males and 4 females.

Crazy, yes...but you can't deny the cuteness or the urge to snatch one up and go snuggle for a while. (By the way they do make excellent snuggling buddies in these first few weeks.)

My kiddos love the opportunity to hold the puppies...and Lucy doesn't seem to mind for the most part. (I think she realizes they are in her business 24/7 anyway!)

This job is rather easy for us...until it's time to transition them to puppy food. Then we'll have our hands full for about 2-3 weeks. But,'s for a season, and they will be gone before we know it (the week before Thanksgiving, to be exact). ;o)

I hope you are enjoy your season, no matter where you might be!

Friday, September 9, 2011

I kinda like being an island...but not for long

When it rains, it pours...

...and POUR did it EVER!

Days of heavy rain turned many local roads into rivers here in central PA, some flowing and some just standing still, the already over-soaked ground unable to keep up.

Our normally busy road, with tractor trailers and drivers flying by at 50 MPH when they should be doing 35 or less, (PENNDOT, get ready...I'll be writing!), was very quiet yesterday. And this was why:

Flooding, less than a quarter mile in one direction...

...aaand flooding a quarter mile in the other direction.

All the trash and debris (and trash receptacles) that floated down from people's homes and from the park

Essentially, our little town/village turned into an island all its own for a day...and I LOVED it (except for our normal running routes being under water)! No vehicles on our road (except for the onlookers and those who couldn't figure out how to get around), neighbors milling about, kids in the middle of the street...

(Yes, yes...they were already told that this isn't something they get to do everyday. What kind of mother do you think I am? Sheesh!)

We were rather fortunate...just a little water in the basement, wetting several plastic containers. Easily cleanable. Others, though (including my brother-in-law and sister-in-law) are dealing with rain into the first floor of their homes (or even covering their homes), forcing evacuations. And still several others are dealing with severe loss, such as the family in our county whose 8 year old died in front of their home, sucked into a storm drain. Oh, how my heart hurts for them.

So, while the rain waters recede, the schools re-open, and the clean up begins...remember to lend a helping hand and check in on others. While it was nice to be an island for one day, reality eventually comes back and things go back to normal for most of us...but not for all.

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do.
- Edward Everett Hale

Friday, September 2, 2011

I am that type of mother

Four days into the kindergarten school year, and so far so good for my little girl! She loves school and makes it known to her little brother that she doesn’t miss him one bit during her mornings away. Little does she know that the poor boy misses her more than he lets on. Ah, the joys of sibling relationships.

Through all of this change and adjustment, I’m quickly learning more about myself this week…what makes me tick and what I need to change in myself. Here’s the short list:

  • Since having children, I have accepted the fact that I’m usually 5-10 minutes late for most things. Heck, some people call it being “fashionably late”, or what I like refer to as “fashionably on time.” My lovely friend Sarah and I practice this frequently, knowing that whenever we plan to meet, just tack on 5-10 (in her case, I tack on 15-25). J However, the school bus and its meticulously planned pick-up route know NOTHING about this common practice. Actually, I take that back. They DO know about it, but it applies only to them and not to me or anyone else. The bus can arrive 5 minutes early, right on time, or 5 minutes late…and I’m the one who needs to comply, not vice versa. While we haven’t missed the bus (yet), there already were two mornings this week that involved rushing around, frantic hair brushing, carrying a boy in pj’s and no shoes, and getting to the bus stop within 1-2 minutes of Big Yellow’s arrival.

  • I have been severely spoiled over the past two years. On days that I go to work, our friend/neighbor/babysitter Dianna has been the breakfast-giver and sometimes child-dresser in the mornings. Now, it’s me who needs to pull it together and get the kids (and myself) dressed, fed, and out the door on time. And again, as mentioned in #1, it’s a tight deadline!
  • Stress makes me do funny things. Like break out in “Ice, Ice, Baby” when my son asks for ice in his water. Or literally break out in hives (or some kind of itchy bumps) around my neck. Or not realize until it’s faaar too late that the “ground turkey” I thawed out and was trying to cook over the stove for tacos was actually ham loaf. Or not answer emails for weeks on end, then completely forget about them and tick people off. You know, stuff like that.

So, yes, I am THAT mother…the one that I scoffed at in the past and thought, “That woman better get her act together”…the one that I wrongly judged and I swore I’d never be. I think I had myself fooled all these years, thinking I’m some sort of organized phenom. In actuality, I keep things clean (vacuum, dust, etc.) and love to multi-task, but I stink at holding it all together when under pressure and a lot of stress in a short amount of time. My Wonder Woman hat (and boots…yes, I do have Wonder Woman rain boots) seems to be taking a break lately. Oh, Proverbs 31 woman, how in the world did you do it??