Thursday, December 22, 2011


Tonight, you all get two posts!  If you need a smile right now, here is a little hug package for you:

First, a video:

Then, a new blogger makes her debut:
Her mom (also a blogger, and a most precious one at that) is a bloggy friend of mine.
Meet Miki, "The Pink Wiggle".  She bakes, she sews, she dances, and she loves pink.

And finally:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called 
Wonderful Counselor,The mighty God, 
The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)

These are the things that are making me oh-so happy tonight.

Time with the baby and other fun

This past week has been busy!  Lots of late nights and early mornings. 
Christmas is almost here and I finally have a handful of presents finished and given to the intended recipients.
Still have a long way to go and am taking it one day at a time.

While Michael is in school, Isaiah and I have had some one on one snuggling and play time.  He has his first teeth and I can see more coming through.  I am trying to get a picture of his new smile, but the little guy is very secretive with his two new pearly whites.  This might take some time!

 We have been to see Santa:

We also had our first ride in the grocery cart sans infant car seat:

The little guy is having so much fun learning about the world we live in!

A few days after our eventful trip to see Santa and shop at Marc's, I needed to pick up some things for gifts that I am making.  I needed spices, and a lot of them.  Have you been shopping lately for kitchen spices?  It is insane how much they want to charge you in the grocery for a tiny little bottle of any given spice!  In keeping with my plight to buy local, I visited the Mediterranean Market in Middleburg Heights.

I love, love, love this store.  Need spices?  Check.  Olive oil?  Check!  Fresh pastries?  Check, check.  The Mediterranean Market has everything, including hot meals made to order.  I cannot believe how much stuff I walked out of there with for the price I paid and the staff is just so friendly.  I have everything that I need to make chai tea kits and some other surprises for over 30 people!  Just thinking about them makes me crave a gyro, ha ha! 

This week has been so hectic and in order to keep awake for everything, I finally tried an iced coffee recipe that I have been dying to make.  Yes.  Iced coffee.  I drink it indoors where it is warm so I do not care that it is December.  The Pioneer Woman said it was delicious so it must be, right?

Right.  It is heaven in a glass. Cheers!  And Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Merry Monday!

Busy day!  Had the most disorientating conversation with someone at the electric company.  Our meter was read incorrectly, causing the bill to be extremely higher than it should be.  It took some time but was finally resolved.  I officially know how to read an electric meter and will be watching them very closely for now on to make sure that does not happen again!  Finally gathered my projects for Christmas crafts.  Yep, we are almost onto the 13th of December with pretty much no one's gifts bought or made.  We are busy making memories.  Procrastination is just the way we roll, but it will all get done.  I want to share my crafts so badly but I do not want anyone that might be receiving from me to read this!  After Christmas, I will make it up to all of you with tutorials and some giveaways.  I am saving at least one of each Christmas craft and some lucky readers will win them!  In the meantime, if you need Christmas ideas, check out my friend Cheri's blog
Good stuff, I tell you. 

Have some cuteness to keep you entertained for now, courtesy of my little loves:

What an interesting box!                                                       
 I will not nap. 

No I will not.

Statistics say that 10% of all people won’t like us, so let’s enjoy the 90% who do and stop worrying about the 10% who don’t! –Joyce (Meyer)

I added her last name in parenthesis because this was a status update from Facebook yesterday from
Joyce Meyer Ministries.  Joyce always has the best advice right when you need it most. 
She has quite the gift of Godly counsel.  Now, I do suspect that the statistic may be higher than 10%, but hey, we all get what she means. 

The problems that this 10% (ish) have might not even be EVERYTHING about you.  It might be the way you speak, how you carry yourself, your parenting methods, etc.  Whatever their hangup might be,
Joyce is so right...let's STOP WORRYING about it!  Life is just too crazy for each of us to spend your time distracted with such things.  Distraction leads to doubt.  Doubt leads to depression. 
These are not things that are of God. 

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. 
I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  John 10:10 KJV

Now, I am not telling you that the 10% (ish) are the enemy.  This cannot be true, because we are not all the enemy.  Did you get that?  We have all at one time, either though silent (or not so silent) thoughts criticized someone.  Maybe it was someone dressed oddly that made you hold your purse a little tighter or someone that got too close into your personal space while shopping.  This group of people are not necessarily people you have even encountered more than once in your life.  Have you ever just had a trying week and then that ONE glare, that ONE comment or not-so-subtle giggle from someone across the room just
tipped the iceberg?  

This is where it becomes something bigger.  We take that iceberg and make it something bigger.  We wonder after our children are in bed if we have "done enough".  We look at our home made Christmas gifts and think, "this is a foolish gift".  We set a 15-minute timer to clean up our homes after a day of making memories with our children and think, "Martha would have that ceiling fan dusted and new drapes sewn" while wiping the sweat off of our brow just from making the common areas livable! 

We become distracted.  We suddenly forget the joyful giggles that we received from wearing hampers on our head and running around like lions.  Slobbery kisses and games of peek-a-boo can instantly become a distant memory if you let them.  Your joy can feel miles away if you let it.  The excitement you got from gathering ideas for Christmas gifts on Pinterest and the happiness of the intended receiver can be brushed off as a foolish idea if you let it

This is where it is no longer a matter of what another person thinks, but what the enemy wants you to be cheated of.  He sees that this bothers you and runs with it.  This is why we must be careful not to criticize others, if even only in our silent thoughts, because we never know if we might be the tip of someones iceberg. 

You see, it is not even the 90% that we need focus all of our energy on. 
Yes, it is wonderful to have friendship.  God wants us to have each other for fellowship.
What matters in the end is One.  In the end, everything is between you and God. 
Keep your eyes on Jesus and hold fast to His Word.
Enjoy the abundant life He brings. 
This is His birthday gift to you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Change of Perspective

Well, hello everyone!  It's almost the end of Wednesday and what a week it has been.
 I have been thinking all day about what I would write tonight and man, how my thoughts have evolved!  Also, I do want to apologize that I still am not able to comment back, I have no idea what the problem is.  I do appreciate your comments and am reading them, so thank you!

I spent most of the day with a terrible headache and thinking about the events of last night. 
As I mentioned last week, we had tickets to see Celtic Thunder, Michael's favorite musical group. 
That SO did not go as planned.  It was a huge disaster of sorts, way too many things going on at one time for the poor little guy.  By the time we came home, everyone was exhausted.
 Brian had a huge bump on his eye, among other battle scars, I was emotionally drained and
Michael was sleeping, still clutching the glow stick a kind man gave him to try to calm him down.

Side note:  This is one of those posts where, if you are reading this, I must ask that you please stick with me until the end of it.  I promise, I am going somewhere good with it. 
I must also apologize ahead of time that it might not be the most well-written, as my headache is still plaguing me to no end.
It was terrible.  Just terrible.  What made the experience so bad was watching Michael in such despair and all the terrible comments and glares from onlookers, like we were the worst parents in the world.  I kept my composure all most the whole evening.  When I tried to get Isaiah to go to sleep, he would cry and cry if he was put down. So tired, I laid down with him to snuggle and calm him.  This did not comfort him at all and he started to scream.  Finally, I began to cry.  "God, why won't either of my children let me hold them and comfort them, (a feeling that I'll bet He is not a stranger to)
what is WRONG with me?". 

Then all of the sudden, Isaiah was quiet.  He put his little hand on my cheek and looked at me, sucking away on his pacifier.  He let me hold him.  Then he went to sleep.

The above picture is really from today, but I thought I would sprinkle in some more cuteness :). 

Instead of going on and on about what happened at the theater that night, I want to tell you about promises.

On Monday, I was able to get out for a while with Isaiah because our wonderful friend and respite worker came for Michael.  The weather was not the most pleasant, but I really wanted to get out for a little while.  After bundling up the baby and taking the stroller up to the corner Dunkin Donuts, I decided to purchase a box of k-cups and get a warm drink.  It ended up that I was .98 short.  Instead of accepting plastic to cover the balance, the cashier pulled out a dollar from his pocket and refused to let me cover the drink.  I thanked him, standing there confused for a moment.  Then I sat down and noticed Isaiah sleeping in the stroller.  The top blanket I had on him to protect him from the spraying rain was a little damp, so I carefully removed it from him and fixed his little hat.  I sipped my coffee (gingerbread is awesome!) and reached for my Ipod.  Realizing that I could not do much on it without wireless access, I began to stare off into space for a while and lose myself in my own thoughts. 
The rain was coming down much harder and I began to worry we might get stuck there. 
It was time to go home, but I worried about Isaiah getting wet. 
I took off the fleece pullover I'd worn in lieu of a coat and draped it over him.  Then we left.

We'd made it back to the apartment complex, which is only a five minute walk from where we were.  Just at the apron of the parking lot to the street, a gold van pulls up to us. 
 I heard a woman's voice, but did not really hear what she was saying. 
"Excuse me?", I said.  "Sweater!", as she hands a sweater out of her window to me. 
 "I saw you put your coat on your baby, put this on to keep warm" she said to me.

I took the sweater, and for the second time in half an hour, thanked a complete stranger for their gift to me.  Then I watched her pull into the parking lot, do a u-turn, and exit back onto the road.
She was not even a resident of the complex! 
Fast forward to this evening, as I am dealing with this awful headache and trying my best to care for the boys.  I still felt pretty awful from the events at the concert.  Then, a knock at my door.  Cautiously, I answered it.  I was not expecting anyone and Brian was at work. 
The UPS man was on the other side of the door with two packages for me.
I open the first box and find a full size Scentsy warmer that says "Autism Speaks" on the side of the box.  Three bars were also nestled in the paper:  Pumpkin Marshmallow, Mochadoodle, and Just Breathe.  "Amy, no you didn't!", I thought out loud.  My eyes welled with tears and my heart welled with love.  Michael was already tearing at the second box, which was filled with tons of wonderful books and an envelope of pictures of my wonderful family.  My sister-in-law is wonderfully skilled with the camera and sent pictures from her recent visit with my nieces and mother in law, as well as pictures of everything they have been up to!  Michael's eyes lit up at the sight of all these books and immediately began pulling them out and sitting them on my lap, ready to read each one!
Nothing like ending the evening with your child sitting in a Scentsy box and joy in his eyes as he looks at his new books.  Looking at pictures of your smiling family and beautiful nieces. 
Opening a box of wonderful gifts from a wonderful friend. 
I took that sweater from the closet and put it on, hugging my two babies. 

Oh, how He loves us!

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Day In Pictures (Mostly)

Today was an early day.  Very, very early.  Isaiah did well in his crib...until 4.  We tried ever so quietly to sneak out of the room so that Michael would not wake.  After a change and a bottle, I had a happy baby.

One cup of coffee and a few snuggles later, I hear Michael's talking alphabet toy singing the ABC's.  Start your engines, we are off and running for the day!  Michael likes to start his day with a banana and "Sesame Street".  This morning, he was a little groggy while enjoying his morning routine.  Standing next to Isaiah, he chomps away on one piece of banana and it sort of waving another piece with his other hand in the air.  Isaiah was so intent on grabbing this piece on his first given opportunity.  As Michael stared and waved this delicious looking morsel, Isaiah drooled in anticipation and flapped his hands in an attempt to take a piece.   "BA!  BA!  BAAA!", he would exclaim to Michael, but to his dismay, Michael was always just a centimeter too far for his reach.  It was quite comical.

Finally, he gave up.  I made it up to him with some smashed banana and lots of kisses.

Michael had a bit of a hard morning, so during Isaiah's morning nap, Michael and I watched his favorite YouTube videos and snuggled.  We switch between his favorites:  Sesame Street clips and Celtic Thunder.
I can't wait to post about Celtic Thunder next week, we are taking him to see them live at Playhouse Square!

We always start with this video, and probably watch it about 10 times before moving on, but eventually back to it:


By 1 p.m. I was extremely tired and Isaiah did not want to sleep.  My mom came and saved the day while I took a nap.  When I woke, Michael was just getting up and Grandma and baby were having applesauce and playing.  We managed to get the Christmas tree up and my mom organized my pantry for me!  It was a sorry state of affairs before she worked her magic.  Michael was very testy, because of course, Grandma is ONLY there to play with him!  A plastic ladle and serving spoon kept him occupied for a while.

Now, of course, a post would not be a post without a prayer request.  Enter, Evan Pattison:

 Doesn't he have the sweetest face?  This past Tuesday, this sweet little boy has Autism.  He was struck by a car last Tuesday and is in a medical induced coma at our local children's hospital.  PLEASE pray for him.  If you are on Facebook, you can also join the prayer page that was set up for him by a good friend of mine.

Christmas decorating has officially begun here in our cozy apartment.  After much discussion, my husband and I have decided not to use our traditional tree and ornaments.  I know, there are some people saying "Oh, you HAVE to have a tree!" and to that I say, "we do!".  It is just not this huge cone of sparking lights, crinkling tinsel, and tons of shiny ornaments hanging from every limb.  We do not feel it is fair to completely overstimulate Michael with that sort of thing and then tell him "No!" for the next 28 days.  So here is our tree:
 You can only see the top half, because the bottom is barricaded by the couches, to keep our monkey from knocking the whole thing down.  We love it and this is what works for us.  I have begun to see that we should continually find ways to "look outside of the box" and do what is right for OUR family and not care about how others think we should do things.  I can't wait to have Michael help me make sparkling fish that we can hang from the ceiling.  We are going to have fun!  Little Isaiah just likes to take in all the twinkles.  

Michael ended the day on a happy note.  There was a disaster a bit later in the evening that I will not speak was dastardly.  Bedtime for him went pretty smoothly.  Isaiah was not so easy, and I almost had to enlist the emotional support of my good friend to keep me out of the room and try to calm him.  I was strong tonight.  She will be proud :).

Only problem is he woke around 11 and Daddy was home.  I turn my back for one minute and that softy has done this:

He eventually put Isaiah back in the crib, only to go lay in bed "in case he needs us".  Japan can hear that child, I think we would know!  I might just sleep on the couch tonight, just to get some rest!  

He is just so darn cute, though! 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December is here...

I am so happy Friday is almost here!  So dang tired! Bedtime for Michael went pretty smoothly, I think he found it funny that he had two baths today.  He had pudding for a snack today, which I made with coconut milk because he does not consume dairy.  We are working on using a spoon, and pudding seems to motivate him the most for this task right now.  So after he takes x amount of bites with a spoon, he is allowed to play.  Think he had fun?  :)

As you can see from the background, it has been an interesting day.  Anything that was not bolted down got thrown, tossed, name it!  But for the most part, he was pretty happy! 
Isaiah was not so happy tonight.  He is still fighting these nasty cold germs but I really needed him to get used to sleeping in his crib.  He is almost too big for his swing, and we are running short on time!  I am too afraid to take a picture of him sleeping, though because I do not want to wake him up.  He does look so sweet! 

December is here and I really need to get moving on making Christmas gifts!  Am I the only one who feels like time is just flying by?  I feel like I am still getting used to writing "2011"!  There are some wonderful blogs out there to give you inspiration on hand made gifts.  Right now, here are my "favorites":

And here is something that I think would be great for any busy mamma's wall:

Isn't is precious?  It is by Thirty-One Gifts  and comes in three different colors, but pink is always best, don't you think?  This is what the description says:
The ultimate way to organize your home. Easy to hang on a wall, on a door or on shelving. A great way to organize a calendar, note cards, homework and more. Lots of compartments for papers. Measures approx: 42”H x 22.5”W

I do happen to know how you can snag this pretty baby--head over to and Christina will set you right up!
(Blogger seems to be having problems with hyperlinks, my apologies.  Just cut and paste the above address into your browser and you will be able to get to Christina!)
OK, so the other day I asked for your prayers on behalf of Bryce and Baen Hurst.  They are just the sweetest little babies you will ever see, and most likely, the most courageous and strong.  Here is a quick explanation of what they have endured thus far:

Bryce Andon and Baen Allen were born to Brian & Casey Hurst on March 3, 2011, at 8:07 am and 8:08 am respectively. Other than large hernias they were healthy. When they came home, they began to experience loud, labored breathing but the doctors assured Brian and Casey that the twins were fine. At 2 weeks old, they both had surgery to correct their hernias all the while being told that Bryce and... Baens breathing will improve, which it didn’t. In addition to their loud, labored breathing, they would also regurgitate majority of each bottle. They both were anesthetized for the second time at 2 months old for a bronchoscopy and a swallow test. That procedure found they suffered from Trachemalacia, Layngomalacia, Collapsible pallet, Enlarged adenoids and Gastroesophageal reflux disease (which when combined with everything else is very dangerous).
Their problems continued to escalate and they were referred to a geneticist who not only confirmed they were identical, but also that they suffered from the rare genetic enzyme storage disorder called Hurler Syndrome. Each of Bryce and Baen’s health problems (including the hernia) are symptoms of Hurler Syndrome however the doctor informed their parents that more severe problems will occur. A cardiac test and an eye exam determined that Bryce and Baen had: a dilated ventricle, an enlarged ventricle, a dilated chamber and corneal dystrophy.
There is no cure for Hurlers and the prognosis is TERRIBLE. Without treatment the life expectancy is 5-10 years, and the mental age does not exceed 4 years old. A regular bone marrow transplant could extend that by a few years. But thankfully Monday (November 7, 2011), Brian and Casey were put in touch with the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital. They not only specialize in Hurler Syndrome, but they are the ONLY place in the world that performs a specific type of bone marrow transplant which focuses on the affected part of the brain!  
The above information was taken from the Facebook page members of their family have created to bring awareness to the Hurst boys' condition and help raise money for the parents and children.
Brian and Casey have made the decision to move their family to Minnesota, where the boys will be receiving their medical care. 

I really cannot even begin to imagine this situation.  Any of it.  My heart just breaks for this family.  There is a benefit being planned to help them with expenses and all that information can be found here

Hug your babies tonight.  Please do not forget the Hurst family in your prayers, and please consider donating to their fund if you are able.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Little Blessings

Well, looks like I missed posting on Monday.  I was so incredibly tired, I could not even muster words!
Today, like most days was a series of ups and downs, but always leaving me at the end most grateful for my boys.

My mom came over and brought me a most beautiful vision-a box of k-cups from BJs!  A decent cup of coffee is a wonderful gift.  Michael went off to school and I spent the day doing a lot of paperwork I needed to catch up on.  Isaiah was most unhappy for pretty much the whole day.  I felt a little tooth pricking out of his gums so I am hoping the Tylenol will soothe him.  My camera is here amongst a flurry of blocks, books and pretty much everything else you can possibly imagine.  I must find it tomorrow so I can snap as many gummy-smile pictures before it is too late!  Also, Isaiah is now upright, with the assistance of the train table for balance and it is the cutest thing ever. 

I found early in the day that we did not have enough formula to make it until the end of the night.  Staring out the window at the rain, I was not looking forward to making the journey with Isaiah to pick some up.  Enter my very good friend to my rescue.  Another life-saving gesture made towards me, now we have enough until the morning without getting wet and most likely annoyed! 

It took Michael approximately 20 minutes after he came home from school to turn nearly anything not bolted down upside down.  He is so curious and very fast!  We escaped disaster as well:  he climbed into the bottom of the sit and stand stroller to play with the straps and was completely stuck.  After calming him down and letting him know mommy would somehow free him (and a few bites on my hand!), I was able to shimmy him out.  I honestly had NO clue if I would be able to accomplish this, but I did. 

Had an encounter with some very rude people in the lobby again.  Apparently, it bothers them that Michael is in a stroller "at his age".  "Oh, mommy must not want to bother walking with him..." one lady commented.

There are lots of things that I did not know when I started this journey with Michael, but one theme that has been running this past week is this:  I had no clue that my every move would be criticized and that I would constantly be defending myself.  From people looking at me down their nose in a disapproving glare, sarcastic comments and then the quick "Oh, just kidding...", to the nosey strangers when we leave our apartment, it is really starting to get to me. 
I never knew how much people would be bothered by us.
I am beginning to feel unwelcome wherever we go. 
Today I was reading a poem about being a parent of a child with Autism,
written by Cindy Waeltermann.  One part struck me very deep and it is exactly what various people are saying, whether it be verbal or through their very obvious body language:

“He needs discipline,” they say “Just a well-needed smack,
You must learn to parent…” And on goes the attack
I tell you.  I am just over it this week.  And it is only Tuesday!  I did have to think about that for a moment, if I was on the correct day of the week!  Just when you think that you are all alone, a stranger can also surprise you.  While waiting for my friend in the lobby, a woman tapped me on the shoulder.  She told me, "here you go.  Put this on tonight and hold your babies".  It was a t-shirt that reads "World's Best Mom".

Immanuel.  Always with us and ready to offer the most simple, yet wonderful reminders of His
love just when we need them most.  His grace is so amazing.

Tomorrow I am going to introduce you to two little angels. Bryce and Baen.  If you read any post in this blog, please read the one coming tomorrow.  Their story will change you forever.
Not a night can be wasted without prayer, so I will post this link for now.
If you have a moment, please check out their Facebook page and pray for them tonight, and could you also remember their parents?  I cannot even begin to imagine what they are going through. 
The closest I can come is remembering the pain and whirlwind of Michael's NICU stay...
and then multiplying that by about 5,000. 

That is the other thing that you are not prepared for when becoming a parent-
just how much room there is in your heart. 

I pray that for tonight, God will surround himself around the Hurst family and give them all some much needed rest.  Lay your healing hands on those beautiful baby boys and comfort the weeping hearts of their mommy and daddy.  May the same power that resurrected our Lord and Savior work a miracle in this family from the hairs on their heads to the toes on their feet.  Amen. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Cuteness Fix and a Christmas Wish

I am having a hard time remembering that it is only Saturday! Between our recent time change and the long weekend, my brain is quite scattered. Yet, we march on. I am not even going to discuss the
un-human hour I woke this morning because by now, you all got it. This house wakes early
and I am starting to become accustomed to the fact that this is life around here!
No need to bore you all.

I do have some fun pictures from the wee hours of the morning, however! Isaiah fell asleep in his Jumperoo after an hour or and I let him sleep. He seemed to be breathing much better upright
and I NEVER EVER wake a sleeping baby!

Aren't his chipmunk cheeks so cute? I snapped probably a dozen of these pics in different angles because he looked so sweet. Michael became a bit jealous of all the attention
and wanted his picture taken as well:

He did not want to look straight at me because that is his way of telling me he is not happy with me!

Once the fog started lifting from our heads, Michael was ready to go! He brought me a can of tuna and placed it into my hand, waiting for me to read the entire can. Nutritional information and all. I find it fascinating that at his age, he is so interested in the alphabet and words. He must know what EVERYTHING says, from books to shampoo bottles. I have began to show him how to write letters because he likes holding my hand and having me trace them in books. We'll see where that goes!

So Christmas season is officially in full swing. I do consider this Christmas season and am teaching my children to do the same because this is a home that serves our Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ and we will be observing His birthday on December 25.

The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is something that I celebrate every day. Yet, there is something so sweet and tender about the Christmas season to me. To look at my baby and think that Jesus Himself was once that tiny and how Mary must have felt when she held think of all the promises that His birth resembles...I just really love this time of year.
I can do without the snow, however so that can just go ahead and not come. :)

In the past few weeks, I have noticed much debate in other people's posts regarding the terms "Happy Holidays" and "Merry Christmas". I have been giving this subject much thought lately, more so than in previous years, although I do not know why. Perhaps it is because of the talk of calling the
White House Christmas trees "holiday trees" or maybe it is all the Facebook posts. I have also noticed these posts are getting meaner and meaner by the day. If I were not Christian and saw some of these messages "supporting" Christmas, I surely would not be quick to run to any alter calls any time soon! Some of these messages are just terrible. All caps, saying things like "DON'T TAKE MY HOLIDAY" "LEAVE THE COUNTRY IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT", etc., etc.

First, please remember this: NO ONE can take your faith from you. NO ONE can take Christ from you, no matter what laws are passed or what a tree is called. If you are starting to feel like you are losing your faith, then you need to GET INTO THE WORD. This is something that you and the Lord need to work out and no one on Facebook is to blame.

Second, please remember that each of us are to be spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that every ear may hear. If you are snarling at a cashier a Kohl's because she said "Happy Holidays", you are not spreading the Gospel. If you are in a Wal-Mart taking part in trampling a worker to death so you can get your children a flat screen TV for Christmas, you CERTAINLY are not helping to spread His Word. When someone writes "Happy Holidays" on your Facebook wall, are you hitting the caps lock button and ready to tell them a thing or two?

If you are doing these things, then let me gently tell you this: you are just as far removed from Christmas as those who do not believe. You are not helping to plant any seeds for His kingdom by carrying yourself in that manner. Christmas is not about knowing God and keeping Him to yourself. This is a time of reflection, celebration, and thanksgiving. The next time someone says "Happy Holidays", there are a few things you can say. If you simply find yourself unable to be nice, a simple "thank you" is better than representing the rest of us in a poor manner. You could ask the person what holiday they celebrate and get to know them a little.

What God would really love for Christmas is for His children to get a long and treat each other with love (hmmm...parents, can you relate?). So, this season, lets join our Jewish friends in their Festival of Light and "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16.

If someone tells you Happy Holidays, one of the most powerful responses you can give them is this:


God Is With Us.

Friday, November 25, 2011

All Ye...

What a day.  Black Friday was not spent shopping for deals, at least not in this house.  Kids up bright and early and I decided to make it washing day.  We have had a nasty cold virus running through the house for months.  So gross!  Poor kids are always coughing and noses always running.  Once Isaiah was down for his morning nap, I decided to do the wash.  All the bedding, clothes and even Brian's winter coat.  This is NOT an easy feat with Michael in tow.  First, he would only wear one shoe.  Then he insisted on bringing the Wii remote.  Once I had 2 loads worth in the cart, I grabbed my home made laundry detergent (recipe in upcoming post) and my keys.  Our laundry machines require a plastic re-loadable cash card to operate for our "convenience".  The convenience part is quite laughable to me, because no matter what safe place I put it in, I always end up tearing apart everything looking for the stupid thing.  Twenty minutes later, we are off to the laundry room...this time, with Michael wearing no shoes and carrying the Wii remote in one hand, a letter block in the other.

As SOON as the door opens, he takes off running up the hallway.  Here I go, chasing him so that I can catch up to him before he gets to the laundry room door.  Once I meet him there and get the cart halfway into the doorway, he slips past me and runs back towards our apartment.  Leaving the cart to hold the door open for us, I run off to catch him.  Giggling and squealing, he manages to escape my hands for 5 minutes before deciding to sit on the ground and scream.  Oh, well gotcha this time!  And we finally get to start the laundry.

The next trip to switch the loads was quite similar, except this time he almost escaped to the open elevator and I received a disapproving look from a woman about 30 years my senior.  "Think you can do better?  Have at it!" I thought and smiled to myself.  I love how so many people feel that they are such experts.

Today was a bit warmer outside so I was able to open the windows while I sprayed the house down with my Thieves spray and my vinegar, lemon and eucalyptus mixture for good measure.  Michael proceeded to steal the cordless and call people on my speed dial at 8 a.m.  He likes to seize the day, what can I say?  :)

I made another loaf of bread today.  It is amazing what simple yeast, water, flour and salt can create inside of a dutch oven.  The dough had been rising all night long and this time I followed the instructions, giving it only a second rise.  I did not have any more parchment paper, so I sprayed the bottom of the dutch oven with a little olive oil spray, hoping for the best.  This is my best loaf thus far.  It is probably non-existent at this point, as I have left Brian alone with it for over half an hour!  This is fine with me, as I get my slices and then I don't feel tempted to eat more.  You must try this for yourself, head over here for the recipe.

Did anyone else see the story about recalled canned pumpkin?  I still cannot believe that they waited until Thanksgiving day to let us all know that brands of canned pumpkin sold at Giant Eagle and other local stores needs to be tossed immediately.  I hope that no one got sick because of this.  Good news, if you bought a tainted can, you can choose between a refund or a free pie!  No, that is not a sick joke.  They really are offering free pie as a choice.  As if you would even want to look at a pie if you happened to have fallen ill from this. 

Such a long day.  Brian took Michael to the store with him this afternoon.  Michael was not happy when he woke from his nap.  I really think that he understands way more than we think.  Today I decided no matter who telephones us, if the conversation turns to the part of Michael that is Autism, the conversation goes on the balcony where he cannot hear.  He was biting, hitting, and he just looked sad.  He had this look that tore my heart in pieces.  It said to me "YOU think this is hard for YOU?  Imagine what it is like for me!".  He insisted that he must have the cordless phone and when I tired to take it from him, he became even more upset.  Not even brownies could budge his tight grip of his pudgy little hand from the phone.  So off to Marc's went Brian, Michael and the cordless phone!  He was a much happier little camper upon return, so that is all that matters to me. 

It is only 8:14 p.m. and I am writing this from my bed!  There is something so lovely and comforting about fresh sheets, isn't there?  Baby Isaiah is sleeping sweetly a few feet from me and I've left Brian to watch his hockey and requested his help folding all this laundry.  My body is tired and my heart is too.  I have had a lot on my heart today.  A friend reported that one of her teenage daughter's classmates was killed in a car accident yesterday.  Another one called me out of the blue so distraught over very severe marital problems.  Her soft voice asking me to pray keeps echoing in my head.  Oh, I am praying honey! 
I am thinking of the two babies, Bryce and Baen that are fighting for their little lives and their parents that must be in so much pain watching it unfold.  They are the only documented twins in the world that have been diagnosed with Hurler's syndrome. 
I am thinking of the young Skelton brothers that went missing from Michigan one year ago yesterday.  Every time I see their pictures I wonder and pray.  Andrew, Alexander, and Tanner, if for some very miniscule chance you ever stumble upon this blog, know that your family is looking for you and the whole country is rooting for your return home.  Scream, yell, run, whatever you have to do.  Everyone by this time knows your last name.  Yell it very loud and say that you need help.  Help WILL come.
I am thinking about each and every one of you reading this.  Whatever you are facing, whether you are suffering or celebrating, my heart is in some small way with you tonight.  So I leave you with this:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I've Been Up, I've Been Down...

It’s the eve of Thanksgiving.  What a crazy day!  I have been through just so many emotions today it is nuts. 
5 am: “Bang.  Bang.  Bang.  Bang…”
Me:  “Ugh…what time is it?” 
Husband mutters something I can’t understand.  Tired and cranky, I start muttering as well, until I realize there is a baby in a swing next to me and I do not want him to wake up just then.  I stumble out of the room to see my toddler peeking out from his door and smiling at me and flapping his arms.  Realizing there is no chance he might lay back down; I reach over the baby gate in his room and pick him up.  After our kisses, I tell him how much I missed him while he slept, a ritual we have done since he was born.  “Too bad you didn’t want to sleep a bit longer…” I think to myself with a sarcastic laugh.
And he’s off.  There go the toy bins, turned over in 3 seconds flat.  Like a tornado, he starts to rip through the living room of our apartment, making all of his things just the way he likes them:  everywhere!  I set off to make my coffee and get him juice and realize I need to change his diaper.  After a few fast thinking hops and jumps over blocks and toys I manage to catch him and get him changed.  Hear the baby start to cry and time to get him situated as well.  Must at least get a few sips of coffee in so I can think! 
By noon, we have had a lot of action.  Baby cried his head off for an hour and did not want to be consoled, many things went crashing to the floor, several bumps and bruises from toddler running too fast into things, my busted lip because he threw his head back too hard into my mouth, and somehow there is a broken door. 
Finally sitting down to my now cold coffee I think about the two smiling little faces both taking naps.  What an insane morning, but I am so thankful for every minute of it.  All I can do is laugh, looking around at a now completely destroyed living room and kitchen. 
“I’ve been up, I’ve been down, I’ve been Yes, and I’ve been OH H—L NO!!!” starts playing from my ITunes list and all I can do is start dancing and turning it up as much as I could without waking the kids.  I realize that these lyrics mean something completely different, but for me, I listened with flashbacks of the morning.  That is the great thing about listening to music, instead of letting a video tell you what the song should mean to you:  you make the song whatever you want. 
Later, I managed to make brownies for my little toddler.  He has autism and is on a diet that restricts gluten and casein.  If you have a child on the GFCF and want to give them a treat, get the GFCF brownie mix and mix it with a can of pumpkin puree and bake!  Let me tell you, these brownies are amazing! 
So, since I did not use egg in the bowl, the spoon was safe to lick.  The little guy looked so surprised when I gave it to him!  Oh my gosh, there are chocolate hand prints everywhere!  So it is time to change the little guy’s diaper and my ITunes library has shuffled its way to “Blessed Be Your Name”.  The song that I sang in my head for 7 days straight in the hospital room that our little family called home after Michael was born.  Watching, waiting, rocking, pumping, praying, anything but sleeping we waited until the medical team at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital gave us the all clear to bring him home.  The song I softly sang in the middle of the night to calm him after bringing him home.  The song I sing every night before the Lord in quiet time…and the same song that I sang when the doctors told me that I delivered a healthy baby boy last April. 
Yep.  I am tired.  I don’t even want to describe what I look like right now, horror of all horrors!  But as I look back on all the little smiles and shrieks of delight to games of “Peek a Boo” and “Here Comes the Bear”, spinning and dancing to “A Bushel And  A Peck”, and slobbery infant kisses…I am so extremely grateful. 
Lord, Blessed Be Your Name.
Happy Thanksgiving