A Message From the Lord

Keaton is our eldest offspring.

And he's a thinker, that one.

On a normal day, it is all I can do to nod mindlessly at his endless chatter about inventions and ideas for movie plots and his newest fascinations for career possibilities.  "That sounds great!" and "Fascinating!" exit my lips more often than a bee's knees shake in honey. 

And today was a super mega ultra uber thinky day.  And apparently the Lord got involved, also.


I was snoozing in my bed this morning.  I had heard the boys roust around in between dream fades, and the next thing I know, I was being shaken awake by a panicked faced Keaton. 

"Mom.  I have a problem."

This had better be good.

"You know how I want to be an animal rescuer?  Well, I just realized that I have a terrible problem.  Since I'm also going to be a famous dude in a band, what am I going to do if there is an animal in like China that needs saving, and my concert is in America?"

This conundrum of a crisis was discussed for the next 3 hours.  Because a panda bear's saving schedule might not mesh with the Kea-tones touring calendar.

Quite a problem indeed.


We were doing a bit of housework today, trying to get a few things cleaned up and put away from the Christmas haul.   I was cleaning up the dishes and scraping the last of the petrified gingerbread houses from their plates; Sawyer and Tate were playing with toys in their room cleaning their room; and Keaton was sweeping the kitchen floor.

All of a sudden, I hear the broom hit the tile and a series of snot-filled sobs coming from Keaton's bedroom.

Huh?  What in the world?  Surely the floor wasn't that bad.  I mean the funkiness of Christmas funk can get nasty, but tears?  Seriously?

"I. *sniff* miss. *sniff* Luke. *sniff* "

Huh?  Luke?  The cat, Luke?  He's been dead 2 years.

"I just miss him so much.  I want another cat."  And there was another onslaught of snot and tears.  I went back to the kitchen after a promise of a trip to PetCo to see the mice and ferrets -- pets we will never have and thus will never die in our possession.  So sympathetic I am.

Fast forward to the evening.  At the promised PetCo.

Picture with me the cat cage.  Strategically placed at the front of the store with the kitties that need adopting.  And the cage and all the this-n-thats in the cage are pink.  Pink!  Marketing genius. 

There is a fur ball lounging inside the cat cage.  There is a sign hanging on the pink feline palace stating that the kitty's name is Junior. I had an uncle named Junior.  He's been neutered.  Nice.  And he's sweet.  Good to know.

And he has 3 legs.

Wait. What?  3 legs? 

"I must have Junior."

We don't need a cat.

"But don't you see?  The Lord laid Luke on my heart today, and now here is Junior.  With 3 legs.  Just like our dog.  Don't you see that it is meant to be?  And I have $40...the exact amount of his adoption fee.  I must take Junior home."

Now the Lord is in the cat adoption business.  Good to know.

After more snot and more tears, Junior remains in his pink PetCo palace.  And the husband and I might have just promised our son a trip to the Humane Society to adopt a new puppy.

Um...I think we were just hornswallowed.


Random Randomness On Coming Home and Skillets

*  I'm sitting in my house.  Take a moment and breathe deep with me.  I'd been away from my own bed for 8 days, and it was past time for me to snuggle down deep in my flannel sheets and cuddle up with my pillows.  I am so grateful for time with family and would have taken another few days of soaking up the goodness of my mama's house, but couches and guest rooms and air mattresses just don't cut it when it comes to bedding down at night. 

*  As excited as I was about seeing my own bed and crawling in it for the night....what I do dread about coming home after the long Christmas haul is being faced with all the unpacking.  Suitcases are bad enough, but when 4 huge tubs full of toys and games and candy and random gifts are added to the project, it just makes me head spin.  I cannot tell you how grateful I am that I took the time before we left to purge the boys' rooms...it has made this putting away process a bazillion times easier.

*  Speaking of putting stuff away, I was sorting through a huge sack of candy that we had accumulated at Kirk's mom's house.  And as I was putting it out into the candy dish, I noticed that several pieces had little tiny gnaw marks.  Like those belonging to a rodent.  I have decided that my parents' pet mice in the garage must have had themselves a bit of a Kit Kat feast.  Jim-Dad, You have mice.  Just to let ya know.

*  Kirk and I celebrated our 12th anniversary on Sunday.  And we spent it with my family.  Just as we have all of our 11 other anniversaries.  He definitely married my family when he married me.  Lucky guy. 

*  I think my family was slightly shocked at our gift exchanging practices for our anniversary.  He didn't get a card from me, because I couldn't find one.  And though I did get a card, it was the same card that he's given me in the past.  And while we're being real, there are 2 blank anniversary cards sitting in my desk here at home from 2 anniversaries ago when we both forgot to fill out our cards.  You can feel the romance seeping, can't you?  We also shared the same gift bag....he unwrapped my gift then took the gift bag out to his truck to wrap my present in it.  We just chalk it up to great minds thinking alike. :)

*  Sweet husband did buy me a couple of super nice gifts for our 12th.  He bought me Adobe Photoshop, which I have to say is the most difficult computer program known to man.  But I'm so so thankful for it, even though it is going to take me until 2057 to learn how to use it.  AND...I got a skillet.  YES.  Another one.  Because ONE for Christmas was just not enough. 

*  I've heard lots of folks talking about taking down Christmas.  I just can't bring myself to do it.  I am sitting in my living room with only the lights of the tree twinkling and am just as happy today as I was before Christmas.  So, I'll leave mine up awhile longer. 

*  Coming home after a long visit is always so sweet.  To be surrounded by your own things and doing things your own way is a precious thing that we take for granted, but there is also something so sour about it.  Especially if you are blessed with amazing family like we are.  And coming home means getting back to things that aren't as fun as being lazy in your mama's house.  Like work.  And school.  And cleaning.  And bills.  But I'm so very grateful for a precious holiday season with our families.


I don't pretend to know what love is for everyone, but I can tell you what it is for me; love is knowing all about someone, and still wanting to be with them more than any other person, love is
trusting them enough to tell them everything about yourself, including the things you might be ashamed of, love is feeling comfortable and safe with someone, but still getting weak knees when they walk into a room and smile at you.    -- Anonymous

Happy Anniversary, Kirk!
Love you like a skunk loves stink.


364 Days

In 364 days we'll be doing this all over again.  We'll eat turkey and pumpkin pie.  There will be colored lights that twinkle.  And presents wrapped in snowman paper with shiny red bows.  There will be trees bejeweled with ribbon and glittery silver and gold ornaments.  And fat Santa statues will laze around on shelves and mantles.  Baby Jesus will rest comfortably in his ceramic manger.  And gingerbread houses will be constructed and munched on.
And I have such mixed emotions about it all.

Because I adore Christmas.  And though I'm ecstatic and anxiously anticipating another great season of Joy and Peace with my beloved family and friends, 364 days means that this Christmas season is over.

And I don't want it to be.

The presents have all been opened now.  Leftovers are all that remain of the huge spectacles of feastly dinners.  The bottoms of the cookie tins and special treat buckets can be seen now and are only sporting crumbs.  Santa is a distant memory, and the new toys and games have been broken in and some already tossed aside. 

And I'm...well....a little melancholy about it all.

Because 364 days is a long time to wait.

And I like all of this stuff too much to have to wait.....

Like all the family that you don't get to see very often....

That's me with our nieces Moriah and Camille

And there those precious girls are again with Kirk and their brother Dawson

And there is Pop and Uncle Eugene

Those are our sweet cousins with whom we always share the most fascinating dinner conversation.

Moriah and Granny

And like all the smiles from my babies soaking up the magic....




And like all of the gifty stuff and goodies.....

The blissful mess around my mama's tree.

That's me and the infamous PRESENT that my sister tortured me with all over cyberspace

My nephew Jordan getting his stocking on.

And like enjoying a white Christmas...

The boys....all red nosed and feeling snowerific

Our niece Kayla and my niece-dog Baby Girl

My Snowbaby

And like posing for pictures with some of our most favorite people....

My sister Michele and my beautiful mama

Jordan and Tate

Kirk and his mama

Tate and Grammy

Jordan with Sawyer and Keaton (who obviously has the same smile issues as his father..ahem)

And loving being around the people that make us who we are....

My big sissy, Mich

Jim-Dad reading the Christmas Story

Kirk's daddy

My brother-in-law Kevin

Kirk's grandmother doing what she does...cookin'.  Yum.

And being silly and crazy and nutty and whacky and just doing what we do best....

That scary dude is Jim-Dad.  Oh.Yes.It.Is.

All I want for Christmas is a man who don't smile.  Score.

Throwing some deuces and channeling my inner 13 year old with Kayla.

Me and my sissy showing off our brand new matching furry shoes.  Suhweet.

There's my husband....snorting the candy sprinkles from the gingerbread house factory.  Read.My.Lips...It is ONLY candy people.  It is ONLY candy.

And then there is just being with the people that we adore so much....

Sawyer and his best friend

Tate instructing his Poohpa in the art of lego science


All of these things are so amazingly wonderful that I don't want to wait 364 days for them to come around again.

So I don't think I will.  And I'm going to try to talk my family into not waiting for them either. 

Now, sure.  We may not do the whole shebang with presents and red furry stockings and lights and tinsel and obscene amounts of food..well...maybe the food. 


There is no reason that we can't love on our loved ones.  And be family with our family.  And laugh with the ones we love to laugh with.  And smile at the ones that we love to smile at.

So come ahead, 364 days.

I'm ready for ya.

Because though I may have to pack away the fat happy Santas and stuff the tree back up in the attic for another year, I don't have to pack away the love.  And the joy.  And the magic of being with my family.

364 days. 

Hit me with your best shot.

Merry Christmas to all.  And to all a good night.


A Very Merry Early Christmas

You're welcome.

Because you get one look-at-what-Santa-brought-us post out of the way early, and your google readers and such will be one less post packed with feeding reindeer and jammiefied babes opening gifts with serious bed head issues come this weekend.

Again.  You're welcome.

So...let's get right to it, shall we?...

I've mentioned before that Santa comes early to our house.  It is a nifty arrangement that I've worked out with the Jolly Old Elf, and Bowl Full of Jelly and I both agree that it is a win-win for both of us.  I don't have to haul presents all over creation, and Santa Baby gets to skip over this house come Christmas Eve.

You see, we leave today.  For our traipse through the country, over hills, and under rivers (or however that little diddy goes) to see grandparents, inlaws, and outlaws.  And because our family just seems to keep scattering further and further apart, our time away from home during this most busy of busiest seasons keeps stretching.


Santa came to our house yesterday.  That's right.  A whole week earlier than you other people.  Which is all fine and dandy unless you are a panicked prone-to-procrastination mama. 


It all came together and was so worth the effort when this little angel baby went out to feed the reindeer on "Christmas Eve."  He even chose special carrots for each reindeer.  "This one is for Comet.  This one is for Blitzen. This one....."

(He was thrilled the next morning when all the carrots had been munched on and one had even been carried up onto the roof by one of the flying furry friends!)

We left milk and cookies for Santa. 

Then we all snuggled deep in our beds and waited.  And couldn't sleep.  And tossed and turned.  And had visions of insomnia dance through our heads.  Oh..right...that was just the husband and I.

The children?  Well, we had to shake them awake to tell them that Santa had visited the next morning.   Whose kids are these anyway????

Santa brought all three boys a Nintendo DS.

I'm surprised you didn't hear their screams of joy from where you are.  And the screams of joy coming from their parents that now that EVERYONE has one, we don't have to listen to whining over whose turn it is or set stopwatches for playing time.  Wahoo!

As a family, we go by the Four Present Poem for our gift-giving structure.  I got the idea from Meredith last year, and our family has fallen in love with it!

Something you WANT
Something you NEED
Something to PLAY WITH
Something to READ

It works for us.  Everyone has generally the same thing and the kids are very careful in their planning of their Christmas lists.  I LOVE IT.

Each of the boys received a Lego set for their WANT.  And each received some type of clothing for their NEED.  We had new shoes, jeans, and a box of shirts under the tree this year.  Each of the boys unwrapped a game that they had picked out for their PLAY WITH, and then, my favorite, they each received a book. 

(He was thrilled to be getting a book, I tell ya.  Simply thrilled.)

OH.....what did I get?

Why I thought you'd never ask.  I will also allow you one good snicker at my Betty Boop jammies and greasy hair.  One.  That's it.  After that, just hush.

I'm getting new living room furniture as my Christmas gift, so I was surprised to find some presents under the tree.


I got this....

Yes...that would be a skillet.  From the husband.  It has been suggested that it is to beat him over the head with....jury is still out.  I'll keep you posted.

I also was provided with a weather radio.  And a DVD player for our bedroom.  All things that we "needed" and I got under the tree.  Love how that works. *wink*

BUT...the husband stepped way out of his comfort zone by giving me this...

and this.....


The boys always do some fun Dollar Tree shopping for everyone in the family.  This is quite possibly my favorite part of Christmas.  I love to see what they pick out and choose to spend their little dollars on.

Tate gave me a little sewing kit.  Sweet boy.
Keaton gave me a bunch of fake roses.  Sweet boy.

But my favorite.  Sawyer.  Bless his little heart.  Gave me this.  An ethnic angel.


Kirk also received some great stuff.  He got a dollar store pocket knife from Sawyer.  And a RubbixCube from Keaton.  And Tate gave him this.

Yep.  A paintbrush.  Just in case he needed one.

It always makes me a bit sad when the whole Santa thing is over for the season. 

But...let me tell you what I've decided that I love so much about having our Christmas early.  Because we get it out of the way, we can kind of push that part aside and turn our focus on the true Reason for this Season.

I know that Christ's birth should be our entire focus throughout the Christmas season, but in all honesty, we all become caught up in the shopping and the buying and the getting and the giving and the wrapping and the bowing and all the other Christmasing things that really have turned our focus away from that precious baby that was born so many years ago to save us all from our sin.

May your Christmas be shiny and bright and filled with all things sparkly and tinsley. 

But may you also hold dear in your heart why we celebrate what we do.

Merry Christmas!


Getting Our Gingerbread On

I told you the other day about my desperate attempts at leaving the Grinchys behind.  And I am trying.

I tried so hard today that some insane attempt at restoring my grand-parenting position possessed me.  All the way to WalMart to buy stuff to make gingerbread houses.

Even when I knew it would be horrifically messy.  And send us all on sugar highs for the next 14 years.

I debated buying the kit.  But knowing full well that my kids do not understand the concept of sharing and team work, I knew it would mean shelling out $30 for 3 kits that would just get chunked after a few days because no one in my family actually eats that kind of gingerbread and candy.

So we went the graham cracker and icing route.  With all the candies that we love.  And spent ridiculously less money. 


Except for getting it all home and realizing that actually following through on the activity was going to recquire me to take another Prozac.

But I put on my big girl britches and littered the table with the bevy of materials. 

And we got our gingerbread on.

And we licked our fingers.

And munched on M&Ms and Nerds.

And got more sprinkles on the floor than we did on our houses.

This is more of a Gingerbread Shanty.

Lovely, aren't they?

And so worth the trouble and the mess.

Because tonight we giggled together.  And no one argued.  And we had sugar for dinner.

Good times.


Turning the Grinchy Upside Down

We're special.

'Twould be why Santa comes to visit us early. 

And the fact that Santa and I have an understanding.  Because we are NEVER.I.REPEAT.NEVER. around our own tree for Christmas morning, Santa comes and visits us early.  And, in turn, we help him out by giving him one less house to stop at Christmas Eve. 

It works for us.  And the children buy it. 

But it breaks me out in cold sweats.

Because I have one less week on the calendar to shop and wrap and tinsel and bake and craft and.and.and.

Deep breaths. Paper bag, please.

And honestly this year has been very hard for me to find my groove.  My family was beginning to call me Grinchy, and I was beginning to answer.

I went through some periods of serious sadness that left me not wanting to do anything that regarded Christmas and all its parts and pieces.  My heart just wasn't into it, and I was watching the days on the calendar tick away and could really care less.

But I made up my mind at the beginning of this week to just get up and get it together.  My children deserved a Christmas full of all the fun Christmas things.


We are listening to Christmas music while we tackle fractions.  Doesn't do much for the focusing issues some of us have, but you just can't be grouchy about fractions and handwriting while listening to "The First Noel" and "Santa, Baby."  You just can't.

Presents are scattered under the tree.  Some wrapped by little hands. 

And some not.

Our Christmas tree is sparkly.

And Homer Simpson is still hanging next to Baby Jesus. 

Our handmade Nativity is out and has been rearranged many many a time. 

The boys' Christmas work is hanging up by the back door....not exactly Southern Living material, but I love it.

There are lots of mismatched but comfy clothes which scream of lazy cozy days at home.

And though it may have taken me awhile to get into the Christmas spirit, the boys are all about some Christmas fun.

We've been invaded by reindeer.

And Santas that look as though they are giving birth for Christmas.

And jolly elves who apparently listen to gangsta rap.

How could anyone be grinchy when you have this going on in your house?!

Thinking that should have been our Christmas card picture for the year.