Monday, January 31, 2011


I have an addiction. I have known it for a while, and for a while I have kept it subdued. D has been potty training and has been doing incredibly well. He's been out of his cloth diapers since shortly after Thanksgiving, but now as the impending birth of our new little guy gets closer and closer, the addiction is coming back in full swing!

I have plenty of diapers to work for my little guy once he hits about 10-11lbs, but I am a little nervous about how few I have to get me from 7lbs until then. I went out and bought 2 packs of Huggies disposables to use when I don't quite have enough cloth diapers. Plus, I am a realist. I know I will use SOME disposables from time to time. I only have a dozen prefolds and a very small handful of other fitted diapers. Plus, I only have 4 covers. How many diaper changes do you think I will get out of all that? Maybe the question should be, how often will have to do laundry with that? Haha. Anyway, I think its pictures like these that make me want more cloth for the newborn stage though :-) Enjoy!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Love From the Small Screen

We have a very small screen in our house. Its a little video baby monitor. The video camera part sits on the dresser in my son's room and watches him as he sleeps. It also watches him as he climbs out of his bed and goes out the door.

The teeny TV part sits downstairs in my kitchen. I can watch him flip and flop in his little toddler bed. I can hear when he rolls over on his Elmo doll because I hear, "Elmo Loves You, haha!" I can hear when he turns off his sound machine each time he gets up and decides to escape his room.

I expect to see everything that goes on in his room because that is the whole point of having the video monitor. What I didn't expect is to see was the sweetest display of love between my two children.

Last night I tucked D into bed, kissed him, told him I loved him, flipped on the sound machine and the vaporizer, and shut the door. I headed downstairs to load the dishwasher and clean up the kitchen. I was keeping an eye on the little video monitor screen because D has been frequently getting up and coming out of his room a few times before he finally falls asleep for the night - a pretty common practice for a toddler with newly discovered freedom from the crib. Typically, I spot him getting out of bed and I can dash up the stairs to stop him from wandering down the hall for too long.

I guess I was a little distracted with the dishes last night because when I spun around, I spotted my almost 5 year old daughter in D's room in her PJs ushering him back to bed. She pulled back the covers and helped him into bed. She then had to climb on the bed with him to pull the covers up and all around him. She kissed him and whispered to him. She then told him to stay in bed. And then she walked out of the room and pulled the door closed behind her.

I was captivated by watching the little screen. I didn't dare walk away to run upstairs and "assist" her in tucking D back in. I just sat there staring at the tiny screen portraying the sweetest love between my 4 1/2 year old and my 2 year old - best friends.

He must have climbed out of his bed and walked down the hall to her room. She had also already been tucked in and was trying to fall asleep. She took it upon herself to get up and tuck him back into bed all on her own. What a sweetie :-)

Then she came downstairs and tattled on him for getting up...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

For the soon-to-be and new moms...

It is no secret that I am a car seat fanatic. I also love my cloth diapers. I love my husband more than words can say. I love my kids more than anything else on this earth. I love my Lord because He first loved me. I love chocolate. I love babies. Oh, and I LOVE massages!

You don't have to love cloth diapers - it will not hurt my feelings. I love them, but that is my choice. I love my husband. You don't have to love him. You can just accept him for who he is and treat him with respect. That will make me happy. My kids - well, if you met them, you WOULD love them. Who doesn't love a good massage?

Car seats on the other hand are on a whole different level. They are a safety item. Meaning life and death. It doesn't get more serious than that. This is my explanation as to why I love them:

We all love our kids. Who doesn't love their kid? We spend tons of money preparing the nursery, buying diapers, buying the perfect stroller, perfecting breast or bottle feeding, acquiring the PERFECT outfit for coming home from the hospital/picture day/baby dedication/birthday party, etc...

But, how much research and attention do we really spend in researching the safest and easiest to use car seat? If you are like most people, you probably go to Babies R Us and pick out the one with the cutest color scheme or the one that looks comfy, or the one that matches the highchair and the pack n play. I am not saying that is ALL bad, but behind a cute pink flowered cover, how is it going to protect your precious little one if you are in a head on collision or if someone rear ends you at 50 MPH. Do you REALLY think of those things?

We all spend an obscene amount of time in our vehicles. I know I do. I love my van so much. In fact, before I bought it, I researched it and checked to make sure it had side air bags and anti lock breaks and that it was user friendly and had enough cup holders. I test drove it and compared it with others online before I finally decided to buy it.

We should do the same thing with the car seats we buy to place in the car to keep our children safe. Do some research. Ask other moms what they have. Realize that a good car seat doesn't HAVE to cost you $300, but that it MAY cost you $150....its just one more of those ultra important baby gear items to add in your head when you're looking into cribs and changing tables.

Lastly, Do your research into how to properly use your seat. Rear Facing vs Forward Facing. Where the chest clip should sit. How tight should the straps be. Where in the car should it sit. Remember, if you're in a collision at 60 MPH, this ONE thing is what will hold your child securely into their seat or on the flip side, allow momentum to take over and allow them to fly out of the seat and perhaps be thrown from the vehicle. This ONE seat. I think that is REALLY REALLY important. And to me, its worth spending some money to protect my child if that unthinkable accident ever happens. I have spent more money than I care to admit on car seats for my kids. I have NEVER regretted a single purchase.

I know I have posted this before. I don't know how many of you watched it the first time. I know I have picked up some new readers since then though, so I am going to post it again. For you new moms of little babies or for you moms-to-be, or for you moms shopping for the "next" step up in car seats, please take 3 minutes and watch this video. It was all completely new information to me before I watched it. This is why I spent countless hours researching car seats and safety for my own kiddos. I feel like this message needs to be shouted from the roof tops! Protect your toddlers! Keep them Rear Facing LONGER than the one year minimum. Their heads and necks cannot handle the force of an impact. Their legs WILL NOT break if they are touching the seat back. Please watch this:
Oh, and if you are indeed in the market for a new car seat, I would be happy to give you a good recommendation in any price point. From $40 up to $300 - you can choose one that is highly rated and that is user friendly and kid approved. I am not a Car Seat Technician YET, but I do a ton of research on the seats on the market these days. I can at least point you in a good direction if you need some assistance :-)

This picture of my little one warms my heart. It's about a month or two after he became "extended rear facing." He was probably 13-14 months old. Most babies his age have been "flipped" forward. Does he look uncomfortable to you? He never complained. Just as my almost 5 year old doesn't complain that she is still in a 5pt harness and not a booster seat like all but one of her friends. In fact, she actually prefers the 5pt harness. We tried to make the switch but we went back to the 5pt harness...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A bit of this and a bit of that

It's been one of those weeks that just keeps going and going and going. Part of the problem is that it is SO cold here that I don't want to leave the house with the kids unless it is absolutely necessary. I truly can't imagine living in a place that gets in the single digits (or below zero!) regularly. I think I'd hibernate and never see the light of day. I'd have my groceries delivered and I'd been an online shoppaholic (I think I may be heading that way anyway). Fortunately, it isn't that bad here. But when the high is 27 degrees and its super windy, I just don't even want to go outside to check the mail or take out the trash. Much less bundle up both kids and go somewhere.

This is going to jump all around because there have been multiple things that I've wanted to blog about but just haven't really had enough on each topic to give it its own post. So...

When do kids start eating things you cook? I don't like to cook, but because I know its bad for us to eat out all the time both nutritionally and financially, I am forcing myself to do some cooking. Not a ton. But more than I care to do at least. For instance this weekend I made fried rice one night and the next night I made chili. Both are pretty much "comfort foods." Its not like I made some strange dish with a billion veggies and odd spices. But did my kids eat either one of these meals? No, not a bite! Well, I take that back. I forced my daughter to eat some fried rice. But she sat there for about 20 minutes after we finished eating. I was loading the dishwasher while she sat there sulking over her tiny pile of rice that just wouldn't disappear. Then because she was so squirmy and fidgety, she fell out of her chair. This produced tears. I dried them and then put her back in the chair to eat the rice. Seriously, its FRIED RICE!! If I remember correctly, that night all the kids ended up eating were their pears and the half a banana I gave them as something to fill them up a bit.

The next night, neither she nor D would touch the chili. I even served it on spaghetti noodles so it would look more like spaghetti. This didn't help. In fact this particular night, my daughter began crying at the table because she didn't want to eat what I made. She even said (through her tears), "why couldn't you have just made nachos?" Well, my love, because we'd all be as big as cows if we ate nachos EVERY night! All she ate was her applesauce that evening.

Tonight, I gave in. I didn't cook. D ate a hot dog and yogurt (I should add that I had to spoon feed him because he wouldn't eat at first) and C had a bagel with cream cheese and yogurt. Dinner of champions? Absolutely not. Am I embarrassed to post what I fed my kids. Yes. But, I am just glad they ate. Sometimes I feel like they exist on air, juice, and goldfish crackers. Seeing them ingest something other than those three things makes me satisfied.

On another note, I have begun using Bio-Oil on my belly to try and keep my skin from stretching SO much that I come out of this pregnancy looking like a tiger. With both my previous pregnancies, I used Palmer's Coco butter and with both pregnancies, I got a billion stretch marks. And I itched like crazy. So, this time around, I decided to try something new - Bio-Oil. I see it advertised in my parenting magazines all the time so I am giving it a shot. What's the worst thats going to happen? More stretch marks? Does it really matter at this point? I am WAY beyond bikini wearing.

But, guess what, not only have I not gotten any new stretch marks (yet), but I really believe my old ones are improving. Like for real. My skin on my belly looks considerably better than it did before I got pregnant. I am just hoping that the Bio-Oil does what it promises and will also help prevent new ones from forming. So far so good. :-) Yay!!

I will leave you on that positive note. Have a great week, friends!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Its a new year and a new look!

My husband surprised me last night with the new look of my blog. We started on it together the previous night, but he works much better without me hovering over his shoulder. So, last night, he sat down and wouldn't let me look until it was done.

I love it!!!

Thanks, B!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Please excuse the unfinished look of my blog. My hubby and are are trying to give it a new look. However, we got started on it too late this evening and we need to head to bed before we can get it all finished. Hopefully it will be all dolled up soon :-) Thanks for visiting anyway!

Regrets and Returns

Remember last month when I took the plunge and bought my daughter a high back booster seat?

Well, I feel obligated to tell you how that issue has ended. After about a week of using it when we bought it, I reinstalled her 5 pt harness seat and moved the booster to the garage. I just felt better with her in her old seat. Then she needed it to travel in a friend's car...where it performed just fine. I then tried it again in my van. After another week of use in the van, I have once again, taken it back out.

It's not that I don't think its a good seat. I think its an EXCELENT booster seat. And I know that my daughter is fully big enough to be in a booster seat (she is well over the 4 years old, 40lb, 38in minimum). In fact, she is now 4 years 9 months old, 45 1/2 inches, and about 44lbs. She's pretty big for her age.

My problem is that the seat just doesn't seem to fit very well in my vehicle. The seatbelt issue (see previous post) where the belt doesn't retract well is just too annoying of an issue for me. I have read plenty of reviews online where users loved the seat and have bought multiples for their kids. Unfortunately, in my vehicle the seat just doesn't work as well.

Which leads me to my next point:
A good car seat is only as good as how well it is used and how well it fits the vehicle.

In my case, buying one of the more expensive seats - and one of the very safest - didn't turn out to be the best decision. Since I have thrown away the box, I am now stuck with the seat.

I am currently trying to sell it on craigslist and on another local site for slightly less than I paid. I am hoping I can find another family that can use it and have it fit better in the vehicle. I am sure over time, I will be able to do this - at least, I pray that I do! Haha.

If it doesn't sell, we will use it as a back up seat in my husband's car or in my mom's car when needed. For now, C is back in her beloved 5 pt harness car seat. Her seat does convert to a high back booster, but I am not ready to switch it. She still fits beautifully in it harnessed. She never complains about the harness anyway. Its all she's ever known. Here is that awesome seat - a Graco Nautilus - one the the best purchases I've ever made:
Anyway, I just thought you may like an update :-)

And, for those of you that are still interested...
This is the seat I am considering replacing the Britax Booster with:
Its the Graco High Back Booster. It looks like the slots that the seat belt slide through are quite a bit wider than the Britax slots, so I am thinking the seatbelt would have more room to retract! Plus, it is half the price of the Britax. Which is always a plus! Now to sell the Britax to fund the Graco...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

One more "I Love You"

The title of my post may speak for itself today. I love my husband dearly. I am his biggest fan. If I didn't know and trust that the Lord hung the moon, I would think my husband did. After 7 1/2 years of marriage, I am still completely crazy about him. Get the idea?

With that being said, I will admit that things do become somewhat mundane over the years. Not our actual love, but the ways we express it. Every "I love you" on the phone isn't quite as AMAZING as it was in those first few months of hearing it back in 2001. Each kiss goodbye at the door or in the kitchen isn't quite as breathtaking as it was at 11pm...okay maybe 1am... back when we were dating.

Fast forward a few years...

When we became parents in 2006, we knew it was time for some life insurance in case, heaven forbid, something ever happened to one of us. We did our medical exams, got some good coverage and moved forward. We have half heartedly discussed what we would do if either one of us was ever to have to raise our children alone. But thats about as far as its ever gotten.

Things became a little less "out of the ordinary" when B enlisted in the Army and then deployed for the first time. He wasn't going to a combat zone, but he was going to a very different part of the world where things were not nearly as safe as they are here in the US. Plus he is one good-looking white guy. He stood out like a sore thumb.

Saying good-bye to him that day was really tough. I trusted that he'd come home to me, but really in my heart, I could only pray for him. I didn't know without a shadow of a doubt that he would return. This was also true for the second deployment to the same part of the world. It always worried me when he'd go to countries and not be allowed to be identified as a member of the US military. I didn't like that he had to conceal who he was with. It always made me nervous.

I say all that to tell you that lately, everything seems to have changed between us. I can't tell him enough that I love him. I can't help but hold on to his kiss for one second longer and squeeze him just a bit tighter. I can't help but glance at him through the front window as he walks out to his car and pray that he will come home to me that evening. "Please, Lord, don't let this be the last time." I relish in the chance to tell him, just one more time, "I love you."

Without ever discussing this issue with me, he has done the same thing. He is 100% certain to kiss me and each one of our children before heading out the door to work everyday. He will always tell me he loves me just one more time as he pulls the front door closed behind him. He is hugging me more. Showing his affection more often and verbalizing his love considerably more.

We can both feel it. We are both aware of it.

What? Have you figured it out yet?

The preciousness of life. The fact that our days are numbered and each day could be our last. This became shockingly real to me on New Years Day when I got word of a fellow MOPS mom, army wife, and sister in Christ from NC who lost her husband in an instant. He wasn't deployed. He wasn't even working. But the Lord called him home that morning. He left behind a beautiful wife and 2 very young children.

I am 100% sure that when he headed out the door that morning, my fellow sister did not realize she was telling him "good bye" for the last time. She probably expected him home in an hour or so. Her life and everything she had planned changed in an unplanned instant.

From their tragedy, my husband and I have gotten closer. Life seems more precious. I find myself praying more often for him. I find myself kissing him and whispering to him when I come to bed an hour after he's been asleep. I find myself telling my daughter how much I love her and how she is such a good girl. Preschoolers can get in trouble quite a bit, so to counter act this, I feel the desire to express my love and pure joy when I look at her. I love tucking her in at night. I love her early morning snuggles. I love how she melts into my ever growing torso when I hold her.

I pray that I live until I'm 100. I pray that my husband does the same. But if the Lord should call either one of us home before we expect it, I pray that he knows how much I love him.

For now, I'll say it just one more time.

I love you, B. With all my heart. With everything I have in me. In every way possible.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Readiness makes me feel better!

So, since my last entry, I have laughed a lot at myself. I truly was stressed about needing a baby thermometer and a new changing pad for my little bundle due in APRIL! Pregnancy just does weird things to women. My body is changing faster than I can blink and clearly my mind is quite a bit "stretched" too.

Just in case any of you guys were concerned about my baby stressors, I thought I'd update you on my progress. First off, I found a green changing table pad cover on clearance at Target for $, obviously, I snatched that up. I have also bought 2 different styles of newborn pacifiers, and a little rectal thermometer - did you even know that had ones SPECIFICALLY for taking rectal temps?

Oh, and I switched D's cream lampshade with the baby's red one. Solved that problem too! I also got a huge refill pack of Huggies Sensitive baby wipes (I am boycotting Pampers for their new "dry max" technology that left babies with chemical burns. I will only buy Huggies products if I buy anything disposable!)

I have decided on just putting a cheapo roller shade up behind my valance to be able to block out the sunlight for naps and early bedtimes in the baby's room too. This decision solved my dilemma about how to create a room darkening affect without spending an arm and a leg or making it TOO dark when I wanted to let in the sun. So many things to think about...

I also did one splurgy baby purchase with our Sears Heroes at Home Gift Card. I ordered my new little love the softest wool diaper cover ever. He's going to be the coziest baby on the planet in a cotton diaper, a cashmere soft cover and a gown....all swaddled up. Perfection!
Anyway, enough about what I have bought for the little bean. He is GROWING at an astronomical rate these days. When I was 18 weeks pregnant, I hadn't gained a single pound. Now at 25 weeks pregnant, I have completely caught up to the average 25 week pregnant woman...if you do the math (and the research), that's about 14 pounds 7 weeks!

I am really having a hard time seeing the scale move up, but fortunately it isn't ALL going to my hips and thighs, haha. The vast majority of it is all in my belly. My big ole' belly. Which I am now slathering with Bio-oil since the skin is starting to feel taught. I am trying to avoid "new" stretch marks. I have plenty of old ones that my belly should just utilize, haha!

Oh well, I will lose the weight after my sweetie is born. For now, I just just bask in the "glow" of hugeness! Happy Friday friends!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Overwhelming Realization

This is going to be another post about the baby. Just be prepared in case you're tired of reading posts about my children...but really, what else do I have to write about right now?

Let me start by saying that I am totally excited about the pending arrival of our newest son at the end of April. He now has a name that I adore and his room is starting to take shape. I am loving walking in there even though it is still far from finished. Just seeing the crib and the bedding all set up for him makes me happy. I run my hand over the sweet little turtle crib sheet and imagine how it will be to lay him in there all swaddled like a burrito. There is nothing sweeter than a swaddled sleeping newborn :-)

Anyway, I am also 100% overwhelmed about the thought of this little man joining us so soon - his arrival is now less than 4 months away. That is NOT a lot of time! I have so much I need to get done in that time. Plus, my first son, D, still has some maturing to do, haha.

Though the babies room is starting to look like a baby's room, I still need to:
-paint the walls
-hang the cute wall appliques
-find a new lampshade (the current one is from D's room and it is red - this isn't going to fly in my sea of blues and greens)
-find a new changing table pad cover (again, the old one is red)
-organize the entire nursery
-organize the closet most importantly (his closet is currently being used as storage/overflow for the rest of the house)
-buy a few packs of disposable diapers and wipes (because I KNOW I will still be using some of them on occasion)
-buy a new thermometer (every baby deserves his own rectal thermometer...nobody should share that!)
-buy a few packs of pacifiers....this is VERY IMPORTANT!

Then there are the things that I really don't need but would really love to acquire as well:
-a new diaper pail liner (they come in such adorable prints and may make diapering just a little more fun!)
-D needs a new toddler bed mattress. His weighs about 50 lbs and is slowly becoming my nemesis - it came with the toddler bed from the garage sale...ewwwww.
-a small trash can in which to throw the disposable wipes that I know I will most likely be using.

This is why I am overwhelmed that the baby is coming in less than 4 months. That list seems long to me -not just to go to the store and get, but to be able to afford, haha! I am a great shopper, but I still have to come up with the funds first. All of this coupled with the fact that I will be bringing home a new baby into my already crazy home just sends me about over the edge.

How am I going to keep up with the laundry when I have a 10 day old at home?
How am I going to survive those first 3 weeks of nursing my adorable little piranha (those of you that have nursed before know what I mean) with a 2 year old under foot?
How am I going to stay up until 11pm waiting for that last feeding only to get up again between 2-3am and then again around 5-6am...and then stay up because by them D will be waking up?
How do moms of three young children survive?

I need wisdom. And a lot of help. I am praying that my husband gets to take the leave he's hoping to take from work. I am also praying that the timing of this little one's arrival works out so that someone either from my family or my husband's family will be up here with us to help with the other two kids.

It takes a village to raise a child...only up here, its just me and my husband - and we will have 3 kids! Ahh!

Breathe in, breathe out....

Okay, I realize that I will survive this. But I will still be stressed about it. I appreciate any words of wisdom and/or encouragement from those of you with more than 2 children. How does it work?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A trip down memory lane...

We transitioned D to a toddler bed this past week. He is now officially out of the crib and in a super-cool fire truck bed. He is doing way better than I ever expected in his new bed - going right to sleep without coming out. He does, however, come running down the hallway to our room around 6:15 every morning, but, oh well...he's doing pretty well overall!

This got me thinking about how much he's grown in his 2 short years of life. Here is D snuggled up in his sleep sack and crib when he was abut 5 months old.
(April 2009)
And here he is tonight.
(Jan 2011...such a big boy!)
About 2 years ago, I ordered D a big boy car seat for when he outgrew his infant carrier. The day it came in the mail, I put him in it since I knew that one day, I'd want to see how little he was the day he got it. This was that day:
(Feb 2009)
About 20 months is D in his seat. Time flies. It makes me sad. Sometimes I wish I could slow it all down. Just thought I'd share :-)
(December 2010)

Giveaway Winner!

After letting my daughter choose a name out of a bowl, the winner for the Mommy-Grams and More giveaway is:


I happen to know Rachel and am so excited for her! I know she will be able to find something super cute for one of her kiddos (or the one on the way!). Rachel, email me at with your contact info so I can put you in touch with Mommy-Grams and More.

Thanks for my first giveaway success! I had fun!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Early Nesting

I would call it Early Nesting Syndrome. Or maybe Baby Mania. Or maybe I am just excited :-)
I am offically 23 1/2 weeks pregnant, so I am over half way to the finish line! However, I do realize I still have a long way to go... er, grow.
Either way, I have begun serious preparations for the new baby due in April. I have not only ordered and received his newborn cloth diapers, but I have actually already washed and folded them. They are ready for a teeny tiny bum! Some of you may not care to see my new diapers for the baby, but some of you might. Here they are!
The top three are One-Size Bum Genius pocket diapers. They will fit the new baby from about 10 lbs to the time that he is potty trained. The three in the middle are very small covers to be used over the newborn prefolds on the left and the newborn/small fitted diapers on the right. The teeny tiny green on on the bottom is an XS all-in-one. I love it. I just can't afford a whole stash of them! And the one in the bottom right is a fleece cover that is oh so soft and cuddly. I can just imagine how snuggly the baby will be in this fleece under one of those gowns babies wear as newborns :-) He's going to be so spoiled!

Of course, I have a lot more diapers that this. The rest of them are the same diapers that I used with D. Most of them are One-Size so they will be useful for a very long time. I hope to not have to buy anything more than detergent and maybe another pretty laundry bag for this baby's entire diapering life. Perfect!! Economical, good for the environment, good for baby, and easy on the eyes...

A close-up of the super cute ones...because I can't help but to love to look at them :-)

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Giveaway!

My friend over at Mommy-Grams and More and I are beginning my very first giveaway today. I am so excited because I see giveaways on blogs all the time and always wish I could do one. So, to celebrate the new year, here it goes!

Mommy-Grams and More is an Etsy store owned by an old college friend of mine. She is an at-home mommy of three children (under the age of 5, I should add!) and she is THE craftiest person I've ever met. Seriously, in college, I referred to her as, "My Martha Stewart friend." She was one of my roommates, so I got to enjoy all of her (and her mom's!) craftiness....and good cooking!

She has graciously donated ANY ONE product from her Etsy store to the winner of the giveaway! So, take a look at her site. Drool over all the adorable things for the children and babies in your life. Think of how you would want it personalized....Enter the giveaway. Then watch and see if you win!

Simply leave a comment below on this blog entry telling what your favorite product in her store is (click HERE)! Its that easy. One entry per person please :-)

The giveaway will be open from today and will run through Sunday, January 9, 2011. I will randomly draw a winner from all the entries at 7pm EST Sunday evening. I will post the winner that evening! The winner will have 48 hours to contact me back via email to claim his/her prize :-) My email address is:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What oh what will the New Year bring?

I am a huge fan of Christmas. The New Year always just sort of gets tacked on to what's left of the Christmas holidays for me. After spending nearly 2 weeks in Atlanta visiting family and friends for Christmas, I was grateful to be home in my own house with my own little family by the time 2011 arrived.

Our 2010 holiday season was really quite bittersweet. Of course, we had a blast visiting family and going home for the first time since moving to Virginia, but it was definitely the most eventful holiday season I've ever encountered - both in good ways and in not so good ways.

First off, I was FINALLY spending Christmas with my beloved. Its been so long since I've spent a Christmas with him; it was incredibly joyous. Just having him here to load up the van when we headed home, having him do the driving, the unloading, and the getting of the gas, everything...the list could go on and on. I felt so blessed to have him see the faces of our kids as they received their awesome gifts at Christmas. It was beautiful!
Our first family picture on Christmas morning in 3 years!
My Dad in his first picture with all three of his sons-in-law. First time they've all been together in one place!! From left to right - My Army hubby (traveling or deployed frequently), my youngest sister's fireman hubby (works crazy shifts), my dad, my middle sister's Air Force hubby (lives 7 hours from my parents and 18 hours from us!)
Though my heart was on cloud nine at the beginning of the holidays, it became heavy quickly. Just as we finished making plans to see our great family friends one evening, we learned the next day that their house burned down the following morning. They lost everything. My heart broke for them. I couldn't sleep at night because each time I'd awaken, I'd find myself praying for them. My heart just ached for their loss. Please keep them in your prayers as they make plans to do whatever they feel the Lord is leading them to do in the ways of a building a new home.

Next, we learned that my hard working husband finally got promoted!!! This was AWESOME and very welcomed news! He and I were incredibly thrilled to learn that as of January 1, 2011, he was officially promoted :-) What a great way to start the new year!

As you know, this is the year of the baby in my family. My sister and I are about 8 weeks apart in our pregnancies. Well, my cousin was also pregnant with her first baby - a boy as well - due mid-January. He surprised us all by coming 3 weeks early and was born on December 26 instead. It was amazing to learn of his sweet birth and see his beautiful pictures. I love babies and I love seeing families develop and grow. I couldn't be happier for my cousin, her husband and their whole family with the addition of this new little life. Praise God!
Here is a picture of us three preggos just one week before her sweet baby made his debut!
Unfortunately, my husband's grandfather was in the hospital the whole time we were in Atlanta following a series of falls. My husband was able to go and visit him shortly after we arrived. By the time we were packing to leave, he had been moved to hospice care, and on our way home at 3:30am, his mom called us to tell us he had gone to be with the Lord. It was bittersweet because this lovely man was 87 years old - married for 67 years to his bride. He had lost most of his memory and remained pretty confused for the last few years. His mind is now perfect. His body walks without a hitch. I hope he is playing a game of golf and chatting it up with old friends in Heaven. Please keep his wife, my husband's Nana, in your prayers. After being married 67 years to this sweet man, I can imagine the silence and loneliness in her house is now deafening.

By the time we made it home a few days ago, we thought we had seen it all within a matter of about a 10 day period. It was then that I learned of a complete tragedy in the life of a fellow Army wife and MOPS mom in my old town. I will not go into details (most of which I do not know), but I learned yesterday that she tragically lost her husband, and father of their 2 young children, on New Year's day. He wasn't deployed. Completely unexpected. I can't imagine how she must be feeling. Shock. Numbness. Confusion. I feel these things for her. Once again, my heart is heavy and burdened. I can't stop praying for her and her babies. Each time I awakened last night, I found myself again in prayer. I keep reminding myself how short this life is. How sweet each day truly is. How blessed I am to have my husband not only here on this earth, but here in my home. Please keep my Army sister and sister-in-Christ in your prayers this year.

If you made it reading this far, thank you. You are too kind! I'll leave on a happy friend and I are going to be doing my very first giveaway very soon. So, keep checking back with me this week. I should have it up and running soon! You'll definitely want to get your entries in. The prize is wonderful :-)

Have a Happy and Blessed New Year. Now go hug and kiss someone in your family. Tell them how special they are to you. Then, thank the Lord for them.