Sunday, December 31, 2006

I've officially been initiated

...as a mother.

Caleb has a stomach virus. Luckily the vomiting has stopped. And hopefully we'll get more sleep tonight than we did last night.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Still Struggling with The Decision

Well, I've been reading and researching this whole VBAC issue. It's really hard to find unbiased books and articles on the subject, so I'm trying to take everything at face value and get information. Yesterday I was leaning one way, and today after talking with my family physician at my check-up, I'm leaning the other way. It's hard to know what to do since I have no way of knowing ahead of time what will happen if I try to labor on my own and not do a repeat cesarean.

I'm praying that God would make it abundantly clear which way I should go. I'm praying a lot.

I think I'm going to visit with a couple of doctors in the next few weeks and go from there. I know that I would have more success with a VBAC at a birth center with a midwife rather than in a hospital setting (my labor at the hospital last time was anything but ideal), but with a prior cesarean and a husband who is not comfortable with that, I just can't go for that option.

So, anyway, that's where I'm at. I'm mourning the fact that I may never go into labor again. I'm aware that if I choose a VBAC, I may still end up with another cesarean. We live in one of the least "granola" areas of the country, so I have yet to hear of a doctor in this city that will do a VBAC (I know I can find one if we choose that option). So many things to consider.

I really appreciate all your comments and personal email about this subject. Thanks for being so kind and sharing your experiences with me. We're in uncharted waters here; your perspectives are a lifeline.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Fall Into Reading Challenge Finish Line

Well, I didn't finish most of the books on my original list. Is anyone really surprised? It was a pretty aggressive list, but the books will still remain on my "I hope to read someday soon list."

Books I actually finished:
Divine by Karen Kingsbury
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
Wisdom for Mothers Bible Study by Denise Glenn (I actually skipped the last part about working outside the home because it doesn't apply to me at this time. It also talked about serving in other capacities outside the home and keeping your priorities in order, and I feel I'm doing okay in that area right now. I'll probably have to re-visit it later).


Books I've started:
A Mother's Heartby Jean Fleming
The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O'Martian
Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey
Unveiling Glory by Jeff Childers and Frederick Aquino
Lord, Teach Me to Study the Bible in 28 Days by Kay Arthur (I'm almost done with this)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Our trip to Hawaii brought another book into my hands: The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook.

Life circumstances and decisions about health have brought me to some other books I'm in the process of reading:

Birth after Cesarean: The Medical Facts by Dr. Bruce L. Flamm
The VBAC Companion by Diana Korte
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
The Maker's Diet by Dr. Jordan Rubin
Breaking Free Bible Study by Beth Moore

(remember this post? Again, I'm not pregnant. Yet. Just getting all the facts.)

So, there it is. I'm reading. Sometimes slowly, but always surely. There's so much to read and so little time these days in which to do it!

See how the others did over at Katrina's blog!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Christmas!


"He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth." ~Luke 1:14

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Rejoicing in Him,
aggiejenn

our actual Christmas card had this same picture and Scripture. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Enough

As I was driving through town today, picking up the last of my Christmas presents (yay!), I was thinking about the Christmas Tour of Homes. I thought about how when I clicked on the different links, I would find myself in someone else's house, looking at their Christmas trees, decorations, and furniture.

I would notice that so-and-so had a matching sofa set with a beautiful coordinating rug. And so-and-so has such pretty hardwood floors that look freshly polished. And so-and-so really has a sense for decorating; everything looks just like a magazine spread.

And that feeling of inadequacy comes creeping up. Where did that come from? I know, Lord, you have given us so very much. We are so blessed. I know that.

It's the same feeling I had last time I came home from my sister's house. It's beautiful. Everything in her house matches. Not a picture frame or candle holder that doesn't coordinate finds its way onto the shelves. She is so talented at organizing and decorating.

Our house? Well, it's a mismatch of hand-me-down furniture, new furniture, well-used furniture. Pretty much anything anyone gives us finds its way onto the shelves, tables, and countertops. (I definitely inherited the packrat gene from my mother and grandmother; it skipped my sister.) I can't say that our house has a style per say.

I think about my friend whose house is spotless at all times. Even with two kids. Her carpets don't have stains. Dishes don't sit in her sink. The beds are always made. Even when I stop by at a moments notice--nary a speck of dust to be found.

And I feel inadequate as a housekeeper and "stylist" for this home.

Driving around with all this floating through my head, my thoughts traveled back a few years to when I had a group of girls from Students for Christ at my house overnight. I used to teach in a large urban high school where most of the kids were on free and reduced lunch. Broken families were the norm. 15-year-olds getting pregnant was not uncommon. Gangs and drugs were rampant.

The girls wanted a "Ladies Night" retreat sort-of-thing, and instead of paying to stay in a hotel, I offered to let them come to my house.

I didn't think anything of it.

Our house is not huge. It's a normal, modest, one-story house in the suburbs. It's just the right size for us, except the yard is a little small for the dogs. It has three bedrooms, a couple of living areas, and an average size kitchen.

I dream of something bigger. A large island kitchen. Hardwood floors that stretch through the house. Clean carpets. Matching furniture that's comfortable and practical. A bigger yard. The list goes on.

Do you know what I overhead that night the girls stayed at my house?

"This is my dream house!"

I was stopped dead in my tracks. Her dream house? Don't people normally say that about big, fancy mansions with marble and tile and a pool?

Not when you've lived in an apartment all your life with your whole family (extended family, probably) and never had your own space. Not when you share your small bedroom with more than one other person.

I was humbled then and again today when I remembered those words.

Lord, help me to be satisfied with what you have given me. It is more than enough. You are more than enough for me. Thank you for humbling me once again.

I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.

Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.

My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:4-8

Monday, December 18, 2006

Will I Ever Finish Christmas Shopping?

Probably not. We tried really hard on Saturday to finish up the few gifts we needed to get. We ate lunch and headed to our first stop where my body decided I didn't need to finish shopping and launched me into a stomach escapade for almost the next 24 hours.

Sunday afternoon we try again. We head to the mall to eat lunch and let Caleb get a picture with Santa, which did not go well. Caleb needed a nap and Lifeway is closed on Sunday (when will I ever remember that???), so we headed home to put Caleb down and I went out shopping by myself.

We finished most of the shopping last night, and now I have to wait for a package to come in the mail today so I can repackage stuff and mail a box of wrapped Christmas presents to hubby's mom's house in time for Christmas. It's a good thing I bought all of Caleb's presents earlier this year and they are patiently waiting in the top of his closet for me to wrap.

Maybe next year I'll get my act together?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Tour of Homes



Welcome to my Home!

Our tree...you'll notice it's only decorated half-way down! Thanks, Caleb. :-)


The centerpiece of my mantle. My grandmother gave this angel to me a couple of years ago. She has one just like it that she's had for years, and she was thrilled when she found one for my sister and me as well.




Stockings hung by the chimney with care...

My mom just finished making Caleb's stocking. She's the talented one in the family! I wish you could see every bead and sequin and stitch on this stocking. It's a work of art, a labor of love.





And, of course, our little Aggie tree. My best friend, Lisa, gave it to me when she moved out of state. We display it proudly in our house!



Some more ornaments from our tree...

This one we got when we went to Hawaii this year. It says "Mele Kalikimaka" (Merry Christmas in Hawaiian). We've continued the tradition hubby's mom started and we try to buy an ornament every year that represents a place we went or something we did together as a family.



This ornament was given to me by my mother-in-law when hubby and I were just dating. I never forget that hubby is not "truly" Texan (because he reminds me of that fact!).

Thanks for stopping by! Head to BooMama's for more home tours!

Have a blessed and Merry Christmas!

A Favorite Ornament

It's hard to choose an ornament from our tree that is my favorite. My mother-in-law started a tradition with her boys of buying them each an ornament that represented a place they visited or something they were involved in that year. Many of them are sports related, some are of trips they took, and there are even ones with school pictures. Her tree is a treasure-trove of memories, and it's so special for the boys to look at all the ornaments and reminisce about the year they got them. She has continued this tradition with us, and I love the ornaments she selects.

Here is the first one we received, our first Christmas as a married couple:




















Our very first Christmas ornament as a couple! I don't know how she finds such unique ornaments, but it is a blessing to us. The year we bought our first home, we received this ornament:










It says, "The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson"




Tomorrow I'll post some more decorations for BooMama's Christmas Tour of Homes.

Check out Mountain Musings tomorrow, Friday the 15th, for more favorite ornament posts! You still have time to write yours up and send her the link (by 9pm tonight).

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Question

Let me preface this post by saying I'm not pregnant! We are trying to get information for when that time comes again. That's all. :-)

Okay, so here's the deal. I had Caleb by c-section. I knew that would probably mean repeat c-sections. (And, no, it wasn't elective.) I talked to my doctor about whether or not I would have to have c-sections from now on and she said I would.

My question is, "Have any of you had to make this decision? or Have you or anyone very close to you ever had a successful VBAC?"

I do not want to get into a dicussion of which is better, c-section or v*ginal birth. I know the statistics. I know there are way too many c-sections performed in the U.S. today. My cousin is a midwife; I know where they stand on the issue. I'm looking for personal experience from people who've had c-sections.

I have dealt with a lot of guilt over the past year or so about having a c-section. Lots of questions have gone through my mind, such as, "If I had done things differently, would it have turned out differently?"
I will never know the answer to that question. When I hear people say things like, "A c-section is not the way God designed it," I feel even more like a failure. I just have to trust that my doctor did what was best for me and for Caleb. That is my main concern--the health of the baby and myself.

So, any of you have experience with this? If I decide against a c-section, I will have to switch doctors. I love my doctor, but I want to make an informed decision about this. Of course, we're praying about what is best for our family. The thought of risking me and/or the baby obviously freaks hubby out, so we want to go the safest route for us all.


Welcome, Little One!


My friend, Laura, at Here and Now just had a baby boy this past Saturday! He is PRECIOUS! And Lou is a very proud big sister. :-)

Go see for yourself!

Congratulations, Laura and WonderMan! We're praying for you as you adjust to life as parents of two children and raise them to know and love the Lord. May you "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever! Amen." (2 Peter 3:18)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sick Boy

Caleb has been sick for several days. Friday he was running a 103 temp and I took him to the doctor; they found a sore throat that was probably causing the fever. We went out of town this weekend for my sister's shower and today he was running a 103 temp again and coughing like crazy. He pretty much just looks miserable--coughing constantly, runny nose, high fever, walking around the house crying/fussing, unable to be comforted. He didn't sleep well last night because he was coughing so much, so I hope tonight is a better one. We could all use the rest, especially him.

I talked to his doctor this afternoon and he wants to see him tomorrow so they can rule out pneumonia and/or asthma-related problems. We're praying his little body will be all well soon.

Update: We went to the doctor this morning. Caleb has an ear infection in his right ear and his tonsils have white stripes on them. He's still running a pretty constant fever of 101. It's also unclear if his cough is from drainage or some airway constriction problems, so we're going to try and figure that out. He's pretty miserable and sleeping most of the time, which is good because he needs it. He's lost almost a pound since Friday since his throat hurts too bad to eat more than a banana now and then. He'll gain it back once he feels better. Thanks for your prayers; he needs them. I'm going to go rest now since Caleb is sleeping. I'll continue to let you guys know how he's doing.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I'm Back


We're back from Hawaii! Actually, we've been back since Tuesday, but I've been catching up on housework and loving on Caleb since we returned.

We had a good time; it was nice to spend some uninterrupted time together! It was cloudy 3 of the 5 days we were there and I was sick 2 days (including my birthday, Saturday), but we were still able to enjoy some of the sights. The food was amazing!! (Thanks, Betty, for your recommendations!) I wasn't prepared for the weather...it was actually chilly several days! I wished I had brought a jacket, especially when we went up to the canyon (about 4000 ft.). You just don't think you'll need one in Hawaii, but I guess it is December and all. We stayed on Kauai until Monday and then went to Oahu for the day. It was really warm and sunny there, so we headed to the beach for a couple of hours. I was able to get a little bit of a tan before I returned.

I missed Caleb like CRAZY!! It was harder for me in that respect since I see him all day, every day. He did great for my parents, though, and was hardly fussy at all. That was definitely an answer to our prayers. Caleb woke up this morning saying, "Poppa," so I'm not sure if he prefers us over them anyway. :-)

I'll post more details next week with some stories and pictures. We're giving my sister a baby shower tomorrow, so I'm off to bake some pumpkin bread, pack, and take care of last minute details (oh, and travel to my parent's house...Caleb will think he lives there before too long!).

Have a great weekend! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sunrise

You Are Sunrise

You enjoy living a slow, fulfilling life. You enjoy living every moment, no matter how ordinary.
You are a person of reflection and meditation. You start and end every day by looking inward.
Caring and giving, you enjoy making people happy. You're often cooking for friends or buying them gifts.
All in all, you know how to love life for what it is - not for how it should be.
What Time Of Day Are You?


I'd say this is pretty accurate.

Look Out, Mom!

Caleb's mission, "Operation Un-Decorate The Tree," is in full force. I'm sure he'll have a grand ole time at Grandma's working on his mission! He is especially interested in the balls, since that is his current favorite word. :-)

 Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 27, 2006

To Do List...

Thanksgiving was wonderful! We drove the 2 1/2 hours back from my parent's house last night, and here is a list of things I have to do in the next two days:

1. pack for tropical vacation :-)
2. get Caleb's things ready to stay with my parents for a week
3. somehow convince myself to leave Caleb in the capable hands of my parents
4. go to the bank to make deposit
5. while I'm there, remember to have a form notarized
6. pick up some last minute vacation things at the store
7. make dinner tonight for a couple who had a baby last week
8. psyche myself up for being without Caleb for one week (how will I manage?)
9. straighten the house so it's clean when I come home from vacation
10. get dog food
11. take the car seat out of the car; give to parents
12. get stroller out of the car; give to parents
13. make detailed lists for mom (because she didn't raise two daughters, you know!)
14. hug and kiss Caleb every single second to make up for the time I'll be away
15. enjoy some much-needed alone time with hubby

And, I just want to say how thankful I am to have a friend who wears the same size clothes that I do and has let me borrow practically her whole summer wardrobe for our vacation. Her clothes are much cuter than mine and fit much better than mine. What a blessing!

Another blessing...due to hubby's trips to Singapore last year, he accumulated enough frequent flyer miles to fly us to our tropical destination for FREE. It doesn't get much better than that!

Hopefully I'll have a tan, less stress in my muscles, and a few books read by the time I return.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare.
~Psalm 40:5


Counting our blessings...

Happy Thanksgiving!

See you on the 27th after I've decorated for Christmas! :-)


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Better

Thanks, everyone, for your prayers that I feel better. I took NyQuil last night...which I haven't done in about 2 years since I was either pregnant or nursing...and I slept great! I am still stuffy this morning, but am feeling much better than yesterday (read: I've made it off the couch). My ribs and abdominal muscles are quite sore from all the sneezing and coughing, but maybe it's a good workout for me, right? :-)

Caleb and I are meeting Justin in a couple of hours because today is his company Thanksgiving family lunch. They actually provide a wonderful bbq lunch for all the employees and their families, complete with pecan pie. How great is that?

Tomorrow we're off to spend Thanksgiving with my side of the family. I can't wait to see all my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandmas. My Nana is making dumplings. *sigh* I can taste them already.

I'm making two pumpkin pies...my very favorite!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sick

I'm sick today. Yuck. I have sneezed about 200 times, and, no, I'm not exaggerating. I've been through a box of Kleenex, half a roll of toilet paper, and then some. I would make a doctor's appointment, but the thought of dragging Caleb to the doctor's office with me to wait for what I know will be at least an hour in the waiting room appeals to no part of me.

I'm trying my best to sit lay on the couch and watch The Sound of Music and drink hot beverages, but, alas, there is no rest for the mommy. I remember when I was childless and working outside the home, I would stay home from work when I was sick and rest.

Now, if the dog would stay out of Caleb's room while I'm trying to get him to rest, we'd all be much happier.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Happy Birthday, Justin!

Update: The video should load now. I put a link instead.
Update #2: I made the video public, so you ALL should be able to view it now. Can you tell I'm not very techno-savvy?

My husband, Justin, turns 30 today. I am constantly amazed at how God has blessed me through this man.

Justin, I have learned more about Christ's love through the way you love me. I know you would do anything for me or Caleb, even if it meant giving up everything. Your constant sacrifice inspires me. Thank you for loving us so fully; today I honor you.

"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God." ~Philippians 1:9-11

A look at the last 30 years.



Pssst...GiBee is celebrating a birthday, too. Happy Birthday, GiBee! You are such an encouragement to me. Head on over and wish GiBee a Happy Birthday, too!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I'm a Winner

Look what just appeared in my inbox:

We happily announce to you the draw of the British
Lottery International programs held on the 18th of
october 2006 in London. Your e-mail address attached
to ticket number: 564 75600545-188 with serial number
5388/02 drew the lucky numbers: 31-6-26-13-35-7,which
subsequently won you the lottery in the 2nd category.
You have therefore been approved to claim a total
sum of US$2,500,000.00 (Two million, five hundred thousand,
United States Dollars) in cash credited to file
RPC/9080118308/04 made available from a total cash prize
of US $125 Million dollars, shared amongst the first Fifty
(50) lucky winners in this category.

You are to provide the claims agent with the under listed

information as soon as possible:

1.FULL NAMES:..............................
2.DATE OF BIRTH:...........................
3.SEX:.....................................
4.CONTACT ADDRESS:.........................
5.COUNTRY:.................................
6.TELEPHONE NUMBER:........................
7.OCCUPATION:..............................
8.BATCH NUMBER:...........................
9.AMOUNT WON:.............................

To avoid unnecessary delays and complications, quote your
reference/batch numbers in any correspondences with us or
our designated agent. Congratulations once more.

Looks like all I have to do is give them all my personal information and I'll be on my way to $2.5million. Yippeee!

Oh, except I never entered the British lottery. Too bad.

Friday, November 17, 2006

One Thousand Gifts, Part 4



101. getting to be an aunt soon
102. watching hubby with his brothers
103. flowers
104. green vines
105. fountains
106. cobblestone paths
107. photos of Caleb's first year, taken by his Uncle Josh
108. incredible worship music
109. powerful prayer times
110. knowing God is listening to my prayers
111. believing that He cares enough to take part in my life
112. waiting on the LORD and being strengthened in the process
113. Scripture memory
114. sound Bible teaching
115. His faithfulness to me
116. morning quiet times--refreshing my heart, soul, and mind
117. extended family
118. an email from my great aunt
119. Daily Light devotional
120. Scripture that leaps off the page and into my heart
121. a challenge from Beth Moore to let God revolutionize my prayer life
122. the privilege of praying for my husband
123. knowing my husband prays for me
124. praying with my husband
125. saying prayers with Caleb before bed
126. "I love you, Lord" -- mine and Caleb's special song
127. holidays spent with family

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Are You Serious?

I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday to buy a guidebook for an upcoming trip. Barnes and Noble is right next door to Best Buy, where lots of people were camping out in tents. I'm not up on the latest electronics/movies/games being released, so I called hubby to ask why in the world people would be camping outside of Best Buy.

Playstation 3.

It cost $600.

Seriously???

I told Caleb, not that he can understand me, that his mommy will not camp outside of Best Buy for 3 days to buy him anything that cost $600. Now, if he has 600 extra dollars just taking up space when he's older, by all means, I'll get out the tent and he can camp all he wants.

Am I the only one who doesn't get it?

(And does anyone else remember when people used to rent VCRs?)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

One Thousand Gifts, Part 3



still counting...

61. videos that teach babies sign language
62. Bible study
63. watching my child with other children
64. seeing Caleb so proud of himself
65. baby clothes, so soft and small
66. baby blankets
67. in-laws
68. blogs
69. blog friends
70. meeting them in real life
71. praying with hubby
72. sleeping children
73. the ability to comfort
74. wisdom from Him
75. learning from another generation
76. leaves turning, signaling the season's change
77. neighbors
78. church family
79. spiritual growth
80. challenges
81. beautiful flowers
82. full moons
83. being able to see stars in the sky
84. the Postal service, mailing cards and packages to loved ones
85. long phone conversations with her
86. people who "get real" with me
87. foreign missionaries
88. Thai food
89. paper
90. beautiful, colored pens
91. pencils
92. markers
93. cookie dough
94. contentment
95. wall color
96. a husband who indulges my love of wall color
97. Caleb laying his head on my shoulder when he's sleepy
98. how excited Caleb gets when I go to his room after naptime
99. Caleb pointing and saying, "Dis?"
100. mountains.

Part One
Part Two
Part Four

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Happy Birthday, Lisa!



Today is my best friend's birthday! She is approximately two weeks older than me. That means she'll turn 30 before I will, she'll turn 40 before I will, she'll turn...well, you get the picture! :-)

She and her husband, Dave, moved to Alaska back in February of this year, and it gets a little lonely when you don't have family that's even within driving distance!

So, won't you hop on over to Living Forgiven...In Alaska and wish Lisa a "Happy Birthday?" (She and Dave just celebrated their one year anniversary, too, on November 12!)

Happy Birthday, Lisa! You have sharperned me so much since our friendship began 6 years ago. We've been through a lot together, and I am so grateful that God brought you into my life. (Maybe He'll see fit to bring us a little closer in geography one day!)

May this year be the best one yet! I love you!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Menu Plan Monday

Our menu this week:

Monday: Spaghetti
Tuesday: Beef Stew--crockpot
Wednesday: Oven Fried Chicken
Thursday: Taco Soup
Friday: Sweet & Sour Chicken

One Thousand Gifts, Part 2




continuing my list of 1000 gifts God has given me...

31. good doctors
32. fall colors
33. re-connecting with old friends
34. a home-cooked meal
35. changing seasons
36. sweet tea
37. His Word
38. changes in me
39. a husband who selflessly provides for our family
40. photographs to hold memories
41. good books
42. time to read
43. baby monitors
44. handmade baby blankets
45. gifted, crafty friends
46. prayer warriors
47. mentors
48. pacifiers
49. dogs
50. a reliable vehicle
51. soft, green grass
52. tall shade trees
53. trustworthy neighbors
54. blue jeans
55. cotton t-shirts
56. pajama pants
57. evening with hubby
58. clean sheets
59. soft, clean towels
60. seeing Caleb sign
to be continued...

Part One
Part Three
Part Four
See other lists and share yours here.

Pics of The Boy

My brother-in-law, the photographer, was here this weekend to take pictures of Caleb for his one-year portraits. Here are a couple that I love:



I love how he is basking in the sun in this bottom picture, like God is saying something to him.

I posted a few more pictures on Caleb's blog (I LOVE the one of him cracking up!), but I'm saving my absolute favorites until later (you know, Christmas cards and all).

He's growing up so fast! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 09, 2006

One Thousand Gifts



At Ann's prompting, I've started a list of One Thousand Gifts I already have. One Thousand Gifts that God has granted to me. Ann has encouraged us to look for things we might overlook and realize the blessings we've been given each and every day from the Father.

Here's a snippet of my list so far...

1. God's grace
2. Loving parents
3. A godly husband
4. A roof over my head
5. Wet kisses from one sweet little boy
6. Warm blankets
7. Cool breezes
8. Friends
9. Someone to share my struggles with
10. My sister
11. quilts made by my great grandmother
12. prayer
13. technology to communicate with loved ones who live far away
14. the smile of a child
15. hot apple cider
16. old hymns
17. experiences in other countries
18. comfort food
19. fond memories of grandparents who've passed
20. laughing until my sides hurt
21. Caleb "rocking" himself to sleep
22. baby talk
23. Caleb running to see me
24. sunrises
25. sunsets
26. new starts
27. the sound of the ocean
28. freshly vacuumed carpet
29. Caleb's "tired" laugh
30. playing peek-a-boo...
To be continued...

Won't you start a list, too, and share it with us?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Homecoming Celebration


In September, my friend Erin and her husband, Jeff, traveled to Vietnam and brought home their precious daughter, Selah. Selah joined her two brothers, Sam and Silas, to make one happy family! We wanted so much to bless them as they add another member to their family, but they have been so blessed already that they don't need anything to help care for her. God is good!

It was suggested that we focus on blessing the orphanage in Ninh Thuan that took such great care of Selah, so that is what we want to do. We're having an online shower! All of the monetary donations will go directly toward purchasing playground equipment for the children at the Ninh Thuan orphanage.

If you are interested, please help us bless the children at the orphanage and honor Selah and her family.

Please spread the word about the shower. It's a great way to get children involved in helping other children who are less fortunate.

Come join the celebration and learn more about Selah's story.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Scattered

Apparently it's a post-fest for me today! Really I'm just trying to get everything out before tomorrow when I'm taking a blog fast. Our Ladies Retreat is this weekend and I'm feeling very scattered with just returning from out of town, having a sick child, not feeling well myself, and having a house that's pretty out of order! I need some time to get some things back into order, including (and especially) my quiet time.

So, I'll be on a blog fast until Monday. Until then, head on over to JettyBetty's and read her great post about surrender. I'll be thinking and praying about that in the next few days.

We Wanna Meet, Part 2 w/ PICS

So, when we last left the We Wanna Meet recap, I was a freak. :-) (And, as an aside, after reading several people's posts about this weekend, I realized how much we notice in other people the things we are insecure about in ourselves. I do not have perfect hair, no matter what Holymama says! But I sure noticed how skinny Lauren was because that's what I'm insecure about. And how cute Shannon's glasses were because I don't like mine. And how funny so many of them are because that's not usually my gift. Hmmm. I could go on, but what you really want to know is what we did on Saturday, so here you go.)

Saturday morning we slept in. Ha.Ha.Ha. Caleb was with me, remember? Shannon and Chili slept until 10:45 because their kids were at home! Caleb was up most of the night coughing or crying or just being awake. So, even though we got out of bed at 8:45, but we didn't sleep in, TRUST ME.

After listening at the doors of my fellow hotel sleepers and deciding no one else was awake (wait, I AM a freak!), we headed to McDonalds for breakfast. I would find out later that I should have knocked on the door and asked Faith if she wanted anything because, apparently, she gets upset if someone goes without her and doesn't let her know. :-) Next time, Faith, I'll get you whatever you want!

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Shannon and me

We headed to the Ft. Worth Botanic Garden for lunch where Shannon dared Lauren to "steal" a piece of wedding cake from the reception in the next room. You've heard this story, right? Lauren got chewed out by the mother of the bride. I think the lady's exact words were, "HOW RUDE!!!!!" And Shannon was just worried Lauren would put the cake in the jacket she'd borrowed from her. You're one brave lady, Lauren! Those Texas mothers of the bride can be quite fiesty...I should have warned you.

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Shalee waiting for our food!

After Shannon and GiBee went to ask the waitress to cancel our dessert order because we'd been at the restaurant for TWO HOURS already (which didn't go over well, by the way), Shannon told me it was my turn to offend someone. :-)

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GiBee and Faith

After lunch, Faith, Lauren and Chloe, GiBee and Hunter, Sandy, and I headed to The Stockyards. This out-of-state crowd wanted a "real" Texas experience. Well, I think they got it. Little did we know there would be a real live cowboy extravaganza going on. We even got to talk to a REAL life cowboy in person. He graciously offered to take our group photo without our even having to ask. What a gentleman! He works a cattle ranch not too far from where I live and has an original belt buckle from the Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo the first year it was in the Astrodome. He was very proud to show it to us. Lauren asked if she could have it for a souvenir, but he wasn't that gracious. Good try, though, Lauren.

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We made it to The Stockyards just in time to see the longhorns be led down the street. It was pretty neat, even though there were only about 7 of them and they looked like they were being led to their death (not because they were malnourished or anything, they just walked that slow).

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the old, sad longhorns

After the "running of the bulls," we went in search of some silver jewelry. I snapped this cute photo of Faith in what else but a pink cowgirl hat! Isn't she adorable? I told her she looks much younger in person. Really. I don't have a picture of Chloe's teal cowgirl hat, but trust me, she was super cute!

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While in The Stockyards, we saw some women dressed like old timey "women of the night." Not sure what their purpose was, but everyone sure liked taking pictures of them. Lauren said she was going to photoshop our faces in to that picture, so if that starts floating around Blogland, don't believe it for a second. Because unlike Shalee, Shannon, and Chili, we DID NOT dress up in "formal" attire during our afternoon out. Promise.

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GiBee's Hunter and my Caleb

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Caleb trying to share his pacifier with Hunter

We headed back to the hotel to freshen up and change before heading to Antique Mommy's for a taco dinner. It was wonderful! We got to meet Sarah (In the Midst of It), Rachel Anne (Home Sanctuary), Katherine (Raising Five), and Megan (Life in a Nutshell). It was a joy to sit around and chat with these ladies. I wish we'd have had more time together!

Sunday morning hubby, Caleb, and I checked out of the hotel at 7:45am to go to church with JettyBetty and her sweet husband. It was my first time meeting her, and I was so excited. She is as sweet and genuine in person as she is on her blog. We ate brunch at Crackel Barrel and Caleb was extremely tired and fussy by the time our food came. JB's sweet PH (Perma Honee as she calls him) finished his meal first and walked around the gift shop with Caleb for the rest of the meal so we could chat. What a blessing that was to us! Thanks, JettyBetty and PH for such a lovely time!

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me, Caleb, and JettyBetty

Well, that just about wraps up We Wanna Meet. It was a blast! I wish I could have had one-on-one time with every single lady. I do much better one-on-one than in big groups, but it was a blessing to me just to get to meet these sweet ladies in person.

Advent

Lindsey at Enjoy the Journey has started a new blog, Advent for Evangelicals.

We have been talking about Advent in our house, and I would like to implement some of the ideas I've seen in blogdom while celebrating the Christmas season. Advent is not something we celebrated growing up, but I think it is important to teach Caleb that Santa Claus and presents are not what it's all about. I loved what GiBee said here about their plans to celebrate the Christmas season.

Lindsey is working hard to put Christ back in Christmas, so head on over and check out what she's saying.

Product Review--Cascade 2-in-1 Action Pacs

Updated: Here's a link to a coupon for $1.50 off Cascade 2in1 Action Pacs. Enjoy!

I know everyone and their dog has reviewed this product, but they sent me a sample, so I must oblige!

I saw GiBee review these little packets of dishwashing detergent, and after I left a comment about wanting to try them myself, they sent me a FULL pack! I was really excited to get the trial started because we recently bought a new dishwasher when our other one started leaking and I have been having problems getting my dishes clean (spots).

The Cascade 2-in-1 action pacs really are great. They get stuck-on food off without having to prerinse. The only problem I had was when I left too much food on trying to really test them out, little particles were left in my glasses on the top rack. I think that might be more the fault of my dishwasher because nothing besides the glasses had a speck on it (seeing that I'm the ONLY person who reviewed them and had this problem!). Hubby always prerinses (and remember, he does the dishes most of the time) out of habit, but it's really not necessary.

I'm usually super cheap on dishwashing soap, but these little action pacs are doing a much better job! So, run out and buy some for yourself; they're worth the price.

I tried relentlessly to post a picture, but, once again, Blogger is giving me fits. You know what they look like, right? If not, go here.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

We Wanna Meet, Part One UPDATED w/ Pictures

I would love to link every time I mention a wonderful blogger I met this weekend, but I'm not feeling well. So, head to Shannon's to see an alphabetical list of attendees. Thanks, Shannon, for letting me cheat! Maybe I'll have extra energy to put in links tomorrow. Don't hold your breath.

I can't possibly put all that happened this weekend in one post, so I thought I'd just start with Friday night. I think everyone who went is still trying to process the whole thing and remember all the details, so I'll start slowly and hopefully remember everything I wanted to write about.

We (hubby, Caleb, and I) first arrived at the hotel around 6pm Friday. We drove through Ft. Worth at 5pm, so traffic was bad. When we got to the room, our keys wouldn't work, so hubby went down to the desk to get them fixed. In the meantime, Caleb and I are standing in the hallway with all of our luggage. The room across from ours has the door open and I hear a little one inside. I figured it must either be Holymama! or Gibee, because they were bringing their boys, too. Holymama came to the door, and I said, "You're Holymama, right?" She looked freaked out. :-) She said, "yeah" reaaaaalllllyyyy slow, still looking freaked out. I said, "I'm Jennifer." "Oh, like, Aggiejenn?" "Yeah." I think I heard a sigh of relief. I guess random people knowing your name in a hotel is pretty scary. Sorry for scaring you, Holymama!

Then, Jeana walked up and started talking to Holymama. She said GiBee was next door. I told her to tell GiBee we were here, and who should appear but Lauren and Faith as well. I've been in the hotel for 5 whole minutes and I've already met all these great ladies!

I think Lauren was just glad to see me because I'm short too. Everyone (Jeana, Holymama, GiBee, Faith) else is TALL, at least according to the standards of Lauren and Jennifer. Lauren is technically 1/4" taller than me, and I think she was pretty proud of that fact. Never mind that neither of us clears 5'4". :-)

(Lauren brought her daughter with her and she is BEAUTIFUL!!! And sweet, too. She bought the most adorable teal cowgirl hat on Saturday and looked so cute in it.)

After everyone changed out of their traveling clothes and primped a little, we headed to the restaurant. Hubby, Caleb, and I arrived first out of the hotel group. Shannon, Chilihead, and Kellygirl were already there. I recognized Shannon and Chili from the Kansas City bloggers lunch pictures. Shannon had no clue who I was. Is anyone really surprised? I mean, all 5 of you who read this blog would probably recognize me from seeing that annoying black and white picture everywhere (Katherine recognized me on Saturday night because of all the comments I leave everywhere.), but not Shannon. I think our introduction went something like this.

Me: Hi.
Shannon: Are you one of the bloggers?
Me: yeah, I'm Jennifer.
Shannon: Hi. (looking confused)

I should have used my code name. Lauren's son thought it was weird we all have code names, but apparently people don't recognize the "real" me!

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Then I proceeded to help hubby corral a very tired and hungry Caleb. (He took him back to the hotel early so I could enjoy the night...isn't he great?)

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I'm not exactly sure of the order that everyone else arrived, but Shalee, Antique Mommy, the hotel group (see above), Minnie, CMommy, Kep, and Carol all joined in on the fun. (Am I missing someone?? I feel like I am.)

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Faith (in PINK!) and her camera (which she doesn't like)

Holymama made us all super cool name tags with her scrapbooking skills. (She didn't use my code name on my name tag, either...maybe that's the problem!)

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Dinner was full of introductions, conversation, and laughter. I learned about Kellygirl and her hubby who are homeschooling their 4 kids. And CMommy and her new teaching job. And Carol's very busy weekend playing in her praise bands. It was a great time.

After dinner, a bunch of us crashed Lauren, Jeana, and Faith's room. Actually, GiBee and I came back early to put Hunter to bed in the adjoining room. The doors between the rooms were open and since Hunter was trying to go to sleep, I went and sat on one of the beds in the adjoining room to wait for GiBee and her sister-in-law. Pretty soon after that, the occupants came back and Lauren was a little freaked to find me sitting in her room all alone. She said something to the effect of, "how did you get in here?"

Yep, that's me. I'm the freak. First Holymama. Then Shannon. Now Lauren.

I think I'll join the circus now. Maybe I'll be normal there.

:-)

We laughed a lot that night! It was fun, and I got to learn Shannon's system for her kids blog names. How does she keep it all straight?

Stay tuned tomorrow for part 2...the Stockyards and dinner at Antique Mommy's house.

Monday, October 30, 2006

I'm Back from We Wanna Meet

...but I'll have to tell you about it tomorrow. Here's how my day has gone so far:

-woke up around 4am with a charlie-horse type cramp in my neck so bad it still hurts
-realized while packing my stuff at my mom's house to come home that I left our hanging clothes in the closet of the hotel in Ft. Worth
-called hotel. They are shipping them to us for $9...well worth not driving back to Ft. Worth
-had mom drive us the 2 1/2 hours home with son sleeping maybe 45 minutes and screaming for attention the rest of the time
-took son to the doctor because his cold has run longer than it should only to find out he has an ear infection and possible sinus infection. He's also running a temperature (101.9 at the doctor) and I couldn't even tell he was warm. (Yes, Mother of the Year judges...Pick me! Pick me!)
-realized my debit card was not in my wallet
-racked my brain to figure out when was the last time I used it. Friday night.
-panicked (a little) that I may have left it at the restaurant and no one bothered to call me and maybe had a fun time with it
-went to Walgreens to fill son's prescription to no avail because their computers had crashed.
-went to another Walgreens to drop off prescription
-took food to a family at church that just had a baby. Couldn't hold baby or get too close because Caleb is sick. Promise to come back when he's well and chat and actually cook them dinner this time (I picked up Boston Market in between the doctor and getting the prescription filled).
-got home, called hubby because I forgot to return to Walgreens to pick up the prescription
-found debit card in purse (whew!)
-tried to feed Caleb dinner, but he threw it on the floor in protest
-realize my throat is hurting really bad. And my ears are hurting really bad.

So, now I'm going to go soak in a hot tub (that's a tub with hot water in it. we don't have a jacuzzi), drink some hot tea, and go to bed early.

I'll tell you all about "We Wanna Meet" tomorrow. Hopefully.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thursday Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful...

that God hears my prayers.

for His Word.

for the voice of my son I hear on the monitor.

for God reminding me to be present in the moment because they don't last long.

for a husband who does the dishes almost every night of the week.

for awesome mentor moms at my MotherWise class.

for a full night's rest.

that this Sunday I get to meet and worship with the sweet lady who inspired me to do these Thursday Thanksgivings!

that I also get to meet many other wonderful mommy bloggers this weekend.

for His grace and mercy and forgiveness every moment of every day.


"Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song." ~Psalm 95:2

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Green Chile Quiche

Barb wanted this recipe, so I thought I would just post it. It really couldn't be any easier! :-)

Green Chile Quiche

4 eggs, beaten
1 can chopped green chiles
1-2 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar jack)

Mix together. Pour into pie crust. Bake at 325 for 45-60 minutes.

That's it! :-)

You can pretty much add whatever you like to the eggs for your own special quiche. Last night was my second time making it and before I started making them, I never knew quiche was so simple .

And here's the pie crust recipe I used if anyone wants it. Again, it's called "Super Easy Pie Crust." If I can make it, anyone can! I started making my own because I have all the ingredients on hand (flour, oil, milk) and usually forget to buy them at the store.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sacrifice (& a Menu)

from my Bible study this morning...

"How do I produce godly offspring? I want to do it, but where do I begin? Mother, I have some good news and bad news for you. The good news is that the Holy Spirit is the One who will produce godliness in your children. That is His work. He will use you, if you are available, as His human instrument to bring this about.

The bad news is you cannot live your life doing what you want, when you want to, the way you want to do it and still achieve the goal of producing godly offspring. You will have to sacrifice.

To produce godly offspring, it will require sacrifice. Your living sacrifice is an act of worship to God...You can't do what everyone else is doing. You may need to make some changes in your lifestyle. You may have to give up something you really like. Other people may not understand you. Friends and family may poke fun at you." ~Denise Glenn, Wisdom for Mothers

Ouch.

Convicted.

I have struggled with a lot of selfishness in my mothering lately, wanting to do my things on my schedule and getting frustrated when things don't work out that way because Caleb's schedule encroached on mine.


And now our menu for the week. I didn't post it yesterday out of respect for Canon's family. Here's what we're having this week.

Monday: Spaghetti and corn casserole
Tuesday: Green chile cheese quiche and biscuits
Wednesday: Grilled cheese sandwiches and potato soup
Thursday: Stuffed Bell Peppers (we didn't have them last week)
Friday: dinner in Ft. Worth
Saturday: dinner in Ft. Worth
Sunday: Easy Mexican Casserole

Monday, October 23, 2006

In Memory of Canon

A sweet little 4-year-old boy has gone to be with the Lord. As his mama says, "Canon is now playing baseball, football, basketball, and drinking all the Sprite he wants." You can leave a message for his mother and find Canon's story here.


Please join me in praying for his mother, Carla, as she is a single mom with two other children at home. My heart aches for her.

Lord, I cannot begin to understand what Carla faces right now. You know how to comfort her and lift her up. Please wrap Your arms around her as she is grieving for her little boy, and strengthen her to be the mother that her other children need. May the peace that passes all understanding guard this family in the weeks and months to come. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

So, What Did You Do This Weekend?

This is what happened at our house...



Hubby and his brother put in a drainage pipe since this side of our yard has always had drainage problems. The neighbor's yard is higher than ours and so our yard stays wet all the time. So far, it's working pretty well! I love being married to such a smart guy who's willing to take on projects like this. :-)

You'll notice how green our grass still is. If you live in an area where fall has long since come and winter is very near--we have NO idea what that's like! You see everyone is still in shorts in the afternoons. It was cold going to church this morning--you know, like in the high 50s/low 60s. I have always lived in warm climates, so I don't have memories of shoveling snow or making snowmen (except one Christmas we spent in Colorado). Hubby is from northern New Mexico, where it used to snow, but it hasn't snowed a significant amount since we've been married. Maybe one day Caleb and I will experience are true white Christmas. Not looking good for it to be anytime soon.

(You now see why I put that picture at the top of my blog and try to usher Fall into the house using scented candles. We just don't get much of a fall around here. Our seasons are something like HOT and not so hot.)


Reflecting Him

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