Friday, December 30, 2005

I drank a coke today

Since I have insulin issues while I'm pregnant (and really the rest of the time, too), I really watch my sugar intake very carefully. I completely swear off coca cola while I'm expecting, even though I love, love, love it. So when my husband brought some home last night I knew there was gonna be trouble. He bought it to take to a cookout at a friend's house, but the friend already had plenty to drink. So he brought it home. I guess I understand. I mean, what was he supposed to do - throw it away? I kid you not - I literally laid in bed last night thinking about that coke. So I had a glass this morning and... it was good. Hubby's working on getting the rest of it out of the house for me, but I think I feel my willpower coming back anyway, so I should be fine. But I'm pretty amazed that after months of not drinking the stuff I could still be that addicted!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Christmas - a look back

It's hard to imagine that something we work and plan so long for is over in one short weekend. But it is...until next year. I have to say this Christmas felt really good. The kids still got swamped with gifts from both sides of the family - some more welcome than others. The gifts, I mean. And there was still a little stress from the driving back and forth and staying up too late. But overall, it was a wonderful Christmas and I couldn't be happier that it went so smoothly. The gifts we gave brought as much pleasure as the ones we got and some of the ones we got were especially wonderful. My uncle who is a pastor gave us some beautiful advent storybooks for next year since he heard that I was trying to incorporate more spiritual focus into our holiday. My mother-in-law bought me a fabulous iron, which was well out of my price range. Now I can stop living in fear that my old one might electrocute me if I turn on the steam. And my mother, who always gives great gifts, got me new maternity clothes to wear for the holidays - even though I only have a few weeks left. I protested the impracticality, but new clothes made me feel like a new woman:) And my mom pointed out that I can always use them next time! It's so nice to have her support - that was as good a gift as any.
So now we're taking it easy. Slowly putting all the presents away and getting the decorations downstairs. And this year I don't have the post-Christmas letdown I usually experience. There's still too much to look forward to in this house! My niece and nephew are here for a visit, as are my parents. And, best of all, we have a new baby to get ready for. I had a sonogram yesterday, by the way, and he's gorgeous! With tons of hair! My mom came with me and we were both just blown away. The 3d (or 4d?) sonograms are so detailed. We now have a great picture of his foot (second toe is longer than his big toe) and his ear, which curls just like his daddy's. I just can't wait to meet this little guy!
I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas Eve morning and all is well:) Hubby had to hit the ground running this morning to finish his "project" - a great big gravel box (like a sandbox, but with gravel) in the back yard for Levi. Ask me how difficult it's been to keep Levi from seeing it! So far though, the kids and I are taking it easy. They are watching a very cute animated movie about the first Christmas -lots of songs to hold their attention - while I finish baking some pecan pies. I have a few gifts left to wrap and then it's to Grandmother's house we go.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend with your families and especially that you spend some time with Our Father thanking Him for the gift of His Son.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Things I Love About Being (Very) Pregnant

By this point in pregnancy (34 weeks) I'm quite miserable most of the time:) Since I'm only 5'2", the baby doesn't have much of anywhere to go except up into my rib cage and straight out in front of me. And I've got a sinus infection. And there are the Braxton Hicks contractions:( Etc. But I'm also well aware that this baby will be making his entrance pretty soon and I will miss being pregnant (strange as that seems to me now!). So I thought I'd list some of the things I really enjoy about being pregnant and spend some extra time over these next few weeks celebrating them.
1. Feeling the babywiggle and squirm inside me. It's so fascinating to feel this whole other person with his own arms and legs that he can move all by himself (sometimes when you least expect it) INSIDE ME! I'm already getting little clues about his personality - he seems more laid back most of the time, but when I sit down he comes to life!
2. When he gets the hiccups. I remember with Levi and Brenna being just overcome with emotion the first time that they got the hiccups after they were born. It was such a tangible reminder that just hours ago they'd been inside me.
3. I love the attention. Okay, I admit it. I like having people make just a little fuss over me - not too much, just an extra phone call or a seat in a crowd. I think it's a shame that a lot of those little courtesies have fallen to the wayside.
4. I love how thick my hair gets. And shiny:)
5. I love the instant camraderie with other pregnant women - even strangers.
6. I love planning for and daydreaming about the baby. What will he look like? Will these tiny baby clothes really fit? Levi and I had so much fun yesterday dragging out all the newborn clothes and washing them. He loved hearing about when he was that little and talking about the baby.
7. I love how excited Levi is. I'm not all together sure how much Brenna really understands yet (although she does like to kiss my belly), but Levi is so excited about *his* baby. He also is under the impression that he picked the baby's name, which is the very first secret he's ever kept. We're not arguing with him since he picked the same name we picked:)
8. I love the excuse to nap without guilt. I'm growing a human here!
9. It's such a great time to share what a blessing children are. Without a word (which is often just an invitation for people to argue with us), everyone can see that we want children just because we're happy about being pregnant.
10. Honestly - I like maternity clothes:) All clothes should have a nice stretchy waistband:)

Monday, December 19, 2005

The final test of my Christmas resolve

Well, it's just 5 or 6 days until Christmas - depending on when you start celebrating. We do a lot of Christmas Eve stuff so I tend to count both days. Our family's tradition goes something like this. On Christmas Eve I want to get to my Grandmother's (mom's mom) as early in the day as possible to help with the baking and cooking and eating and to visit. My parents live in Texas so any time they're here I like to spend a lot of time visiting:) We almost always have last minute stuff to do though and don't get to Dublin (an hour's drive) until about 4pm. Everyone gathers at Grandma's house by about 6 and we have snacks and goodies until the little kids can wait no longer to open presents. Isn't it odd that I remember so well when I was one of those kids jumping up and down, but now I prefer the snacks and visiting? We all exchange presents with the teenagers usually being "Santa" and passing them out. It's becoming somewhat chaotic as our family grows, but usually everyone is pretty polite. Then we move back to the kitchen for my grandparent's anniversary toast. They've been married for 51 years on Christmas Eve this year! These two are so inspirational to us because they are *not* one of those perfect couples. My grandfather was just saved within the last few years (PTL!), they were a military couple, they suffered a lot of loss, and they can just both be hard to get along with:) On their anniversary last year, we watched them have a big argument about the crossword puzzle! But they've managed to genuinely love each other for better than 50 years:)
Anyway...I got side-tracked. After Grandma's, it's off to Granny's (dad's mom) where people stop in to visit all evening and a wonderful chaos reigns. We usually don't get everyone settled down enough to open gifts until pretty late - 10 or 11 at least. So by the time we leave there and drive home, we're looking at midnight to get home.
Christmas Day starts with more presents and breakfast for the four of us. Then church! We're really excited about being able to worship with our church family this year on Christmas Day. Then over to my sister-in-law's house for a big Christmas dinner and, that's right, more presents. Then we drive home for a nice quiet supper and reading the Christmas story again before bed.
There are lots of little events this week, too, before Christmas. My Ladies' Fellowship meeting/party, Levi's Kid's Club party, church Wednesday night, my parents and sister getting into town, it's my week to clean the church, groceries have to be bought, etc.... So how am I going to maintain my commitment to a tranquil Christmas? What's really helped so far is extra alone time with my Father. Even though I don't technically have time when there is so much else to do, spending extra time in the Word and in prayer has been so wonderful this month. I can't even count the number of times I've been drawn back to focus on Christ, not parties, on Christ, not food, on Christ, not presents. So this week, when I know the "one more gift" and "I hate to miss" thoughts will start popping up with more intensity, I'm counting on time with my Savior to remind me about what's really important. I can't wait!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christmas Gift Ideas

In my effort to fins Christmas gifts that are a) something the recipient will actually use and/or enjoy and b) not outside our limited Christmas budget, I stumbled upon this website. If there's anyone on your list who might enjoy a magazine subscription this is the place to go! I just bought three gift subscriptions for less than 5 bucks - that's total, not each:) And, even better, it's a magazine that I think all three of my sister-in-laws will really enjoy. Now I didn't see a lot of specifically Christian materials, although that wasn't really what I was looking for, but I did see a lot of high quality magazines. So check it out and shop to your little heart's content:)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Boy what a weekend...

Levi had a great birthday. Four years old! We took him and his cousin to Chuck E. Cheese's on Saturday. That's a whole post in and of itself. A zillion kids, all the coke they want, a confined space... Levi and Noah had a good time though and that's what we were aiming for:) Brenna really liked the toddler area, but the rest of it was a little overwhelming.
We had ice cream cake at home and a birthday party the next morning at Sunday School with cupcakes for all the kids. I was afraid I'd be cheating him some how by not having a regular birthday party at home, but it turned out fine. He was excited about getting to do something different and it was a lot easier on me. Which turned out to be a good thing since I had Braxton Hicks contractions all day Sunday. I was miserable! If I hear one more person say that they aren't supposed to hurt, I may snap my twig! I was actually really nervous since I have 6 1/2 weeks left until d-day and words like "under-developed lungs" and "NICU" kept running through my mind. I know that God is in control of this little guys life - including his birthday - but I can't help but want him to be fully "cooked." Although I will admit to being a tad impaitient to get him out here:)
In the meantime, Lydia has written a fabulous post on homemaking and the kitchen over at Choosing Home. I'm so inspired to get my kitchen in order! So today I'm cleaning out cabinets and the fridge and freezer - now that the remnants of the ice cream cake are out of the way (hubby and Levi finished them off for breakfast - how's that for healthy?). I may even get around to baking a few dozen nice healthy muffins for the freezer. Breakfast in the freezer - it's a good thing:)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Should the state have taken this child from her parents?

I just saw this on Primetime and it's got me really thinking. For those of you who don't feel like doing a lot of reading... a beautiful, three year old little girl died of what may have been AIDS related causes. Her mother who is HIV+ does not believe in taking drugs to combat the HIV and didn't take them while she was pregnant. She also breastfed her daughter and refused to have her tested for the virus.
So now there's a large contingent of people who lay the blame for her daughter's death on her head. And, at least some who say that if an HIV+ woman has a baby and refuses to have the baby tested for the virus - her child should be removed from her custody by the state.
So my question, I guess, is this...does the state have the right to compell a parent to have their child undergo medical testing or treatment? If we allow exceptions for people who have a "religious" objection to medical treatment, then why is this woman's belief different? She strongly believes that it was in her daughter's best interest to be breastfed, to not be tested, to not be exposed to anti-viral drugs in utero. Who gets the final say about a child's healthcare? The parents or the state?
I feel like I have to say that I didn't "like" this woman. Had it been me, there is no way I could have risked feeding my child a fatal virus. But I can't help but wonder why this is different than choosing whether or not to have your child vaccinated or to give them a blood transfusion. And if we say that it's okay to take a child away from his or her parent because they don't make the *right* medical decisions, then a lot of us may be in trouble.

This is as indepth as my thought process can go today:)

1. Seven things to do before I die: Celebrate (at least) our 50th anniversary - 75th would be even better. See all my children and grandchildren walking in the faith and following God's will. Visit the Holy Land. Help to deliver a baby (in a midwife kind of way). Hear my husband say "this gravy is better than my mom's!" Write a book. And, on a sort of selfish note, lose weight and keep it off.

2. Seven things I cannot do: Make a pie crust that doesn't fall apart. Buy groceries without a list. Stop giving my baby brother advice (he just got out of the navy, but I still remind him not to run out of gas). Go more than a day or two without talking to my mom. Wear orange. Put down a good book. Ignore chocolate.

3. Seven things that attract me to my husband: He's the hardest worker I've ever met. He's so tall and handsome. He really believes in the sacredness of marriage. He's generous. He has gorgeous blue eyes. He writes me great love letters. He's a wonderful daddy. He brings home dinner when I'm too sick to cook. He glows when we have a new baby. He stands up for me whenever I need defending. Was I supposed to stop at seven? Amy's right, some things we can't help.

4. Seven things I say most often: Use your fork, not your hands. Brenna, get down. Please get a tissue. Where is my...(insert interesting-to-a-toddler object here)? Mommy needs to rest for a minute. Okay, one more book. Church isn't until...Wednesday, Sunday, this evening, whenever (Levi's favorite question lately is "when can we go to church?").

5. Seven books (or series) I love: The Bible (NIV is my favorite, but that's me). Gone With the Wind. The Tightwad Gazette. All the Way Home. The Left Behind Series (they're not the Gospel, just a thought provoking read!). The Mommy Manual. The Hidden Art of Homemaking.

6. Seven movies I watch over and over again: Let's see if I can think of seven...Gone With the Wind, of course (Amy, are you sure y'all can't move up here?). To Kill a Mockingbird. A Time To Kill. That's all I can think of right this minute. I watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation every year (hubby loves it). And, although I doubt I could watch it over and over, I'd count The Passion of the Christ on my list just because it had such an impact on me.

7. Seven people I want to join in, too: Let's just make this an open invite since I don't like to put anyone on the spot:)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Are you "ready" for Christmas?

I've been told that this is a Southern thing - that in other parts of the country people don't ask you this when you run into them at the Piggly Wiggly during November and December. But Christmas is THE holiday around here - the season kicks off with Thanksgiving and lasts until New Years. There are parties and dinners and cookie exchanges and Christmas plays. We decorate the house - inside and out - and the church and some people put wreaths on their cars. Add in birthdays for hubby and Levi and our anniversary and we can be a little busy around here. It can be a wonderful time of celebrating our Savior and sharing our joy with family, friends, and neighbors. Or it can be a stress-filled season of running from place to place, of "have-to's" and "should have's." It can be standing in line and fighting over the latest *must have* toy and staying up all night trying to get the Christmas cards mailed out on time.
Since I became a stay at home mom and received the salary decrease that went along with it,we've never had a lot of money to spend on Christmas. At first it really bothered me because gift giving has always been one of my very favorite parts of Christmas, but it's just a fact of life that I'm learning to deal with. This Christmas I'm determined not to be stressed out about what we can and can't afford or who gets what. I've actually decided not to be stressed out about anything this Christmas. The more I focus on the reason for this season, the more I want to have a really special holiday this year. I want to enjoy my family and be thankful for what I am able to do. Actually being 32 weeks pregnant (as of today!) I don't have the energy to do a lot of the running around that I usually do. What a blessing that's turned out to be! Any Christmas shopping I've done has been online - staying out of the stores (and they're a nightmare already) prevents me from feeling guilty about all the things I'd like to buy for family and friends. And from seeing all the things I want to put on my wishlist:) Not to mention avoiding the stress of shopping with a pre-schooler, a toddler, and a big belly.
I've crossed lots of things off my calendar and made room for more nights of driving around to look at the lights and sip hot cocoa. Going fewer places makes it so much easier to really enjoy it when we do go out. I've cut back on a few other things, too. I'm only making the recipes I really like to make and eat this year. A side effect of ongoing nausea is that I just can't cook certain foods - and I can eat pretty much whatever sounds good to me (as long as I watch the sugar). So if I feel like gorging on my mom's sausage balls, my doctor will say "protein and calcium! great!" And since we'll be sending out birth announcements with pictures in January, I'm skipping the Christmas cards and standing in line to have the big Christmas picture made for them.
So what am I doing this holiday? What made the cut? Well, I'm really looking forward to church service on Christmas morning and I had a ball buying Brenna's Christmas dress (now to find Levi a semi-matching shirt) at a Children's Wear Outlet sale. The tag says $36 and I got it for $6! And it's beautiful! Levi is wild about Christmas light so we plan on driving around at least once a week to look at them right before bedtime. We're spending some time as a family thinking of and doing for others - spreading some of our joy! I've narrowed the gift list to things I think will really be enjoyed and to things that I can buy or make. I want people to know that I put my heart into what I gave, not just my wallet. And most of all I'm not going to feel guilty about the number of gifts under our tree. I'm focusing on what matters this season. So I'd love to hear any of your truly cherished traditions - we're always looing for good stuff to replace the meaningless stuff we're getting rid of.
Barbara has wonderful ideas on her site