Saturday, November 29, 2008

Oh, Man

Is it just me, or is it possible to watch this video without getting tears in your eyes? Maybe it's just me.

Maybe it is the words to the song. Maybe it is Lauryn Hill in the choir, who will always be one of my greatest musical loves. Maybe it is the high note of confidence at the end. Maybe it is Kathy Najimy in a nun's habit. Man, I love this movie.

Two Loves

Last year for Christmas, Abigail got her first real baby doll. She was a Cabbage Patch newborn, so she was the perfect size for Abigail's toddler arms. Plus, she smelled strongly, perfectly, of baby powder. The scent has faded over the last year, but it is still there when you hold her closely and inhale deeply. Her name is Baby Haley. She always is both names, not just "Haley."

My parents got her for Abigail, or maybe it was Santa. I know who picked her out very carefully, but I don't remember whose name was on the tag. They spent the night at our house Christmas Eve, and we all got the joy of seeing Abigail get up Christmas morning. It was probably the first time she really started to "get" Christmas morning. She and Memaw had made cookies with sprinkles for Santa the night before. When Paul carried her out of her room, she looked down by the tree and saw a perfect little baby asleep in a little wooden cradle. She yelled "A BABY DOLL!" and literally would have jumped straight out of Paul's arms if he had not set her wriggly body down. She loved her immediately, as any good mother does, from the first time she laid eyes on her.

Baby Haley has slept with Abigail every night since December 25, 2007, with the exception of a couple of nights she was accidentally left behind at Memaw and Papa's house. Abigail is faithful to give her bottles and change her diaper when we can find it. Baby Haley has been a wonderful first baby doll to Abigail. Abigail has been a wonderful mommy to Baby Haley.

Until Thanksgiving, 2008, that is.

My mom suggested that I go down to the basement at their house and pull out the boxes labeled "Amy's stuffed animals." We didn't save every toy from my childhood, but we did save two boxes worth of dolls and stuffed animals. Oh, and all the Strawberry Shortcake dolls which mom had already sent home with Abigail this summer. Mom was remembering a Pound Puppy I had named Wrinkles....we thought anyway....Wrinkles ended up being a different dog than our memories served. So I went down to search for Wrinkles.

I pulled out many forgotten little creatures from my childhood days. They were there, in some of the deepest corners of my mind. I remember my little dog, Nipper, that was given to me the night before I had my tonsels removed in first grade. He stayed by my side through the whole surgery. I remember a Little Red Riding Hood doll, who was just plain awesome. One end of her was Little Red. When you flipped her over and pulled the dress over her head, the other end of her bore the face of the grandmother on one side and the Big Bad Wolf on the other. I remembered Wrinkles, the big gray puppet dog and the brown Pound Puppy who we thought was named Wrinkles.

There were four Cabbage Patch Kids. Sasha, who was my first with brown pig tails. Terri Noel, who was a newborn with a tuft of blond yarn hair, but a much bigger newborn than Abigail's Baby Haley. And another girl with brown pig tails who I don't remember at all. And there was my brother's, named Terrence, who we loved to tease him about. A lot of boys had Cabbage Patch Kids back in their hay day, though, right? We decided to wash them all, as I was pretty sure at some point in the last 20 years of storage, a mouse or six might have taken up a little residence down there in the basement with them. I figured if they fall apart, well, they are over 20 years old, and I can still have my fuzzy memories. If they don't fall apart, Abigail can have several new babies to play house with.

I introduced Abigail to Baby Terri Noel, who looks like a bigger, blonder version of Baby Haley. She took to her immediately. She brought her home and has slept with her the last two nights. Yesterday morning, she handed Baby Haley off to me, saying I could take care of her. Gasp! Was she really going to toss Baby Haley aside so quickly now that a new baby had worked her way into Abigail's arms?

Yes. I think she was.

I told her that she could love both babies, and that Baby Haley would still need hugs and kisses and loves. Paul explained to her that when a mommy gets a new baby in her house, she doesn't stop loving the first one. She can love them both. Abigail held out her arm with a sigh, as if to say, "Ugh, fine. Give her here." I guess within the first few days of a new baby in the home, one has to take priority in her mind. Later in the day, I said, "It's okay. I guess I'll just take care of Baby Haley and give her hugs and loves and kisses since you won't."

To this, Abigail screamed "NO!" and grabbed Baby Haley away from me. "I'll take care of her."

And she has. Today, she played nicely with both babies. She hugged them both, kissed them both, loved them both. Maybe this will work. Maybe I shoudln't be so sensitive over which doll she plays with. But there is something special about your first doll, right? I just didn't want to see her replaced to quickly. A mom CAN love two babies, right?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Mom's Idea

Do you ever have those moments as a mother when you realize your mom really did know what she was doing? I have always loved that my mom stayed home with us growing up and have aspired to be such a mommy to Abigail. But my mom had an idea she should have patented twenty-five years ago. Because I'm pretty sure she thought it up first. I was there, I would know.

When I was nursery school, Mom tells me, I had grown quite the little Miss Independent attitude. I wanted to choose my own clothes, whether they were weather-appropriate or not. I wanted to eat only certain foods, probably cheesy hot dogs or something. Basically, I was like any other five-year-old headstrong kid. My mom said she always felt exhausted at the end of the day, like all she had done was scold and discipline me and Jason, my older brother. Then she would peek in on us while we were sleeping, and realize what little angels we truly were. In our sleep only, of course.

So, in her desperation to enjoy her kids and not scold them all the time....I totally understand this feeling with Abigail....she came up with an idea.

And Tiny the Elf was born.

Tiny the Elf is one of Santa's little helpers. But unlike Santa, we get to hear from Tiny ALL December and not just on Christmas day. Tiny was talked up a lot at our house, but we never saw him. We knew he was watching us, though, and reporting back to Santa whether we were making good choices or bad choices. It wasn't just his report to Santa that straightened us up, though. It was the notes he left us all month. I would wake up in the morning to a note on my bedside table. Or I would go out to breakfast to find a note next to my cereal bowl. Or there would be a note on top of my shoes. The notes from Tiny were always positive and pointing out all of the good choices he had seen me make.

If I helped my mom pick out a pretty Christmas dress at the store and was a good shopping buddy, Tiny heard. If I ate my green beans at dinner, Tiny noticed. If I chose to wear jeans and a sweater to nursery school on that cold December day instead of my swimsuit, Tiny saw. If I went to bed without arguing, Tiny complimented me. They were simple little notes, usually hand-written on a note card.....I didn't recognize the hand-writing yet. And I LOVED knowing that Tiny noticed all of the good things I was choosing to do. I loved it so much, I kept all of his notes to me in a scrapbook to this day.

See? My mom was a genius. IS a genius. :) And now some lady came up with a thing called Elf on a Shelf. Same idea....Elf in the house, and he's watching you. My mom should have patented Tiny. She did get a little porcelain elf for me last year, though, to use for just this occasion.

Last night, I pulled out Tiny the Elf. We never actually had a "physical" Tiny to see when I was little. We just talked about him, and he would leave notes while we were sleeping. But having a little elf figurine works well, too. We talked about Tiny to Abigail, and that he would be watching her all month to see if she was making good choices or bad choices. She straightened up and smiled just talking about him. I told her he would be leaving her notes when he saw her make good choices. Then we walked into her room, and wouldn't you know it? Tiny the elf was sitting on her bookshelf. I said that he was watching her, and that he would be moving around the house, so she would have to keep an eye out for him. So far, it is working like a charm.

It worked for me for at least 20 years. I plan on using it exhaustively. Feel free to use Tiny to keep a little order and positive attitude at your house, too. Because my poor mom didn't patent him, so he is free to hire out.

Oh, and having a December birthday when I was little made Tiny visit my birthday party, too. I had a slumber party in 2nd grade, and Tiny wrote notes for all of the girls there. Then my mom got phone calls then next day from parents wanting to know who Tiny was and why her daughter was crying because Tiny didn't come to her house, too. So, heads up, friends. You may want to share Tiny with the world so that you don't have crying kids and parents upset with you.

Abigail has been making very good choices all day, from eating extra bites of her soup at lunch to going down for her nap with barely a whimper.....barely. Tiny works, people. That is a Christmas freebie from me. I love you, genius.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tightening the Reins

I know that many of you are probably much more organized than me, and have your Christmas shopping almost done, or maybe have been done for a long time now. I usually start thinking of my list around Thanksgiving, and then will gradually do my shopping over the next few weeks, with a last-minute sprint a few days before Christmas. I could say I work best under pressure, but I'm sure I could also just chalk it up to a majorly phlegmatic personality-type (meaning, slooooow to start).

Each year as Abigail gets older, I find myself asking "How much is too much?" Or even "Is one too little?" Last year, Paul and I decided to get Abigail one present. Really, just one. Well, her birthday is four days before Christmas, so we got her one birthday present, an electronic pink keyboard, and we got her one present for Christmas, a flip-out Disney Princess couch. We figured at two years old, she had not yet gotten into the commercialization of Christmas, and we would not appear Scrooge-y.

Saturday, Abigail and I went to run a couple of errands. I had to pick up something from a friend who works at the mall, so while we were there, we did a little "window shopping." We went into the Children's Place, and she immediately took to some sparkly pink and silver belts on the back wall. She tried them all on, with quite a bit of flair, and asked with each one, "Can I have this?" We do our best to not indulge her frequently with such questions, so I explained to her that she could start making a list of things that she would like for Christmas. I then told her that Santa would bring her one special gift just from him, and Mommy and Daddy would get her other gifts. Then I started to worry that, even at not-quite 3 years old, she was starting to want too much. But will we stick with the one-present rule? I guess I kind of figured we would find one "nicer" gift, and then get some little things like books or crayons or something.

My friend Theresa gets their four kids three gifts each. She tells them that Jesus got three gifts, and they don't need any more than what Jesus got.....which I think is a pretty cute response. I used to work with a girl in Muncie who came from a family of, like, eight kids or something. Her mom used this little ditty when Christmas shopping, which I love:
Something to wear,
Something to read,
Something you want,
Something you need.
That way each kid knew they would get four gifts (maybe plus one from Santa?). As a mom, of course, I love to buy clothes for Abigail, but I know that clothes do not top most kids' lists. So, that would cover one item of clothing. A book always makes a nice gift ("What Snowmen Do at Night" is a great winter story if you were wondering). They they could choose one thing they really "want." And the need....well, that could be new underwear or another shirt. It could be new Princess sheets for her toddler bed. It could be a lot of things.

Last year I told this little poem to Paul, and his reaction was "Four gifts? She doesn't need four gifts!!". I guess for a two year old who doesn't know any better, no, she didn't need four gifts. And "need" is very relative of a term. No, she doesn't "need" four gifts. But no kid needs any of the 48 things that they see on commercials and ask for either. I kind of think four gifts sets the limit ahead of time, and they can be much more selective of what they want.

What about you? Did your parents have some sort of guideline for buying you gifts as a kid? Do you have guidelines for how you buy? I could use suggestions! I want to set the standard early. It can be hard to explain what gifts Santa brings, too. My parents always "allowed Santa" to bring my brother and me one gift apiece. But my friend Angi's parents "allowed" ALL of her presents to be from Santa and they "didn't get her any!" So when I would go to her house, I would be confused why Santa brought so many to Angi and only one to me. It's a tough, Christmas-y world out there. I could use all the help I can get.

Edited to add: I discussed this with Paul tonight, and told him again about the little poem and how much I like it as kind of a guideline. He made a change that I like very much. He wants us to instill in Abigail early that just as she gets gifts at Christmas, she needs to give too. So, we are going to have our little poem go like this:
One thing you can wear,
One thing you can read,
One thing that you want,
One for those in need.
Then we will help her choose something each year to give. It can be picking out a gift for Toys for Tots, or for a baby at the Baptist Children's Home in southern IL. It might be giving some money to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to help send missionaries out into the world to tell about Jesus. It might be some diapers or a baby blanket for the Crisis Pregnancy center in our area. Oh, you know the ideas are endless. But I am excited that we can start teaching her early on that giving is a part of Christmas, and that she can help!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lessons from a Flu Shot

Once again today, I saw such a simple picture of my own faith and walk with God played out in Abigail's words. I woke her up this morning to rush, as usual, to get dressed and make it to our appointment for both of our flu shots at the doctor's office. I had talked with her last night about getting one, so she had already had at least one night of possibly unsettled sleep preparing for the impending prick in her leg.

Up until this point, any shot has been an easy shot. She has had all of her regular vaccinations, and I didn't really have to prepare her for what was going to happen. She was blissfully unaware of what a "shot" was, so there was really no point in explaining ahead of time. We would go in, she would get the stick in the gorgeous little fat rolls on her legs, and we would call it a day. She would always let out a cry of pain as she got the shot, but it would be over quickly once she realized there was a treat such as a sticker or sucker on the other side.

I think she has started to understand shots more recently since I had my miscarriage. I have had to go to the doctor more than enough times to have blood drawn out of my arm. Since I don't really want to explain "drawing blood" to her, she would show great concern when I came home with a band-aid on my arm and I would just tell her I got a shot. Then she started incorporating "giving shots" in her play time. She would come up with a pen or something and ask Paul or me if she could give us a shot. We'd say yes, and then playfully say "Ouch!" when she gave it to us. Unfortunately, that playful "ouch" has been gradually stored up in her little noggin as record of "Oh, now I need to remember that shots hurt."

So this morning I was getting her dressed and she kept saying in her sleepy, whiny voice "I don't waaaaant a flu shot." I didn't bother to tell her that I didn't either. I just kept thinking of ideas to make it not so bad.

"Maybe you could hold Baby Hayley, or the nurse could even give her a shot first", I would suggest.

"But I don't waaaaant a flu shot."

"Maybe you could watch me go first to see it's no big deal."

"But I don't waaaaaant a flu shot."

"Oh, but you need to know why flu shots are important. They help fight off germs in your body. Because if you get the flu, you get really, really sick and throw up and get a fever and feel so bad. A flu shot will help you stay well."

"But......." Well, you know the rest.

"Oh, and you can get a sucker from the nurse after you are done."

"Oh. Well, I just want the sucker. I don't want the shot."

Well, la de da. Don't we all just want the sucker and not the shot? Don't we all want the sweet reward, and wish we could skip whatever painful thing we have to go through first? I do. I know that God takes me through trials for my good. I know He leads me places I don't want to go, knowing that it will strengthen me.

Romans 5:3-5
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

I'm not sure Abigail, or myself for that matter, were feeling like rejoicing in our suffering when that needle was being stuck in our skin. But the pain only lasted for a moment. Really, it did. She got her sucker, and I had the true satisfaction of telling my daughter how brave she was. She may not understand that she just endured pain to keep her well, to make her body stronger. I'm not sure I even get that, at least in the spiritual sense. But I know that when a season of sickness hits, we have been strengthened.

When we were headed home, I told Abigail we needed to go by the church to do something. She said, "No, I just want us to go home, sit on the couch, and be brave." Would you look at that? Sounds like someone developed a little "character."

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Trip with my Family

There are certain perks to being married to a pastor. While we don't usually save up money for a big family vacation to anywhere, as there are always about 104 other ways we can spend our money (hello....bills? Cat declawed? TV bit the dust last week?), we do get the opportunity to take little trips known as a "conference." Or "convention." Or "annual meeting." So, there are two times a year that I know we will be getting at least a two-day trip somewhere as a family. We are so blessed that when Paul has to go somewhere on "church business", Abigail and I are usually allowed to tag along.

In June, it is the annual big Southern Baptist Convention. This past June, it was in Indianapolis, which is the closest it ever gets to home. Next summer will be Louisville, KY, and I think maybe Texas or something the year after that. It is four days, and along with getting to stay at a hotel, which Abigail thinks is THE coolest thing in the world, we get to eat out and go do something fun...outside of the voting in the largest business meeting ever, I mean. Because that's really fun. Just to make that clear.

So this last time, we took Abigail to the zoo. I'm not sure if she liked it more or if Paul and I did, but it was pretty great seeing those dolphins swim overhead. It was not so great getting all hyped up to see the koala bear exhibit that was only there for a limited time, only to find out that koala bears sleep 22 hours a day with their furry little faces buried in their chests. So we got to see koala bear backside, which, really, they could have stayed over in Australia for that excitement.

This week, we went to Springfield for the annual meeting of the IL Baptist State Association. Springfield itself is not so exciting of a town, unless, of course, you have a true appreciation for all things Abraham Lincoln. In that case, you might go into excitement overload and spontaneously combust. We, along with Paul's best friend Jimmy, went to the Lincoln museum. We had gone last year, too, but just like seeing something through the eyes of your kid for the first time, seeing the Lincoln museum through Jimmy's eyes was pretty fun, too. As far as museums go, it is honestly about the coolest one I have ever been to. I don't think any kid would leave disappointed if their class went on a field trip there. It is very interactive and touching and gives a whole new look at Abraham Lincoln's life and presidency. Last year they had a special exhibit on how crazy Mary Todd Lincoln was. Really. A whole exhibit on her insanity. Pretty interesting. That was fun, though, to see that again this year with someone new. And now, to go along with her recognition of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John McCain, Sarah Palin, and Barney Frank (just kidding...she doesn't really know Barney Frank), Abigail has great new love for Abraham Lincoln. And spending two days in Springfield allowed her to see his picture pretty much everywhere.
We swam at the hotel, we ate out, and we went to the annual meeting, which was really pretty cool. It was a chance to hear what God is doing in churches around our state and vote on trivial things, like the wording of the IBSA constitution. You'll be glad to know that no fights broke out (which is more than I can say for some of the big SBC meetings). :)

And when we returned home yesterday, I had locked us out of the house and got to shimmy on my back under the garage door to let us in. A great cap-off to a family get-away. Then I tried to crawl in a hole in our house somewhere for an hour or so, because after any extended time away with their family, who doesn't need some good alone time? I'm much more refreshed for having it.

Now I get to look forward to the big SBC meeting next summer in Louisville. Since this is where Paul and I got to spend our first year of marriage while he was in seminary, our special time with Abigail will consist of a guided tour of....."Look, Abigail! That is the ghetto apartment where your daddy and I started out!" and "This is the half-hour drive in traffic we took to the seminary each morning!" and "This is all of this really cool city we never experienced because we were flat-broke!" Aw, the sweet, sweet memories. I guess that is another blog all to itself.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Scrapbooks and Music

Yesterday I had the pleasure, or anxiety-attack, of entering into the scrapbooking world. I have been asking my friend Angie to help me for a while with making an Abigail album. Up until now, we have been very organized with pictures of Abigail on our computer, keeping folders for each month of her first two years, and then about every six months after that. I figured since she is coming up on that magical number three, it was about time I got those pictures off the computer and into an album of some sort. The problem with me and scrapbooking (or most other crafty projects) is this...I have delusions of grandeur. I get really excited about a project and go at it full-boar with the buying of the necessities and the organizing of the pictures. And that is where it stops. I have yet to make a wedding album for me and Paul. I have yet to finish the album I started for him when we were engaged of his mission trips to Indonesia and Morocco. He has been to Indonesia two more times since that album was started, which only adds to the mounting panic attack of never getting it finished. I have yet to finish the album I was going to make for my friends Allan and April as a wedding gift, and now they have been married a mere eight years.

I have not really been concerned with my lack of follow-through up to this point. I have been satisfied in my decision to be a non-scrapbooker. But now that all of these special pictures and moments have been accumulating for over six years, I feel that something has to be done about it. I don't want to take the chance of our hard-drive crashing and not recovering what was lost. I don't want to take the chance of forgetting. I already forget how Abigail looked as a newborn and how it felt to fall asleep with her in my arms. It's amazing the memories that are really just fleeting. I want to get them into some semblance of an organized book before those moments are too far gone, just pictures stuck in our My Documents folder.

Also, I have wanted to make a small album for the baby we lost. Nothing big or fancy. I can't even choose cute pink or blue paper to adorn it with. But I had three ultrasound pictures of a baby, and what are you to do with that? I need to remember these moments...the relief I felt when I saw that little blinking heartbeat on the screen, the life that was there, even if for a short time. I want to keep the cards, the blogs I have written, the Bible verses that ministered to my heart, the pictures of us next to our little tree.

So yesterday, Angie and I headed to Hobby Lobby, the mecca of all things crafty. Hobby Lobby is usually bad news for someone like me, a fair-weather crafter. Because I see ALL there is to choose from, and I then decide on about eight new crafts that I would like to start tomorrow. Luckily, that was why I had Angie...a true scrapbooker to reel me in and help me choose only the necessities. We picked a beautiful big album and paper for Abigail's first three years, complete with all the little girl sayings. My personal favorite? "Here we see ten little toes, neatly arranged in two little rows." Who thinks of that sugary goodness? We also chose one small black album with a black and white ribbon tying it together for the baby. It had a small picture cut-out on the front where I slipped one of the ultrasound pictures into. It looked perfect there, that grainy black and white picture of a little bean of a baby centered perfectly on the front of a tasteful little album.

Now shows my true colors. How much will I want to make this Abigail album? Will I work on it or stick it away in a closet until it is time for her wedding and I suddenly have to make 32 meaningful, tear-jerking gifts? That is another place where Angie is smart. She told me just to get the album and the paper. She has all of the decorative scissors, pens and markers, stickers, and hoo-ha that go into a fancy album. We are making a "play date" for the kids to play and me to bring this mess of memories over to her house. I guess I can't stand up a date, can I?

As for music, I have been twittering around the house this morning doing laundry, washing dishes, catching up on email, and such. Twittering makes it sound so much more fun than it really is. To make the jobs even more fun, I have been listening to music on my computer that I just adore. Dave Barnes, Matt Wertz, Ross King....all the guys with a guitar or a piano. That is the only music I really love. The less produced, the better. I just like a guy singing about his Jesus or his girlfriend. It makes the laundry go so much more smoothly, and the twittering to abound. :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I have often found throughout my adult life a hard time articulating my thoughts on politics. I do feel that I am married to one of the most politically-interested men I have ever met. He LOVES politics. He adores it. It makes his heart beat faster. It makes his passions stronger. He is in the minority of truly political folks who starts watching the coverage from the word "go" of primaries, and faithfully studies the issues until the votes have been cast. I love being married to a man who loves politics. Because I don't, frankly, love it myself. But seeing his understanding of it makes me love it more. There are three things, outside of understanding God's word, that my husband just easily "gets" in life....three things that make sense to him, three things that he can see through...politics, advertising, and professional wrestling. Oh my, does he get professional wrestling.

Although I have had a hard time being able to often "hold my own" in a political conversation, I know the issues that matter to me. I know that I am completely comfortable with being a single-issue voter. I know that voting for a candidate or party that will stand by and stand up for the rights of the unborn is a deal-breaker for me, and I will not apologize for that. It doesn't mean that the other issues don't matter, because they do. But speaking on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves is the duty of any American. It justifies many of the things we do in the name of freedom and democracy.

I didn't realize what my feelings would be over this election, and I will be the last person to blog about my own political stances. But I do know that I watched John McCain concede last night, so gracefully, so genuinely, with tears in my eyes. Never before have I cared enough about an election. But this one mattered on so many levels. To me, it isn't just about "my candidate" not winning. It is about a man being elected to office who has not stood up for the unborn child. He has not used the power and authority granted to him to take care of those who cannot speak from the womb.

I guess I will not write this whole blog now. What is done is done, and I will respect the office of President, no matter who is sitting in the seat. I will pray for him to use his authority in a way that will honor God. My hope is in Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Only He is the One who does not change in Himself, but can bring about more change than we could ever imagine.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Maybe Not My Greatest Fear...

but it definitely is on my high-priority list. Nothing strikes fear into the heart of a mother like knowing there is a sippy cup lost somewhere in the corners of the house, and not knowing if milk was the last thing you put into it. Because if you have ever, with much trepidation, opened a sippy cup that had even been left out overnight with a touch of milk in the bottom, you understand what a truly foul and disgusting smell is.

And if you have ever found a sippy cup that had been lost, unknowingly, rolled under a crib with old apple juice and had sat and fermented for days on end, you also know that some things are lost causes, and it is better to just throw it in the trash than try to clean it.

So, no matter what the drink inside is, I have fear right now, people. Fear that there is an impending very bad smell lurking somewhere in my house. It doesn't smell yet, but it will. Oh, it will.

Edited to add: Found lost sippy cup today under the couch. Good thing, too, since I had just bought this pretty purple one a few weeks ago....our newest addition to the sippy family. Praise God, it just had apple juice inside, and after only 24 hours, apple juice is not too bad. I can save this one, folks, I can save it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Looking back, October had to be one of the most emotionally and physically hard months to experience, yet in a lot of ways it was a good month, too. Let's look at a few of the good things, shall we?

1. Fall leaves. The are at their finest in mid-October. It is absolutely my favorite time of year, and they were truly breathtaking.

2. Covered Bridge Festival. After not having gone in about four years, I got to go TWICE this year. I got cute little primitive signs for my house. One I am especially looking forward to putting one by my front door of two snowmen that says, "Baby, it's cold outside!". Not that I'm rushing the snow or anything....And I got to experience the best-tasting big, soft pretzel at the festival that I have ever had in my life. No exaggeration. I've craved one ever since.

3. Persimmon pudding. I made some the morning I started to miscarry. I took some to a friend and some to my dad that day for his birthday (hoping for a less eventful birthday for my dad next year!). I think persimmon pudding might be a regional thing, but it is delicious and warm and spicy like nutmeg and cinnamon. Topped with whipped cream, it is one of my favorite desserts.

4. Voting. We opted to vote early to avoid any crazy long lines on Tuesday. Abigail got a sample voting sheet and went into the booth all by herself (well, with Mommy holding her up to the counter to color in her circles). She wanted Obama and Palin. Obviously, we didn't make party lines clear enough to her. But Paul's finger clearly pointed to the McCain/Palin circle for her to color, and she was happy to do it. But ever since she has asked if we voted for Biden.

5. Blogging. I have had more reason than ever to blog this month, and it has been incredibly healing for me. I don't know that I always will post so much, unless it becomes a paid gig. :) But it has served my heart well this month.

6. Jack o'lantern. He was cute. He was a fun family experience. He was in the trash a week before Halloween. We'll know to wait til later in the month next year.

7. Abigail as a bride. She was beautiful. We went trick-or-treating last night, and she marched right up to every house with not a stitch of fear or shyness. She knocked and said "Trick or Treat". At one house there were three high school aged girls passing out candy on the front porch. After Abigail took her candy, they said, "Peace out" to which she replied, "Take a hike." Yeah, her Daddy taught her that one, but we forgot to teach her not to say it to strangers. Usually it goes in this order as he taught her..."Word, Dog. Peace out. Take a hike. Word to your mutha."

8. Halloween candy. I have already eaten three Kit Kats for breakfast. Fun-sized, of course. :)

9. Pastor Appreciation Month. October is officially that month. Maybe one more thing made up by Hallmark or a Christian bookstore somewhere. But it makes a happy month here! Our loving church family took up a love offering for us to show appreciation to Paul. And my wonderful husband is pretty much using most of it to show appreciation to me! He let me use some to go shopping for some much-needed fall and winter clothes. We got caught up on all our bills. And he set aside a chunk of it to take me out for my 30th birthday in December...we are going to spend the night in Indy and go to see either A Christmas Carol or It's a Wonderful Life at the repertory theater. I can't wait! Oh, and 70 bucks of the money is going to get our cat declawed. It's long overdue. I don't think she will feel very appreciated come Tuesday.

10. Lots of family and friend time. Let's face it. It's been a pretty awful month in some respects. I have been surrounded by so many friends and family. I have felt the heart of God loving me through all of you. I have not felt alone in any of this. My God is a loving and awesome God...I will praise Him no matter what.

Here's a few pics of our month:

Family at the Covered Bridge, Bridgeton, IN

The aforementioned, Best Pretzel Ever

Our sweet little tree

One proud first-time voter

She took this privilege very seriously!