And reflecting, cherishing, and giving thanks is what I'm doing today. For the big and the small.
...for the toys that litter our living, that sit under the covers on our bed, that are tripped over in the middle of the night. Small reminders that we have Littles to enjoy them and the means to provide them.
...for the cabinets that need washing, dusting, and rearranging... for the fridge that still works despite constant opening and closing. Proof that food once filled them and tummies were content.
...for the sound of crying, fighting, and making up. For the opportunity to practice forgiveness and instill teachable moments.
...for noise, chaos, and running. Sounds that aren't heard when fevers are spiking and coughs are hacking. Healthy Littles equals noisy Littles.
...for parents that are unwavering in their support and love.
...for sisters that can pick up on the slightest nuances and be armed with Starbucks and a listening ear.
...for family, both immediate and extended. Whose idiosyncrasies and craziness can be annoying and cute at the same time.
...for a husband that continues to love me through bad decisions and bad attitudes; who's willing to offer grace quickly.
...for Littles who stretch me and teach me. For the fullness they bring to my life.
...for health, for love, for full cupboards, for friends, for fireplaces and blankets... For coffee and honey butter spread... For good music, dancing parties, and wrestling matches... For friends, old and new.
...for a Lord that offers a fresh start every morning. A Lord that is never satisfied with the status quo and will bring whatever lesson is needed to move me beyond myself. A Lord that promises to be anything I will ever need.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving!
I mentioned that Devyn requested the Hearts 4 Hearts dolls for her birthday and I am so in love with these dolls that I felt they deserve their own post.
We were wandering the aisles of Walmart when Devyn first brought them to my attention. There stood the display of dolls and in an excited, run-on, long-winded sentence, Devyn told me about them.
As I looked over the individual dolls, the one thing that really stood out to me was the fact that they looked like Americ*n Girl dolls but didn’t have the pricey tag attached. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Americ*n Girls dolls as much as the next female. Heck, I devoured the books as a girl myself. But I’m not about to spend $100 on a doll at my girls’ ages right now and the $30 price tag of these Hearts 4 Hearts dolls was definitely more manageable.
I patted Devyn on the back, urging her along, but tucked the idea of these dolls away to explore further. And explore I did… Here’s a brief highlight of my favorite things about these dolls.
- First, and foremost, I LOVE that a portion of the proceeds go to World Vision, a Christian organization that is much like Compassion who strives to help children in other countries. I LOVE that!
- These dolls bear a strong message about confidence, education, and a desire to help their families. A message I’m consistently trying to instill in my own girls.
- These dolls are little girl dolls. They are dressed like little girls. There’s no makeup, no questionable clothing, no unattainable body shape. Dolls that I have no qualms giving to my girls.
- These dolls are well-made. Despite the smaller price tag, these are not thrown together or made with cheap materials. Well-made, strong, dolls.
- I love that each doll comes from a different country and comes with a story of a girl in that country, and I’ve already read the books to Devyn. What a great way to expose our girls to new cultures.
Devyn received two Hearts 4 Hearts dolls for her birthday. She received Consuelo from us, Nahji from my parents, and an outfit for each doll from Jon’s dad. Devyn shared Nahji with Reagan last night and both girls fells asleep with a doll tucked under their arms. And it’s already been decided that we’re adding a Hearts 4 Hearts doll to Reagan’s Christmas list.
Consuelo - Capture the colorful warmth of Mexico with our Consuelo doll! Like all Hearts For Hearts Girls dolls, Consuelo stands 14 inches high and has a poseable, smooth vinyl body, and high-quality rooted hair for hours of doll play. Her hair is a waist-length fall of shining black and her eyes are deep brown with copper highlights.
Consuelo comes dressed in a ruffled, lace-trimmed turquoise skirt and a lime-green blouse with lively floral embroidery on the collar.
Accessories include: Silvery hoop earrings strung with bright beads, color-coordinated bangle bracelets, festive hot pink flower head band, bright pink shoes with silky ribbon ties, doll-sized hair comb with hair elastic, girl-sized H4HG power bracelet, beautiful mini storybook about Consuelo’s life.
Nahji - Experience a girl’s life in exotic India with our Nahji doll! Like all Hearts For Hearts Girls dolls, Nahji stands 14 inches high and has a poseable, smooth vinyl body, and high-quality rooted hair for hours of doll play. Her brown eyes gleam with amber glints and her hair is a sweeping fall of rich coffee brown.
Nahji comes dressed in a tunic of bright fuschia-colored crinkle cotton, trimmed in white appliqué, and lavender leggings with deep hems of embossed gold print.
Accessories include: Braided purple choker with pearl-like pendant, drop earrings of simulated pearl and emerald, removable beaded pearl headband, golden bangle bracelets, hand tattoo inspired by the henna mendhi of India, purple strap sandals, doll-sized hair comb with hair elastic, girl-sized H4HG power bracelet, beautiful mini storybook about Nahji’s life, jeweled nose piercing.
I haven’t been compensated in ANY way for this post. Its simply one mama’s opinion of a great product and one I can whole-heartedly give my support to. I’m quite excited to add to our collection of Hearts 4 Hearts dolls in the future, hoping they’ll add more dolls and the additional accessories they’ve promised on their site. And if you should decide to buy one for your little girl, I promise you won’t be disappointed!
I don't know why this birthday feels so different from the rest. But it does. Perhaps its the fact that she's in first grade now. Perhaps its just that seven sounds so old. Perhaps that she's finally "getting" reading or that she's excelling in math. Perhaps I never imagined her at this age... as an infant, toddler, preschooler, a kindergartener was easy, I never pictured the schoolgirl. Perhaps its that parenting has gotten infinitely more complex. I used to have all the answers, it was so very black and white. And now there's gray, and varying shades of gray at that. That's another post for another day.
Regardless, I'm not the only one feeling the difference this birthday. Jon showed up after plowing all night with flowers for the birthday girl. I was floored, overwhelmed that my husband did this of his own effort. And when I pushed him on the why, he responded that first grade seems like a good time to start this tradition. He wants to be the first man to give his daughters flowers. (Yes, my heart melted into a puddle on the floor and I fell madly in love with my man again.)
It touched my girl, in a way that only other females will understand. She giggled and twirled, and helped put them in water. The fact that she gave him a sticker, proclaiming him the world's best dad, speaks for itself.
She and I headed out for a lunch date. Just the two of us. She beamed when I told her no siblings were coming with us. And as enjoyed our Olive Garden salad and breadsticks, I was once again awed by how much I enjoy being with her. Not because I have to or because she’s mine, but because of who she is. She makes me laugh, she makes me think, and she makes me want to be a better person.
Let me tell more about this girl we’re celebrating today…
- When asked what she wanted for her birthday, she brought up these Hearts4Hearts dolls. Her reason for wanting these particular dolls? Because a portion of the proceeds go to “help other girls in those countries.” Her words, not mine.
- She and I have theological discussions often, and she GETS it. The girl understands more than I was ever able to comprehend at her age. Heck, she knows more than I did in my early teens.
- As she and I discussed what she was looking forward to the most on her birthday, she replied that she couldn’t wait to open gifts. And after a brief pause, leaned forward, “Mama, if I get a new coat, can we give it away to someone else who needs it more?” (Verbatim.)
- Her favorite excuse for doing something she knows she’s not supposed to do? “I’m sorry. I just forgot for a minute.” Right.
- She loves numbers so much that she pulls out her math homework as soon as she gets home on Friday afternoons. And we play calculation/calculator games in the car.
- She is sensitive and silly… loving… a dancing fool… wise beyond her years… compassionate and giving… sweet… dramatic (to a fault)… selfless… and beautiful, inside and out.
Baby girl, seven years ago, you came into our lives and turned it upside down. You are still taking my breath away with your thoughtfulness, your insights, and your selflessness. It is an absolute honor to be your mother. Hope your birthday is as special as you are!
Noise. Its inevitable in a house with four children. I can't remember the last time the house wasn't alive with it. And while sometimes I want to run in my closet and lock the door just for a few minutes of quiet, there are other times I stop and try to soak it in.
Tonight as we got ready to go to my parents house to watch the Broncos game, Jon and I just looked at each other from across the room.
The Disney music channel was playing from my phone and Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, and Hannah Montana filled our living room. Jon and I had pushed and prodded feet into socks, then into shoes. Hair had been redone, and clean shirts put on. And it felt like we'd just run a Marathon. Too tired to actually get up and make our way out the door.
So we sat there, Jon in the easy chair and I on the floor. Eyes locked as we soaked in the moment.
Watching Hudson and Devyn tease and torment each other. Laughing as one took it to a physical level and soon both were wrestling on the floor. Watching our two-year-old sway her hips and turn in circles to the music. We marveled at her rhythm and wondered how she could possibly be turning 3-years-old next month. We listened to the baby giggle as she watched her older siblings from the safety of my lap. She rested her head against my chest, too tired to prove she's big like them.
Jon sighed a contented sigh, and again we locked eyes. A smile came across his face and he spoke what we were both thinking. "Its a chaotic family, but I love it. And its ours."
Wow! 144 of you signed up for the ornament exchange! I’m so excited, and what a fun way to start the Christmas season.
We divided the entries among the 10 hosts and each host is matching up her participants with partners. We’ve broken down the list alphabetically, by first name. Check the list below and check out the host’s blog to find your ornament exchange partner.
- A - Ashely: Addie's blog, Just Another Day in The Life
- Ashleigh - Be: Ashleigh's blog, This Lil Heart of Mine
- Br - Co: Ashley's blog, Ashley's Carnival Ride
- Cr - H: Faith's blog, Walk With Me By Faith
- J - Joa: My blog, STAY HERE
- Jod - Kil: Kerbi's blog, So Are You to Me
- Kim - Len: Leah's blog, The Imperfect Momma
- Les - Mol: Emily's blog, A Beautiful Beginning
- Mon - Sonja: Karah's blog, Chateau Stracener
- Sonya - W: Sonya's blog, Ladybugs, Butterflies, and Boxing
If you can’t find your name and are certain you filled out the form, leave me a comment and we’ll get it figured out. So without further ado…
Jenna – Jill
I will email all my participants later today with your partner’s email address and any notes they left on the form. Just a reminder that all ornaments need to be mailed by Wednesday, November 30th, and there’s a $10 limit.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know! Thanks for playing everyone!
Its been quiet on the blog front this week. Mostly because every time I went to publish a post, I couldn’t find the words. So instead of trying to put together a coherent, well thought out post, I’m just going to do a mish-mash of stuff.
- I’ve been consumed with the news coming out of Penn State last week. Heartsick over it actually. I tried reading the grand jury report, but I couldn’t get past the first few pages. I just can’t wrap my head around the whole thing… the perpetrator… the witness who did nothing… the coach who was willing to pass the buck to someone else… the victims, oh, the victims. My heart just rips in half over the victims and their mothers. I can’t imagine feeling that helpless.
- I read this post on Friday and it resonated with me. Its exactly how I feel about the situation, but couldn’t find the words to write it.
- The morning after we found out about it, we had a serious conversation with Devyn and Hudson. Giving them the tools and permission needed to say no. We’ve had those conversations before, in fact we have them every few months, and as uncomfortable as it is (not to mention how much I HATE that we even have to have those conversations), they are important. I encourage you to empower your children with the same tools.
- Ashlynn’s hand is healing so well!! In fact, we’re not even wrapping it in gauze any more. She’s using her right hand more, and has a few raw spots that are still healing. It obviously is itching her like crazy, evident by the fact that she keeps trying to gnaw on her hand.
- I’d be worried about the gnawing if she actually had teeth, but since she’s almost one year old and without a tooth in her mouth, I see no harm in it.
- She is by far our latest teether. All of our other Littles had a tooth, or two or three, by this age. So to summarize, Ashlynn is our earliest walker at 7 1/2 months and our latest teether at almost a year old.
- Don’t get my started on the fact that my oldest turns seven and my baby turns one in the next few weeks. My heart can’t handle it. I’m fairly emotional right now and find myself tearing up at the oddest moments.
- We have 3 birthdays taking place in from mid-November to the end of December. Three. I’ve decided that after this year, because I think all babies deserve their own birthday party for the 1st one, we’re going to have just one family party for all three girls. We’ll do separate friend parties, but there’s absolutely no way I’m planning 6 different parties in the span of 6 weeks. Not happening.
- Besides, between daughters, a niece, a sister, a brother, and Christmas, our December is just too full already. Have mercy, dear Lord, no more December babies!
- I usually have a no-Christmas-until-after-Thanksgiving, one-holiday-at-a-time rule. However, I have broken this rule in spades this year. I’ve been playing Christmas music for a couple of weeks now, making Christmas lists, checking them twice, and I even made Grammie’s chex mix today.
- Grammie amade this every single year at Christmas. I remember walking into her kitchen and sneaking bits out of the boiler sitting on her counter. Never mind that it was piping hot, it was too delicious to leave well enough alone. For me, Christmas will always equal Grammie. (See? Tears. E.M.O.T.I.O.N.A.L.)
- I started making the chex mix about five years ago. There’s something very comforting about the smell of it baking, it takes me back. But the best part? The part that makes me the happiest? Devyn and Hudson are starting to associate the chex mix with Christmas and tradition. And passing that on to them, is priceless!
- I had every intention of posting my thoughts on Chapter 5 of the Sacred Marriage study. Obviously that worked out well for me, huh?! Ha! While I’m not consistently posting on the study, I am loving the conversations we’re having on Facebook about the study. I’m thankful that we have women from all walks of life, newlyweds, mothers of babies, mothers of older children, older, wiser, younger, fresh perspectives. Its been a blessing!
- We had our dear, sweet friends out for a visit from Washington. It seems that Amy and I have passed the blogging torch on to our younger sisters, since they already have their visit recaps and photos up on their blogs. I will say that we’ve decided to drop the first word in our “blogging friend” description. They are friends, plain and simple. It was a good visit, and perfect timing.
- And if I haven’t mentioned it before, I must remedy that now. Hudson, it appears, is partial to blondes. For whatever reason, he is a sucker for them. So when Amy and Kelsey showed up, who are as Scandinavian as they get, I knew instantly that Hudson was going to be smitten. Sure enough, I knew the exact moment that he noticed Kelsey. And her blonde hair. He was suddenly shy and flustered, and couldn’t put a sentence together. Oy. I’m in trouble.
And now on to some business-type matters…
- Tomorrow (Monday) is the last day to enter the Ornament Exchange. We’ve had 130+ participants sign up, which is so fun and unexpected. If you’d like to join us, click on the ornament button to the left. Although I highly suggest a more unique name than B*tt M*nch. (I wish I were kidding. Ha!)
- I’m offering 10% off all custom blog designs through 11/15 and am offering premade Christmas templates at a fraction of my normal prices. And if you have a Blogger on your Christmas list, then a gift certificate might be the perfect gift. (wink, wink) Click on over and take a look around if you’re interested.
Hope y’all have a wonderful week! I’ll be crying into my pillow over the fact that my baby turns seven on Saturday.
And a reminder that we'll meet online on Thursday, November 8 at 6:30pmMST to discuss the chapter.
This has been a hard week, probably one of the most emotional weeks I’ve had as a mother. While my head completely understands that this wasn’t my fault, my heart is having a harder time comprehending it. And every time we went in for a dressing change, it was a plummet straight into the pit of guilt.
During the day, you’d never know that Ashlynn had such a severe burn. I’m sure that staying busy and playing with her brother and sisters kept her mind off her hand. We were able to maintain her pain with alternating doses of infants’ tylenol and ibuprufon. However, that first night was another story and she woke up whimpering and crying about 5-6 times. It broke my heart. And we got very little sleep that night.
At her dressing change the next day, the doctor prescribed us something stronger for nighttime and that made all the difference in the world! I only give it to her at night, and right before a dressing change, otherwise she doesn’t need it.
Thankfully I was warned that the first 24-48 hours after a burn was when her hand would look the worst. And yet, even though I knew this, I was still unprepared for her dressing changes. The 2nd day wasn’t too bad, the only difference being that the blister had doubled in size from the day before. I wish I’d gotten a picture of just how big it got because I couldn’t believe something could be that size without popping.
But it was Thursday’s dressing change that destroyed me. I really think that dressing change traumatized me more than the actual burn. It was pretty clear as we got to the bottom layers of her dressing that the blister had popped on its own. The gauze was soaked through. I was horrified when it was completely unwrapped and I laid eyes on it for the first time.
|48 hours after the burn, the main blister popped on its own. You can see some of the blisters on the pads of her fingers in this picture.|
I drowned my sorrows in ChicFilA fries and fry sauce, while crying to Mom over the phone in the parking lot. Yeah. Thursday sucked.
Today’s dressing was hard, but the doctor is greatly encouraged by her progress. The skin and blister is looking just as it should, and they’ve now turned over dressing changes to me. Yay me. (Heavy on the sarcasm there.) And while it looks 10x better today, I think it bothered her more today. She was extra whiney and fussy, even trying to scratch at it with her left hand. At one point, she even brought it up to her mouth and tried gnawing on it. Poor girl.
|72 hours after the burn. This is still disgusting but a huge improvement in just 24 hours. Do you see the blister on her thumb? Sigh. It breaks my heart.|
The doctors have said it should be completely healed in 2 weeks, with very red skin for several months. All I know is that I’m ready for this week to be over.
Did you notice the button in the sidebar? Did you wonder what it was about? Well, a bunch of on Twitter decided to throw a Christmas Ornament Exchange together, because who doesn’t love new ornaments for the tree?!
Addie from Just Another Day in The Life, Ashley from Ashley's Carnival Ride, Emily from A Beautiful Beginning, Kerbi from So Are You to Me, Leah from The Imperfect Momma, Ashleigh from This Lil Heart of Mine, Sonya from Ladybugs, Butterflies, and Boxing, Karah from Chateau Stracener, Faith from Walk With Me By Faith
Here’s how its going to work… If you want to participate, and you don’t need a blog or Twitter account to participate, click on the button or this link. It’ll take you to the form to fill out. We’re accepting entries through Monday, November 14th.
On Wednesday, November 16th, one of us will contact you with your partner information. It’ll be up to you and your partner to exchange mailing addresses for the ornaments.
Go shopping for your ornament exchange. There is a $10 limit.
Then all ornaments should be mailed by Wednesday, November 30th. Easy peasy! I think it’s a fun way to start the holiday season and I’m looking forward to seeing who I get as a partner!
And remember, its open to everyone! No blog or Twitter account needed. Are you going to join us?!
It was a cool morning, so I’d turned the fireplace on to warm up the living room. We sat on the floor, Ashlynn and I, and I was trying desperately to get a picture of her for her 11-month birthday. There were sly looks, batted eyelashes, and then the turning of the face as soon as the flash appeared. It became a game for us, and as I moved out of the way to get in a better position for a picture, she tried to scurry away and momentarily lost her balance.
The next moment happened in an instant and slow motion at the same time. I saw her reach out for the glass on the fireplace to steady herself. And there was nothing I could do to stop it. As her face scrunched up, her mouth open without breathing, the wail of pain about to burst forth. I scooped her up and instantly began apologizing. “I’m sorry, Baby Girl. I am so sorry.” Over and over again.
I put her to the breast, the only way I knew to comfort her, hoping against hope that it wasn’t as bad as I feared. And still she cried. I ran into the kitchen with Ashlynn cradled against my chest, her cries of pain permanently etching themselves into my memory. Hudson and Reagan peeked into the kitchen and kept asking me what was wrong, what had happened. As I ran her burnt hand under the cool, running water, I looked over and explained to them what had happened. I asked Hudson to bring me my phone so I could call Jon, and when he came back with tears in his own eyes, I almost became undone. He adores his baby sister.
I begged Jon to get home, I was on autopilot but I could sense the underlying hysteria. And since Jon’s my rock, my calm, my anchor, I needed him. He promised to come as soon as he could. I held my crying, hurting baby girl, kept a cold compress on her hand, and cursed every minute leading up to the accident. I replayed it over and over, wondering what I could have done to prevent it, why was I stupid enough to be playing so near the fireplace, and my heart ached with Ashlynn’s every whimper. She kept rubbing her hand against the back of my shirt, as if trying to rub away the pain. And I called Jon every 5 minutes to see where he was.
In between calls to Jon, I was able to get a good look at the burn and was shocked at the huge blister that had already formed. It covered the whole palm of her hand, and there were smaller blisters on the tips of her fingers. It looked as though it would burst open at any moment. And I knew a doctor’s visit was in our very near future. I called my friend, Cassie, who lives a few blocks over and without hesitating she came and picked up Hudson and Reagan for the rest of the day. Thank the good Lord for friends in moments like that.
Jon finally arrived home (after what felt like hours) and we were finally able to calm her down with the help of pain meds and cold compresses. Either that, or she had sobbed herself into exhaustion. And we debated back and forth about the best thing to do… And I think sensing that I needed a professional’s reassurance that I hadn’t completely scarred our child for life, he finally agreed that she should be seen.
On the way to the Urgent Care. Can you see the huge blister? She babbled the entire ride there.
The doctor called it a superficial 2nd degree burn and wrapped it in burn cream, vaseline gauze, and the tiniest sleeve you’ve ever seen. He prescribed ibuprufon and tylenol for the pain, and wants to see her in the morning. She passed out on the way home.
Poor, sweet bandaged hand. Handle with care.
She’s already compensating for the loss of her right hand and using her left hand like a pro; she still cries if she puts any kind of pressure on it; and the older siblings are treating her with kid gloves. I spent the rest of the afternoon cuddling her, nursing her, and studying every sweet feature of her face. Just doing whatever I could to ease the ache in my heart, knowing it wasn’t my fault but feeling the heavy burden of guilt anyway. Mommy guilt at its finest.
Well, this was one of the craziest Halloweens I’ve ever experienced. I’m exhausted, y’all. Exhausted! I noted that Halloween felt like a marathon, and it truly did. I woke up at 6:30am, trying to get everything together for the day, and don’t think I sat down for longer than 10-15 minutes at a time.
- I had to leave the grocery store mid-trip because I could sense the meltdowns were not far away. And I was right.
- My friend, Cassie, had to keep a tight rein on Reagan during the costume parade because she so desperately wanted to join her brother and sister and strut her Bumblebee costume.
- I sprinted between Hudson and Devyn’s classrooms, with Reagan and Ashlynn in tow, to check out both parties.
- And it was mid-transit that I heard the loudspeaker announce Devyn’s name as one of the winners of the costume contest for 1st grade. I shook my head because when Devyn said she wanted to be Mulan, I wondered where she got that idea. Of all the Disney princesses… Mulan. But it earned her some free ice cream at our local coffee shop. So be it.
- And truth be told, Mulan has ended up being one of my favorite costumes of hers. She really rocked the Asian Princess look.
- We can’t forget Hudson. The I-can’t-decide-until-the-last-minute-thereby-ensuring-Mom-can’t-buy-a-costume Hudson. He had the hardest time deciding between GI Joe, a football player, a fireman, and a cowboy. He finally decided on Cowboy, but it was too late. So therefore, he was GI Joe. Again.
It was a successful Halloween. And now? I’m ready for a day at home, with nowhere to go. Bring it on Tuesday.