Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve Traditions, New and Old

Today was not a typical Christmas Eve. Noah has a terrible diaper rash from his frequent diarrhea. This morning it was 100 times worse, and we took him to the doctor only to find out he has a staph infection. Poor baby. The good news is, the medicine seems to be helping the pain quickly. I am also sick with a cold, so together we are quite the pair. I decided early on today, that I would not be able to do the 10:30 p.m. candlelight service at church. I love it so much, but I was completely wiped out from being up with Noah all night the night before. Then, I started to feel bad and decided we would go. But, then Noah sealed the deal by vomiting all over me. So, no candlelight service for us. Instead, we had a family service of our own. We used the Advent Wreath that Hope made in Sunday School. John played Away in a Manger, Joy to the World and Silent Night on his guitar while we sang along. We each said a prayer. It really was special. We are thinking we are going to make this a part of our Christmas Eve traditions even when we return to the candlelight service at church next year.
Never far from our thoughts and prayers today has been John's dad, Papa Roy. He is sick and in the hospital in Fort Smith. We are hoping they figure out what is going on with him very soon and get him well and home. We are sad that he will spend Chrismas day in the hospital. Please send up a prayer for him today.
Since Hope was a baby, John and I always gave her a special book to open on Christmas Eve. We both write notes to her in the book. It was fun to make Noah a part of this tradition (although I must admit, I had put him down to sleep when we remembered. He was crying himself to sleep and I got him up and let him open his book and read it to him! Great work, Mommy.) His book is the Baby Elf's Christmas. My favorite part is the very last page when the Mommy and Daddy elves say:
"'Merry Christmas'
baby dear,
is so much merrier
with you here!"

Merry Christmas Everyone! Christ the Savior is born!

Sitting on Santa's lap

Hope thought Noah in his Santa Suit was too funny. She "sat" in his lap and gave him her list. Hope is allowed to ask Santa for 1 big item and 2 small items. She asked for a bike, a hula hoop, and a cupcake maker. Now, the cupcake maker is a concern. She is sometimes talking about a fake set of cupcakes that go with her Rosepetal Cottage, but sometimes she is talking about a real cupcake maker. We are hoping Santa got it right.
Charlie has been found in some pretty odd places lately, including upside down on the fan. We will miss Charlie when he goes back to the North Pole with Santa tonight.

Christmas' Christmas Party

Hope's Class had their Christmas Party at school last week. She was pumped up about the big day. She was so excited when her daddy told her she could wear her Christmas dress. She looked in the mirror and said "I'm Christmas!" From then on for the rest of the day, her name was Christmas and she wouldn't anwer to anything else. My mom went up to check on her and a boy in her class said "Hope's not here today, but Christmas is over there." They all went along with her and called her Christmas.

Here is Hope and one of her very favorite people, Ms. Kendra. We looooove Ms. Kendra. She rocks.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Another day, another case of diapers

Thanks for all of the concern about the baby boy. Yesterday he started smiling again. He has not vomited since Wednesday when we went to the doctor. Noah had lost more than half a pound which is a lot when you are a runt like Noah! He was not dehydrated, but headed in that direction, so the doctor prescribed zofr@n . He has not thrown up since our appointment, so that is great. I thought yesterday that the diarrhea had slowed down, but today, he is back in full force. He has had 5 bad diapers since I got home from work around 6 p.m. We have started him on the diarrhea diet of bananas and applesauce and rice cereal. Hoping it kicks in soon! So, to sum it up, I think he has turned the corner for the better, but still not 100% just yet. Slowly but surely.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Be gone stomach bug

Noah just can not get rid of this stomach bug. Now he is pretty weak and won't put any weight on his legs. We are going to the doctor at 4:00 to see if he is dehydrated. Say a little prayer that he is not and that he will get better very soon!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dear T@rget

Dear T@rget ,
What can I say, I love you again. As you know, we have had a love/hate relationship for some time. Your $1 popcorn and drink combo was always just enough to keep Hope (or Clay) entertained while I shopped for whatever I needed. Then, you raised your prices on that, and everything else. I loved your adorable baby girl clothes for Hope, but for Noah, you are severely lacking in the cute department. Everything that is almost cute, you have to stick Winnie the Pooh on, or a giant soccer ball. You had me head over heels in love with you in Texas with your SuperT@rget stores everywhere with their already prepared gourmet meals that I could just pick up and put in the oven (instructions included...big plus.) Then, as has happened in the past, you burned me again with your ridiculous return policy and wouldn't let me return duplicate items that were purchased from my registry. My sister, mother and I spoke to everyone in the store (and I am pretty sure we got someone fired, oops!) and no one would budge. They all suggested I ask one of the givers of the duplicate gifts for the receipt. Yes, that is not at all tacky. So, still I have two duplicate " T@rget Exclusives " still in their boxes. I vowed not to let anyone I care about register with you for their weddings or new babies. I vowed that our relationship would never be the same. Oh, I still visit you from time to time, but whenever I can buy things from other discount stores, I do. In fact, I have not bought one can of formula from you since the birth of my dear son, and only in a pinch have I bought diapers or any type of groceries or household items. Not that you miss me, it just makes me feel better.

Oh, but you know me too well. When running in to grab pedialyte for my dear sick babies (you were directly on my way home, which was the only reason I chose you) you had one sole pair of the most adorable baby slipper shoes I have ever seen.

So, for now, I love you again. Let's just hope I don't have to take them back for any reason.
Love you,

7 month photos (a tad bit late)

And, of course, sister needed her picture taken too!

Pictures of the Christmas Pageant should go here...

Hope was to be a lamb in our church Christmas Pageant on Sunday. We were all fired up about it. Being one of the children's ministers at our church, it is possible that I even had something to do with letting the 3 and 4 year olds be animals in the play just so Hope could be a lamb in the play since she is still a bit too young for choir. I might have even begged our new music minister to let them be in it. I'm just saying it's POSSIBLE that I would have done that. Just thinking about pictures of my little fuzzy lamb in front of the manger scene MIGHT have been enough to push me to beg.

Hope was over the top excited to be a lamb. Saturday we talked about it several times. We even bought this special book to give her on this special day.

Saturday night, we left the babies with my mom so that we could go to a Christmas Party. My mom called us at the party to tell us that Hope was throwing up. So began Vomitfest-2008. Hope was so sick. She threw up no less than 12 times before midnight. Noah had nonstop diarrhea all weekend and vomited several times as well. Needless to say, our little lamb was missing from the nativity scene. I went to church and we found a replacement lamb. The animals were oh so cute, but I was very sad that Hope wasn't there.

When I got home, I gave Hope her book. We talked about the sheep and the shepherds and the "real baby Jesus". Ahhh, isn't it funny how a child's book and a 4 year old can remind us (even the mommy who thought it was soo important that her daughter be in the Christmas Pageant) what Christmas is really all about? The real baby Jesus.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Boy and His Dog

Something funny has happened this weekend. Noah and Abby have bonded. Abby is picky about who she likes. She loves John, but not so much me or Hope. She has been by Noah's side all weekend. Noah pets her and he is just so proud when he does.

This weekend while Daddy and Hope were hanging the lights outside...

Noah and Abby were hanging out together inside...

Look at his little hand rested on her back! Love it! Here are some more pictures of the cuteness that is Noah Red.

And this was my little project of the week. It's Hope's snack table. When she saw it she was so excited that she started to unwrap it like it was a real present. Silly girl.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I learned me somethin' new.

Did you see Ellen Tuesday? She had some stress relieving holiday tips. Now this one you are either going to say, duh, I have always known that, or like me, you will be amazed. Ok, maybe not amazed. But, it was the hot topic at church this morning. Did you know that there are two tabs on the side of the aluminum foil box (and saran wrap too apparently) that you push in to hold the roll still while you pull out a sheet? I totally did not know that! And I know I am not the only one, because only 3 people that I work with knew (and some random copy machine repair man said he knew, but I'm not sure he was telling the truth...)

On a side note, this would have been helpful to know about 5 hours before I watched it when I was using aluminum foil to cover a football helmet for a prop in the Christmas pageant. Oh well, the next time I am covering a football helmet with aluminum foil to make it look like a space helmet, it will be so much easier.

"Somebody catched a cloud"

Something I don't ever want to forget...

Shauna brought a big huge 6 lb box of polyfiber batting (think fluffy cotton looking stuff) and put it in our office for one of our many projects at work. It's a cardboard box without a lid on it. On Sunday Hope came in my office and peered into the box. Her eyes got so big with excitement and she said to me, "Somebody catched a cloud!"

Then she ran to Shauna who had gone into Deni's office and dragged her back to our office and told her, "Somebody catched a cloud!" She was as serious about it as she has ever been about anything. She asked Shauna if she was going to let it go back into the sky. She reached in and touched it and her eyes were just filled with wonder. It was such a sweet moment.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Adding to our family

Not now! Sloooow down people. But, it is something I think about often. Noah will not be "the caboose." And, it is probably not a suprise to those who are around us often that we hope to adopt one day. I think adoption is another incredible way that God shows us how awesome He is. How he leads peoples hearts to find their children, awesome. I mean, even the agonizing waits are just part of His plan of uniting forever families. Sometimes oceans away. Amazing to me. One of my dear sweet best friends waits and waits for her daughter in China. This month will be 2 years! And my heart breaks for her as she waits. I cannot imagine how hard it is. But, wow, I also cannot imagine what it will be like for her when travels across the earth and HER perfect daughter is placed in her arms.

My thoughts about adoption often go to the "where" would we adopt from. Before Noah was born, I would have said Vietnam. I am not so sure now. Recently, the adoption programs for US families adopting from Vietnam have closed. For how long, who knows. It is a really sad situation. At one point, John would have probably said Ethiopia. We are pretty open at this point! All of this to say, I usually think of overseas. I'm not sure why, maybe that's God's plan for us. But recently in my late night researching, I found this website. Watch the video. I am pretty much in awe.

While we have put our adoption plans on hold for a bit, my heart is still in it. I am still excited about the prospects. We continue to think, to dream, and to pray about it.

Back to our family verse...

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Santa Baby

Have I mentioned how crazy, madly in love I am with this boy?!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Well, we survived

Today was not a great day. It started with me finding a large chunk of Noah's hair on the couch. It seems his big sister decided he needed a haircut. When I asked her why she would cut his hair, she matter of factly stated "He had too much hair." HAD would be the key word. I know that one day this story will be funny. Today is not the day.

Both kids were acting like they felt crummy, so instead of shipping them off to school while I cleaned the house and ran errands, we all stayed home (and accomplished nothing.) At around 9 a.m., the DVR in the living room caught on fire. Yes, I said our DVR caught on fire. Like, as in smoke filled the room fire. Like, Hope started screaming fire. Like, I unplugged it quickly, swooped my kids up and out of the room, aired out the house for an hour, fire. Like my house still smells like plastic, fire.

Then, John calls and tells me he can't come home tonight. He has to stay and work an extra day in NWA. Try explaining to a 4 year old who counts down the days till her daddy gets home why he is not home on Thursday like he promised. I know it's not his fault, and I am truly not angry at him, or his job, but it broke my heart. And his. And hers. Especially hers.

Not a great day. But we survived. And we have much to be grateful for.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Excuse me while I brag

Hope was "promoted" tonight in Gymnastics! No more Mini-Monkeys! She is moving up to "Invitation Preschool." What that means, I am not sure, but since she has only been taking for 3 months, I think it's pretty good! Congratulations Lulu!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Sick Boy goes to the Dr.

Sick Boy finally made it to see the Dr. today. Double Ear Infections. Yuck. It has been an eventful month for Noah medically. 1st, finally ruling his tummy issues "severe reflux" and not pyloric stenosis (huge relief.) Then a bad eczema breakout, it's still pretty bad, but we are keeping on keepin on with his steroid cream (by keeping IT on!) No six month vaccinations because of his reactions at 2 and 4 months. And now this. I am sooo thankful that he only has little issues, it just seems like he always has something. I don't remember Hope getting sick as a baby, other than her milk allergy. What is the deal?!

For my "hope" file...

I am sad I missed Pastor Mike's sermon at New World last Sunday... If this is what was left over I can only imagine how great the sermon was.

From Pastor Mike...
In preparing for Sunday’s sermon, I had some things left over that either didn’t fit or seemed repetitive. For example, there were these wonderful poems by Emily Dickinson and Christina Rossetti:
"Hope’ is the thing with feathers"
By Emily Dickinson
"Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all
And sweetest-in the Gale-is heard
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm
I’ve heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest Sea
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb-Of Me.
De Profundis
By Christina Rossetti
Oh why is heaven built so far,
Oh why is earth set so remote?
I cannot reach the nearest star
That hangs afloat.
I would not care to reach the moon,
One round monotonous of change;
Yet even she repeats her tune
Beyond my range.
I never watch the scatter’d fire
Of stars, or sun’s far-trailing train,
But all my heart is one desire,
And all in vain:
For I am bound with fleshly bands,
Joy, beauty, lie beyond by scope;
I strain my heart, I stretch my hands,
And catch at hope.
There were some great quotes that didn’t make it into the sermon, either. For example, these ideas from Patricia E. deJong and David Booz:
"We do not lose heart; rather, we live with our hearts broken open so that compassion, caring, and God’s reckless love can find a way into our hearts and the heart of the world."
"Advent is more than a time to hear promises about God. Advent becomes a season of attentiveness to the presence of God already among us."
Finally , there were these passages of Scripture that also touched on points in the sermon:
2 Cor 2:9 What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him"-
Jeremiah 29:11-13 For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if
you seek me with all your heart…
Isaiah 40:31 ...but those who wait for the Lord shall re-new their strength, they shall mount up with wings like ea-gles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
Perhaps you can add these to your "hope" file.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Mike

OK, my New World friends...Jill will be needing a cd of that sermon!

Our Hope was named from Jeremiah 29:11. Such a powerful scripture. Such an awesome word. Awesome.

Hope is Everywhere

Christmas time is a good time to be named Hope. There are ornaments with her name everywhere! I can't ever resist buying Hope ornaments, so she has more than 20 ornaments with her name/ the word on them. I am aware that this may some day cause some sibling rivalry, so Mimi started Noah his own collection.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Hope waiting somewhat patiently for daddy to bring everything down from the attic...we have more than a few Christmas decorations!

Even the sick boy got into the Christmas spirit for a bit!
Putting the star on top.

Hope with the baby Jesus.
Look, the real Elf on the Shelf showed up. We were getting a little worried about Charlie!

Sick boy returned.

Gingerbread Tradition

Every year Hope and Daddy make a gingerbread house. They mixed it up a little this year by making a gingerbread tree. They live life on the edge! Ha. There was, of course, some taste testing going on as well.

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is always a great day. My sister claims she designed her house for Thanksgiving day, and she did a great job. It is a blend of families, with lots of Aunts, Uncles, cousins, grandparents and siblings. There are usually around 30 people there. Everyone cooks a little, while a few cook a lot! I am not alowed to be one of those people. I am only allowed to make the Green Bean Casserole (or GBC as I proudly call it.) You really can't mess up the GBC. And truth be known, it was John who prepared the GBC this year. And last year. Shhhh.
And a chance to put Noah on top of Dandy for his very first horse ride? Too much for my sister to resist. He loved it though, even if it did make his mommy very nervous.

OUR Elf on the Shelf

Hope's Room got an overhaul a couple of weekends ago. We rearranged, and got rid of about 50% of her stuff (clothes, toys, you name it.) Everything in it's place kind of organizing (so not me.) This is the spot her daddy found for Hope.