Sunday, November 30, 2008

Who is this child?

Have you ever seen a photo of one of your children, yourself, your spouse and thought....is that my child? me? my spouse? Wow it looks nothing like them, me, him! That's what I initially thought when I uploaded this photo, my cousin took, of Elliot on Thanksgiving. It looks nothing like her, but the more I studied it; I realized that it may not look a lot like her....but it describes her silly, strong willed, and extremely dramatic little persona.... and I laughed out loud!

TIDBIT OF INFORMATION....I AM RICH!

Did you know that Americans make up 6% of the world's population, but that we use 40% of the world's resources? Did you know that only 8% of the world's population own a car? Did you know that millions of people live on $1.00/day or less? Did you know that every few seconds, someone in the world dies from hunger? Did you know that one billion people in the world don't have access to clean drinking water? According to those statistics, I am rich and for that I am also grateful!

Sunday Sermon Summary

Today's sermon was led by our Associate Pastor, Cindy, whom I have blogged about in the past and LOVE to hear speak. She spoke on the first Sunday in Advent which for our church focuses on Worshipping More. It was titled Worship Fully. She talked, once again, about how we as Christians can sometimes bury the birth of Christ in all of the "fun, perfectly acceptable and exciting activities" that we have planned for the holidays. Today she simply suggested that we scoot our favorite chair closer to the fire place and warm up to Jesus....in other words, spend more time in worship this Christmas season. She also suggested that we look at all of the "fun, perfectly acceptable and exciting activities" (these are my words not hers), that we have on our calendars and maybe mark one, two or a few off of our list; so that we can spend more time in worship instead of rushing around trying to get all of these things accomplished. My pastors don't think you should give up your traditions or activities completely, they just want us to remember the true meaning of CHRISTmas...the baby! They just want us to make time to worhip and give thanks for the baby and to do that with our families, as well as, in our own private time. I was encouraged by her sermon, as usual, because I had just told NPayne last night that I wasn't putting up all of our decorations this year. We would decorate the tree and hang our stockings. If he wanted to hang lights on our house, that was completely up to him; because I am not in charge of that daunting task. We are keeping it simple but still festive, and I am excited about that.

Mi Familia....Take Tres

Here we are again....The Magnificent Seven plus 3...The Magnificent Aunt Melinda, Uncle Matt and Grandma. Melinda is NPayne's older sister (I use the term "older" lightly, because she's actually the same age as I am), and Matt is her beau(they're not married YET). Grandma is NPayne's mother, Madalyn, so here you have a larger version of The Payne Train. NPayne has one other sister, who lives far far far away; so she was not able to be in our photo. This photo was actually taken last February, by a good friend and photographer Cathy. If you look closely at Elli, you can tell it was taken several months ago; because she has a lot more hair in the other 2 family photos. NPayne and I gave our mothers, this photo session, for Christmas last year. My mother was suppose to be there that day to take photos with us, but there were some extenuating circumstances (very long and complicated story) that kept her from being there that day. So....I decided we would do our own version on Thanksgiving, including Moo, so I could frame these all together in one of my really cool old barnwood frames (previous post) which holds three 11x14 photos. I can't wait to put this picture and the other two (take uno and take dos) photos in that frame. I am very proud of my family and have been so very blessed to have such a wonderful family by blood and by marriage. I thank God for them every day.

Mi Familia...Take Dos

Take Dos...Here we are The Magnificent Seven plus one....the Magnificent Moo (that's what my children call my mom...Moo). I am curious as to why nobody reminded me that I had broken my rule and was sitting next to a thin woman (my mother literally weighs 85 pounds, if that much, and I'm completely serious) which in turn makes me look a little like a giant. I am also curious as to why nobody suggested I tame that wild mane with a ponytail, but....I am happy we got a picture, and after all it's not all about me....maybe I'm more vain than I thought.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Family Photo Take UNO...

My children and their fabulosa abuelas...grandmothers....actually I think it should be abuelas fabulosa. I don't know why I am using Spanish...I guess it's the former Spanish teacher in me! Notice I said "former."
More to come....

Black Friday....Or Post Thanksgiving at The Payne Homestead


The Thanksgiving traditions (previous post) were all completed yesterday....including my late night shopping trip with my best friend Cynthia. This year, Addi joined us; and I enjoyed spending some alone time with my eldest daughter until the wee hours of Friday morning. We also witnessed a fabulous Thanksgiving play and got the best ever "slide" picture of all Thanksgivings we have had so far....all 7 children on the slide...woohoo!

The family photo session was quite successful, and I will post some of those photos later (after I doctor them up a tad). Stay Tuned....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving at The Payne Homestead


Every year for Thanksgiving, the following things occur....
We host, and our family (both grandmothers, aunts, cousins) come over.
We have a family friend or friends of the family (there is a difference) who join us. It's usually someone different every year....this year I don't think we have anyone coming (BOOHOO).
Addison Jo writes, choreographs, designs costumes, rehearses, and directs a Thanksgiving play starring my children and my cousin's children. It use to be "surprisingly" good, now we have come to expect it to be good; and it always is (we're not being partial here)....Picture above is from a play from a few years ago.
The children play outside all day long, weather permitting.
We take a picture of my children and the cousins...all lined up on the slide every year. The picture on this post is from 3 years ago....pre-Elliot.
The adults sit outside some and watch the children, but they mainly sit inside and watch football...Go Cowboys!
NPayne's wonderful mama cooks the majority of the food...everyone else (except me) contributes sides, desserts, salads, etc.
I do all the prep cleaning for the family to join us.
NPayne does all the post cleaning after the meal and everyone goes home.
Before we eat, we bless the food and thank GOD for our abundance of blessings...even though there are always struggles to be faced, that are being faced, or that have been faced...we still know how blessed we are and give thanks where it's due.
The family goes home, the children wind down, and we tuck them in to their nice snug beds.
NPayne will watch more football....tonight it's the Longhorns and the Aggies...Hook 'Em!
I meet my best friend, Cynthia, at her house; and we go Christmas shopping at Walmart....actually she shops, and I usually just browse and enjoy spending time with her. We stay up really late shopping at Walmart, and then we go have breakfast somewhere.
I go home and get in my nice snug bed by my sweet hubby who so generously lets me sleep in on Friday morning, since I've been out half the night with Cynthia at Walmart.

This year, we are going to attempt to take some family photos this afternoon. This is not a usual tradition, but if all goes well; it may become one. I'll post them later....if it works out.

You are cordially invited by L.L. Barkat to join a ThanksgivingCelebration. Just post about a Thanksgiving memory, something you are thankful for this year, a special family Thanksgiving tradition, your favorite "thanksgiving" bible verse, or anything else you can dream up. Be serious, spiritual, creative, beautiful, humorous, whatever... it's a celebration and good celebrations welcome all kinds of expression!
As a token of thanks for joining us,
L.L. will link to you in the Thanksgiving Celebration post (and Christianity Today and High Calling Blogs will link back to said post, so their readers can check out the full celebration). You can make L.L.'s link-love job easier by dropping a comment at the Thanksgiving Celebration post. See you at the pie table!
To participate in the Thanksgiving Celebration:
1. post your Thanksgiving reflection with the invitation above and this little list of two.
2. send the invitation to 5 or more friends (or just stash it in your cyber-drawer as a keepsake and take another bite of pie).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Girl Can Never Have Too Many Shoes

The other night I was cleaning out Elliot's closet (actually it's a shiftrobe, she doesn't have a real closet), when NPayne walked in and the following conversation occured...

NPayne: Lookin' good (unfortunately he wasn't talking about me, he was talking about the fact that we could now open her drawers; because they weren't so crammed full).
Me: I'm almost finished. I just have to put these clothes in the summer tub, and put these in the "To Be Donated" pile.
NPayne: You need to go through her shoes. She's the 2 year old version of Imelda Marcos. I mean seriously does anyone need that many shoes...especially a 2 year old?
Me: Uhhhh...I already did go through her shoes. That's what I'm keeping (wink)!

FRAGILE X---What exactly is it?

Hartford Special Needs Examiner: The misdiagnosis of fragile XNovember 25, 2008
Posted using ShareThis

I wanted to share some background on Fragile X. I retrieved this from my fellow blogger friend, Beth, who has 2 children who have full X mutations. My son, Cal, does not have full X mutations but is considered a carrier; and he has been diagnosed with Autism as well. This is good information and very informative.

Fragile X is a genetic condition involving changes in the X chromosome. It is the most common form of inherited intellectual disabilities in males and a significant number of females. It is thought that 80 - 90% of those affected with fragile X are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
Fragile X is caused by a change in the FMR1 gene, when the gene’s code is repeated on the fragile part of the X chromosome. The more times the code is repeated the more likely there is to be a problem. The condition is caused by a trinucleotide repeat. People without fragile X typically have 5 to 45 repeats. Carriers have 55 to 200. The full mutation happens after 200 repeats, when the gene becomes methylated and stops sending its message. Normally, the FMR1 gene makes a protein needed for brain growth. Having a defect in the gene makes it produce too little or not enough of the protein. Males and females can both be affected, although boys only have one X chromosome, a single fragile X is more likely to have a higher rate of severity.
Approximately 25-35% of cases are misdiagnosed as autism because they share many of the same behavioral issues. Poor eye contact, social awkwardness, repetitive motions and speech, and hand-flapping or biting. Children who have fragile X will need to be treated for autism in addition to the treatments they receive for fragile X. Children who also have autism have lower cognitive abilities than those with fragile X alone. Why some have more severe deficits causing autism is not known. However, most children with fragile X are not autistic. They show interest in others, enjoy social situations, although poor eye contact and hand-flapping or biting are seen in 50-90% of children with fragile X even without being autistic.
In older persons, fragile X has also been misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s Disease. Men who are carriers of fragile X syndrome but not affected can develop a pseudo-Parkinson’s disease when they reach their 50s, according to a published report from the University of California. Previously, it was thought that these men were spared any consequences of fragile X syndrome because they had a mutation that wasn’t severe enough. The fragile X gene (FMR-1) is located on the long arm of the X chromosome, and it is a relatively short gene. In a carrier, it is slightly elongated, with some repeats. In someone more severely affected, it is even more elongated. According to estimates of the fragile X chromosome prevalence, 1 in 800 men is a carrier but not affected.
Autism and fragile X also have in common attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 70-90% of males and 30-50% of females will be affected by ADHD as well as sensory problems. Such as sensitivity to light, touch and sounds. Females have less mood instability, aggression and hyperactivity. More often shyness, and social anxiety causes withdrawal or even the reluctance to speak.
Previous screening studies have shown that 2.5% to 6% of boys with autism have fragile X. (Brown, Jenkins et al. 1986; Bailey, Phillips et al. 1996; Hagerman 2002) Therefore it is thought that, all children with autism and or intellectual disabilities should have fragile X DNA testing. Such screening may also identify individuals with the fragile X premutation in association with autism and there are current evaluations of the additive effect of the premutation which can be associated with mild gene dysfunction (Tassone, Hagerman et al. 2000).
In summary, the association of fragile X and autism is a strong one which requires assessment in each child. At current date there is no cure just treatments. Speech, occupational, behavioral, and language therapies can address some of the physical, behavioral, and cognitive aspects of fragile X.
Do you know someone who have been misdiagnosed or think someone is undiagnosed?? I’d love to hear your story....if you want to share your story, link back to FXS Mom at http://www.fragilex.wordpress.com/ to share your story, and I would also love to hear your story.

It's Official....I'm Injured Follow Up...LORD, I need some healing!

I had my follow up visit with my podiatrist today, and yes she did touch my foot (EWWWW) but not as much as last time; and she only touched the injured foot. Did I mention that my podiatrist is the cutest thing I've ever seen, and she looks like she could be one of my children? Well she is, and she does. I mean seriously this girl can't be more than 16 or 17, so she must be a genius to have already graduated with the umpteen degrees it takes to be a specialist in the field of feet. She's really sweet and very kind as well which always makes doctor visits nice. Anywho she asked me about how my foot was feeling, and I told her it was definitely not normal; but it was feeling a lot better. She asked me to put on my tennis shoes and walk for her, so she could see if I might need some different type of shoes...thank you Jesus that she said mine looked fine. The last thing I want to do is invest a small fortune of my non existent Christmas budget into some ugly orthotics. Then she said she wanted me to do physical therapy twice/week for the next month or so and come back to see her in 3 weeks. I tried to mask my thoughts and stay the calm, cool and collected mama that I am; BUT I immediately got a little nervous. I've had PT previously for a severly injured shoulder (that I received when I was 19 from being rear ended by a cement truck), and it was excrutiatingly PAINFUL, I mean bring you to your knees, leave with a headache and mascara all over your face from crying in pain; but it worked. I left her office and walked (limped) next door to the PT office. The receptionist asked me for my insurance card, drivers license and then handed me 3 forms to read and fill out. The first 2 were just questions about my medical history and my injury which by the way I feel sort of silly saying that, because I don't feel like it's really an injury; since I truly have NO idea how it happened. I mean I wasn't doing something athletic or hard working or anything that may cause an injury, but I will continue to call it an injury; because that's what they refer to it as. Back to the forms....I got to the 3rd form which describes the office policies, scheduling appointments, etc. I was browsing through it until I read the following which literally STOPPED ME IN MY TRACKS (or limping I might say)...."some of the techniques may call for extreme applications from a light force to a high impact force. A loud popping sound may be heard while receiving such force." HAVE MERCY.....Lord, forgive me for my sins and heal me of this immediately....I don't want to experience possible high impact force or a popping sound. WORK WITH ME HERE....I think I can live with this limp for the rest of my life...honest I think I can...it's really not that painful just mainly uncomfortable and inconvenient. As I approached the desk while reading this, I re-read again to make sure that's what it said; and sure enough it did indeed say those words. Fortunately there was another lady standing there scheduling some appointments, so I had a moment to regroup and gather myself. I will tell you that I have a HIGH pain tolerance. I mean a really HIGH pain tolerance, and it's not the pain that makes me the least bit nervous; but it's the anticipation of the impact and the popping and the fear of not being able to relax. Each time I've been in the hospital, to give birth, it's not the contractions and the birthing that makes me nervous...it's that IV drip they give you (which I think is to keep you hydrated) that makes me a NERVOUS WRECK....the needle...I can't take it. I have rolling thin veins which usually entails several, I mean several (at least 150), sticks to get the IV in...oftentimes it ends up in my wrist (OUCH) instead of my hand. Because I have had such horrible experiences with this needle poking throughout my life, I have a lot of ANXIETY and a true aversion to needles; but at least I don't tantrum anymore. As far as the popping and high impact force, I can trace this back to the following....when I was little, my dad decided that my mom needed to have her back popped; so she lay down on the floor while he proceeded to try to pop her back...I'm sure you know that scenario....lay down on your stomache while someone walks on your back or jerks your shoulder back. HOWEVER, her back did not pop; and in fact he (unintentionally of course) broke her collar bone. Well that was all she wrote for me and chiropractors or back popping or any kind of popping, and now I have this anxiety about just waiting for the pop or the "high impact force." It's not the pain I'm frightened about, it's the waiting and waiting and waiting for the POP....Good Night Nurse. As I said I had PT a long time ago, and it was excrutiating; but it helped....so although I don't look forward to the pain, I am not really nervous about it. I won't start PT until next week, so Yahoo....I'll have even more time to think about it and build more and more anxiety. I'll keep you posted, LITERALLY! That way you can choose to read about it or not! PRAY FOR PEACE or a miraculous healing!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

WORDFUL WEDNESDAY

This is how you make a grouchy ladybug smile for a family photo....turn her upside down until she laughs herself silly, then quickly sit her up in position for the photo. It worked every time.
For more Wordful Wednesday, check out Angie's blog at www.angiescircus.blogspot.com.

The Baby Bulge

I've decided that a tummy tuck is the only way I'm ever going to lose the post baby bulge. It's the kind of bulge that you can't suck in, and it's the kind of bulge that doesn't go away with exercise, and it's the kind of bulge that when you lose weight....it's not weight lost from the bulge. I have had 2 of my girls, Drew and Bryna, ask me if I still had a baby in my tummy. Fortunately they haven't asked me that in a while, but they have both asked me at some point after having Elli. The conversations went something like this....

B: Mommy, when are you having another baby?
Me: Well honey, I don't know if we will have another baby.
B: Well don't you already have one in your tummy?
Me: Oh no honey....that's just left over from having Elli.

D: (while patting my tummy with a big grin on her face) Mommy, I think you have a baby in your tummy.
Me: I wish I could say that I did, but....I don't. It's just fat, stretched out skin that will never go away; but don't let that hinder you from ever wanting to have children.

I'm not really a vain person...I mean I like to look presentable - most of the time, and I am not interested in plastic surgery (not against it for whomever may want it, but I'm not really interested); so a tummy tuck will probably never happen...besides the fact that it costs a small fortune, and it would be painful. So I guess I'll just live with my post 5 babies bulge. So when you see me and may wonder to yourself....hmmm is she expecting? You can know that I'm not expecting (a baby that is) , it's just leftover from the 5 children I have already birthed. I came to the realization that a bikini would NEVER be in my future bathing suit wearing wardrobe again, and I'm okay with that.

We May Have Never Met, But I Feel Like I've Known You For Years!

I am fairly new to the world of blogging. I really just started, reading and contributing, a few months ago. I have looked at a ton of blogs over the last few months and have definitely found some that I really enjoy reading. I was telling NPayne that it was funny how all the blogs, I really enjoyed, basically focused on the same things....parenting (serious and definitely with a sense of humor), creativity, photos (LOVE THIS), and almost every single blog I've read has some sort of spiritual or Christian background as well. NPayne joked about this and said you have to believe in God to raise children, so you have someone to pray to for forgiveness (as I said, it was a joke). It is true, how many of the blogs I read, cling to the savior and give thanks and adoration for God's will whatever it may be. I love the fact that most all of the blogs that I read daily mention our Lord, The Bible, devotions, or Jesus , or prayers. It makes me feel, in a weird way, like I know all these mothers and a few fathers (which I do personally know a few) and have a connection with them; but for the most part I've never met most of these inspiring people. As a "new" blogger, I am still oftentimes nervous about receiving a comment (not knowing what the opinion may be); but I truly treasure the kind comments I receive and encouraging words that I need. I learn a lot from other people's perspectives and their stories. I love to read your blogs and laugh out loud and sometimes shed a tear, but I truly am honored when I am asked to pray for someone or some situation from afar or encouraged to pray for my own children and am so encouraged that the power of prayer is so prevalant in the blogging community. NPayne and I taught a lesson, in our adult SS, this past week on prayer. It is a vital part of being in relationship with our savior, and I am now finding that it is helping me build relationships with people I have never met but feel like I've know for a very long time. It's truly AWESOME, and it brings me joy to be a part of it.

NPayne-How I love this man!

NPayne is truly the greatest guy I know, and I'm not just saying that because I've been married to him for almost 17 years and because I know he will read this post and because he writes me poems and because he did the dishes last night and because he's HOT! I'm saying this, because it's true. My mama is disabled and with her being a widow and me being an only child, there is a lot of responsibility that lies on MY shoulders. Sometimes it can be exhausting....what with the busyness of life in general and the fact that I have 5 children....I try not be overwhelmed by it all and just be so grateful that I still have my mother.
Yesterday she needed to go to the doctor for a routine visit, and when I say routine I mean anything but. When I take my mama to the doctor, it is literally a 4-5 hour investment. This is mainly because of the time it takes to get her out of the house, into and out of a car, into and out of her wheelchair, into and out of the doctor's office, and into and out of the wheelchair again, into and out of the car again, and then into her home. Then add in the wait time, drive time, etc. Fortunately her doctor is really wonderful about "working her in," so she doesn't have to wait forever while sitting in her fairly uncomfortable wheelchair. However you have to go when he's available. It just so happened that he was available yesterday. NPayne had taken the day off for us to go visit our friends and go fishing on their private lake. My mama said that if NPayne took her, it would be a much shorter investment of time; because they could go to the doctor's office which is closer to our house. The office I take her to has wheelchairs, that you can borrow, which inadvertently keep me from having to load and unload the chair from the trunk; BUT that office is a half hour away. The office, closer to us, doesn't have wheelchairs to borrow; BUT NPayne can get hers in and out much easier than I can. He graciously agreed (as he always does). He and Cal headed over to pick her up yesterday morning. Now this is where my story changes angles....
While they were waiting in the waiting room, NPayne said there was an elderly woman who was intently watching them...especially Cal. He said that she was studying him and listening to Cal say things like "coming up next only on KERA, say it with me dad" (now I don't know that is what he was saying, but that is one of the things he repeats often and has you repeat with him. I was using it as an example). Now if you have read my blog before, you know that my son has Autism/FragileX; and you know that he has very quirky behaviors. NPayne said she finally just outright asked him after watching him for a little while..."Does he have Aspbergers?" NPayne graciously answered (as he always does) that no he didn't have Aspbergers, but that he did have Autism. As they were leaving the doctor's office, NPayne said the lady waited for them at the elevator; so she could talk to him more about Cal. They discussed general things about our boy, and she told him her daughter was a special ed teacher and had worked with children affected with Aspbergers. Her daughter had since moved on to teach something else, but she said her daughter really wished she was still teaching the special needs children. When NPayne was telling me about this, we both had the same thoughts....wow it's nice to have someone just ask you instead of just stare or make rude comments (which he handles MUCH better than I do), and it's nice to know that there is someone who really enjoyed teaching special needs children. I will tell you, from experience with special ed teachers and observing in Cal's special ed class (when he was 3 and 4 years old), that being a special ed teacher is HARD, EMOTIONAL, PHYSICAL, and WORTH IT. Many special ed teachers get "burn out," because it can be so emotionally and physically draining; so they move on to teach "typical" children or teach something else. It was nice for that elderly lady to tell NPayne that her daughter missed teaching special ed.
Back to original angle....NPayne and Cal returned my mama to her house and then came home. I thanked him for taking her. We went back to her house later last night, to do a few things for her, and to let our 4 "big" kids spend the night with her. NPayne repaired something in her fridge, helped me hang a few pictures; and he hung this monstrous wall decoration (that she loves) on the wall. We came home, he played with Elli before putting her to bed, and then we snuggled up on the couch and watched a movie together. Did I mention I love this man? NPayne is a gracious father and son in law, and he is the best husband in the world...honest he is; and he's mine!
I LOVE THAT picture of NPayne and Cal, so I had to post it at some time.

Monday, November 24, 2008

NOT ME MONDAY

This week, I did NOT do the following....
1. I did not continually check MckMama's blog to see if I won her contest, then when I checked this morning to see that she picked a winner that was not me, I did not feel the least bit disappointed (I really wanted that photography stuff); AND I did NOT feel so good about who she chose when I went to Blessings and Glory's blog that I literally shed a tear. Good choice MckMama!
2. I did NOT spend my entire day yesterday hanging pictures of my family in my house....because I do NOT already have about a million scattered about our walls.
3. I am NOT excited about the prospect of going to see my friends, Leslie and Jeff, today and fishing at their private lake....NOT one little tiny bit.
4. I did NOT absolutely did NOT cry in church yesterday while I sang Blessed Be The Name.
5. I am NOT happy that NPayne never got the stomache bug that the other 6 of us had last week.
6. I am NOT at all completely pumped up and thrilled to have my children home from school for an entire week, and I am NOT one bit excited about Thanksgiving approaching!
7. I did not let my girls paint their own masterpieces to give to their cousin for her birthday, and I did NOT try to figure out how I could just keep those masterpieces for my own.
8. I am NOT really really excited about organizing and redoing some spaces in my house!!!
9. I did NOT agree to meet my friend for a nice lunch on Saturday, with 3 of my daughters in tow, only to realize that they looked like complete ragmuffins. We did NOT go into the nice restaurant looking like we had been playing outside all morning (and need a sponge bath in the bathroom to remove the dirt from their faces and fingernails)...we would NEVER do that.
10. Last but certainly NOT least....once again I did not get giddy when I saw that gas was $1.65/gallon....WOO HOO!
To visit MckMama's blog, the originator of Not Me Monday....click on the NOT ME MONDAY button on the side of my blog.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Sermon Summary

Our sermon this morning was entitled "Learning to Give Thanks." Our pastor, Ken, discussed the fact that as children giving thanks doesn't necessarily come naturally....our parents had to teach us and remind us to say "Thank You." I thought about what he said and realized that was really true. I wonder if my parents had never taught me, as a young child, to say "thank you" if and when I would have ever learned to do that. It's funny to me....because it's sort of a habit, as a mother, to encourage my children to say thank you. As a matter of fact when we arrived home after church, my little newly turned 2 year old, said "shoes off"; and I gladly complied. Then before she toddled off after her siblings, she said "thank you mama." We can learn at any early early age to SAY "thank you", but when do we really learn to BE thankful?
When I became a mother, I really began to learn what it meant to be thankful....thankful to have this wonderful blessing given to me, thankful to have so much love to give, thankful as my babies have grown to have so much love in return. As my relationship with Jesus grows and deepens, I continue to learn to be thankful.... thankful for all we can have through Him, thankful for the little things, thankful for His mercy and grace. As I hear the often startling and frightening events of our world, I also continue to be thankful....thankful that God blessed me by letting me live in America, thankful for a home, water, jobs, church, schools, car, clothes, freedom of religion.
During the sermon, we were asked to write down 5 things we were thankful for. Drew wrote the following: Family, Friends, Pets, God, Love. Addi wrote the following: Family, Friends, School, Church, Pets. Bryna Mae dictated the following: Food, House, Grass, Vacations, Family. Pastor Ken then gave the following statistics....there are one billion people who don't have access to clean water, there are 1.6 billion people with no electricity, every 7 seconds a child under the age of 5 dies from hunger....that is devastating. He followed it up by saying that there probably weren't many folks, who had written down, that they were thankful for clean water or electricity; because we take these things for granted....which is so true. It's hard for me to comprehend not being able to go into the kitchen and get a glass of water, or turn on the heater when it's chilly in our house, or wash our clothes, or use my range. I imagine it's even harder for our children to comprehend that, because they have really never done without. Sure they have done without many many wants, but they haven't done without needs; and for that I am also so very thankful. As I was sitting down to write this post, Addi was sitting at the table creating a magnificent painting; and she said, "You know how Pastor Ken said probably nobody said they were thankful for clean water? Well in SS (which she attends after church) my teacher asked us to say some things we were thankful for, and I said clean water." I don't know if she comprehends the enormity of one billion people not having clean water, but I do know that she was listening; and I do know that she is truly THANKFUL!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My framing project is almost complete!







I finally completed one project...YEA! Actually it's one part of a larger project which involves displaying some photograhs of the fam. I bought these really cool frames, many moons ago, made out of old barn wood; and I LOVE them. They are sort of rustic in a shabby chic sort of way. I bought SEVERAL of them which was dandy until we decided to load one up with photos.....then it was discovered that was near impossible to do without breaking the glass. The backs of the frames were basically nailed closed, so everytime NPayne tried to pry one of the nails up....the glass would shatter. Needless to say, he was QUITE frustrated and forbid me to buy anymore of these frames. What he didn't realize, at the time, was that I had bought SEVERAL already. I bought 3 really large ones and 4 medium sized ones. The good thing is they are collage frames, so they hold a bunch of photos. The bad part is that means there is a lot of glass to be broken. NPayne finally figured out how to take the backs off without breaking the glass - he's so smart that way and handy too, I might add. So now I have 4 of them complete, 3 are hung on the wall- WooHoo (1 is still waiting for me to decide where to hang it). Three of them still need photos in them (I am still working on that). What you see above....the frame with the 5 babies, obviously those are my children as babies. All of those openings hold 8x10 photos, so that frame is fairly large. The frame with 12 black and white photos is also a frame with 8x10 openings, so it houses 12 8x10 all in one frame - it is quite large and very heavy. That frame has a photo of each child (as a baby or a toddler), with me and a photo of each child(as a baby or toddler) with NPayne. Then in the middle is a photo of all 5 children and then our most recent family photo. I LOVE it with all my heart. The small collage photo frame holds all pictures (4x6) of Elli when she turned one. Last but not least is the cross frame which holds an individual and recent photo of each child. I am so thrilled to have these completed and mostly hung. More projects coming soon......
I'm still working on that old credenza....the stomache bug put me behind on that project.

Did Somebody Say Contest?

It's FRYDAY (really it's Saturday, but I am a day late); so let's pretend it's still FRYDAY! I'm entering this awesome contest that MckMama is putting on, because honestly I want to win her photography stuff. I NEED it, I NEED it, I really really really NEED it! Okay I don't NEED it, but I do want it. Pick me....Pick me.....Pick me....
Go check out MckMama's own Fryday post and meet Small Fry....your mckheart will mckmelt! You might even need to order a mckmilkshake to cool it off. Click on the link below to meet Small Fry.
http://mycharmingkids.net/

I Can't Escape It!

If you have read my blog, you know that I am a firm believer in keeping the thanks in Thanksgiving; and that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year! I don't listen to Christmas music, get out decorations, or really do much of anything "Christmas" until after Thanksgiving. HOWEVER.....For the last several days, I have been listening to my 2 oldest girls play the piano repeatedly; and guess what they have been playing....."Deck the Halls" and "Jolly Old St. Nicholas." What can I say....at least they are practicing. After hours upon hours of playing, I have found that I am able to tune it out a little (wink). At least I know we will have live and beautifully played music at Christmas.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Picture of the Week-John Andrew

Isn't this a goodlooking lad?
This is John Andrew, he is my dear sweet friends' John and Suzanne's eldest child. I met them when JA was in my pre-k class several years ago, and we became really good friends. They moved a loooooong way away a few years back, and I miss them dearly; but we still keep in touch daily in fact (via Facebook). I love this picture...JA looks like a model, and he is truly that handsome in real life. He looks like his mama (sorry John, but he does); so you know she's quite a looker herself (I know John would agree).

SHEEESH....I'm Trying To Be Grateful Here!


I turned on my bathtub, and this is what I saw when I came back in a few minutes to put my babe in....a little shocking and quite disturbing. Now to refresh your memory, go back to my previous "Ventage....this time about my house" post and the "Deep Breath" post that followed. Since those posts, the following has or is occuring....
Driveway is repaired, actually even better than before....that dip that you had to put the pedal to the metal to get over is gone, tractors still everywhere, annoying beep beep beep...still continuing bright and early EVERY morning and ALL day long, and now a tub full of NASTY water. Work With Me Here...I have to bathe myself and my baby, so I can go to my daughter's feast at school.
Again Deep Breath....Did I mention my driveway was repaired? I can even park in it now that is when I can get down my street...Another Deep Breath...I guess I can just spray on some cologne and extra deodorant and skip the shower for now (it wouldn't be the first time). I'm grateful I have a house and a tub, and a baby to put in the tub (when the water is clean). I'm grateful I have a child to go visit for a feast at a good school. I'm grateful I have cologne and deodorant to mask the fact that I won't have had a shower (hopefully)....surely I don't smell that bad. I'll brush my teeth extra long and that way my fresh breath will be a positive distraction over my non showered body....wait my water is nasty....Another Deep Breath. I can use a water bottle to do it. I'm grateful I will have clean water by using a water bottle. I'm grateful I am getting new waterlines....TRULY I am. And I will be EXTREMELY grateful when they are FINISHED!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Friendly Face-Robin

I haven't done a Friendly Face post in a while, so I thought it was time to get that pedestal out once again. I like writing these posts, because it gives me an opportunity to let that particular person know how special he/she is to me and how he/she has impacted my life for the better. This post is going to feature my friend, Robin. Robin is my self declared hairbow wearing, holiday decorating (I mean ALL holidays), Republican voting, gardening diva...she doesn't wear hair bows anymore (which I'm going to have to admit I'm REAL glad about); but she did all through college...heehee....that still makes me giggle. Her house is always immaculate except when one of her little guys paints all over the carpet or throws 2 dozen eggs on the floor. She always looks beautiful and is always smiling (see that picture...she always looks that good). She can cook up about anything and serves the most amazing food anytime I've been to her house for an event...whether it be to meet our new pastors or a children's birthday party. She is ORGANIZED, and those of you who know me know I crave ORGANIZATION! I love her, because she is able to laugh at herself or a situation right after she just got through crying about it. Robin gets really excited over little things, and I love that about her. She knows she is so blessed and doesn't take that for granted. She is not afraid to ask for help, prayers or guidance; and she is always willing to offer those things in return when needed. She is so very thoughtful and generous and does everything with gladness in her heart. She is very involved with the youth, children and adults at our church; and we are blessed to have her leadership and love.
Robin and I became friends about 6 years ago at church. She and her sweet husband started coming to our Sunday School class, and I started to get to know them in a casual way. We discovered that we were both expecting babies about the same time, along with half the other people in our SS class, I mean it's not called 2x2 for nothing. Things continued on...we had our babies a few months apart, then that's when the BIG change occured....Robin and Steve had decided and planned for her to leave the corporate world and be a SAHM. They already had a daughter, who at the time was about 11 years old; but Robin had always been a career woman. In fact she met her husband at work, because she was his supervisor (I think I got that right). Once she left the career world, we began to spend more time together, mainly at church Bible Studies and children's functions, etc. Over the last 5 years, we have become the dearest of friends; and we have both each had another child (she another boy, me another girl). Our children are friends, my Addi Jo is now in youth with her Ashley; and Ashley is just like her mama. She is very funny and sweet, and she looks out for my little 6th grader. Her young boys are dear friends with my young girls. Our families are friends.
Robin has gone through a lot over the last few years....some very serious illnesses within her own family involving her daughter and her sister, the loss of her very loved grandmother, and battling with her daughter's biological father over relenquishing his parental rights; so Steve (who is her dad in every meaning of the word) could adopt her. We celebrated as that just occured over the last few weeks. It was truly such a long road and so painful for Robin to watch her daughter suffer so much and endure so much for so many years. Thankfully now Ashley shares the same last name with her brothers, her mother and her (in every meaning of the word) dad. Robin truly is the most upbeat person I have ever met and genuinely such a caring person. Her children have tested her to her wits end (as children will do), but she is always able to laugh about it later; and she doesn't even mind when her friends laugh about it either. No matter what, she treasures these wonderful little men and beautiful young lady that God has lent her. She embraces motherhood with all she has and lives her life to raise her princess and princes to love their FATHER! Robin makes a difference in anyone's life that she touches. I plan on Robin being one of my friends that grows old with me, so Robin....I hope you plan on that as well.
By the way, tell Ashley she knows it; and she needs to admit that we are cool "old" ladies!

I DON'T DO FEET....I MEAN IT!

"If you ever want these lips to kiss your lips, you will stop doing that IMMEDIATELY!" This is what I firmly, but in the nicest possible way said, to my daughter who had her foot in her mouth doing what appeared to be biting a toenail. I am gagging just visualizing it - ewwwwww!
No it was not the same daughter who took the banana in the bathroom!

Date Day With Bryna Mae

Then, by the will of God, I will be able to come to you with a joyful heart; and we will be encouragement to each other. Romans 15:32!

Today was my date day with Bryna Mae. Every Thursday afternoon is set aside just for us to spend together. Today I surprised her with an outing that she has been longing for, and I cannot express in words the amount of joy her joy brought to me. As I watched her on our outing, unbeknownst to her, her beautiful smile and bright eyes truly filled my heart to a point I thought it might explode. I found myself, and still do as I'm typing this, choking back my own tears of joy and gratitude. I truly thanked God about a gazillion times during that outing for the joy I was experiencing. Isn't it amazing how the simplest things can bring us so much joy if we allow them to, and how someone else's joy can be spread in such abundance that you feel literally overwhelmed by it? She has no idea how much joy I received today. And although I will tell her tonight, once again, how much I enJOYed being with her today; I don't think she will truly grasp the true, raw, pure joy that I experienced just by watching her. I am truly one grateful mama!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Six Down...One To Go!

If you read my Not Me Monday Post and the thank you post(that followed) for the Get Well Wishes, you know that we have had the stomache bug going around our house in the worst possible way....mainly because I got it as well. I NEVER get sick. The kids get sick and spread it around to each other, and NPayne usually gets it; but this time I got it - and it was UNPLEASANT! Well if you remember, Addi Jo and NPayne were the 2 who had been spared the vomitrocious virus; but now we're down to NPayne. Addi Jo was sick all through last night and today. She seems to be over it now, but now the waiting begins.....Will he get it? Will he get it? Will he get it? I sure hope not!

I'm Not a Germaphobe, But That Was Gross!!!

I walked into the bathroom tonight to find one child attempting to use toilet paper to wipe herself while holding an opened banana in her mouth (I'll go ahead and say her, because most of you know my boy doesn't eat bananas). I immediately said, "What are your plans here?" To which the child responded with silence...after all, she had a banana in her mouth. I gently removed the banana, and asked the question a second time... "What are your plans here?" Then she replied, "I had to go peepee".....no mention of the banana. I told her to finish up her business and wash her hands as I left the bathroom holding the banana hostage. As she came out of the bathroom, I ever so kindly and motherly said the following...."YOU MAY NOT TAKE FOOD INTO THE BATHROOM....It's just wrong!" I think she understood!

Deep Breath....

Whew...okay...after my ventage, I am feeling much better; BUT I am also starting to feel a little guilty about the ranting. As I was watching them out the window, working on my street, I really tried to look at the bright side of things. I mean is this really that serious? No it's not. It's just inconvenient. I'm really thankful that they are replacing our waterlines, did I ever mention that we live in the Historic District of our town? Those waterlines are probably really old as well. I'm really thankful that I have a car to park...even if it is clear down the street, and I'm really grateful that I have a house to live in....even if I have to walk a block to get to it. But I'm mostly grateful that I have 5 children to watch the tractors out of our window, and not be one bit annoyed by the demolition of our driveway, but to think it's fascinating.

More Ventage - this time about my house






Allright...I knew they were going to be replacing some water lines on our street over the next month, and I knew they would "leave one side of the street open while working on the opposite side of the street;" but I didn't know they were going to completely block me from getting into my house. Help Me Henry....I came home, from work today, to ANOTHER sick child; and I couldn't even get into my own house. These pictures were taken from my front door, and yes that is a man's head poking out of the street in front of the entry to my driveway...think that hole is a little deep? Good night nurse! Talk about IRRITATED....this usually calm, go with the flow, even tempered mama became her old fiery red headed tempered self once again. Don't misunderstand....I wasn't hateful or didn't throw a fit or anything like that, but I did immediately think to myself...Who can I call to complain about this? I came in and e-mailed NPayne to ask him, and he kindly reminded me that they did send a letter out that said our street would be torn up, and they would leave one side available. That really didn't appease me at all, because all I keep thinking about is having to park clear at the other end of the street and then walk with baby and backpack in tow with 4 other children and all their school stuff staggering behind me all the while limping with my gimp foot. I bet then the construction workers will know why I didn't return their (I'm so sorry we have completely destroyed your driveway, the entire front of your house and have left you nowhere to park) wave that they gave me when I came home from work to ANOTHER sick child. I am curious as to if they would have knocked on my door, if a car had been parked in our driveway, to courteously let me know that they were about to demolish our driveway to the extent that there would be no possible way for a car to get in or out? I am also curious as to how the trashmen are going to pick up our trash tomorrow or even get their truck down the street for that matter. I am also curious as to why they started the construction last Friday, and left the cones in front of our house, but didn't have anyone working on the street until today (the following Wednesday) when we were awakened bright and early by that ever so annoying...beep beep beep beep that tractors and other large vehicles do when backing up. WORK WITH ME HERE....We are sick and tired (literally) in this house. Basically I'm irritated, and even moreso that this will still be the case next week when we have our family over for Thanksgiving. I wonder how I will get my mom, in her wheelchair, in the house? I guess whoever plans these types of projects doesn't consider all those factors, and why should they? It's not their gimp foot, or 5 kids staggering down the block to get home, or their mom in a wheelchair. I think it's inconsiderate, and although they are improving our waterlines; I do think they should let you know exactly what day, time and for how long your house will be unavailable for exit or entry...not just the street but your exact homestead. I will tell you....if it rains anytime soon, whilst the hiking to and from the car is going on, there will be a tantrum involved; and it will not be pretty! However...I am trying to look on the brightside here, because that is how I try to handle irritating, stressful, annoying situations...Cal will think this is the coolest thing ever....a tractor right outside our house....he will literally NEVER leave the window or front porch.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wordful Wednesday-Good Buddies















My Wordful Wednesday post had to consist of 3 pictures this week. These are pictures of my son, Cal, and his best friend, Adam. I have posted about Adam previously in one of my Friendly Face posts, because I think he is truly one of the most remarkable kids I've ever been blessed to meet. If you have read my blog previously, you may know that my son has Autism and Fragile X. Children and adults with Autism often have a hard time forming relationships with anyone, so when Cal formed this friendship with Adam last year; my heart jumped for joy. Adam is a 9 year old "typical" little boy who does not judge or think twice about being judged for being Cal's friend. As you can see in the pictures, he loves my son; and he is not one bit intimidated by the fact that Cal wanted to hug him, hold his hand, or put his arm around him IN PUBLIC nonetheless. I don't have a lot of experience with "typical" 9 year old boys, since I have 4 daughters and one 9 year old boy who is not a "typical" child; but once again I was amazed at how Adam didn't think twice about what the other boys (at the soccer field that day) would say about him holding Cal's hand, hugging him, and putting his arm around him. I know many of the other boys (not all of them but many), who don't know Cal, think he's quirky or "weird" which I've discovered is a quite common interpretation of my son (if you don't know him), but not Adam....he just thinks he's Cal....his friend.
To visit more Wordful Wednesday Posts, visit http://www.angiescircus.blogspot.com/.

Are You a Grinch?

My pastor, Ken, led a sermon on Sunday that was my cup of tea. When I saw the picture of the Grinch on the bulletin, I immediately ASSUMED it would be about people (like me) who are sort of anti Christmas "stuff", not anti Christmas but anti all the "stuff" that tends to go along with Christmas. His sermon addressed the fact that the true meaning of Christmas (the birth of Christ) can become buried or stolen (just like the Grinch attempted to steal Christmas from the Whos) by all the busyness and stuff that we humans can be consumed with. Ken said that these things aren't necessarily bad things, but that the meaning of Christmas can just get lost amongst them. This year for advent, the pastors decided on the theme; "Simply Christmas"! YEA! Hallelujiah! I have been in favor of "Simply Christmas" for a long time. I can't remember when I started to feel overwhelmed and to dread the "stuff" that seemed to accompany Christmas, but I think it was when I became a mother. Now don't get me wrong....I LOVE Christmas, I just don't LOVE all the "stuff". Between the parties, for the children and adults, the shopping, the decorating, the undecorating, the planning of when we go where for gift exchange, the wonderful church services, and everything else; quite frankly I'm already exhausted just thinking about it. Each week for advent, there will be 4 things to help us simplify Christmas....worship more, give more (to the needy), spend less, love all. Pastor Ken talked about giving relational gifts, and I LOVE that idea with my whole heart. My kids are creative and love to make things, so I had already planned on making gifts for their cousins, grandparents and aunts. Making relational gifts will be so fabulous. I explained it to Addi, and she thought it was great as well. NPayne and I told her that we would much rather our children give us something relational....meaning a gift where we do something together. One idea I gave her for her dad was that they could make him a card or something that let him know that they would like to go to the lake and spend the day fishing with him. Last year for Mother's Day, the kids gave me a Day at the Payne Spa...complete with a hairstyle, massage and bubble bath all performed by my sweet children. That's a perfect gift for me....absolutely perfect. I want my children to know what Christmas is about and what it means and treasure THAT gift, the gift of Jesus....not the store bought gifts. I want them to know that Christmas will come whether we have a Christmas tree, lights on our house, or pretty red Christmas shoes. Just like in The Grinch That Stole Christmas...although he tried to steal Christmas, it still came; because it's not about all the "stuff". It's about much more. I want them to know that there are so many people in the world, children just like them, who will be overjoyed to have food to eat at Christmas or the opportunity to be with someone they love and not even think about toys, ipods, or video games. I want my kids to know that they don't NEED a thing that is on their list, and I want them to appreciate that Christmas means....we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ; and He is the real gift!
I wanted to thank everyone for the get well wishes for the 5 out of 7 of us who have been ill. I never thought when I dreamed of a day of rest that it would be because I literally couldn't get out of bed. I feel like a bear in hibernation, and with all the bodily fluids I have expelled over the last 24 hours; I am pretty positive that I have indeed reached my weight watchers goal weight of losing 30 pounds. I truly haven't been this ill, since morning sickness. Fortunately this is only lasting a couple of days instead of 12 weeks. NPayne and Addi Jo are the only 2 who have been spared this sickness go around, and I pray they will continue to be spared. God is good for keeping one adult, in the house, healthy when another is ill. Thanks again for the well wishes.

Monday, November 17, 2008

NOT ME MONDAY Addendum

13. I did not just receive a call from the school to inform me that now my boy is throwing up--this did not just happen.

See the original post below!

NOT ME MONDAY

The following list of things did not occur over the last few days....I will deny it if you ask me about it. My entire Not Me Monday post does NOT involve bodily fluids!

1. I did not enjoy a spectacular night at The Well, our women's ministry at my church last Thursday.
2. I certainly did not immediately begin to blog about the sermon that was preached by one of my favorite pastors, Cindy.
3. As I was not blogging about this wonderful event, I did not hear this unusual gurgling and coughing coming from upstairs....not me. I did not call to NPayne and say "someone is throwing up," because I couldn't tell which of the 4 children (who live upstairs) it was.
4. As I was not hoping that someone was not throwing up, Drewby did not come downstairs and tell me she had thrown up. That did not just happen.
5. After she had not thrown up, did she not continually throw up for the entire night and into the next day. And I did not stay up all night with her, holding back her hair and dumping out her "throw up" bucket. And I was not secretly glad that she was going to have to stay home with me on Friday, and I was going to have her all to myself to care for and snuggle with(even though a good part of the day was spent over the toilet). I would never think that.
6. I was not really touched, each time she said "thank you mom" after I had held back her hair or cleaned up her bucket. Not at all.
7. She did not continue to throw up into Friday night, then feel perfectly fine by Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday, only to throw up AGAIN late Sunday night.
8. I did not have 2 other children throw up on Sunday as well, and I was not completely thrilled when it seemed as though they would each only throw up ONCE!
9. This morning I did not wake up with a weird gurgling in my stomache, only to race to the bathroom to throw up, not me...I'm perfectly fine (NOT)!
10. I am not one bit saddened by the fact that I will NOT be able to host Bunco at my house tomorrow night, because of all of the throwing up that's going on. I was NOT looking forward to that at all.
11. I am not waiting for NPayne to come home from work, early, to care for 3 kids that are home; so I can lay down and sleep the day away. Not looking forward to that at all.
12. I do not hope that I feel "normal" by tonight, because I don't do throw up very well.

That's my Not Me Monday post. To get to MckMama's blog, click on the link on the side of my blog. I hope all this talk about throw up didn't make you, well.....sick.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Payne Christmas Traditions

Some of our Christmas Traditions:
1. We buy a hand cut Christmas tree and put up decorations the day after Thanksgiving!
2. We go to the carol of lights, downtown, which is the Monday after Thanksgiving. This is where they light up the BIG Christmas tree in our town, and our mayor talks about the real meaning of Christmas.
3. We attend the Chrismas parade, because our girls are usually in it on a Girl Scout float or an Adventure Guides float. Cal stays home with grandma or rides in the truck with NPayne (who pulls the Adventure Guide float), because he is scared of parades.
2. My children use their own money to buy gifts for each other, their parents and their extended family. This is completely their desire, not mine. They will either make something or go shopping at the Dollar Store.
3. NPayne and I buy our children ONE and ONLY ONE gift for Christmas. That's it! Believe me sometimes that's hard to do, because we face temptations when shopping. We plan what we are buying, and then we stick with it.
4. Santa brings our children ONE and ONLY ONE gift for Christmas. NPayne and I have veto power of things the kids might ask Santa for as well.
5. We attend Christmas Eve candlelighting service at church.
6. We bake a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas Eve, and then we serve the first piece to Santa with a big glass of cold milk. He really enjoys it too! Then we eat the rest of the cake, for dessert, after our Christmas dinner the following day.
7. Our children write Santa a letter on Christmas Eve with a request which is usually the following...A Surprise Would Be Nice! Sometimes there is a specific item on the list but usually they ask for a surprise.
8. Santa, in turn, responds to the letter and tells the children which gift is for which child; since they usually ask for surprises - they don't always automatically know which one is theirs.
9. The children wake up on Christmas morning, come downstairs, go through the dining room (avoiding the living room where Santa has left the gifts), wake us up, and then go sit on the couch that faces away from the Christmas tree. There they wait for us to get Elli up, and then we all read Santa's response and look at their gifts together.
10. We eat breakfast together and then we open our gifts from each other. We stay in our pj's until lunch time.
11. Then our extended family comes over, and we exchange gifts with them, eat Christmas dinner and enjoy each other.
12. We leave our Christmas decorations up until after New Years!
13. We constantly remind ourselves that Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ. We read about it all through the season, we talk about it, we sing about it; and if we begin to lose focus, we gently remind each other again. Jesus came for us! He was born for us! He lived His life for us! That is why we celebrate Christmas!

HELP ME HENRY!!

Have mercy!!!! Work with me boys!!!! Good Night Nurse!!!! This is what automatically, without thinking about it, flowed off my tongue when I just read my sweet friend-Robin's blog as my mouth hung open. I mean I caught myself saying those things out loud as I read a few of her adventures with her little boys today....
Her youngest son, 2 1/2, quietly got up from his nap...without a peep, snuck into his 15 year old sister's room, proceeded to open 15 bottles of acrylic paint and paint all over the carpet in her bedroom, on the stairs and all over his church clothes. Girl....God Bless You, and He loves you! He wouldn't give you more than you could handle, but today I think He tested you a lot! I think Steve needs to send you to Santa Fe again soon! Sister....pretend like I'm there giving you a hug of encouragement.
Love you my sweet friend!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm on a mission.....

WHEW! I have been busy. I started a "project" in my house last night and although it didn't go the way I had originally anticipated, I think I'm going to be fairly happy with it. It's going to be interesting and really cute if it turns out the way I am NOW anticipating. We'll see. I posted a "before" picture of it. It's an old credenza that I bought from my next door neighbor for $10 to use for storage in my kitchen.

I also went to my FAVORITE store in the whole world today....Anthropologie. I LOVE that store. I can't afford to shop there, most of the time, but I love to browse. I certainly can't afford the clothes, but I do find good deals on cool household items from time to time. Today I bought a really cute plate and some file folders with the Initial P on them. I am loving them. I can't wait to get them in place. NPayne and I have been working on some framing projects the last few weeks, and I think we will be ready to hang some newly framed photos soon. I CAN'T WAIT!

Friday, November 14, 2008

In case you're wondering....why is she up?

If you're wondering why I am posting so many posts today, actually in the middle of the night, it's because I'm up with my very sick little Drewby. While she catches a few zzzzz's in between the regurgitating, I decided to blog. I would rather stay up until her regurgitation is under control than try to catch a few zzzzz's in between....remember I am NOT a fan of being awakened in the middle of the night. If you get a minute, say a little prayer for healing for her.

TIDBIT OF INFORMATION....April 28th, 2009

One of my lifelong friends suffered the excrutiating loss of her newborn baby boy on August 16, 2005. It has been and will forever be, a long and continuous road of healing and adjusting to the "new normal," for her and her husband and all those who love them and longed for that baby. I received an e-mail from her yesterday entitled what do you think? When I opened it, it said....Here is something that (her husband) and I have been working on. Enjoy! Love, (my lifelong friend)! There was an attached image at the bottom. As the goose bumps ran up my spine, I clasped my hands over my mouth in anticipation, my heart started to pound in my chest, and the tears began to well....I knew what I wanted that image to be, what I was trying to will it to be.....a sonogram picture. Guess what? It was! Congratulations to my sweet friend. I am praying for peace and a healthy baby.

PICTURE OF THE WEEK...SISTERS!

This picture was taken on Elliot's first Valentines Day, and I LOVE it.

TIDBIT OF INFORMATION-Are you still as amazed as I am?

Can you believe this beautiful 5 foot 2 inch, 130 pound, size 8 1/2 women's shoe, 11 year old girl was in my womb? I still marvel at that daily. I look at my children, as they grow, and I am still amazed that they ever fit into my body. I am also amazed, from time to time, that I AM THE MOM...WOW! I am the one in charge....most of the time. I use to always ask NPayne, until I could tell he was getting tired of me asking, "Can you believe we are somebody's parents"? It's not that I doubt us as parents....that would be bad, since we have 5 children; but I am still amazed at the wondrous miracle of conception, pregnancy, childbirth....and then the ever so sad fact that they grow up in a blink of an eye. If that doesn't prove there is a GOD, I don't know what to tell ya.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cindy....She Did it Again!

Tonight was a spectacular night....one that I look forward to every year. It was the night that our women's ministry, The Well, featured our very own beloved Associate Pastor Cindy as the speaker. I have quoted Cindy previously, in the Clean Up Clean Up...Post, and I wish I could quote her word for word every time I hear her preach or speak or read something she has written. I use to think, and still do oftentimes, that she was looking at and speaking directly to me when she preached. I even found myself nonchalantly looking around at others to see if they noticed that she was, indeed, talking only to me. I have to admit that I was a little jealous when I found out that other people felt that way as well....that she was focusing on them and them alone and their need at that particular time. She truly touches my soul with her words, and she is a blessing to me (and she's darn funny to boot).
Tonight her topic was being grateful which is one that I can honestly say, was one where I didn't feel like she was looking right at me, speaking directly to me and focusing only on me (at least not until she got past the title of her sermon-hehe). I am truly grateful for my blessings (big or small, challenging or easy, good or bad) and believe wholeheartedly that there is always something to be grateful for each and every day. It is an attitude that I truly embrace, try to teach my kids, and let shine through my words and actions. Don't think I'm tootin' my own horn here, because this has been a conscious effort and a work in progress on my part and was not easy at first. When things weren't going the way I thought they should, I use to get angry, pout, sulk and make everyone around me miserable; BUT one day I decided that this is what was making me unhappy. I also realized that I was really putting a damper on other people as well, mainly my parents. It was right after the Oklahoma City Bombing occurred, and I heard this lady speaking about how she was so grateful to have survied after she had to sever her own leg from her body with a pocket knife to free herself from entrapment. Work with me here....she had to cut her leg off with a pocket knife in order to survive. It took her hours and hours to free herself from the rubble. She literally sawed on her leg for hours. As I watched this woman share this story, and I saw the true happiness and gratitude exude from her; I realized that I needed to get over my own self pity and look at the good things in my life....rearrange things I was concentrating on (as Cindy said tonight) to focus on the good things; and I have since done that. There are still oftentimes things don't go the way I thought they should, orI don't understand what happened, or I find myself in the midst of a storm; and I struggle. At the end of the day I sit down and re-evaluate all I have to be grateful for, and it doesn't take away the storms; but it does change my focus. Then I thank God again for the umpteenth time that day for all of those things. One thing Cindy said tonight, that did make me think she was indeed looking directly at me and speaking to only me, was the following...."All happy people are grateful, and ungrateful people cannot be happy. We tend to think that it is being unhappy that leads people to complain, but it is truer to say that it is complaining that leads to people becoming unhappy. Become grateful, and you will become a much happier person." She quoted this from Dennis Prager's book Happiness is a Serious Problem. When she said those words, it took me back to the times when I was ungrateful and unhappy. It led me to reflect on my choice to be grateful and happy now, and I wondered to myself... How did she know? How does she always know? Maybe because she is so in tune with women. Maybe it's because God puts her right where she is needed at the right time. Maybe it's because that's just what she does. Cindy, you did it again; and for you I am so grateful.

IT'S OFFICIAL---I'm Injured!

I had to break down and go see a foot/ankle specialist today to diagnose my mysterious injury. I kept hoping it would get better on its own, but to no avail; it just continued to worsen. As you probably know now, if you have read many of my previous posts, I DO NOT LIKE FEET! This was more than torture because of the discomfort of the injury, but mainly torture due to the fact that this doctor was going to have to touch my foot and xray it....ewwwww! She did do that and in turn gave me the following diagnosis....there is an extra bone in my foot (yes one that's not suppose to be there) which seems to be irritating the tendon around it. Why this happened after nearly 42 years of life.....who knows? I had to receive a steroid injection in the tendon in my foot (not pleasant but not as bad as I thought-after all I have given birth 5 times), and I will be wearing the ever so lovely ankle sleeve for the next 2 weeks. The good news is that it doesn't look like it is going to require any surgery to remove the extra bone, the bad news is I have to wear gym shoes for 2 weeks....no flip flops, heels or anything remotely cute; but I can certainly live with that. However this Saturday, I will be breaking the rules and wearing something more fashionable than gym shoes. Our church is hosting its semi formal GALA to raise money for various missions, and I will NOT be wearing gym shoes. I may be wearing stylish flip flops versus the cute very high heels I originally intended to wear, but gym shoes will not be a part of my semi formal attire. It's only for a few hours, and I will probably sit down most of the evening just to avoid limping and discomfort. NPayne is much more disappointed about the no heels than I....did I ever mention he is a SHOE man? He is!

P.S. to NEVER SAY NEVER

I did meet some of my dearest friends in middle school, girls and boys who are now women and men, who have been my dear friends every since we went through puberty together. For those middle school friends, who read my blog, know that you made it all worthwhile; and I love you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

NEVER SAY NEVER

Help Me Henry....I am tutoring middle schoolers! When I became a teacher umpteen years ago, I made a secret vow that I would NEVER teach middle school. Never say never, because here I am....tutoring not just 6th or 7th or 8th graders but tutoring ALL 3 yessiree Bob - ALL 3! Tuesday was my first day to tutor at one of our local public middle schools, and although I am looking forward to the superb pay; I was Dreading it with a capital D. I will not say anything to declare that it was a glorious experience, because it wasn't; BUT....it was not near as dreadful as I had thought. I will leave it at that for now. After all....I've only tutored one day, and I still have SEVERAL more days left. I'm not quite ready to wrap it up and tie it with a bow just yet. However after my first day, I will say that I am expecting some days to be good and some days to be not so good as opposed to all days being not so good. I have discovered, as I soul searched all summer about my Addi Jo going into middle school, that the reason I was so nervous about her entering that treacherous territory of middle school and the reason that I was Dreading (with a capital D) beginning my tutoring job really has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the kids or the schools but solely with me and my middle school experience (was that a run-on?). I absolutely ABHORRED, I mean detested, loathed and really hated with every ounce of my being middle school. Are you getting the feeling that I didn't like it? Well.... I didn't. I was so uncomfortable with EVERYTHING in middle school....from the boy/girl relationships to the mean and manipulative girlfriend relationships to the peer pressure all wrapped up with puberty. Inadvertently I have stereotyped middle school to be the same experience for Addi, as it was for me, and I'm now seeing that that is ludicrous. We are different people in a different time in different circumstances. She is actually really enjoying middle school (so far), and I'm so glad for her. I am still quite bothered by things I've heard and seen while waiting in the carpool line, but SHE IS HAPPY; and she is a good kid! And as for those treacherous 6th, 7th and 8th graders I'm tutoring....they ain't so bad either (don't hold me to that....it has only been one day).

TIDBIT OF INFORMATION - Addi Jo

Tonight I learned that if I tickle Addi Jo, she will laugh and then possibly(just maybe) respond to me when I speak to her!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

WORDFUL WEDNESDAY...and it's Tuesday again!

This is a picture of my 2 middle daughters while we were on vacation this past summer. I was snapping photos left and right, my camera was literally smokin', and I looked over; and there they were...wrapped up in each other, holding hands, arms around each other, caught in the moment...it was delightfully grand. I didn't even "make" them do this, pose them this way or encourage this embrace. It just happened naturally as they were watching the ocean. They were caught in the moment of sisterhood and friendship and marveling at God's beautiful creation. For a brief moment, time stood still for me and every time I look at this picture...time stands still again. This photo sums up the relationship between my children....they simply love each other, and that is DELIGHTFULLY GRAND!
To visit Angie's blog, the originator of Wordful Wednesday, go to http://www.angiescircus.blogspot.com/

I took the easy way out, and I'm not ashamed!

Let me start by saying....I am EXHAUSTED! We had this horrendous thunderstorm here last night which kept my 2 youngest trembling with fear half the night and me awake half the night. I have this weird injured foot/ankle/leg thing that is keeping me from catching the appropriate amount of REM. And I started a new job today....tutoring middle schoolers....if that ain't enough to cause a severe amount of exhaustion, I don't know what is. So of the 2 choices I had for this evening....take Drew to her soccer party (along with Addi and Bryna) or stay home with Elliot and Cal, I thought about the "easiest" of those 2 options before I made my choice. The option that would allow my brain and body to not have to do much. NPayne said he didn't really care either way, so I took the easy way out and went to the soccer party. I knew if I took them that I would mainly just take some photos (which I did), watch Drew's team receive their trophies (which I did), have a little lemonade (which I did) and possibly help serve some refreshments (which I did not - there were too many cooks in the kitchen). I knew if I stayed home with Elliot and Callahan, I would have to make them some dinner, give them a bath, and do the dishes. Work with me here....I'm exhausted thinking about giving my 2 year old a bath while hobbling around after her. I took the easy way out tonight, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Thank the good Lord that I have a wonderful husband who is perfectly fine with me taking the easy way out!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Just Like Their Daddy (but with a little more bling)!




NPayne's favorite shoes are Chucks, Cons, Converse...you know the tennis shoes that come in a variety of colors, low-top or high-top, worn by females and males. He use to have a plithera of colors, and he use to mix it up when he wore them....blue on the left foot, black on the right foot, etc. When I met NPayne, he was a mere 19 years old and very hippiefied. The only shoes he owned were cons, and he wore them everywhere with everything. Today, under our bed he still has a pair of red high-tops, black low-tops and blue low-tops. I may be forgetting a pair in there somewhere. I bought Drew some pink low-tops last spring, and she loved them. Then Addi wanted some...she got black low-tops, then B...she ended up with the pink ones (that were Drew's when they wouldn't go on Drew's feet any longer) and Drew ended up with some white low-tops. Then came Elli....she got some light aqua high-tops, and they are take my breath away cute. A few weeks ago, Addi asked if she could add a little bling to Drew's shoes (while Drew was camping) and surprise her when she got home. I said...why not? So off we went to the craft store to get the jewels and glue. Addi and B worked that evening on decorating their own cons, as well as Drew's cons and Elli's cons, and I must say the results were fantastic. Their shoes are all so cute and unique. The following weekend, when I was on the retreat, there was a street fair going on; and I saw a vendor selling cons decorated just like my girls had decorated theirs. Of course the vendor was selling hers for 3 times as much as we paid for our beloved cons. Since then, we have had several people tell them how cute their shoes were....one of my good friends commented on Elli's today; so I thought I would post a picture of Elli's and Drew's. This was really fun for the girls, and they created something really unique; and I know their daddy is happy to see them sportin' some cons...bling and all!

NOT ME MONDAY

1. I did not get completely giddy at the fact that I filled up my suburban, with gas, for $55....yes $55; but I am not one bit excited about that. And I do not continue to drive by all the gas stations, in my area, comparing prices; so I'll know where to go for the "cheapest" gas next time I fill up.
2. I did not feed my girls popcorn for lunch...I wouldn't do that.
3. I did not go to my son's school and talk to his class, about his autism, and leave there wishing I had more time to spend with those curious and sweet children.
4. I am not one bit excited about having dinner with some girlfriends tonight....Not one bit excited.
5. I am not limping around, like an injured athlete, because I have some strange injury which has occured; and I am not hoping it goes away all on its own.
6. I am not one tiny bit excited about Thanksgiving.
7. I am not dreading and looking forward to starting my "new" tutoring job tomorrow....not me!
8. I am not already completely overwhelmed with the Christmas holiday which is right around the corner.
9. I did not enjoy a nice date night with NPayne on Friday night, and I DID not sleep until 9:30 on Sat. morning; since our children were spending the night with his sweet mama.
10. I am not thrilled to have cleaned out the dress up closet and gotten all the dress up accessories, shoes and clothes organized. NOT ONE BIT! And the girls....they're not one bit excited that now they can find their dress up clothes when they want to play dress up. And they really enjoyed cleaning it out (wink...that's their NOT ME MONDAY).
That's it for this Monday....stay tuned next week!
To go to MckMama's blog, the originator of Not Me Monday; click on the link on the right side of my blog

Friday, November 7, 2008

My Child is A Genius....Is that boasting?

Yesterday when Drew was getting into the car after school, Ms. Norwood a 4th grade teacher (she was Addi's 4th grade teacher), was telling Drew that she had heard that Drew had written this great paper; and she wanted to read it to her 4th graders. I asked Drew about it, and she said she had written this paper at school; and her teacher asked her to read it to the class. Of course she gladly reciprocated the request. Apparently the gifted teacher, who Drew sees a few times per week for classes, also got wind of the paper; and she too thought it was pretty flippin' fantastic. She made a copy to read to her 4th grade gifted students. Then the assistant principal got in on the scoop of the, now infamous paper, and she too said it was superb; so Drew was feeling like all that and a bag of chips by the time I had heard about the paper. Me, being her mother and an English major in college and grad school, immediately said to her...."I'm going to need to read that as soon as possible."
So she brought the paper home today with the stipulation that it be returned on Monday (so more marveling could occur), and when I read it; I completely understood what all the hoopla was about. It's magnificent, if I say so myself, I scanned a copy of it (red pen marks and all); because I loved it so very much. It will definitely be displayed in my home somewhere.....I forsee another project coming on. I wanted to share it with whomever may read this post. I have a picture of the original scanned copy, and I'll also type it out; so it can actually be read. Remember although my girl is in gifted classes and is apparently a great author, she is only 7; and it seems as if she can't be bothered with spelling and grammar, much less, neat handwriting. Nonetheless get ready to be amazed, moved to tears and completely spellbound....or maybe just really impressed....or maybe simply impressed. Either way, it's my 7 year old girl's creation; and I AM ONE PROUD MAMA! I am going to post it below with the more legible typed words accompanying it.