Smile for the Joy of Others

Smile for the Joy of Others

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas 2008

We were blessed yet again with a great Christmas.

We spent Christmas Eve day with JB's parents in a neighboring state. We had plans to visit with grandmothers and extended family but due to the boys having a lingering fever from RSV, we didn't chance spreading this virus. Both JB's grandmothers have lung "issues" and his cousin's little girl, only a few months old didn't need to be exposed either. So we just hung out at his parent's house while JB visited the extended family. Even though the boys were running fever and coughing, their spirits were still excited.
After we got home Eve night, the boys set cookies and milk out for Santa. This was their first Christmas to do this. I was excited to use the plates they made at school. And of course, Mr and Mrs Claus enjoyed the midnight snack. The boys were sure to check Christmas morning to see if Santa had eaten his cookies. BB's reply was "he was hungry".

This year the boys understood Santa and gifts much more than the past. They consistently said what they wanted each time you asked. BB wanted Handy Manny tools while CB wanted Thomas the Train toys. Hence the reason they are wearing their respective shirts to bed, Christmas Eve. The Friday before Christmas the boys saw Lighting "NaQueen" umbrellas at Wal-Mart they wanted Santa to bring. This was a request even up til Christmas Eve. We couldn't purchase the umbrellas at the time we saw them b/c the boys were with us. So, we left the umbrellas hoping we could find one at our Wal-Mart without the boys around. No such luck.

We stopped at the Wal-Mart of JB's hometown on our way to his parent's. I got out with hope that they would have not just 1 but 2 Lighting "NaQueen" umbrellas. As I approached the kid's umbrellas, I saw 1 "NaQueen" umbrella hanging. I stood there wondering should I get 1 "NaQueen" and 1 Spiderman (knowing that Spiderman wasn't gonna suffice) or should I just forgo the umbrellas and explain that Santa couldn't find the umbrellas. As I walked away decided that I would just forgo the umbrellas, I noticed a red umbrella that had been pushed under the shelve. And Glory be, it was another Lighting "NaQueen" umbrella. I grabbed it with dust and all, picked up the other that was hanging and paid for those 2 umbrellas. I put the umbrellas in the trunk so not to be seen. When I got back in the car...BB asked if I got him a Lighting "NaQueen" umbrella at GiGi's Wal-Mart. This may be trivial, but I thanked God then and there for showing me that other umbrella. My little BB's heart wasn't gonna be broken on Christmas morning b/c for some reason this umbrella was important to him.

I let them use their umbrella for a short moment in the rain on Christmas Day. They loved it. It makes my heart smile to see my boys enjoy such little pleasures. What might be a little "thing" to adults, it's the world to them... and I love seeing their enjoyment.

Although, each wanted separate items, they understand that most of the toys are to share, unless there are two of them. Santa brought a train table with tracks and all the stops that go with it. Although, the table and tracks itself is not Thomas, their trains are. CB has been most impressed. BB got his Handy Manny tools and continues to fix things around the house. In fact, it really doesn't have to be Handy Manny, just any tool is exciting him.

JB and I took a chance on some Radio Flyer "Big Wheels". They are out growing their tricycles but not quite ready for a bike. I'm glad we took that chance. They have loved them and they love going fast-fast. "Watch, mamma, watch me go fast-fast".

Because they are still a little too short to reach the pedals, we had to put pillows behind them til we could rig something better. We have since fixed the problem with something other than a pillow.

My dad came over after we had Santa and spent the day with us. My mom went to my grandmother's for the day. I fixed a pork roast, creamed corn, and Cheesy Ranch Potatoes for lunch.

We opened gifts with my immediate family the Saturday after Christmas.

Although, we had a blessed Christmas and I have everything to be thankful for, I just didn't quite get into the Christmas spirit this year. And by not having the "full" Christmas spirit I don't mean not acknowledging Christ's birth. I mean, I didn't have the motivation to get out all my decor, watch the Christmas movies I usually enjoy watching this time of year, waiting til the last minute to do Christmas cards, etc. I don't know if it was b/c I was so busy, JB working late just about every night, the boys were sick most of December and then there was the weather (hot one day and cold the next). I've read several bloggers express the same emotion and I have talked with several friends, relatives and acquaintances that experienced the same.

I've posted a survey above this blog post asking "If you had the Christmas Spirit" this year. I invite you to answer. (there is no identifying info to vote or after you vote. I can't tell you votes).


Sunday, December 21, 2008


To those that are getting Christmas cards, well barely...please excuse the messy hand writing for the addresses and the stamps.

This year I thought it would be a great idea to design our own in Photoshop with what little knowledge I have of this complicated program that I can't seem to master even after a year of trying. Doing this only added more time and stress to my already busy days of monogramming, shopping and gift wrapping. But I was determined to do it after I had decided that we wouldn't do Christmas cards. I had not even had the chance to take a "Christmas" picture of my boys let alone all 4 of us.

Determined to do it after receiving so many cards from friends and family, I finally got it created Friday before Christmas Day. I used pictures from our beach vacation with a Christmas background. The boys are sportin' appliqued sailboats with Christmas trees as the background. However, the best part of the card (in my humble opinion) is the smile on their faces. For those with multiple children, twins or not, you know how hard it is to get everyone looking at the camera much less looking at the camera with a smiles. Well this picture had both so I stuck with my decision to use it instead of attempting what usaully becomes a torturous photo session of them posing in front of the Christmas tree or some other holiday decor.

I uploaded the photo to our Wal-Mart's 1 hour only to be called and told that their machine was out of commission. This was 6:00 pm, Friday. I called another local Wal-Mart to see if their machine was working. It was, so I used that store instead. JB came home and we all headed to other Wal-Mart to fetch our Christmas cards. This was 7:45 pm, Friday evening. While there, I ordered 20 more. The photo people were nice enough to have them ready in 20 minutes. So while waiting on the other 20, we searched for envelopes to fit the 4x6 photo to no avail. But JB promised he would search our metro area for envelopes in enough time to get them mailed by noon the following Saturday. We left Wal-Mart about 8:30 and headed home with Christmas card photos but no envelopes.

11:00 pm, JB came home after he searched and found envelopes. Although somewhat too big for the photo, it was the best we could do. By this time, I was too tired to address 50 envelopes, stuff and seal. I went on to bed with the intentions of getting up early and fulfilling this task.

Well, I had to give BB a breathing treatment at 2:00 am b/c he was coughing so bad...(he now has RSV). After this I was wide awake and finished some monogramming orders. I didn't get back to bed til 5:00 am with BB sleeping by my side.

JB took morning duty so I could sleep in. 10:00 am, I started to address the 50 envelopes. Several other distractions occurred as they usually do around here. 11:15, JB and I are still trying to get these cards addressed, stuffed and sealed so I could get them to the PO by noon. Oh, I still had to get stamps and place on the envelopes.

I pulled out of my driveway at 11:45 am heading to the PO. The lines were horrific for both desk service and the Automated Postal Machine. And yes, I again just about went postal.

NOTE: DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT WEIGH AND BUY INDIVIDUAL STAMPS FOR 10+ ITEMS AT THE APM!!! How hard is this to understand. The APM is supposed to be for quick transactions...just like an ATM and drive through at a bank!!!!

I digress.

I finally get to the APM (11:59 am), buy my 3 books of stamps, step aside to stamp my envelopes. The stamps I had were of nutcrackers. I was slapping these stamps on so fast that some of you will receive your mail with them standing on their heads, cart-wheeling or lying down.

12:02 pm, they finally got dropped in the stamped mail slot. Whew!

Next year it won't be like, it will be 12:05 pm, the Saturday before Christmas before they get mailed.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sick and Sicker...

Things just seem to come in two's around here, even sickness. The past few days, JB and CB have gone from sick to sicker. JB has had a bout with hives from his head to his toes. He went to the Dr. yesterday. Hopefully after a shot of decadron and a round of oral prednisone, he'll soon be rid of it. We have no idea what brought this bout on. He had a few days of it back in October but this time it has come back worse.

CB has had a runny nose and nagging cough for about 3 weeks. We completed around of anti-biotics about 1 week ago with no success. The coughing and runny nose has progressively worsened. This time the fever has been higher. So off to the Dr. today. My sweet little CB has bronchitis, sinus infection, double ear infection, and possibly RSV. His Dr. didn't do a full screen for RSV since he would be treating it the same as his bronchitis. Now, not only is JB on steroids, so is CB. Prednisone, Xopenex (breathing treatments), Augmentin and Ibuprofen around the clock for the fever. It's time like these I feel so helpless as a mother...when a hug and rocking just won't cure the ailing cough that keeps him awake at night and hurts his chest. As sick as he is, he is such a good patient. A little whiny but still wants to play and go to school.

We've been playing fruit basket turnover with our sleeping arrangements. JB has been sleeping on the couch due his tossing and turning from his itchy hives. BB has been sleeping with me due to CB's coughing. I slept 1 night with the boys so JB could have a decent night sleep (as much as possible) in the bed.

I love our pediatrician. He went ahead and prescribed the same medicines for BB in case he should catch the same thing. I can't tell you the stress it takes off of me that I won't have to load up both children and sit in the "sick bay" to be seen by the Dr. again.

Hopefully, my next update will be more positive.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Our "NO Snow" Day

While most of the area around us was getting inches of snow we only only got inches of rain and sleet. Literally, about 20 minutes from our house, there was enough snow to build snowmen and bring children home from school while we had enough rain to warrant an ark.

The boys were so disappointed. When they got up that morning, they rushed to the glass door to look for snow. CB came back to me with huge tears in his eyes to report "There's not any snow...we can't have Christmas".

Bless their hearts, they asked about the snow all day. "When's it gonna get here? Maybe Santa Claus will bring us some snow." We did walk outside long enough for them to touch the gathering sleet but they didn't like the ice pelting on their heads so we came in to warm up.

Well, it was an almost White Christmas.

The picture above is my 2 nieces, Alex (9) and Abbey (3) at their home about 30 minutes away. At least someone had fun with the rare snow day.

Friday, December 12, 2008

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, we headed to a local Christmas tree farm to choose and cut down this year's Christmas tree. It was a very different experience than last year. This year it was cold, misty, and windy whereas last year, the boys were in short sleeve t-shirts. It was so cold, we almost decided to go with a pre-cut tree but I insisted on the experience of choosing and cutting the tree as a family as if we lived in the day that was the only option if you wanted a Christmas Tree. So we loaded up in the trailer for the tractor to take us to the trees. Luckily there was only 1 other family with us, so we didn't have to wait on many others to choose a tree. Both of us families chose a tree rather quickly to hurry out of the elements. JB sawed it off the trunk and dragged it to the trailer. We made it home with a tree and another year of Christmas Tree cutting memories.

Our tree decorations are rather humble to say the least. Many are from past experiences and gifts. I still have ornaments from elementary school that were given to me either from my teachers of fellow classmates. Most of the ornaments have some type of sentimental emotion behind them. These ornaments are what makes our tree, truly ours.

I have realized that it has been harder to keep 3 year olds away from the tree than when they were younger. Regardless, I have so enjoyed their excitement and innocence of Christmas.

Last year while getting our tree (short sleeves)

This year while getting our tree

Paul Bunyen doesn't have anything on JB

Finally home and warming up...pre-decorated.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cute Craft Website...

I found this website through someone else and thought I would share with my readers. It has lots of fun poems with projects for young children to do for Christmas. Some may have already found this site, but it is new to me. I am gonna attempt (the key word being ATTEMPT) to do a few with the boys while they have such an innocent excitement about Santa and his reindeer.

I am appreciate that most of these projects and the site keep a Christian perspective of Christmas.

Here are few I might try:

Kisses Whisk
1 large wire whisk
about 1/3 bag of kisses
Fill the end of the whisk with chocolate kisses. Wrap in red cellophane and tie with gold ribbon or raffia. Attach a tag "Whisking you a Merry Christmas" or "Whisking you a Merry Kissmas". (I don't like to take Christ out of Christmas.)

Lollipop Ornament
Cut a 7" circle from Christmas fabric.
Wrap it around a piece of polyfil stuffing or a small Styrofoam ball. Insert a lollipop stick. Tie with a piece of ribbon. Sew or glue on a gold string hanger. Kids love helping with these! (My thoughts...this would make a great ornament for grandparents and great grandparents to hang on their tree.)

Hand and Footprint Reindeer
Items needed:
brown construction paper
tan construction paper
wiggly eyes
pom pom for nose
Trace your child's hand prints on the tan construction paper. Trace one foot, with shoe on, on the brown construction paper. Cut out each hand/foot print. Glue the hand print on top of the foot print as antlers. Glue wiggly eyes on. Glue on a pom pom for the nose.

If I get chance to do any of these, I'll be sure to post pics of the outcome.

Here is the website: Heartfelt Holidays (just click on the name and it should take you to the site)


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thanksgiving Blessings...

(I know it's been awhile since I've posted. This season is my busiest for both my personal and business life. Just know that when I've not posted in awhile, it's because I've been too busy to blog.) The motto that's fits best right now... "better late, than never".

Of course, as always, we have so much to be thankful for. Our children, family, friends, church, and that all our necessities are met on a daily basis. We lack nothing we need. And although, there may be things I want but can't have, I have all I need.

This past Thanksgiving season, JB and I are especially thankful for his job. His employers laid off about 30 employees but JB was able to keep his job. It was hard for JB to see some of his co-workers leave under such circumstances, especially this time of year.

While many of his co-workers were laid off, JB was actually given somewhat of a "promotion". Of course, this doesn't come with an increase in pay just yet, but holds alot of promise for JB's future with this company. Because of the changes the company is making, JB has had to work alot of over-time to fulfill some of his new responsibilities. I don't feel it's an appropriate time to go into detail of this change and all it entails due to the nature of the changes that are still taking place and given some of the current circumstances of some of his co-workers. But I can say that this job change for JB is a blessing for the present and the future. JB feels that it's another confirmation of where he is to be at this time when it comes to his job. The Lord has blessed him greatly in many ways at his current employment.

As for my feelings, it's tough having him work late hours and home less but I'm just thankful he has a job and that his employers have thought enough of his character, work ethic, personality and job performance to allow him to stay and to furthermore entrust him with new responsibilities, goals and projects.

I'll update in the future when I feel it's a more appropriate time.

We continue to pray for those that have lost their matter where they worked. JB has seen first hand some of those who desperately now need jobs to support their families. One of his co-workers that was laid off just had a baby this past summer. When he talked to her about the situation and told, we were so encouraged of her attitude and stance. She had been struggling and praying about the guilt that alot of working moms feel. She felt the Lord telling her that she should be a stay home mom but was unsure of how it would work and just afraid to take that leap of faith. She felt that this was God way of showing her where she should be and is thankful for the confirmation no matter how it came about. I am so happy for her attitude and out-look. What a way to be thankful to God in the some of the worst of circumstances.