STACKED MOTHERS RING

we have entered a new era here. all the babies have been born. we are complete. no more members to join for at least another 10 years when they get to marriage age. i am proud of my 5 sons and all that they are and will become.

as i thought about this last week, while anticipating baby adam’s arrival, i decided i needed something physical to display like a name tag telling the world what i have that is so valuable to me.

my mom had mentioned a handstamped, birthstone mothers necklace. but as i thought about it. i am a bit of a necklace collector and like to coordinate my necklace to what i’m wearing.  i worried a mothers necklace would not get enough wear time. i wanted something i would wear everyday.

i also ruled out bracelets, because they can get in the way and i don’t see myself wearing them unless i’m dressing up.

a ring seemed like the way to go. i’m always good at wearing my wedding ring and don’t often add in other rings on my hands. i can dedicate my left hand to my husband and my right to my boys. together they equal the most important people to me in this world.

i figured i would go with birthstones, as is the tradition. but as i pictured how all their birth stones would look together (blue, red, white, purple) i wasn’t feeling it. nor did i think a purple gem really represents a boy, ya know?

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so i thought something like this could work, with just blue gems (blue=boy)

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but then i stumbled across these adorable initial heart rings on etsy. they are tiny enough that i can stack all 5 initials with varied bands in-between and fit all my boys on my ring finger.

il_570xN.693541211_3ulvsimple but i think i will love it.

 

YEAR IN REVIEW CARD

i remember as a kid reading through a 3 page or so handwritten, black and white photocopied family newsletter that one of my mom’s friends from a previous place we had lived sent her for the holidays. it had grainy pictures i could barely make out. but i thought it was kind of a cool idea. so fast forward 20 years and i am for the first time ever doing a family newsletter for our family! and since this is 2 decades later, it is virtual, typed, and in full color baby!!

May you find ways to adore the Lord this season and as you do, fill your home with love, peace, & joy.

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TENDER MERCIES FOR CHRISTMAS

God has given us some tender mercies the last few days. He is an excellent gift giver.

tender mercy #1: the dead battery

quick trip to walgreens before dinner. boys were good in the store, i just snagged 9 boxes of my favorite cereal for 1.88 each. life is good.

wait, why isn’t the car starting. weird. i just took it in for an oil change yesterday, they should’ve told me if anything was wrong with it. must be the battery. but i was only in the store for like 15 minutes. even if i did leave a light on would that really kill the battery?

i walked back into the store to see if i could intercept whoever was checking out at the register to help jump my car. the man checking out chatted nicely with the cashier. i noticed paint on his phone case- good sign, i bet he’s handy.

“could you help jump my car? i think the battery just died?”

“sure, i’m parked right over there” pointing to a white service van. (perfect!)

he pulled over and connected his cables. even tightened one of the battery lead clamps that was a little loose.

“there’s a sticker on your battery that says it was installed in 2010. you probably need a new one. there is an auto zone right there, they can hook their machine up to it and tell you if the battery is bad. and they’ll install a new one for you at no extra charge.”

i wished him a merry christmas, thanked him for his help, and said a silent prayer that he would be blessed for his kindness.

there was an auto zone literally next door, sharing the same parking lot. they did all he said they would.

the very next morning i needed to drive to tampa for a meeting and this story would have likely been a lot less merciful had my battery died at some point during the trip.

feeling good about how well the bad battery turned out my biggest worry arriving home was that now it was past dinnertime but i still had to make dinner, serve it, and we hadn’t done homework yet so the night was probably going to run long. as we sat down to dinner i asked the boys what homework they had and to my delight the answer was none!

couldn’t have gone any smoother.

tender mercy #2: the bad directions

“daddy will be home tomorrow! aren’t you guys excited?”

“Yay! then it will be christmas!”

as always the day before he comes home is a day of excitement and preparation.

i went to bed excited to know that by the time i woke he would be in the middle of his 5 hour drive to the airport. i hoped i might wake in the middle of the night and be able to call him and keep him company as he drove in the wee hours. but i didn’t wake until 10 minutes before my alarm was set to go off. i called him right away to see how his drive was going.

“good…” he said, but there was a little not good-ness to his voice. “so this drive is 7 hours?”

oh no.

“no, it’s 5 1/2 hours… so, what is your eta?”

“10:30”

“your flight takes off at 10:30”

…GPS strikes again. kevin is an excellent driver. if i was faced with a car plowing toward me on an icy, windy road with nothing but a cliff to my right, there is no person i would rather have in the driver seat than him. he rivals james bond in his maneuverings. but when it comes to directions and having a good bearings of north, east, south, west- ugh!

“why would you go north when Fargo is south?!”

“i was just following the GPS”

“didn’t that set off a red flag when you put in the address and the drive was 7 hrs long?”

“yeah it did, but i couldn’t remember how long you said the drive was and i figured it was too early to call you. maybe the flight is delayed and i can still make it.”

“let me check…no. says its on-time. you might as well stop driving, you aren’t going to make it.”

….i was on the verge of tears. feeling anger, sadness, disappointment, frustration, helplessness i continued,

“well let me call the airline and see if they can move you to a different flight. but i doubt there will be another one today because allegiant only flies like once a day. and who knows how much more the new ticket is gonna cost us.”

i go to allegiant’s website. no phone number. just chat and email options. i google ‘allegiant phone number’ and find it. as i start to dial, kevin is ringing me back.

“hello?”

“God is looking out for me. i just got a text message that the flight is delayed to 12:15.”

I check the website again, that i had literally just checked 2 minutes ago. he’s right, the flight is delayed, and he’ll be there with time to spare.

huge ball of stress unknots from my insides.

The Lord is good to all

i hope you are realizing some gifts from the Lord in your life this Christmas season!

MY LITTLE BROTHER

about a month ago kevin had me listen to a song that reminded me of my little brother duane. made me cry. as i saw his birthday approaching me on the calendar i decided to put the song to a slideshow of him i made a couple years ago for my mom. the song makes it more for us siblings.

today he would have been 25. can’t wait to see him again someday. i hope he’s learning and growing lots on the other side.

Duane, my brother

i wasn’t living at home anymore when the turmoil that led to his death really became all consuming. but my mom wrote it all down.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

we celebrated Thanksgiving last week while we had Kevin with us. it was nice. we took the older boys to school in the morning like usual, with the promise we’d be back to check them out as soon as Thanksgiving dinner was ready. then we made a quick run to the store for a few last minute ingredients and started to work! i made broccoli salad, corn casserole, sweet potato casserole, heated store-bought mash potatoes and put brown’n’serve rolls in the oven. i also put together a cheese plate as a light lunch. meanwhile kevin made butternut squash casserole, turkey gravy, and a caramel apple pie.

it was about 1pm when it looked like we were ready to get the hot chicken from Publix and the boys from school. i know, chicken?? we didn’t need a whole turkey and we have ham for christmas, and honestly we LOVE the rotisserie style chickens you can get from Publix, Boston Market, Walmart etc. Publix actually had a spicy cranberry version that day and it was the best thing on the table!

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i made a gratitude wreath that we all hung a leaf of gratitude on and we’ve been adding to here and there.

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so with thanksgiving out of the way for us, i leaped into Christmas mode! Christmas music and shows. the trees are up. candy canes for the boys. i wish Thanksgiving was always held the 3rd week of November. with it falling so late in November the past couple years we don’t even get 30 days to focus on Christmas.

i’ve got all my christmas shopping done, which feels divine, even though i’m gonna miss some great Black Friday prices I’m sure.

this Christmas season I’m going to try to play the Joy to the World DVD a half hour before bedtime every night to help keep us centered on Christ. i did it tonight and although none of the boys sat down in front of the TV to watch it, they were quietly coloring in holiday coloring books and eating candy canes and i hope they felt the Spirit as they heard the beautiful music- i know i did! i fell in love with that DVD on my mission. there are some gorgeous songs on there- especially the rendition of Silent night. and the shots of Mary with baby Jesus are so touching.

happy holidays!

3 KEY FACTORS IN RAISING BOYS TO BECOME MISSIONARIES

i’m reading an oldie but a goodie Raising Up a Family to the Lord

this quote that he includes in the book really made me think.

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in the book he narrows down key behavior of a family that has successful young men (i.e. become priesthood holders, serve missions, marry in the temple). this is something that is really important to me so when he approached the topic in the book i was all ears! and while I’m sure it’s not as simple as checking off 3 things on a list, I believe it is good guidance and has given me an added drive to adhere to the behaviors.

one of the keys is family scripture study. we are pretty good about having scripture study nightly but if it gets past bedtime sometimes we skip it (like on a Friday night after a movie when a couple kids are already conked out). well this past Friday, after reading this, i made sure we did scripture study before the movie. this way my boys will learn about priorities and doing first thing first.

if you are interested in his list, but not enough to buy the book, here it is:

1. Family Prayer (which leads children to personal prayer)

2. Family Scripture Study/ Family Home Evening (which lead children to personal scripture study)

3. Agreement on Values (he gives a great example of handling the question “why do we have to go to church on Sunday?”. One parent might say “because i said so.” or another short response and not help the child come to agree on values. while the teaching parent explains the commandment and blessings associated, referencing scripture and bearing testimony, and asking the child a question or two, causing the child to come to understand and hopefully agree with the parent’s value)

you may be surprised that Go To Church isn’t even on his list. but as i thought about it i realized that just sitting in church on sunday isn’t enough to mold a life. it’s in the home, where we spend every day, that a life is shaped.

CHECKLIST FOR AN 18 MONTH OLD

enoch is 18 months old now and oh the places he goes!

a ride in the laundry basket, whee!

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there are all these new things i’m having to keep track of to keep him safe and limit the amount of times i say no. it is a chore!

1. keep my bedroom door closed so he doesn’t mess with the printer, the router, the mirror, the window, or the fan

2. figure out how to keep him out of the oversized drawers in the kitchen where i keep my glass bakeware

3. keep rubber bands on all cabinets since the child proof locks don’t work on them because of the style (put rubber bands back on after 3 year old takes them off for fun, grr)

4. keep the rolly coffee table pushed away from the TV cabinet so he doesn’t climb up and touch the TV

5. watch for him climbing on the table, no realistic way to stop him, so keep it clear of drinks to limit its intrigue

6. keep the small kitchen shelf full so he doesn’t climb up on it and turn on the garbage disposal

7. so glad he stopped trying to climb up the bunk bed in his room

8. keep both bathroom doors closed so he doesn’t turn on the sink

9. put the fan up after his nap so he doesn’t put more legos in it

10. don’t use glade plug-ins

oh and

don’t bother putting laundry in the hall laundry basket, he’ll just throw it out

good thing you don’t care too much about those DVDs he gets into every other day

thank goodness he can’t open doors yet!