The special present my husband has been teasing me about for weeks...
So special and it nearly made me cry!
I can't believe Christmas is on Friday. I have a pile of Christmas presents sitting on the dining room table waiting to be wrapped. I need to finish them if only to reclaim the table...poor hubby hasn't had a seat for three days. I also need to stamp the last five of my Christmas cards so they can go out in the mail tomorrow. The addresses are local, so they should get delivered before Christmas. (The post office is open Christmas Eve, right??) If not, oh well, I ran out of stamps and couldn't get out to the grocery store until today.
Our plans for Christmas are pretty simple. We're staying in town this year, which means Christmas Eve and Christmas at the inlaws. Remind me to take a long nap before Christmas Eve, because it's always a crazy mess of people (30ish?) crammed into one rather small house and Avery's family isn't known for being calm or quiet. I love 'em though; those Johnsons are a fun bunch. Christmas morning we'll open family gifts at home and then head back over to the inlaws for Christmas brunch and more presents. Then Avery will head off to work and the kids and I will hang out with his family all afternoon until Christmas dinner. Saturday we're hoping to head over to the zoo in the morning to spend time with some family friends we haven't seen in a while. (Avery's best friend is home from Montana...he's in the Air Force and is currently training to be in the nuclear missile silos.) Then Sunday my family is coming down here for the day and we'll go out to lunch after church and then have a little Christmas over here. Avery took two hours off of work that day so we won't be so rushed.
Should be fun! Oh, and speaking of gifts, mine is sitting under the tree taunting me right now. This is the first Christmas in 5 or 6 years that Avery has actually bought me a gift and I have no idea what it is. (Gifting is not his talent...he usually just buys me whatever I ask for...or we go shopping for my gift together.) He's been teasing me about it for two weeks now and I'm dying from curiosity. I have a few ideas, but the way he went about buying it really has me baffled. (He made a phone call, had an appointment set up, and then had to go somewhere this morning to get the last part of it.) I'm so excited!! I haven't been surprised by a big gift since I was a kid...the anticipation is so much fun!
Before I go, I wanted to thank all of you who commented on my last post. A lot of you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned needing to go to God first for that intimacy. It is when my spiritual life is suffering the most that I feel loneliest. When I'm spending more time in prayer and quality time in the Word, the lack of fellowship doesn't bother me nearly as much. So that was a good reminder. Also, my husband is my very best friend and I do look to him to fill those needs (after God), and that's how it should be. But like some of you pointed out, there's something special about having a soul sister. I'm sure God will bring someone into my life when the time is right, but until then I am very blessed to have an incredible husband, my best friend Kari, and my wonderful mother-in-law to encourage me. (Oh, and I am planning on getting involved in a MOPS group pretty soon to hopefully meet some new ladies, since our church doesn't have any ministries to mothers.)
Lately I've been craving human interaction. And not just surface-level, ingenuine small talk. Real, passionate, honest conversation about convictions, struggles, and life in general. I don't know if it's the fault of online social networking or the busyness that's bombarded everyone, but that kind of interaction is so hard to come by these days.
It's especially hard to find that kind of interaction with peers that you can count on for support and encouragement. To establish those kinds of relationships, there has to be a level of commonality and shared life experiences. For instance, my best friend is a newly married woman that I have known since third grade. However, she doesn't have children, she works outside the the home, and has different convictions in some areas of life. While I enjoy her company immensely and she is a great encouragement to me, I still lack that true commonality component that makes me feel understood and motivated.
Finding such commonality is made even more difficult by the fact that my family holds some convictions that are regarded as odd and unusual. While I know there are women out there that ascribe to the same views, they are few and finding them is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Lest you misunderstand, I'm not saying I can't be friends with women who disagree with me or are in different situations in life. I'm merely pointing out that desire we have to connect with someone who wholeheartedly supports our convictions and can be there as encouragement and an accountability partner.
Here are a few of the things that make my family a tough "match":
- we are strong Christians who are passionate in our belief that faith should be central to our lives and should affect every day-to-day action
- we strongly believe that birth control (in any form or fashion) is against God's original plan and that by allowing Him to control our family size we are honoring Him with the ultimate expression of Trust
- we believe that the wife's place is in the home, taking care of her husband and/or children, and that working outside the house (regardless of circumstance) should only be considered as a last resort after much prayer and Spiritual guidance
- we believe that the place for children to receive their education is at home and other forms of schooling are not nearly as beneficial for a child's growth and development
Addendum: We do not judge those who believe otherwise, we just believe that God hasn't yet revealed to them that particular truth. Kind of like the verse in James states - "to those who know to do good and do not do it, to them it is sin." If we were to not follow any of these convictions, we would be sinning, but others whom God has not so convicted are not in sin. (Just, as my husband would jokingly say, "a little misled." )
Anyway, my closest female "ally," so to speak, is my mother-in-law. I love her to death, but obviously we're in different places in life so the support can only go so far.
So basically, other than this being a random conglomeration of everything I've been mulling over in my head lately, I was also curious as to how you ladies go about finding those "soul sisters." Other than your husbands, who can obviously support and encourage you in your daily lives, who else can you go to for that accountability?
Right now my brave hubby is out on the roof in the cold putting Christmas lights on the house. Poor guy...he spends every morning taking care of me and the kids, so even on his days off he can't get much done around the house. So inevitably he ends up working on his projects well into the night. He's amazing, that husband of mine; God has blessed me soooooo much!!
We ordered Papa John's pizza for dinner again tonight. I say "again" because we got it delivered last Thursday night too. Our budget is getting tight with all the eating out (usually twice a week) but there are so few things I can stomach. I get so tired of bean and cheese burritos and hot dogs and peanut butter and jelly all the time. 11 weeks along tomorrow, only 29 left to go!
We had a bit of a disappointment today with hubby's paycheck too. He gets paid every two weeks and his first paycheck of the month is usually bigger. This time though, for whatever reason it was several hundred dollars smaller than usual. We don't live paycheck to paycheck, so it doesn't hurt us any...it just makes it harder to pay down our credit card debt and save for the car we need to buy next year. (Three carseats just won't fit in my little Toyota Echo!) Oh, and one of our credit cards just accrued a late fee...even though we've never had late fees before, OR even a minimum balance due! If I had been paying closer attention I might have been able to catch it, but I was used to just paying it down as I could because it had a $0 minimum payment for at least three years. Plus we've been focusing on paying off our higher interest credit card first, so I hadn't paid anything on this one in over two months. *Sigh* Having back-to-back babies on crappy insurance policies certainly puts a dent in one's wallet! Thankfully now we have awesome insurance and it'll cost us much less to have babies from now on.
It is kind of annoying to see so much of hubby's hard-earned money get deducted from every paycheck. And I don't even mean income taxes or anything. He has deductions of about $800 a month just for his retirement pension and his retirement supplemental health insurance. It's rather ridiculous. I mean, having a pension when you retire is cool, but we won't need the money when we're old and gray...we need it now, when we have kids to feed! Plus he doesn't plan on retiring until he's practically dying, so it'll be kind of pointless to have all that money then. I wish those things were optional instead of mandatory. We could soooo use an extra $800 a month! It's crazy to think that he "earns" a salary of about $45K a year but only sees about $30K of that after everything is said and done. Oh well, maybe I can convince him to retire when he's only 55.
Okay, that was a long rant. Sorry about that. Well, hubby is off the roof, so maybe he'll be coming in soon. Have a good night, everyone!
I recently joined the Huggies 'Enjoy the Ride' rewards program and they now have a prize catalog up on their site where you can redeem points for free stuff!
Click HERE to read my article for tips on how to get a free pack of washable markers or crayons without spending a dime!
I have a question for all you mamas of toddlers out there:
How do you refrain from raising your voice at your children?
I'm really struggling with this lately...Shiphrah is entering the "Terrible Twos" and since I also have 7-month-old Kirk to keep up with, staying on top of what Shiph is doing is no easy task. She likes to get into anything and everything, especially when I'm otherwise occupied, and she never responds to a command to stop. In fact, it seems like the only thing that does get her attention is speaking harshly to her or raising my voice (i.e. yelling). However, I never ever wanted to be the type of mom who yelled at her kids and so I'm trying my darndest to stop. Which brings me to the topic at hand again: what is an effective way to correct a toddler's behavior? She doesn't respond well to spankings (we have to spank hard enough to leave a mark if we want a response...she is VERY stubborn) and like I said before, she ignores me unless I raise my voice. Taking things away doesn't seem to bother her either...I can't tell you how many times I have taken away her coloring book and crayons after she drew on the table for the hundredth time. I haven't tried "timeouts" yet because I was worried about her being too young. If I try this, what are the logistics of a timeout at this age? I've heard the "1 minute per year of life" rule, but how do you make them stay in one place? I've heard of using the child's crib, but I worry she would start to associate nap time with a punishment.
Mamas, what do you suggest?
(Prayer for this would be appreciated also...I struggle with losing my temper too easily so I am all too quick to raise my voice when Shiph does something to frustrate me. I'm working on pausing and counting to three before I respond but old habits die hard.)
I've been meaning to blog lately but life kept getting in the way. It mostly got in the way in a very good way, but some of it has been a bit frustrating too. Instead of "the good, the bad, and the ugly" let's do "the bad, the good, and the amazing" but in reverse so we end on a good note.
- Kirk is teething. When Shiphrah got her first tooth, she was at least 8 months old so it didn't seem to bother her much. She whined a little more than usual and woke up a few times at night, but other than that it wasn't a huge deviation from her normal routine. Kirk is not yet 7 months old and he is miserable. Today he woke up from his afternoon nap absolutely hysterical. He cried for about an hour while I held him and patted his back. And it was that pitiful, painful cry that makes every mother want to jump off the nearest bridge. So. SAD.
- I am having some strange health issues. I'm losing weight, which is not a good thing for me (my normal weight is about 98 pounds), and I've gotten down to about 89-90. I eat like crazy and I definitely don't eat healthy foods, so I can only attribute this to Kirk's voracious appetite and the fact that he's still nursing once during the night. It's beginning to worry me though, because I know if I'm not getting adequate nutrition I'm going to start getting sick and the start of the flu season is no time to be struggling with a weak immune system.
- Secondly on the health front, in the past week or so I have had a huge loss of energy. I feel incredibly lethargic, all of my muscles feel weak (believe it or not my arms are actually feeling tired typing out this entry right now), and I feel like I'm in a daze most of the day. Sometimes I feel like a zombie just going through the motions every day. Kind of like when you take a strong sleeping pill or Benadryl right before bed and then wake up the next morning feeling like it hasn't worn off completely. I have a few theories as to what might be causing this: low iron (I'm always borderline anemic), a thyroid problem, or maybe mono (don't know, never had it before). However, to go take the necessary blood tests I need to find a doctor. I have an ob-gyn, but they won't see me because it's been 7 months since I had Kirk. I've never had a primary care physician before and living in a large city and trying to find a doctor feels like playing eenie-meeny-miney-mo or flipping through a phone book and picking the name that sounds the nicest. My mom suggested going to a DO instead of an MD because they focus more on nutrition and natural healing methods, but I'm not sure I want someone telling me to change my entire diet. But if I still feel like this through the weekend I'm definitely calling someone first thing on Monday. 'Cuz this plain sucks. (Oh, and lest someone ask, I'm not pregnant, I checked.)
- Kirk is thisclose to sleeping through the night! Most nights he sleeps about 6 to 8 hours before waking up to nurse and then he sleeps another 3 hours. Last night he slept from 8:30 to 6 and then slept until 8:30! I felt like I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! 'Course, it didn't help my overall tiredness much, but it still made me happy.
- The munchkins are learning how to play with each other more and more every day. Shiphrah will lay down in front of Kirk and make faces to get him giggling. Then they spend five minutes laughing hysterically at each other. It's so CUTE!
- Kirk is completely mobile. He's not "crawling" so to speak, but he's doing a belly scoot that gets him anywhere he wants to go. Of course, this means I am all too aware of how dirty the floors are because he gets positively nasty after just a few minutes of scooting.
- My wonderful husband surprised me by asking me out on a date for Thursday evening. He even arranged for a babysitter all by himself! He made tentative plans too, but we ended up changing them because I wanted to spend time with him instead of see a movie. So we went to Chili's and had their "3 course, 2 people, $20" deal. I love Chili's food...cheese fries with Ranch, cajun chicken pasta, a margarita...it was heavenly! After dinner we drove downtown and parked so we could walk the newly renovated stretch of the Riverwalk. It turned out to be a bit more than we bargained for (who knew the Riverwalk was so loooooong!) so our feet were a bit sore after it was all said and done. But I got a piggyback ride from a hot guy () and enjoyed a gorgeous night along a beautiful river. It was a rather expensive date (when you add dinner and babysitting) but so worth it. In fact, Avery wants to make this an every-other-week occasion, which I am SO thrilled about! Don't get me wrong, I love being with my kids, but I miss one-on-one time with my husband. I can count on one hand the number of dates we've had in the past year and I'm so excited about making them regular happenings!!
(Us, back before marriage, kids, and the police force.)
My niece and sister-in-law. The one on the right was adopted as an infant...she was a 26-week-old preemie (1 lb. 3 oz.). Her mother didn't know she was pregnant and after giving birth she tried to have her baby's life support cut off. No one wanted Kate because of the high possibility that she would have permanent physical and mental disabilities. She's a perfectly bright and healthy 8-year-old now.
My brother-in-law, Kaitong, adopted from an orphanage in China when he was 12 or 14 (I can't remember). He has spina bifida and didn't learn to walk until he came to the U.S.
My beautiful sister-in-law and my goofy daughter.
Kirk, who slept most of the time, until all the honking horns rudely awakened him. Still, considering how hot and muggy it was, he was a trooper.
Total OOP = $17.05
Total Savings = $16.98
(RR Received = $1)