Saturday, December 26, 2009

My Christmas Surprise

The special present my husband has been teasing me about for weeks...

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So special and it nearly made me cry!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Just around the corner...

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.)

Monday, December 21, 2009


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?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Not so hot date night

Well, I did feel better in time for our date night, but the party was kind of a bust. I guess it would have been a fun party if you're into those kind of things, but not really for me. Here's the thing: it started at 9. We got there at 9:20 and were the FIRST ones there. One of Avery's sergeants and his wife walked in right after us and then one other guy showed up a few minutes later. No one else showed up until well after 10. They didn't serve dinner until which time I was about to fall over from starvation (um, hello, pregnant woman here!) They had a cash-only bar...and since my husband doesn't drink and I'm pregnant, we didn't bring cash. And they didn't even serve WATER until 11 when the food came out. (!!??!!) And to top it all off, they hired a DJ that was obviously used to the club scene because he played mostly weird techno Tejano music REALLY LOUD. Several people asked him to turn it down several times but he kept turning it back up gradually. And he used strobe lights and other fancy flashing lights to create "atmosphere." And did I mention that this was all in the banquet room of a hotel with hotel food catering? Yeah, weird combination. So my head was pounding by the end of the night from the music and the lights. I stuffed myself once the food came, but it wasn't all that impressive. At least, not worth the $20 a plate. We had to stay until midnight because that's when the newbies were going to do their initiation song (all newbies have to sing at the Christmas's tradition) but of course they were waiting on a few people to show up so it didn't happen until 12:30ish. We finally got out of there around 12:45. UGH. Not my idea of a nice date night. *Sigh* Oh well, I did get to spend several hours of uninterrupted time with my husband. Too bad we couldn't even hear each other over the music.

I can't believe it's only 5-o-clock. I'm already exhausted and the kids don't go to bed for several hours. And once they're in bed I still have laundry to do. Oh, and I was planning on wrapping Christmas presents and addressing Christmas cards. Where am I going to get that kind of energy?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Just a quick rant...

Excuse me for a few minutes, but I just need to vent really quick. And then I'll be out of your hair, I promise.

Tonight is date night. We haven't had a date night in about a month and I've been looking forward to this one for weeks. It's an entire FIVE hours alone with my husband. (Well, with other people around, but without kids.) Our plans are to browse Lowe's and Home Depot for a couple of hours to pick out hubby's Christmas present (I'm sad there's no surprise, but I just don't trust myself to pick out the table saw that he wants) and then head downtown to his work Christmas party where we will stuff ourselves on delicious food and watch everyone else get drunk. Sounds fun, right? But, of course, I feel downright LOUSY. I have been having the hardest time stomaching anything the past few days and it's wreaking havoc on my body. Just an hour ago I attempted to make myself some tuna and I could barely eat a few bites. (Part of the problem was that we were out of mayonnaise so I had to use Miracle Whip...YUCK!) I have been craving random things (like pizza, french fries, a chicken sandwich from Red Robin, and pancakes from Jim's) and obviously I can't indulge in those very often. As it is my cravings are resulting in a very tight budget. But there's nothing like a good meal that I actually LIKE to help me feel better! Case in point: Tuesday night I desperately needed to get the dishes done and fold about ten loads of laundry but I was feeling awful. Papa John's pizza was (once again) one of the only things I felt like eating. So I ordered a pizza and was able to get all the dishes done and 95% of the laundry put away. AND I cleaned up the dining room table and set out the nativity set. But that evening cost me $15! GAH.

I have an hour and a half until our babysitter gets here. I want to feel better, I want to feel better, I want to feel better!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

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 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!

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(This is for you, Traci! Sorry I never let you know the hats got here! We love them!! )

Monday, December 7, 2009

Picture Update

Blogging has gotten pushed way down on my to-do list, but here's a quick picture update:

My little boy is 9 months old now!

My beautiful daughter turned 2 on Thanksgiving Day!

I love that my kids like playing together!

So, a belated Happy Thanksgiving and an early Merry Christmas to y'all!