Friday, December 28, 2012

Jesus Calling

If you’ve been around me much lately, you’ve no doubt heard me mention the devotion book, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. When I was first grappling with the prospect of having cancer, I struggled in my faith immensely.  To put it mildly.  I would pray and read scripture, but I had no idea what to pray, and I just couldn’t seem to find what I needed.  I was so empty.

One day, God led me to pick up this devotion book at the store.  I had seen several people in different social media outlets quote from it throughout the year, and I had even looked at it earlier this fall at the dotmom conference. But I didn’t need it then. I needed it now.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much God has used this book to minister to me and my family during the past few months.  This is a dated devotional book that was copyrighted back in 2004 that is written as if Jesus were speaking directly to you. 

This is from the day I found out the mass in my breast was most likely cancer:
“As you look at the day before you, you see a twisted, complicated path, with branches going off in all directions.  You wonder how you can possibly find your way through that maze.  Then you remember the One who is with you always, holding you by your right hand. You recall My promise to guide you with My counsel, and you begin to relax.  As you look again at the path ahead, you notice that a peaceful fog has settled over it, obscuring your view.  You can only see a few steps ahead of you, so you turn your attention more fully to Me and begin to enjoy My Presence.
The fog is a protection for you, calling you back into the present moment.  Although I inhabit all of space and time, you can communicate with Me only here and now.  Someday the fog will no longer be necessary, for you will have learned to keep your focus on Me and on the path just ahead of you.                                                                                                                  Psalm 72:23-24; 1 Corinthians 13:12”
-November 16, Sarah Young, Jesus Calling
Wow.  Exactly what I needed to hear, exactly when I needed it.

Here’s the entry for the day we met with the doctors to decide treatment, the day I dreaded so bad:
“When you are plagued by a persistent problem – one that goes on and on – view it as a rich opportunity.  An ongoing problem is like a tutor who is always by your side. The learning possibilities are limited only by your willingness to be teachable.  In faith, thank Me for your problem.  Ask Me to open your eyes and your heart to all that I am accomplishing through this difficulty. Once you have become grateful for a problem, it loses its power to drag you down.  On the contrary, your thankful attitude will lift you up into heavenly places with Me.  From this perspective, your difficulty can be seen as a slight, temporary distress that is producing for you a transcendent Glory never to cease!
Isaiah 30:20-21; 2 Corinthians 4:17”
- December 18, Sarah Young, Jesus Calling
Every day, it has been so spot on, it really feels like Jesus is sitting beside me, reassuring me, strengthening me, calming me.  Growing my faith.  Again, this book was written in 2004.  Back in 2004, God knew I would sit here empty in 2012 and need to hear these words, so He gave them to this lady to write down.  For me.  THAT is how good God is.  Amazing.

I’ll give you just one more.  Today, as I watched the Today show, I was struck by how most of the “year in review” moments were of really bad things.  Yes, they included the Olympics, but the majority was all the tragedy that the nation has seen this year (I may or may not be including the election in that :)). Then I read the devotion for today:
I am your refuge and strength, an ever-present Help in trouble. Therefore, you don’t need to be afraid of anything – not even cataclysmic circumstances.  The media are increasingly devoted to fear-inducing subject matter: terrorism, serial killers, environmental catastrophes.  If you focus on such dangers and forget that I am your Refuge in all circumstances, you will become increasingly fearful.  Every day I manifest My grace in countless places and situations, but the media take no notice.  I shower not only blessings but outright miracles on your planet.
As you grow closer to Me, I open your eyes to see more and more of My Presence all around you. Things that most people hardly notice, like shifting shades of sunlight, fill you with heart-bursting Joy.  You have eyes that see and ears that hear, so proclaim My abiding Presence in the world.
Psalm 46:1-3; Psalm 89:15”
- December 28, Sarah Young, Jesus Calling 
Can I get an AMEN?? Our God is awesome!

She has also written Jesus Calling for Kids, which is the same daily devotion format, but for kids. Obviously.  We will be starting it January 1 as our family devotion each night.  I cannot wait to see how God uses it in our family!

All this to say, if you are looking for a devotional book to read through in 2013, I cannot recommend this one enough. If I could buy you all a copy, I would. Really, if I could just call you every day and read it to you (like I do Burge) to be sure that you hear it every day, I would do that. That is how much I love this book!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

Moving Mountains

And I will make my mountains into level paths for them. The highways will be raised above the valleys. – Isaiah 49:11
Y’all. God is so good! All the time.

Let me start back at Monday.  I went for a whole battery of tests: bone scan, several CT scans, MRI.  It was a LONG and draining day, both physically and mentally. Probably more mental than physical.  These tests would tell us where else the cancer had spread to.

On Tuesday, we were to meet with the doctors to map out a treatment plan.  I dreaded this day. I felt like this was when it was going to become really real.  I didn’t want to hear a prognosis or survival rates or any of that.  I didn’t want to hear them tell me spots had been found anywhere else.  I just didn’t want to go.  But we went.  Burge, my dad and myself.

Well, God leveled some mountains that day. First off, the cancer has not spread! Hallelujah! One mountain down. We were almost giddy just hearing that! Then we met the “team” of doctors, and their recommendation is to treat the tumor first, then do surgery and end with radiation.  Treatment plan in place, another mountain down! But then, my chemotherapy oncologist mentioned a clinical trial that I qualified for.  Would I be interested in hearing about it? Sure! Why not? This trial uses drugs that are proven to treat my specific type of cancer, but they are not the traditional "chemo” drugs.  Without the traditional “chemo” side effects.  As in, no hair loss! We didn’t give an answer right away, but here was a mountain that I was prepared and willing to climb, and God was offering to level it for me anyway!

Y’all. All three of us left that appointment so encouraged! I can’t even describe it.  Or explain it.  The peace that passes all understanding. Yes, I still have cancer.  It’s still very serious, and we still have a long, hard road.  But it was almost as if God had given us just a little glimpse of His plan.  All we could handle right now. And it is SO GOOD!

So I went yesterday and had a port placed where I will receive my treatments.  I also signed the consent forms for the clinical trial. We knew that to be part of the trial, I would have to have another biopsy before we could start, and as much as I dreaded it, I was prepared for it. The research coordinator had scheduled the biopsy for the next available date, which was January 9.  A little disappointing, but at this point, I realize that God can work things out so much better than my finite mind can, so I accepted it.  We started praying that God would open another appointment sooner.

And God was prepared to knock another mountain down on our behalf.  The coordinator called yesterday afternoon and said that they could do the biopsy Monday morning.  On Christmas Eve! I could also have the required EKG that day, and my first treatment is scheduled for December 31!  Over a week ahead of the original schedule!  God is SO GOOD!

I know there has been a lot of discussion lately about God’s role in the bad things that happen in this world.  I’m not going to get into a debate about that here, because I don’t have all the answers and I don’t claim to.  I can only speak to my own experience.  And that is that GOD IS GOOD.  ALL THE TIME. Yes, bad things happen.  We live in a fallen world, full of sin.  Bad stuff happens.  To everyone. We can thank Adam and Eve and our own sinful nature for that.  But there is nothing that happens that can’t be used to bring glory to God.  I know this because I have seen it.  I am living it.  God is faithful when everyone else has turned their back.  He is everywhere, all the time.  There is nothing that we can go through, no problem that we can face that He is not the answer to.  Period.  The end. 
You are good, and what You do is good; teach me Your decrees. – Psalm 119:68

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Stunned

There are situations that we find ourselves in throughout life that totally throw our lives in a tailspin.  Sometimes for good, sometimes for bad, sometimes both.  But most of the time, we don’t see what’s headed our way.

Stunned.

The LORD replied, “Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days- You would not believe it if you were told.” – Habakkuk 1:5

I have breast cancer.

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ. 

-Philippians 1:6

Stunned.

Even there Your hand will guide me, and Your strength will support me. – Psalm 139:10

No other word can adequately describe how that sentence makes me feel. Still, after dwelling on it for several weeks.  I wish I could say that I saw it coming.  That I was prepared for the diagnosis.  But truthfully, while I knew it could be cancer, I never really thought it would be cancer. And yet, here I am, a 35 year old mom of 3 with breast cancer.

Stunned.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Of course, God is not stunned by this news. No, not only did He see it coming, He, in His infinite wisdom, orchestrated it. There is nothing that is without a purpose. I may not can see it clearly, but that’s not important. I only have to embrace it, embrace Him and pray that I don’t let my fear and anxiety squander this opportunity.

Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise, give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – Psalm 100:3-5

Do I have fear and anxiety? Most definitely.  It consumes me some days.  I have moments when I ask, “Why me? Why now?”. I even have uttered those words that every parent hates to hear, “But it’s not fair!”.  And I’m quickly hit with the fact that no, it’s not fair that I have cancer.  I deserve so much worse. So, so much worse. My righteousness is nothing but filthy rags.  Every day of my 35 years has been a gift straight out of the grace of God that I didn’t deserve. How can I complain about this?

Though You have made me see troubles, many and bitter, You will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth You will bring me up. – Psalm 71:20

Before you think I have arrived spiritually and have this all figured out, let me be the first to tell you otherwise.  I spend a good portion of my waking hours fighting my flesh.  Playing the “what if” game.  Swimming in a sea of self-pity and doubt, rather than standing on the promises of God. But those moments when I really just let it go and immerse myself in the presence of a loving Father give me strength to fight the battle with myself. That and the overwhelming amount of prayers that are said on my behalf every day. 

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

I am so weak.  But in my weakness, I know that He is strong. I’m trying to learn to let Him be strong for me.  All the time. Because I certainly can’t do this on my own.  And He doesn’t expect me too.  He doesn’t want me to.  There are so many lessons to be learned through this.  I pray that I’m receptive to them and grow closer to Him everyday.

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. – 2 Corinthians 4:18

There have been so many times in the past several weeks that God has sent encouragement my way. Through His word, His people, His Spirit. Through mundane, everyday things. God is so good. So, so good. He provides just what I need, just when I need it. In such a real way, I could reach out and touch it.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. – James 1:2-3

I seriously doubt this diagnosis will be the worst news we hear through all this.  I fully expect it to get worse before it gets better.  I have thought since the beginning that God was going to pull all the “safety nets” out from under us. So that there is nothing for us to cling to but Him. So that there’s no way I can “plan” my way out of it. So He can get all the glory that should be all His anyway.

Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because GOD, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down, He won’t leave you. – Deuteronomy 31:6-8

I don’t know how often I’ll update this. I don’t want to document every little whine that I have, but I want this to be a journal of these life-changing circumstances. And I certainly don’t think it’s a coincidence that I have this little space here, just waiting for the words to be written. If you pray, I would definitely appreciate it if you would pray for me, my family, and the medical staff we will be dealing with in the coming months.  If you don’t pray, my prayer for you is that you come to know My Savior, who gives me hope when I can’t find any, strength when I am at my weakest, and peace that is beyond all understanding.

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. – Psalm 27:13-14

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

10 Months

Finn, you are ten months old!  I can’t believe in two short months you will be a year old. This has been the fastest year ever.  I only thought Abby and Grayson’s first years went by fast. Wow!

Your stats haven’t changed much since last month.  You are still holding steady with your two bottom teeth.  You are now eating the majority of your food from the table.  You eat whatever we eat. Somehow you manage with your two little teeth.  You have become quite the little beggar.  When someone enters a room, you look to see if they have any food.  If they do, you immediately make a beeline for them and beg for a bite. You can hear the crinkling of a food wrapper from another room. Basically, you are a fan of food.

You are in to everything!  Daddy calls you “the wrecking ball”, because everything you touch winds up in the floor. Including yourself.  The other day, I went to put a load of clothes in the dryer and I came back to find this…

Photo Apr 16, 12 31 44 PM

You were trying to pull off the answering machine and wound up pulling the subwoofer over on yourself.  There were no tears or anything. You were just waiting patiently for me to come back and free you.  Just like a Timex, you take a licking and keep on ticking.

We’ve had to devise a gate to keep you in the living room, so we can corral you. It consisted of an ottoman and two diaper boxes.  And then you learned how to do this…

Photo Apr 16, 12 30 45 PM

And we had to come up with a different solution.  You certainly keep us on our toes, Finn.  I feel sure this is just the beginning. You have a mind of your own, for sure. And it’s constantly working.  Fortunately, I still get to see this smiling face most of the day…

Photo Apr 16, 12 29 29 PM

And that makes all of your shenanigans worth it!  I love you, sweet Finny!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter Weekend

We had a jam-packed Easter weekend.  But not in a “whew, why did we say we’d do all this?” kinda way, more in a “we have a four day weekend, let’s make the most of it” kinda way.

Saturday morning, the older kids and I dyed eggs while Finn napped. And yes, Grayson is still in his pajamas.  He might have worn them all day.  Don’t judge.

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We made it into a little science experiment.  We had half brown eggs and half white eggs, and we wanted to see which ones dyed better.

Photo Apr 07, 9 07 12 AM

We thought the winner was the brown eggs.  They are the smaller ones in this picture.  What do you think?

After the  kids went to bed, I got their Easter baskets ready.  We don’t really “do” the Easter bunny.  It’s not like we’ve ever told them there was or wasn’t such a thing.  We just don’t really talk about it at all.  Anyway, they know their Easter baskets come from us.

Photo Apr 07, 9 25 47 PM

Clearly, the Hello Kitty Squinkies were a big hit. 

Photo Apr 08, 6 31 45 AM

Finn didn’t really understand why I stuck a big bucket of stuff in front of him.

Photo Apr 08, 6 33 42 AM

Then he looked in it.

Photo Apr 08, 6 33 45 AM

And immediately went for the snacks. That boy likes to eat.

Photo Apr 08, 6 33 48 AM

Grayson, as always, was our late sleeper, so he was the last to get his basket. But he was really excited that he got the Spiderman Squinkies that he asked for as a gift for his fifth birthday. Which isn’t until October. We are all very relieved that we will not have to hear about how much he wants them from now through October.

Photo Apr 08, 7 45 04 AM

I love that sleepy face!

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Then we all got ready and headed to church. Here are the kids all dolled up in their Easter frocks.

Photo Apr 08, 9 03 06 AM

After church, we ate lunch at my parents’ house.  I made deviled eggs.  And promptly left them at home. Thankfully, we live about a quarter of a mile up the road from my parents’, so Burge ran back to get them.  Then he gave me the best compliment he could have given me… he said my deviled eggs tasted just like his Mawmaw’s.  Who doesn’t want their food to be on the same playing field as Mawmaw’s?

The kids hunted Easter eggs for the third time this year, and it would be great if I had pictures of that.  However, I also forgot the camera along with the deviled eggs. I didn’t even have my phone with me to take pictures.

Then we came home and foolishly thought the kids might take a nap. That didn’t really happen, so we watched the last several hours of the Masters and became Bubba Watson fans.  Did you know he owns a General Lee? That coupled with the fact he’s called Bubba and he openly wept over his new baby on national television makes me a fan of his for life. Unless he pulls a Tiger Woods.

It was a great weekend to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Good Friday

I love this time of year! Of course, the Easter season is reason to celebrate all on its own for any Christian, but I also love that it’s spring.  Everything is in bloom and feels fresh and new. Add that to school being out and Burge being off work for Good Friday, and you have the makings of an awesome day!

Photo Apr 06, 10 07 54 AM

Abby and I started it off by getting manicures and pedicures.  Well, I had a manicure and pedicure, she decided at the last minute that she really didn’t want anyone rubbing on her very ticklish feet (Thank goodness I thought to warn her!), so she just had her fingernails and toenails painted.  And spent about 30 minutes in the massage chair.  Really, the only reason she wanted a pedicure was to be able to sit in the massage chair, so it all worked out.

Photo Apr 06, 4 12 03 PM

It’s just about impossible to get a picture of Grayson in which he is still. Mainly because he is never still. That boy has an awful lot of energy.  I wish he would share some with me!

Photo Apr 06, 4 12 20 PM

We decided to continue our Good Friday with an early dinner at Cracker Barrel.  When you go out to eat with three kids, early dinners are your friend.  There’s not usually a wait, and there’s fewer people to annoy.

Photo Apr 06, 4 12 36 PM

We had a reason to celebrate.  That girl right up there received a letter in the mail that she is being honored at the Academic Banquet at school this year.  She works really hard to get good grades and be the best student she can be, and we are super proud of this accomplishment! She’s pretty proud too… I think she may frame the letter!

Photo Apr 06, 5 31 33 PM

We continued the celebration at the new frozen yogurt place in Fort Payne, The Freeze.  It was so good! I see lots more trips there in our future!

Photo Apr 06, 5 31 45 PM

Finn got to partake in some fro-yo goodness too.  He liked it so much that if I took longer than he deemed necessary to give him his next bite, he’d lean out of his stroller and give me a whack on the leg.

Photo Apr 06, 5 31 50 PM

YUM!

It was a perfectly wonderful day and a great way to kick off the Easter weekend!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

He Is


Once again, I'm pulling this out of the archives.  It just doesn't get any better than this on a beautiful Easter Sunday.  Here's a repost of last year's Easter entry...


I’ve posted this before, but you know what? It’s no less true today than it was last year, or the year before, or the very first Easter. Do you know Him?



Friday, April 6, 2012

Pinterest Wreath, Take 2

You may remember a little Pinterest project I tackled a few months ago… this wreath.  I still dig it, but I kind of wanted something a little more spring-like and less Christmas-y.  So, I hit up Pinterest again, and found this little beauty…



I made a Hobby Lobby run, armed with a 40% coupon, naturally, for burlap, a foam wreath and some tulle. And one afternoon during nap, I set out to make it.

I feel the need to interject a word of caution here.  Burlap is a very fibrous fabric.  It sheds.  A lot. And if you happen to be the type of person who likes to get your craft on while sitting in the floor watching Real Housewives, and if you happen to spend the majority of your days in yoga pants, you might find your pants looking something like this by the time you are finished cutting out all the little squares required for this project.

Photo Mar 14, 1 20 10 PM

The burlap. It sheds. Be warned.

Anyhoo, before Vicki from the OC could let out a “Woo-hoo!”, I had whipped up this little puppy.  Seriously, this was ridiculously quick and easy.  And cheap. Way under $10.

Photo Mar 14, 1 20 49 PM

I heart it.  A lot.

Photo Mar 14, 1 20 59 PM

LOVE!

Pinterest: the place where crafty dreams come true.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Egg Huntin’

We started our Easter celebration a little early by hunting eggs this past weekend at my dad’s church. 

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My kids are not competitive in the least.  About anything, least of all hunting eggs.  They could not care less whether or not they found the most eggs. I’m pretty sure Grayson never even realized anyone else was hunting eggs other than him.

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He was really only concerned about what kind of prize was in each egg. He stopped after each find to either shake it or just go ahead and open it up to make sure it was worth the place in his basket.

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I’m really sorry if that happens to be one of your loved ones’ graves that Grayson is picking Easter eggs off of.  There wasn’t a whole lot of open area to hide in.

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As is customary in all our outdoor pictures, Abby has a case of the squints.  Bless her heart, somebody introduce that girl to some sunglasses.

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The older kids’ eggs were a little better hidden in knee-deep weeds. It makes me want to sneeze just looking at it. Fortunately, Abby seems not to have inherited the allergy issues that plaque the rest of the family.

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She was less concerned about the prizes in the eggs.  She wanted to find real eggs so she could eat them. Really. That girl loves a boiled egg.  Fortunately, only plastic eggs were hidden this year.

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Finn got to enjoy the hunt as well, safe in the arms of Pop. And Pop got a workout carrying that load of sweetness around all morning.

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I think they found one.

Shortly after this, Finn got to experience his first fried apple pie, and I’m pretty sure his life is forever changed for the better.  Seriously, the fried pie might be the world’s most perfect food.

It was a great morning, and completely worth the lack of naps that we had to endure for it. An awesome way to kick off an awesome season!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

9 Months

Finn, you are 9 months old! Actually, you’ve been 9 months old for two and a half weeks, but as always, I’m behind.

Photo Apr 02, 3 03 23 PM

You are a mess! And yes, that is a huge drool spot on the couch. Your drooling problem has not calmed down any. You are pulling up on everything, and you’ve started slowly cruising around the furniture. I have a feeling you might start walking before your first birthday. You are quite the overachiever since neither your brother or sister pulled up or crawled nearly as early as you.

Photo Apr 02, 3 03 28 PM

An area you are not overachieving in is teeth.  You are still holding strong at 2. You do not let that slow you down when it comes to eating. You will eat anything you can get your hands on, whether it’s edible or not.
You speak your own language, although we work every day on saying Mama. You just laugh and show me your dimple when I try to get you to say it.

Photo Apr 02, 3 03 35 PM

You absolutely refuse to drink out of a sippy cup. We’ve tried several, and it’s a no-go.  Not surprisingly, you love your bottle.  You get so excited when you see someone with one, and you crawl as fast as your pudgy little legs will go to get to it.

You still sleep great both at night and during your two naps a day. You and Grayson really are awesome roommates.  I hope it’s always that way!

You weigh 23 pounds, wear a size 4 diaper and wear some 12 month, some 18 month and some 24 month clothes.

Photo Apr 02, 3 03 49 PM

You are truly a joy, John Finley! I love watching you discover new things, but if you could slow down this whole growing up thing, I’d greatly appreciate it!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

8 Months

Photo Feb 13, 12 24 36 PM
You are 8 months old, Finn!  This month you finally made the connection between moving your hands and your feet, and you started to crawl! It only took you a few days to gain lots of speed, and now you can be out of a room in the blink of an eye.  So, this is my view most of the time these days…
Photo Feb 07, 2 32 03 PM
You especially love to crawl over to a floor vent and let the air blow on your face until it takes your breath away. And then you usually follow that up by trying to chew on a cord. You are a little predictable.

You still have no teeth, but the drool is coming full force. Your hair has really started to come in, and it’s pretty dark.  I’m anxious to see if it lightens up any, since your sister and brother both had blond hair as babies.  And Grayson still does!

You are still eating well, as is obvious since you are now almost entirely in 12 month clothes. You love all fruit, sweet potatoes, and chicken noodle and veggies. And you will chow down on some puffs. It’s pretty funny to watch you go after them, shoving them in your mouth.
Photo Feb 01, 11 00 03 AM
I have also given you bananas and grapes in a mesh feeder, and you were all over it. When it comes to food, you are all business.

We seem to have finally gotten the nap thing down! You nap in the mornings and the afternoon for about an hour and a half each.  Then you are down for the night at 7 each night. 
Photo Feb 14, 12 23 28 PM
You are such a happy boy!  It’s so awesome to watch you explore and learn!  Happy 8 months, Finn!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Mover and Shaker

Finn is mobile. Life as we know it is forever changed.  No crumb on the floor is safe. And he has a special affinity for power cords, which makes his momma a nervous wreck. He also obviously has no fear of tight places or the dark.  I looked up the other day to find this. 
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That’s an ottoman.  And my baby’s hand.
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My baby’s legs and those cords he likes so much… Fortunately, the cords are around his legs and not in his mouth.
Photo Jan 27, 3 35 20 PM
Gotcha!

And if that’s not enough cuteness, here he is getting his crawl on…

Monday, February 6, 2012

Just In Case...

Just in case you were wondering what's going on around here... Or in case you wondered what texts look like after you been married for almost thirteen years, here you go...

You're welcome.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Favorite Things

A few months ago, Nester did a link up for everyone to post their favorite things under $30.  I loved reading through everyone’s favorite things! Of course, I couldn’t get it together to post my favorite things then.  But here are mine now.  A day late and a dollar short, story of my life… And a note to the moms in my MOPS group, you might see some of these coming up in May at our MOPS Favorite Things meeting!  Or I might have new favorite things by then!

1. Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in Caramel
Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer, Caramel
This is the perfect cross between lip balm and lipstick.  I wear it as lip balm when I am going sans make-up, so I don’t look dead, and I wear it as lipstick when I am wearing make-up. It has a slight minty tingle to it, which I love.  And for under $5? Sold!

2. and 3.  A duo of Garnier hair products… One for when I wear my hair curly and one for when I wear it straight…
Garnier Fructis Style Wonder Waves Wave-Enhancing Spray, Flexible
I hate crunchy hair. But, if I don’t put product (and lots of it!) in my hair when I wear it curly, it is majorly frizzy.  Which I hate about as much as crunchy hair.  I found Wonder Waves at CVS and thought I would try it out.  It’s perfect for what I need: curl control and no crispy hair.

Garnier Fructis Style Sleek & Shine Flat Iron Perfector Straightening Mist 24 Hr Finish
And then there’s the straight side.  I have high-maintenance hair if you can’t tell.  I use this Sleek & Shine Flat Iron Perfector  after I’ve dried my hair with a round brush and before I use the flat iron. It really helps my hair stay straight until I wash it again, which is something that does not happen if I don’t use it. Plus, it smells nice, which is always a bonus. And it’s cheap. Another bonus!

4. Sharpie Pens

I love a good writing utensil. This is evidenced by the fact that I have had the same mechanical pencil for almost 10 years. It has been with me through three jobs and 4 years as a stay at home mom.  I panic when I can’t find my pencil.  So, that’s my obvious choice for pencil, but the Sharpie is my choice for pen. They write super smooth and don’t bleed through. I heart these pens.

5. Gloria Jean’s Butter Toffee K-Cups

I am a fan of coffee, in general.  I am also a fan of the Keurig, but that’s not under $30. :) My favorite k-cup is Gloria Jean’s Butter Toffee, hands down.  I have gone through boxes of these, and I have yet to grow tired of them.  Good stuff.

6. Birchbox


I love samples! I love to try new products, but not be tied down to a full-size in case I really hate them.  Birchbox is a subscription service that for $10 a month will send you a box full of sample goodies.  This month I got that really cute Zoya nail polish that you see up there and that Algenist face cream is the bomb!  And they are not stingy at all with the sizes.  I’ve been using that face cream twice a day for well over a week now.  You can also order full-size versions of any of the samples you get on the Birchbox website (although I will not be getting any of the Algenist face cream since it is $94! Yikes! I’ll be using my sample a little more sparingly now) and earn points to be put toward free products. You can also earn points just by telling them what you think of the samples.  For every 100 points, you get $10.  It adds up fast!

7. Sonic Happy Hour

I have a soft spot for Sonic. Their fountain drinks are second to none.  I’m especially fond of the Cherry Vanilla Diet Coke.  And at Happy Hour, you can get a Route 44 for like $1.  ‘Nough said.

8.  Nutella
Ferrero Nutella
I, for years, thought I did not like Nutella.  Don’t ask me why.  I think I might have somehow in my mind linked Nutella with Vegamite. Two things could not be further apart on the taste scale.  If you’ve never tried Vegamite, please don’t.  Trust me.  But if you’ve never tried Nutella, please do.  I can eat this by the spoonful. And if you mix it with a little peanut butter, then you are speaking my love language.

9. Friday Night Lights

Technically, this is not under $30.  But, if you buy each season individually, it counts.  So, that’s what I’m going with.
Again, like with Nutella, I was late to the Friday Night Lights party.  Burge and I watched all 5 seasons last summer, and there has never been a television show that has affected me more. I felt like I lived it with them.  I was torn up when we finished the finale.  And I would watch it all over again right now.  It’s that good. There is not a week that goes by that I don’t find some way to work it into conversation. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. True ‘dat.

10.  Hunger Games Trilogy
The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set
I just read these over Christmas.  As in, I read all three the week before Christmas.  And then Burge read them the week after I finished them.  These are so good.  But not in a feel-good, all-is-right-with-the-world kinda way. More like disturbing, can’t-look-away-from-a-train-wreck kinda way.  I will say, if I had written them (yeah, right!), I would have ended Mockingjay differently.  But that doesn’t diminish how good the rest of them are.
So, there you go.  Those are ten of my favorite things. Sound off with your favorites so I can check them out!