Thursday, December 29, 2011

Where did the time go?

These last two weeks have flown by.  I feel like I blinked and Christmas had come and gone.  Every year I tell myself to just soak it all in, and then every year, I find myself thinking, "where did the time go?"   Who's with me?!
This Christmas was a good one, though.  There were some good times with good friends and family.  From a boat parade with the Hindmans to Christmas Eve with the Weavers/Mayfields and Christmas night with the Ryans.  We made a ton of memories, laughed a lot, and well, to be honest, even cried a little.
Christmas morning this year was awesome.  McKenna and Michael were both at a great age for opening presents.  They were so excited about every single thing they opened.  One by one, they opened their gifts, and tore through that wrapping paper like crazy.  When it was all said and done, the living room was full of boxes and bows and about 30 new toys for mommy and daddy to find a place for : )
 I'd have to say that McKenna's favorite gifts have been the LeapPad from Mawmaw and Pappy and the learning laptop from Miss Millie.  She also liked the Barbie Vet Care Center from Santa but we haven't been home much for her to really use it all that much.
Michael's favorite by far has been his race track.  That's all he wanted from Santa and he's played with it all day, every day since.  He also loves the little bucket of 25 toy story aliens and his LeapPad.  
Among other things, Mommy got a new coffee maker, some beautiful new necklaces, and a much needed jewelry armoire. Daddy got a fire pit, a bottle of scotch, and a very cool present from my parents, a chance to do the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Disney with my Dad and brother.
One of my fondest memories of this Christmas has to be McKenna giving out the presents she picked out for everyone at her school's "secret santa" store.  She takes such care and is so thoughtful when picking things out and she gets so excited to pass them out.  This year she even asked to shop for her great, great aunt jackie and great great uncle john, which I thought was pretty neat.  She picked out little figurines for each of them, because she said, "They have little figures all over their house."
But I have to say, my most special memory is going to be having a sleepover at my parents house on Christmas night with my brother, Sara, and Harmony.  It was like we were kids again.  We laughed until we cried, stayed up late, played games, watched movies, and enjoyed seeing our little ones play together.  My parents made an awesome dinner that night and the next morning we all went to breakfast.  I can't tell you the last time we've all had such a great time together.  No rushing, no schedule, just being together and that is what the holiday is all about.
Now the time has come to start taking down the tree, put the stockings away, and clean up the aftermath of Christmas morning.... Thank you to everyone who sent gifts to my kids and Christmas cards for us to read, for all of the cookies and treats, and certainly all the memories...It's time now to look ahead to the New Year and what it will bring.  I will look back on this year fondly and remember how truly precious time is.....

here we are with the gifts McKenna picked out for us...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fa la la la la....

I love Christmas.  Everything about it.  I love the smells, the sounds, and the sights.  I love giving gifts, baking cookies, and being with my loved ones.  This whole month has been filled with fun things to do and memories that will last us a lifetime.

This past week had it's ups and downs, for sure.  But I'm choosing to only write about the good stuff.  Because truthfully, that's what matters.  The kids have survived the flu, we have presents to put under the tree, food to put in our bellies, and a pretty nice roof up over our heads.  So really, how can we complain?!  We can't and we won't.  We are blessed.

After starting the weekend with gingerbread house making at my mom and dad's, Gary and I then went to our first "Ugly Sweater Christmas Party" and had a blast.  My dad was the d.j. and as usual, he rocked it.  We had a few too many beers and stayed out a little too late, but oh well...we don't get to do it that often....Good times with great friends.

Yesterday we celebrated my sister in law, Sara's, college graduation.  We like to call her "Smidge" because quite frankly, she is  just a teeny tiny little thing.  Seems like yesterday when I met her for the first time.  She was so young and so sweet.  I always thought she was a perfect match for my brother.  And now, here they are, years later, with sweet little Harmony to complete them. It's a beautiful thing.  I treasure the time we get to hang out with them because it doesn't happen as often as we'd like.  Even though we're only 2 hours away from one another, life always seems to get in the way.  Spending yesterday at their house, watching the kids play, telling stories, laughing with each other, and celebrating Sara's accomplishment puts a smile on my face and joy in my heart.  Great, great way to end the weekend.  

Christmas is only 6 days away.  I'm so excited for it, I can hardly stand it.  Today my mom and I baked cookies with McKenna and Michael.  After a rough start with some tricky Oreos, the day was a success overall.  I ended up covered in flour, my floor had a layer of sprinkles on it about 2 inches deep, and my cheeks hurt from smiling so much.  Not to mention I have about 10 dozen cookies and sweet treats stocked in my fridge.  Yay! 

We finished tonight off by taking my parents out to dinner as a thank you for all the help they've given us lately.  I can say with 100% certainty that we'd be lost without them.  Whenever we need something, they are there.  Whether it's good or bad, they don't question.  They're just there.  I love that I can count on them and I am so grateful every single day that God chose me to be their daughter.  I'm a lucky girl : )

Tonight I will go to bed knowing that I am part of a family that is full of love and compassion.  Thank you all of you for being so special to me and for being there when I need you the most.  xoxo

after the oreo fiasco, we deserved a beer : )
this is always the best part of baking, isn't it?!

My mom's original Betty Crocker Cookbook....She's had it for as long as I can ever remember.  It's barely hanging on...

mom and mckenna mixing the dough for pecan balls, my grandma's specialty : )

my dad left work early to come help us....what a good pappy!

michael loved the decorating part...

being silly with pappy

you may be able to see the cookie under the layers and layers of sprinkles....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

On the Mend and Missing Daddy...

McKenna resting on the couch
Every night at dinner time, each member of our family shares their "high" and their "low" from the day's happenings.  It's a great way to get them talking and see what's on their minds.  Tonight it was just me and the kids for dinner, and I thought I'd share a little bit of how it went....
McKenna went first and said her high was having pancakes and sausage links for dinner.  Who can argue that, right?  Her low was that she misses her daddy.  We all do, he's pretty great...
Michael went next and said his high was also having pancakes for dinner, because to be honest, he usually copies whatever McKenna says and we remind him to think of something on his own...When pressed for an original idea, he said that his high was getting a sticker at the dr.'s office and getting McDonald's for lunch.  I can relate, I was pretty excited about the McDonald's too : )  His low was that he had a time out for being mean to his sister.
Then it was Mommy's turn.  It was tough to pick my highs and lows for today.  Usually there's one clear thing that happened but today, not so much.  One of my highs was that by dinner time, the kids were feeling much better.  Another high was that I scored a free movie rental from the Redbox because who doesn't love a good coupon, right?! Another high is that we had gorgeous weather yet again, not too hot and not too cold with a nice breeze and the sun shining.
Then there were my lows....First low is easy.  McKenna tested positive for flu.  Second low is simple.  Gary is gone and I miss him every single minute of the day.  But my third low takes the cake, I think.  While getting a prescription filled at Walmart today, I pushed the kids up and down the aisles in the stroller.  We go down the shampoo aisle and McKenna starts looking around and says to me, "Mommy, you know what you should ask  Santa for Christmas?  A new hairstyle."
Great.  Even my 6 year old thinks I need a makeover.    Merry Christmas to me!

Michael is looking and feeling so much better

Our drug supply, thank you Lord for the Tamiflu and Albuterol...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

So much for the flu shot...

As many of you already know, my little Michael has had a very rough couple of days.  What I thought was croup ended up being influenza a.  Poor thing ended his weekend with nothing but barking coughs and gasps for air, not to mention a consistent fever near 103, no appetite, and a complete lack of energy.  This is particularly frustrating considering I took all of us to get flu shots this year.  I know, i know, it isn't guaranteed to protect you from it 100%, so spare me the lecture.  But....I would've done anything to just trade places with him.  It is a truly awful thing to see your little ones hurt and not be able to help them.  At the dr. on Monday morning, he was at his worst and there was nothing I could do to make it better.  I wanted to cry.  In fact, I did cry.  The dr. told me he would be ok, and she was right, he was.  But in that moment, I couldn't help it.  I wanted it to be me instead of him.
After a day of breathing treatments, steroids, tamiflu, and ibuprofren, he was feeling significantly better.  His fever broke, and he was back to smiling and talking, and sitting up.  Still not eating, but hey, it was an improvement.  I could see little glimpses of my funny little dude every once in a while and I began to relax a little.  Today, although very whiney (is that even a word?), he is better still.  Coughing a little and tired, but almost back to normal. Oh the power of antibiotics.
So now, we wait.  Wait to see if anyone else in our house falls victim to this nasty flu.  Although McKenna is showing signs of being sick, she doesn't seem to be near as misersable as Michael was and hasn't had a fever yet.  We go back to the dr. in the morning, and I'm going to have her checked out just in case....She went to bed tonight complaining of a stuffy nose and headache, so we'll see and we'll pray for good health.  Afterall, it's no fun to be sick at Christmas....

                                             This was Michael on Sunday, when it all began.

             At the dr.'s office Monday morning, waiting to be seen...His condition got progressively worse              while we were in the waiting room.

By the time we were called back, the nurse immediately hooked him up to the breathing machine and called for the dr.  He was pretty much incoherent through the treatment, and was struggling to get his breath.  We waited about 15 minutes and they checked his oxygen to see if it had improved.

This was McKenna at bedtime.  Asleep on the couch with a headache and stuffy nose.  Keeping a close eye on her before going to the dr. tomorrow.  STAY AWAY FLU : (

Welcome to my blog!

I love to write.  And I love to take pictures.  So here I am, with my own space to do both.  Please join me in my daily adventures as a stay at home mommy to McKenna, 6, and Michael, 3,  and my newest gig as a photographer.  I'm not here to give advice or judge, just felt that it was time to let my creative juices start flowing and see what comes out.  Here goes nothin' and please stay tuned...
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