Monday, December 28, 2009

Resolutions

I don't make new years resolutions anymore.  In fact, I practically refuse to make them.  Why would that be?  My reasoning is simply because of the fact that most resolutions are focusing on the negativity that you see in yourself which causes yourself to be bound and determined to change that - only to fail miserably by the third week of January!  Does this mean that there is absolutely nothing about myself that I want to change - that there is nothing that could use some improvement?  Well, of course it does!  I kid, I kid!  Trust me, I am one of the farthest people from perfect that you will ever meet - I just have an ego that makes up for the lack of perfection! What it does mean, however, is that I want to make resolutions that I will be excited to keep, rather than things that I know I have to keep.  For example, Claire and I got a Wii Fit for Christmas, as we both have "need to work out more frequently" on our list of potential resolutions.  The wonderful thing about that is that we now have a FUN way to work out, and we are doing it together, which is great for accountability.  Another resolution I could potentially have is to keep our house clean and to do it more frequently.  Can I tell you that there is absolutely NOTHING fun about that resolution?!  How about changing it, though, so that it is fun.  Guess who taught me that cleaning is a fun thing?  This guy did:

That's right - my almost-four-year-old taught me that cleaning is a LOT of fun.  So now, when it's time to do some house cleaning, he helps me!  I tell you what, it's a lot more motivating to get stuff done when your child is the one telling you that it's not a hard thing to do!

Resolutions: maybe I have them, but I definitely don't have them the way I used to have them.  No longer am I going to make goals that are unattainable.  If I want to reach my goal of working out for 30 minutes every day, then I'm going to start my goal by aiming to work out for 30 minutes three times per week.  Make them attainable steps and it's something I'm far more likely to stick with! :)
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Stay tuned for a highlight of our Christmas celebrations as well as a highlight of how absolutely fun my birthday party was!  Happy New Year to all of you! :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Enjoyment Worth a Thousand Words

In preparation for Christmas, we have enjoyed Colin's preschool Christmas concert (he's the one in the first row on the far left, wearing the green vest):


We have enjoyed Claire's band concert:


We have enjoyed baking many, many cookies:


Monte and I enjoyed a Christmas party at MckMama's house.  Here, my dear friend, Jolene, and I are enjoying drinking the two glasses of sparkling juice that Israel served us:


I have thoroughly delighted in spending time with my hubby and enjoying the goofiness of our personalities:


I have enjoyed the curiosity of my children as they observe our construction:


And I most definitely have enjoyed that the construction has finally began!!


Merry Christmas to all of you wonderful readers!  May God's blessing thoroughly abound in your hearts and homes!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I Have a Problem

There's something that I need to do, I mean I really need to do, but yet I just don't want to.  See, there are all of these pictures I've taken that I want to put on my blog and share with you, but my problem is that I have yet to dump them from my camera onto my computer.  So what's the problem?  It's the Christmas season and I just don't have the blasted time to do it!!

So alas, this wordy update will have to do ...

We finally got our building permit!  Provided we can get a footings inspector in on Monday, we will begin digging as soon as tomorrow!  I can't even tell you how thrilled we are that things are finally moving forward - thank You God that this is all working out according to Your timing and that I am learning a LOT about patience through this process! :)

My handsome hubby and I went to a Christmas party at MckMama's home on Friday evening - and boy was it a blast!  I saw many friends, old and new, and spent the better part of three hours chatting away with a wonderful group of people!  I even enjoyed tolerated the sparkling juice that Israel, MckMama's very own Prince Charming, served up to us.  I think he was trying to get rid of it, as he conveniently served not one but TWO glasses to both Jolene and I.  Let's just say that I've discovered I do not have a love for sparkling juice!

The week ahead of us promises to be busy and crazy, and my promise to myself and my family is that I'm going to make sure to take time to focus on the very reason we celebrate Christmas.  I'm going to allow myself to marvel at the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I'm not going to allow myself to become overwhelmed by the amount of stuff piling up in our schedule, but am going to enjoy each celebration as it comes.  We're also going to be celebrating my birthday on Saturday (yep, I was born the day after Christmas) with some family and friends.  It's going to be a very informal gathering (no presents necessary!), just because I usually don't do much for my birthday, being it's so close to Christmas (and by the 26th I'm usually feeling a little bit grinchy!), but we decided that this year we were going to change that.  SO, if you're in the area and didn't receive my invite, let me know - we'd love to celebrate with you, too! :)

To top off all that crazy, we've had lots of outside playing time this past weekend!  As I glanced out the window at our kids, I had to smile to myself as I look at all four of our kids down on the lake (yes, I promise there is definitely enough ice for them to be out there - Monte checked it out himself!), next to the hole they augured in the ice for fishing.  Claire is standing near the ice fishing spot, while Iain and Ellis are pulling Colin around in our WAGON!  Goodness sakes - most people would find a sled to be entertaining during this time of the year - but our kids have found the wagon to be much more appealing!  Oh boy .. :)

So, I'm signing off for the week.  I may be back before a week is up, but I want to give you enough of a forewarning to know that I likely will not.  I'm going to focus on faith, family and friends during this week.  My prayer for you is that your Christmas will be filled with the love of God and that you would know His heart, His compassion and His love for us.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Things He Says

Yesterday, Colin was walking around with a flashlight that wasn't working.  He looks at me and says:

"Kami, this flashlight works on the power of electricity!!  So ...... can you please fix the electricity?!"

:)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Letter

Dear people who work at the city in which I live,

*Insert tone that is dripping with sarcasm here*

I am writing to let you know that my husband and I are happy thrilled beyond elated at the fact that you have taken this long to approve our building permit.  It makes me smile to know that our demolition permit was immediately granted, thus the removal of our garage happened in a big hurry - but now, we have waited for the past 12 business days, which translates into about 16 days, for you to approve and distribute our building permit.  No worries about the fact that everything is ready to go, the contractor and all the workers needed have set aside time and are prepared to do this job, the materials have been ordered and are ready to go, and our building permit is the only thing holding us up.  I love that!  I just love that you are the only thing delaying our addition from being built.  It's almost as if you are under the assumption that the people we have paid to do this job don't have better things to do than wait around for you to smile graciously upon us and grant us this permit.  No worries that we were told it would only take 10 days, but after day 10 were redirected to understand that it takes 10+ days.  Oh, please excuse the fact that we did not see the plus.  So, by all means, please keep sitting on this permit - take your time in getting it to us because you MUST know that we have no desire to get the building of our addition started.

I can't imagine that you wonderful workers in our city have nothing to do and thus the approval of our permit is being dragged out because you need to fill up your time sheets.  No, definitely not.  I know that you are all incredibly important and you have so much on your plate that our request for an addition is not a priority.  I understand.  I completely understand.

So, on that note, I am writing simply to wish you a merry Christmas and to tell you that I hope that you have wonderful celebrations with family.  Have some eggnog, kick your feet up and relax.  You deserve it, city worker.

Sincerely,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Make Date Night a Priority

You know what's great?  When you already have a blog post in your head that you want to write about, and then there's an incentive given to you to write about that very topic!  Aaaahhh yes!  JuiceBoxJungle (you know, that widget on the right side of my blog) wants to know if and when my hubby and I go out to dinner.  Add on top of that the fact that Restaurant.com is sponsoring this blogging frenzy and I've got a few reasons to blog about this!

Monte and I have been really good about a weekly date night ever since we were married a year ago.  Maybe it's the fact that we're a newlywed couple with four children, maybe it's just the fact that we're a newlywed couple, or maybe it's just that we like each other's company that much!  Whatever the reason, we have found time in our schedule to head out together once a week.  Don't get me wrong, we do miss a week here and there (because sometimes our schedule is just that busy!), but overall we try to keep our date night a weekly event.  With the economy in the state it is in, however, we are quite aware of the fact that we have to be spending our money wisely.  We often will research the restaurants that offer date night specials, we coupon clip (another great resource found at Restaurant.com) and sometimes we pack a dinner and head out to a park or go out in our boat and spend the evening fishing together!  Sometimes our date nights are as simple as getting a couple of cups of Caribou and parking our truck in the park to talk and observe the beauty of the Christmas lights that surround us.

I truly don't think the "what" is so important as the "who you're with".  Date night is a time to connect with your spouse and let them know that they are as important to you as they've ever been!  It's a time of gazing lovingly into each other's eyes, of whispering sweet something's to one another, of cuddling and giggling.  Everything that makes a non-romantic want to puke! :)

One thing I know, though, is that the cost of babysitting has gone up tremendously and sometimes, if you're paying a sitter, it's difficult to want to do anything for yourself because you know that the sitter is going to get a HUGE chunk of money by the end of the night!  Why not try babysitting swaps?  If there is a couple in your area who also has children, maybe they would be interested in doing a swap where they take your kids when you go out in exchange for you watching their kids when they go out.  It's a beautiful system when it works out correctly! :)

More than anything, though, it is so important to make time for your spouse - and date night is truly one of my favorite times that Monte and I make for each other!  What do you do to spend some alone time with your honey dear?!



Friday, December 11, 2009

Is This Really Happening?

I've hesitated in writing this post, entirely because I haven't yet processed my emotions of all that's going on.  However, since a week has passed since my most recent OB visit, I figure it's about time that I update!  So, last week Wednesday, December 2nd, Colin and I headed out to yet another doctor's visit.  Colin really enjoys coming along because they have a play area for him in the waiting room and because he knows that, if he's good when we're in the exam room, he will get a treat on the way home!  It's been fun seeing him listen so well during these visits!

ANYWAY - back to the original topic.  So at this appointment I had another internal ultrasound and I was expecting to go home, give myself a shot of Ovidrel in the stomach and ovulate 36 hours later.  This is what the doctor explained to me at my last visit, so this was completely my expectation.  What I was not expecting, however, was that, after my ultrasound, the doctor would come in and tell me that my ovaries "did not do what we wanted them to do."  Wait - what?  How can that be?  Initially he told me that if I took the Clomid, I would come in and then take the Ovidrel and all would be well.  Now he was telling me that wasn't the case.  What he said was that my ovaries have 40 eggs in them, but yet not one of them became a follicle that would turn into an ovulated egg.  Truth be told, he told me a lot of other stuff too, but I don't remember any of it.  I'm not even sure I heard a word of whatever else he said.  I just know that I was ready to cry because I was totally not prepared to hear this news.  My next step, however, is what just totally blew my mind.  He put me on birth control.  BIRTH CONTROL!!  Granted, I'm only taking it for a month, but it seems rather ironic to me that I'm taking birth control when I'm actually trying to have a baby!!!  He explained that I am taking this to basically clear our slate and start over with a little higher dose of Clomid.  

The great thing is that my OBGYN Clinic does not do fertility testing during the holidays because they don't want their patients to stress about it during this time.  They want us to relax and enjoy the holidays with our family and not think about babies or fertility again until January.  Not only does this irritate me because, if you could get in my head or in my heart, you would know that there is NO WAY that I won't be thinking about it.  There's nothing in me that stops thinking for an entire month about having a baby - how is that possible?  If someone is in fertility treatments, isn't it because they've already made the commitment that they want to have a baby and it's an insanely important thing to them?  But yes, it's Christmas, so be happy and don't think about it.  SHEESH.  I'm glad it's Christmas because that in and of itself provides a bit of mind relief - something else to keep me occupied!  The other reason this irritates me is because we've already paid all of our deductibles through our health insurance, so this month of December is FREE -- and there's nothing that I can do to take advantage of that!

Maybe I should have my tonsils removed?!  ----- I kid, I kid ...

So, to lay it all out, it's a lot to think about as I take my birth control and hope to get pregnant.  That just sounds stupid in and of itself!  My patience is wearing thin on the matter and I'm no longer allowing myself to think about it.  Okay, let's be real here, I'm totally thinking about it almost all the time and just pretending that I'm not.  Ugh.

God, You know my heart and You know my desire to have a baby.  I pray that it will happen in Your will and Your timing ... but please let Your timing be sooner rather than later!! :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

An Amazing Giveaway

Nope, not here on my blog, but if you visit Jennifer's blog here you will see this phenomenal giveaway.  I don't enter many giveaways, but I'd consider myself a fool not to enter this one!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pictures Worth a Thousand Words ...

Let the tree decorating begin ...


While most of us decorated, Iain spent a majority of the time observing and reading (though he did help once we got the sentimental ornaments out!) ...

Colin played with an angel ...


I wore the tree skirt ...


Ellis wore the candle greens ...


It's almost finished ...


Who says the star has to be on straight?!


I just LOVE decorating the Christmas tree!


My studmuffin husband was definitely helping out, too, but he was usually the man BEHIND the camera!


Monday, December 7, 2009

How He and I Became Us

I've been asked several times to share the story of how Monte and I met and eventually married.  I've always been hesitant about sharing this story on my blog, as it really opens me up for judgement.  However, I recently met a new blog friend who asked me about it and I went out on a limb and emailed the story to her.  Her encouraging words that I received in response gave me enough motivation to post the story - so here it is!  Enjoy ...

[This is copied directly from my email to Laura]

I am slightly hesitant to tell the story of how Monte and I met, just because the timing of it all is something that super opens me up for judgement, which is why the story hasn't been put on my blog quite yet!  I'm happy to share it with you, yet somehow it's still hard to tell!  It's so weird because I am proud of my husband, proud to be his wife and everything worked out perfectly for us regarding our relationship, engagement and marriage -- yet the hurriedness of it all, from the outside looking in, causes lots of room for unwanted opinions!  I already have a few people who are more than happy to raise their negative opinions on my blog (and no matter how much you tell yourself not to be bothered by them, they still hurt!), so I have yet to find the courage to post our story.  Maybe telling it to you will help me muster up that courage! :)

I have no idea how long Monte and I have known each other (he could probably tell you, as he's much better with dates than I am!), but I think it's somewhere close to three years now.  We knew each other as acquaintances, as I was the Business Manager of a physical therapy clinic and he was a patient there, rehabbing his shoulder post-op.  We would chat when he would come in for his appointments, exchanging stories of family (as I knew he was married with kids) and holidays and everyday life.  He was a nice guy that I knew, and nothing more.  I was at a point in my life where I had told God that I was just done dating because I had bombed out with too many wrong guys and was just sick of the dating scene!  I even told God that I was going to pack up and be a missionary in a foreign country because I didn't want to think about the guys in America anymore - I was just done!! :)

Well, one day, in February of 2008, Monte missed an appointment.  This was incredibly unusual for him, as he is a really reliable guy.  We didn't think much of it and moved on with our work.  Later that week he missed another appointment and I decided to place a call to him, as he had several upcoming appointments on the books and I wanted to know whether I should cancel them or if he had just forgotten about them.  I didn't reach him, but left a message.  I later received a return call from his sister-in-law stating that we had to cancel all of his upcoming appointments.  I ended up in a long discussion with her as, legally speaking, only a patient can cancel or change their appointments.  She insisted, however, that if I didn't cancel them, they would be no-shows because he wasn't coming.  I was confused, but at the approval of my boss, I cancelled the appointments.  Later that week, Monte called in and chatted with my boss, Mike, (who was his physical therapist) and I later learned from Mike that Monte's wife had been killed in a snowmobiling accident.  I never knew her, but yet the news hit me with such a blow that I went to the back office and wept for him and his family.  I couldn't imagine the tragedy they must have been facing, the sorrow that must have been consuming them.  After work that day, I spent hours in prayer for them - not really understanding why this particular death had hit so close to home with me (being the fact that I had never met Kelley), but knowing that my heart was burdened for Monte and his family.  It was such a tragic loss - I couldn't even grasp the depths of it.

My friend, Kristin, and I decided that we wanted to offer our support to their family.  There was an Easter Sunday service being dedicated to Kelley's memory at their church - so Kristin and I decided to go.  I remember the drive out to their town was so long entirely because a blizzard had hit that morning and the winding roads were icy.  It was a long trip!  We got to the church and said hello, listened to the service, said goodbye and headed home.  

I continued to see Monte when he would come in for his appointments.  He would stay for hours after his appointment, just needing someone to talk to.  Eventually, I had to tell him that I had to get back to work, and we exchanged email addresses instead, as that would be an easier way to communicate while still staying on top of my work!  He sent me emails of hopelessness and despair, I replied with Bible verses (truly the only thing I knew to do).  Our friendship grew a lot through the exchange of our emails.  One day he wrote me saying he was having a particularly hard day and wanted to know if I could meet him for dinner.  I said yes, so long as it was an early dinner, as I was house/puppy sitting for my sister's family.  No problem.  We met for an early dinner at a local steakhouse and that's where God truly intervened.  We talked, we laughed, he cried.  It was such an amazing evening!  I can honestly say that I walked away from that night knowing that I had feelings for him.  It scared me a lot! I wasn't intending on pursuing those feelings, as I knew he had been widowed only two months.  In my opinion, he wasn't ready to date.  Evidently he was feeling those same feelings, and he was feeling that same scare, because he sent me an email telling me that he couldn't talk to me anymore.  I was hurt, I was sad, but I respected his request.  I tell you, it was very lonely not talking to him, which surprised me because we didn't talk all that much before - and it was all via email!  

Eventually he came in for another Physical Therapy appointment and it happened to be on an insanely busy day.  I was training in a new front desk attendant, our phone was ringing off the hook, the patients were late and others were early, so their appointments were piling up - it was just an insane day!  In the midst of all of that, I didn't get a chance to say anything but "hi" to Monte - and I felt really bad about it!  I didn't want him to think that I was intentionally ignoring him, so I sent a quick email apologizing for the busyness of the day and telling him that I really missed talking to him.  He wrote me back saying that he missed talking to me, too, and asking if he could call me that night.  I said yes.

The conversation lasted four hours.

All the conversations in the nights to follow lasted just as long.  We started hanging out.  I met the kids.  We spent time together. It was just right - that's truly the only way I know to describe it.  It wasn't long after that Monte told the kids that we were officially dating (which they had already assumed!).  However, I do have to say that we never shared so much as a kiss until after we had known that we were going to be married.  

Kelley's accident happened in February of '08.  We were engaged in September '08 and married in December '08.  That's why I don't like telling the story - because if you're on the outside, no matter what explanation I give, it appears to be rushed.  However, I have to say that our relationship has always been about all of us - Monte, me and all four of our kids -- never just about he and I.  It's been a great first year, we're thrilled to have celebrated our first anniversary yesterday!  

Our story is definitely not 'the norm', but neither is our relationship.  It's true that we just knew from the very first time we got together one-on-one outside of work that we were going to be together.  We're crazy in love, I'm crazy in love with the kids, and we have a pretty amazing harmony in our home.  I couldn't have asked for a bigger blessing!




And that's our story.  :)


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy First ...

One year ago today this woman


... was wed to this man ...



... and these children ...



... and she's never had a moment of her life that's been happier than this past year.  Happy Anniversary honey - Happy Anniversary kiddos - I love you all so much!


Friday, December 4, 2009

And the Winner is ...

Congratulations to musingsofagirl - you are the winner of the $25 Target Gift Card!  Send me an email to kami@mybeautifulday.net with your contact information and I will get the card to you ASAP!

Thanks to everybody who participated in my first giveaway - it was a lot of fun! :)

Five Question Friday

1. Favorite gift you are GIVING this year?
Ironically enough, I have yet to do ANY Christmas shopping, so I really can't answer this question!  Monte and I have decided that we are going to scale back on Christmas presents this year and only get a couple of things for each of our kids.  We're going to focus far more on the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of Jesus.  We want our kids to first celebrate that - then enjoy giving gifts!


2. How many parties are you attending between now and Christmas?
As of right now, only one!  I'm heading to MckMama's Christmas party later this month.  I really wanted to host a party of my own, but alas, with our renovations going on, we no longer can do so.  Things are just too crazy around here to have lots of people over!  Next year, though, next year ... :)


3. What is your favorite Christmas song?
Oh Holy Night.  I love it!  It makes me think how amazing, how truly holy the night of our Savior's birth really was.


4. Who was your favorite elementary school teacher and why?
My 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Kostynick.  She was so kind and loving, she called all of her students her angels.  She was such an amazingly positive influence in my life and I loved her so much!


5. If you had a choice to live in any other period of time (other than now) what era would you choose and why?

I can't really choose a specific period, because I really don't know!  I would love to go back to a time where things were much more simple.  People worked hard.  Faith and family was a major priority.  You were grateful for what you had and were diligent in caring for your possessions (be it a home or clothing or ...).  Back to a time when the world wasn't quite so fast paced.


Now it's your turn!  Head over to Mama M's blog and see who else is participating in Five Question Friday!





MckLinky Blog Hop

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Going ...



... going ....



GONE!



Renovations have officially begun - starting with demolition of our garage -more pictures to come as progress is made!  I must admit that I have seen a bit of a negative reaction from some of my readers regarding the renovations on our home.  While I know that this is entirely up to them and they are entitled to feel how they choose, I do want to let you know that, while our addition sounds massive - it's rather compact.  It's sufficient for us to make our house ready for future babies and for current guests.  The additional rooms are small in size, which makes for the possibility of more rooms.  While I know I don't need to offer an explanation of this to you, I wanted to clarify that fact!

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Also, it's not too late to enter my giveaway.  Contest closes at 12:00pm (noon!) Central Standard Time TOMORROW!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My Very First Giveaway!

*****Contest is now CLOSED.  Thanks for participating!! *****

That's right, you heard me correctly - I am hosting my very first giveaway!  Monte and I were talking about my blog and we decided that we want the chance to bless my readers.  Unfortunately, I don't have the means to bless each and every one of you (though I wish I could!), but I have decided to bless one of you with this:



That's right - this beautiful Target Gift Card (valued at $25) on my refrigerator can be yours!  So, how do you enter?  It's easy!  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post - just one comment and you're entered!  Think that's too easy?  Well it gets better!  Write a tweet (on Twitter, for those who don't know!) about this post, linking back to it, and you are qualified for TWO entries.  Want a better chance to win?!  Write a blog post about this giveaway, once again linking back to this post, and you can be eligible for THREE entries.

Super easy, right?!  I think so!  So, comment away - and if you tweet or write a blog post about it, please leave me separate comments stating that you've done so!  Contest will end at 12:00pm (that means noon!) Central Standard Time on Friday December 4th.  The contest winner will be announced that afternoon.

Thanks for entering :) 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

All You've Been Waiting For ...

I have all of the answers you've been waiting for!  Okay, well maybe not all of the answers, but I at least have answers to the subjects of why we've cleaned out our garage and how my appointments are going.  I'll start with the latter.  Last Wednesday, I had a follow up appointment with my OB.  Okay, it wasn't actually my OB, it was another doctor within the same clinic.  In fact, this is the third doctor I've seen thus far, but I guess as long as we're still moving forward with our progress, I can't complain about it!  So, I had finished taking my prescription and had indeed received a visit from Aunt Flo.  The funny thing about it is that it had been so long since I received a visit from her that I rejoiced when she came.  I savored the cramps.  How weird am I?! :)  I guess the only thing I can say to describe it is the fact that, when you haven't had a period in nine or ten months, it's a great feeling of normalcy when you finally have one!  I cherished the feeling, knowing that it's one step closer to bringing me to the day that Monte and I can have a baby.  However, the fact that I got my period on this prescription did answer the question of whether or not I am ovulating, and it answered it with a big loud NO!  So, since then, I have been on a prescription Clomid, which will help with the ovulation process.  I go back in for another ultrasound tomorrow to determine whether or not the Clomid is having the effect it should on my uterus - and when I get the thumbs up from the doctor, I will give myself a shot of Ovidrel which will cause me to ovulate 36 hours after the shot is given.  So, considering things line up correctly, we have a chance of getting pregnant after this shot.  However, we also have a chance of going through this process yet again next month.  At this point, it's all in God's hands - in His will and in His time.

At this point, I'm not certain how I'm feeling about all of this.  Part of me thinks that I'm suppressing all of the emotions I'm feeling - entirely because I blew the emotional gasket on the phone with my mom last week and cried harder than I've cried in ages ... and I had no clue why!  While it still is not something that is consuming me, I do believe I'm probably thinking about it more than I realize.  I don't like how things have become so meticulous, so calculated and so timed.  Yet I know that those things are necessary right now.  My emotions go up and down with this, and most of the time I find myself consuming my time with my family, with my kids, with the upcoming holidays - with anything that takes my mind off of the current status of our fertility journey. Am I in denial?  Possibly.  I just don't really know what I'm denying :)

As always, your prayers regarding this situation are greatly appreciated!

--

On a much different note, you may have read that we have cleaned out the contents of our garage and are preparing for demolition.  Well, as I write this, our contractor is outside removing our garage door and taking apart the few things that need to be removed before our garage is torn down.  Why on earth are we doing this?  Well I'm glad you asked!  Monte and I have made the decision that we are going to stay put in the home we have been given.  The desire to move has completely subsided, I think due to the fact that we are so particular in what we want in a home that we're finding those requests are not being met.  What we want is what we already have - just with a couple more bedrooms (for guests and the pending possibility of more children).  So, instead of moving, we're adding on to our home!  Gone will be our current garage, replaced with a three-car garage that both of our "dinosaur killers" (also known as our SUVs) will fit in and where we can store our boat in the winter (instead of paying other people to store it in their garage!).  We are adding on a guest bedroom and a guest bathroom, a home office (centrally located near our kitchen, which I have discovered is my center of gravity in our home!) and a second laundry room (because we are planning on increasing the amount of laundry we do in a week with the possibility of more children - and an additional washer and dryer will be an amazing addition to have!) which will have a Murphy Bed in it to accommodate guests.  Then, above the garage we are going to put another bedroom - likely one that we may let Claire move into in the near future (as she has already requested this!) as well as a theater room - as that has been Monte's desire in our house search - to have a theater room!

All of these changes are incredibly exciting, yet incredibly busy to be happening during the holidays!  On top of that I'm finishing all of our Christmas cards and beginning our Christmas baking this week!  Whew - it sounds like it's going to be a crazy month!

So tell me, what are you doing to celebrate Christmas with your family?

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For TODAY ...


Outside my window ... the sun is shining, the lake is calm and still like a sheet of glass, the squirrels are running wildly, and someone from the city is outside spray painting lines in our lawn (identifying the water/sewer/gas/etc).

I am thinking ... about my UPS package that's arriving today and the fact that I'm hoping it arrives later this afternoon when I'm home because the delivery of it requires a signature!

I am thankful for ... my God, my husband, my kids, my family, my faith, my church, my friends, my doctors, my home ..... my LIFE!

I am wearing ... jeans that are too short, a brown T-shirt and my Hilfiger sweatshirt (you know, the one that I bought for Monte for Christmas last year and then shrunk it down so much that it now fits me!).

I am remembering ... Monte's late wife and my kids' mama, Kelley.  I never knew her, but she is always in my mind, especially coming into the holiday season.  I'm looking for creative ways to remember her and honor her memory during the holidays.

I am going ... to meet with Colin's preschool teacher in 45 minutes.

I am currently reading ... The Bible.  Amazingly enough, there are no other books that I'm reading at this moment!

I am hoping ... for Christmas to reflect its true meaning in our house this year.  For it to be less about the materialistic side and the presents (though we will still be giving presents to the kids!) and for it to be more about the birth of our Savior.

On my mind ... How wonderful it was to have my husband and kids home on a four day weekend and how much I'm looking forward to having them home for TWO WEEKS during Christmas (no, Monte isn't taking two weeks off of work, but the kids have two weeks off of school!).

Noticing that ... my house drastically needs to be cleaned - especially since we cleaned out the garage and my "storage pantry" for extra kitchen items has been demolished!  My counters are covered with bowls, serving platters, coolers, a coffee thermos ...... :)

Pondering these words ... "Your love, oh Lord, reaches to the heavens.  Your faithfulness stretches to the sky.  Your righteousness is like a mighty mountain.  Your justice flows like the ocean's tide."

From the kitchen ... This week features Tater Tot Hotdish (at the request of my husband!), Spaghetti, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Meatloaf, and steaks on the grill.  All with lots of various side dishes! :)

Around the house ... the laundry is washing, the radio is playing, the counters are screaming of how they need to be cleaned (can you tell that this is on my 'to do' list today?!).

One of my favorite things ... is seeing the outfits that Ellis chooses out for himself.  They always make me smile :)  What tops it off, though, is when he's modeling the outfits and he still has food on his face (because he almost always has food on his face)!

From my Picture Journal ... Colin and Elijah all dressed up for Thanksgiving ...


... and Abby, post bath, lots of crazy hair!


To join in on The Simple Woman's Daybook, visit the blog here!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Recap Randomness

In preparation for hosting Thanksgiving this year, my kitchen and dining room started off by looking like this ...



... and like this ...



... and while I will admit that it took a long time to get all of that organized and into my cupboards and refrigerators, it did eventually get cleaned up!  My brother, Tory, and his family joined us at our home for Turkey Day festivities this year and it was completely wonderful to get to spend some time with them!  It really blessed my heart to see Colin playing so well with my nephew, Elijah, as this has not always been the case in the past - but at this particular gathering, they played as if they were old buddies!




Lisa and I spent much time cooking and cleaning (though I have to give credit to Monte and Tory, as they did almost all of the post dinner clean up!) ...



... *sorry Lisa, this is the only mid-cooking picture of us that I have!  Once the meal preparation was complete, we sat down and enjoyed an amazing dinner, of which I completely forgot to capture a photo!  Oops :)  After dinner and clean up, we played a pretty intense game of Monopoly, complete with people forming allies with other players against all the rest of the players.  Intense, I tell you.  Intense! :)



After Monopoly and some chatting, we called it a night.  The next morning we were all up bright and early and showered and played with 'le bebe' (my beautiful newborn niece, Abby):



... and Ellis chose out his dressy clothes for the day ... :)



... and we all loaded up into our vehicles and headed to my brother, Jeremy's, house for yet another Thanksgiving dinner.  Due to the fact that Jeremy had to work on Thanksgiving Day, we were all getting together to celebrate on Black Friday (no shopping included).  It was a great day of food, laughs, kids playing at the park, rocking the baby to sleep (have I mentioned that I'm a total baby hog?!) and enjoying the company of family.  It ended with a group picture of all of the grandchildren (a.k.a. all of my children, as well as my nieces and nephews) ...



... aren't they a crazy cute bunch?!  All in all, Thanksgiving weekend has been an amazing one for us!  I've got updates coming soon as to how my most recent doctor's appointment went (and about the appointment coming up on Wednesday) and an update as to why we've emptied all of the contents of our garage and are no longer using it.  Stay tuned for those updates!  Hoping your holiday was splendid!

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