Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's


Throughout the day I found myself forgetting that today was New Year's Eve. This tends to happen to me when I'm on a break, I completely lose track of what day it is.

As a kid I really got into New Year's Eve. I'd was a complete sucker for all of the "year in review" shows and looked forward to staying up to watch the ball drop in Time's Square. Now....well, now it just isn't that exciting. In fact, I can't remember the last time I actually made it to midnight before falling asleep.

Despite the lack of "pomp and circumstance" I still look forward to the new year ahead of us, in my own quiet way. When I did remember today was the last day of the year, I would pause and think about what a year it has been, and anticipate some of the exciting moments we have in front of us. Here are some of the things that are "scheduled" for the coming year:

  1. Abby will become an eight year old.
  2. I will complete my 15th year of teaching.
  3. Jason and I will celebrate our 14th year of marriage.
  4. I will celebrate my last "30 something" birthday.
  5. I will be one class away from completing my Master's Degree.
There is quite a bit to look forward to - things I expect will happen, but I also know that 2013 will bring many unexpected things, things that are both delightful and stressful. But that's half the fun of anticipating the new year, isn't it?.....wondering about what lies ahead, taking a deep breath, and plunging in.

I asked Abby what her New Year's resolutions were today. Knowing that she wasn't sure what a "resolution" was, I clarified for her. I asked her what she would do more of this year. Her answer? "Singing!" (She also said, "Halloween parties." Apparently, she just wants more opportunities to dress up, get together with her friends, and get candy - can't fault her on that one.) When I asked her what she would do less of she was a bit more unsure, she said she'd do less "going to people's houses", which is completely not what she's about, but maybe she was still stuck on what she wanted to do more of.....

Whatever happens, I know that I have much to look forward to in 2013. I know that Abby will continue to grow, learn, and delight so many....and a mom can't ask for much more than that.

Blessings to you all on your New Year.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11


Today Abby wrote a note to Papa on her coloring page. Here's
what it said: Dear Papa, I'm going to give you smootchie-bugs!
Love, Abby
Papa was pleased as punch to get the message.
Abby continues to take excellent care of little miss Annie.
She was singing a sweet little lullaby while she gave
her tonight's bottle.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Lots of Laughs

Since we've had a couple of busy days lately, I thought it might be a good idea to stay in and take it easy today. With the 5 a.m. wake-up call that Abby gave me I'd anticipated a long (and crabby) day, but such was not the case. It was a day filled with lots of laughs and plenty of fun - exactly what you might expect spending a day with Abby might be like.

Here are some of the highlights:

TP Costume

One of the shows Abby enjoyed today was "The Pixie Hallow Games", a short featurette that showcases Tinker Bell and her fairy friends in an Olympics style competition. It was around the second time she was watching it that she left the room and headed upstairs. It was clear the kid was on a mission, so I asked what she was doing. All she would tell me was, "Like Rosetta, Mom." I was curious, of course, but I was completely baffled when she came down with a roll of toilet paper. 

Huh?

She instructed me that she wanted her hands and wrists wrapped, and so that's what I did, securing them with a bit of tape. It was later that I caught a glimpse of the movie and saw that "Rosetta" (a garden fairy for those of you who may not know) had wrapped her hands and wrists in sports wrap for the games. Abby wanted to be just like her as she acted out the scenes. I drew the line though at putting mud under Abby's eyes, as she requested - she'd just have to use her imagination on that one.

Magical Mom

Later Abby wanted to watch "Enchanted", and as you probably guessed she wanted a "Giselle Dress" (a.k.a. a huge white wedding dress) to wear. Since she doesn't have a white play dress I told her to get the red one that was on the chair and I would do some magic. She totally bought that and excitedly put the dress on. I then waved my hands around, said some gibberish, and with a dramatic "Poof!" told her that she was now wearing a beautiful white "Giselle Dress". She sweetly smiled, said, "Thank you!" and then ran off to dance away to the music.

Later the same technique worked when she wanted a black dress to wear. Whew!

Barbie Pressure

As the day wore on Abby found her stash of Barbies, and insisted that I play with her. I'm sorry to say that I was not in the mood to play Barbies - I could have taken anything at that point....but not Barbies. I told her, "No," but she would not take that as my final answer. She then morphed into one of those bad actors from the peer pressure movies they showed us in health class. She started saying things like, "C'mon, Mom! Barbies are fun!" and "Try it... you'll like it!" I still clung to my "No Barbies" stance, even when she put all but one down and said, "Here, talk to her," as she laid across my lap - I couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity of what was happening, but finally, finally she put them away...and we moved on to coloring.

The Layered Look

Today seemed to be the day for multiple changes. I think she wore each of her dress-up outfits at least once during the day, but the last one was the best. She has this one "dress" that used to be a slip of mine, and since it was chilly I made sure that she was wearing her pajamas under it. So picture pink heart p.j.'s with a bright red silky slip over the top....now, mix in the fact that she had the tool belt she got for Christmas firmly strapped around her waist, with a hammer, screwdriver, and wrench in the front pocket - that's what she looked like. She didn't quite understand why I was laughing, and she kept asking me, "What's so funny?" to which I could only respond: "You are."


Silly Coconut!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Family

There are so many things that I am thankful for, but tonight I want to highlight one of those at the top of my list: Family.

Our families are awesome for several reasons, but one that always gets me teary is how incredibly supportive they are - especially when it comes to Abby. From the moment we found out that she would have a different path in life, they were all right there, telling us we could do this, and loving her to pieces. They continue to do so.

Even when Abby is at her most difficult and demanding, they roll with it and charm her out of it. They laugh at her jokes and joys, and they couldn't be prouder of the little lady she is becoming. Take tonight for example.

Today was our last holiday gathering. We met with all the siblings at Nana and Papa's house. Everyone had a great time reminiscing and enjoying each other's company. They also would take time away from visiting to make sure that Abby was taken care of as well. Like when Aunt Keri and Uncle Joe left the dinner table to help Abby feed her doll, or when Uncle Joe helped Abby write a thank you note to Santa. The moment that really got me though was when I was in the kitchen and Jason came in to get a candle for Abby's cupcake. Nana had made them special for dessert for everyone, but the whole crew made it even more special for Abby because once the candle was lit they all sang a rousing "Happy Birthday" to her - despite the fact her birthday is in March. They love to see her joy and happiness, and I love them all the more for it.

Ready to blow out the "birthday" candle.


Enjoying the clapping that came next. What a sweetie!


Friday, December 28, 2012

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

Today I'm actually doing a "Friday Phone Dump" on a Friday! Since the last couple of days have been pretty slow around here, I figured that we should do something today. Along with the regular play that normally happens around here, Abby and I spent quite a bit of time outside playing in the snow and then met up with some friends for a movie.  To say that we were both pretty tired by the end of the day, is putting it mildly.

I hope you enjoy our day in pictures.

Abby was so excited that her breakfast would be bacon. Now,
I realize that this looks like a whole lot of bacon, but no worries,
she took one bite of one piece and called it quits. Looks like the rest
will be salad toppings.....

After that "hearty" breakfast she decided that dancing was in order.
Unfortunately, she put a little too much "oomph" into one of her
pirouettes, and banged her head on the table.  A bit of cuddling, and a
minute of ice and she was back to dancing with gusto.

Looks like she's ready for the luge, doesn't she?

She had a blast, and tried so hard to lug that sled back up the hill, but
she insisted on going up the steepest part - stubborn little lass.

After sledding we came back to the house and let Bruiser join
in the fun - that's when Abby found the pool noodle. Bruiser was
a good sport when she started banging him with it.
What's playing in the snow without some hot cocoa to follow?

Abby was so excited about the movie - Monsters Inc., but true
to form, as soon as she'd worked her way through that tub-o-popcorn
(half of which she dumped on the floor), she was ready to go. I think she
told our friends that she wanted to "watch TV at home".  I was also thankful
that there weren't many in our theater - Abby is one loud movie-goer.
And the final fun piece to today....Abby sledding down the hill - man she got going far!





Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Girl Just Wants to Have Fun

I've talked about Abby's boundless energy before, but today she just seemed full of it - she wasn't bad, just busy. Maybe it was particularly apparent since we stayed in. The thing is, Abby loves to play, and if she could she'd play until she keeled over from exhaustion. Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that she's active. For example, I've never worried about her "zoning out" when she's watching T.V., she doesn't sit still long enough to do any kind of "zoning".

But....she just doesn't want to quit - and it wears me out. This afternoon she was having a great time dancing and playing instruments to some music while I read on the couch. It was lovely, but when she came to me carrying some of her dolls, saying, "Play with me, Mom" I couldn't say, "No."  We played for quite a while. The dolls danced, they did some karate fighting, they even did spinning twirls in the air. Then, thinking that I would "bring things down a bit", I invited Abby to cuddle while I told a story involving her dolls. We both liked that, but by the end of it I was getting tired of "playing".... and Abby was just getting started.

Next she wanted to sword fight with drum sticks, but the second time she rapped my knuckles I told her we were done - she didn't like that. This is what typically happens. She wants to keep going, and Mom just needs a break. I'm sure in her mind she's thinking: Why would anyone want to stop having fun?

Luckily, Daddy stepped in before it got too ugly, but we talked later how Abby could honestly play hard all day long. I just wish I had her stamina...and for her sake, the desire to play Barbies and color all day.
Abby was feeling very "western" today.



I also had some time to work on a little "repurposing" project. Abby had a cute
pair of jeans that had a slight problem - they didn't do a great job of keeping her
rump covered. So, I gathered some left over fabric and turned them into a cute skirt.
It fit right into her "Cowboy" theme. By the way, the pose was all her idea.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Break

Today was one of those days that epitomizes many of the reasons I look so forward to Christmas break.   Since about 11:30 a.m. snow has been steadily falling and the view from our windows, to the world beyond, is a veritable winder wonderland. While I sit cozy and warm in my favorite knitting chair, I can watch the world outside fill up with snow. Knowing that we have no where we need to be goes a long way in helping me enjoy the blanket of white.

Yes, today would have been the perfect "Christmas Break Day" if it weren't for the trip to the doctor that it became apparent was required. For days now Abby has been battling a cold. Sleeping has been tough because of a nightly clogged nose, and her face has become red and raw from frequent wiping. It was yesterday, though that really got me thinking about calling the doctor. A couple of times, after Abby had blown her nose, she would hold on to her right ear, a sure sign that an infection was likely.  Luckily, our doctor's office was open today and able to fit us in.

So, as the snow began in ernest, we bundled up and headed out. Sure enough, her ears were fluid filled and her throat was red. Antibiotics were prescribed and ordered, along with some drops for her suspiciously red eyes. You would think with the amount of medicine that she was given, she'd be pretty miserable, but Abby is one tough cookie - there's no way a mere ear infection would keep her down. She was much more interested in the book she found in the exam room that glowed in the dark, and the challenge became convincing her that it wasn't ours to take home. I've never been as thankful for our co-pay as I was today, because it was handing off the responsibility of paying that to Abby that got her moving towards the front door.

Even though going to the doctor wouldn't make the list of "Favorite Christmas Break Activities", I'm still grateful that we were on break when it became necessary. I would rather know that she has time to recover - time when we have no responsibilities, and no where we need to be. So, you could say it was still a very, very good break day - doctor's visit and all.

Lovin' her some Bruiser.


Popcorn for lunch? Why not?


You can't really tell, but she is smiling and saying, "Cheese!" here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Christmas!

Our day started early - as they normally do, but today I didn't care. Abby was so thrilled to see all the gifts and got right to them, honing in on the biggest one first. After each opening she would gasp and say, "Oh, thank you! I love it!....What's next?" Seriously, I could have probably wrapped up empty boxes and she would just be happy to be ripping the paper off.

Today we were also able to head out to celebrate with Nana and Papa, as well as Aunt Keri and Uncle Joe. It was a wonderful day.

Bless Jason. This year I had one thing on my mind when it came to Abby's "big" gift - an American Girl
Doll. He didn't get it, but he gave in anyway.He wanted both of his girls to be happy - what a guy!


She also got a prop to add to her Pirate collection - a pirate
telescope. She's spying on Daddy here. Arrrr, Matey!

There was a whole slew of presents related to "Annie". I made a diaper bag and we got some feeding stuff. As Jason put
it, "That American Girl Doll got as many presents as Abby did!" Abby did have a great time being "Mommy" today, though.

One thing I thought Abby would love is to dress like her doll. So I made sure to make her a dress
like Annie's. The craft store gift card that I got will come in handy - I can tell you that!


I loved the fact that when Abby was enjoying her snack, she was making sure that Annie wasn't neglected.
Sure, she's doing a bit of "force feeding", but her intentions were good.


Abby also got a beautiful pair of bongos. We had to listen to lots of "drum" music on our ride
out to Nana and Papa's. Half way there she decided to give Annie some lessons.


They even got matching jammies from Nana and Papa. Of course, they had to be tried on right away -
even though it was the middle of the afternoon.

Once again we were reminded today of our many blessings - about how generous God has been. We hope that you all had a very happy and blessed Christmas as well.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Twas the Night Before Christmas...

There isn't too much better in my mind than a beautiful blanket of snow covering the ground on Christmas Eve - the only problem was when it came...but beggars can't be choosers. This afternoon, as we set off for our annual Christmas Eve celebration at Nana and Papa's we felt as if we were driving in a snow-globe. We stopped before we hit the highway to fuel up and then made a decision. We'd try again tomorrow. With conditions as they were we were looking at a good two hours of driving each way, we'd be spending more time on the road than actually visiting with family. So, we turned around and headed back home, knowing that we would see the family tomorrow.

Abby was disappointed, until we told her that we needed to get home in order to get ready for Santa. She perked right up at that. Once we got in the house she sat right down and got to work on a letter for the jolly old guy. She was pretty serious too, because by the time she was done she'd "written" on eight sheets of paper, front and back. Apparently, she had a lot to say.

I think it was during dinner, around five o'clock or so, that she clarified a point with me. "Mom?" she said.

"Yes?" I responded.

"Santa's coming tonight?....While I'm sleeping?"

"Yep, he'll come while you are asleep," I said.

[pause]

"Mom, I'm tired now. Let's go read books."

I laughed at that, and told her that we would go up once she was done with dinner. Soon enough she was ready to head up. So we made sure that she said good-bye to Ellie the Elf until next year. We got their picture by the tree and then Abby gave her a hug and said, "Bye, Ellie. Have fun seeing Santa!"

Even though she is excited about tomorrow she didn't have any trouble falling asleep tonight. She had a lot of sweet moments throughout the day, but it was her final moment that really got me. I was laying next to her, with her head cuddled on my shoulder and my arm curved around her. She had been sleeping for a good 5 minutes, while I caught up on some Facebook scoop on my phone. Suddenly, she said, "I love you," - without ever opening her eyes or interrupting her deep breathing.

Yep, I already have my "Christmas Miracle" - and she just keeps getting better and better with each passing year. I am so very, very blessed.




She's so focused she needed to have her tongue out.


I think Daddy said something about presents when I
snapped this one, and it totally drew her focus.

Finally, Abby has a Christmas greeting for all of you!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Slow Sunday

Well, here we are, post number 300. For a girl who garnered the reputation as a youngster for never finishing anything, I'm pretty proud of myself. For the last 300 days I've sat down each night and shared with you my thoughts and my beautiful daughter, giving you a peek into our lives. Thank you for all of you who have been faithful readers - we're in the home stretch now.

Now on to tonight's post.

Today was Jason's birthday. Abby, who usually likes to get up and head right downstairs for a fun start to her day, deigned to take a detour this morning to climb into bed with Daddy and sing "Happy Birthday" to him. She then needed to have her name included the second time we sang the song. She then encouraged Daddy to blow out the pretend candles with her.

Other than heading to Sunday school, we simply took a day to relax and enjoy a slower pace. The next two days will be filled with excitement, and so having a slow day may have been the best choice.

I was able to finish up the dress for Abby that I'd been working on. It goes
with one of her Christmas gifts....but we'll get to that in a couple of days.


After hearing (and acting out) the story of Christmas at Sunday School,
Abby got to do some cookie decorating....and eating.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Single-Mindedness

Abby has a single-mindedness that is sometimes hard to redirect. Once she gets something in her head, it is nigh on impossible to redirect that. Most times that isn't a problem, because she doesn't bombard the day with her stubbornness, but today it seemed that every time we turned around we were having to tell her, "No!" or try to redirect her. Today was one of those days when even holding her hand so she wouldn't slip on the ice became an issue.

Today we traveled to my mom's to celebrate Christmas with her and some of my other family. We'd deliberately kept the gathering small, but that didn't keep her from getting wound up. To put it simply - Abby was a handful today.

I found myself getting so frustrated....until we sat down to dinner and comparisons began to be made. It started with Jason's question, "Was Elizabeth like this when she was a kid?" The words that my mom threw around were: inventive, curious, precocious, and persistent. From there they digressed into a run-down of some of "Elizabeth's Most Embarrassing Childhood Moments", which I tried to quash as quickly as I could.

Later this evening, as I was getting frustrated because Abby wouldn't let me work on the dress I'm making for her, I realized that yes, I was very like Abby as a child....and in many ways I still am. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten a crazy idea in my head and wouldn't rest until I got going on it. Sometimes the only real difference between my single-mindedness, and Abby's is that I don't have someone telling me, "No!"

Hopefully this new realization will help me when it comes to dealing with her stubbornness.




I was able to snap this gem in between stubborn moments. 


And, she was being very cute saying all the lines to "Madagascar 3" on
our drive.

Friday, December 21, 2012

So Excited

Maybe it was because today was the last day before Christmas break....or maybe it was because we woke up to a snow covered lawn...whatever it was, Abby was completely over the moon - so excited that I'm sure she was hardly focused on anything at all. After school I went to pick her up and her teacher mentioned that she was so excited about Christmas coming up.  I saw it first hand when I came into her room and she couldn't sit still. She must have hugged everyone of her classmates at least twice, and her teachers three or four times - wishing them Merry Christmas along the way - in fact, she even hugged the carousal that housed the class scissors.

By the time I was able to herd her out of the school, she was bouncing with each step, playing with some of the decorations she'd made. It's a good thing that tomorrow we head off to my Mom's for some presents and Christmas cheer - she's likely to explode if this goes on much longer.


Abby plays in the new snow while waiting for the bus. The kid certainly loves her snow!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Program

This school year I feel like I've done much better - keeping track of Abby's events, that is. I'm so used to my school schedule and the events that I'm involved in, that it took me a bit to get the hang of Abby having her own stuff. Case in point: The Christmas Program of 2011.

Last year I got some notes about an upcoming Christmas program that the kids at Abby's school would be putting on in the evening, at the local middle school. I did have it in the back of my mind, but one evening, as I was cleaning out her book bag, I saw the reminder that it was that evening. Considering that Abby was already in bed, it was clear that we wouldn't make it. I certainly felt bad, but it wasn't until I got a note from her teacher the next day saying that they had missed us, and that Abby had been so excited each time they practiced for the program - insert knife to Mom's heart. To say I felt like a huge heel was an understatement.

Therefore, this year we were on the lookout for the Christmas program - there was no way we would miss this one. Today was that day. Instead of having it in the evening though, it was in the morning, during school. As soon as we got the date and time, Jason cleared his schedule, but it wasn't until this morning that I thought I might be able to sneak out for a bit - and thanks to our wonderful principal I was able to do just that.

Jason and I had great seats as we watched Abby, front and center, singing "Jingle Bells" and shaking her bells right along with the words. We were both so proud of her. She stood up there, with no fear, and sang away. My favorite part though was the end. As the song wrapped up, and the audience clapped, my kid....my darling Abby...was the only one that took a bow.

Oh how I love her!






Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Oh, Christmas Trees!

Tonight Abby and I got crafty. It started with something I saw on Pinterest. I saw an idea for getting rid (or "repurposing") all those crayon nubs that Abby is just not interested in using anymore. By using a silicone pan and the oven we were able to make a nice little surprise for the kids in her class.

First, we sorted.



Next, we peeled the paper and broke the bigger pieces into smaller bits.


Abby was funny at this stage, she kept saying, "Ooohh, that one's
tough!" when she couldn't break the bigger ones.
Then, we popped them in a 300 degree oven until they were melted.

Abby thought that by blowing on them, she
could cool them faster.

Faster than I had anticipated, they were cooled and ready to be popped out of the pan. Jason noticed that there were a few that had gotten some shavings of a different color in them. He thought that was really cool. So.....


....for the next batch we mixed all kinds of colors.


And indeed, they came out pretty cool! Don't these look like they would be fun to color with?


Finally, I packaged them up so Abby can take them tomorrow.


Once again, Pinterest came through for us!

"Noodles" for dinner tonight - Abby throughly enjoyed them!




Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wrapping

Christmas is a week away, and I have to say that I have never been this prepared, except for a few odds and ends (oh yeah, and that dress I want to make Abby), we have everything ready. Tonight, while putting Abby to bed, I was mentally reviewing my list of things that I need to accomplish, and I realized that the only big thing left was to do the wrapping.

I don't really mind wrapping presents, in fact, I kind of like it. I only wish I could put them under the tree once they are wrapped, but there's no way Abby could handle that. In fact, for the last couple of Sundays I've avoided (like a plague) taking Abby anywhere near the "Angel Tree" at church. I could just envision Abby assuming that all those presents were there just for her, and diving in.

This line of thinking led to happy thoughts about how excited she will be on Christmas morning....which lead to memories of Christmases past....which made me think about a song I heard on the radio tonight. It was while I was driving around this evening that a Sara Groves song called "Toy Packaging" came on. I actually laughed out loud - because it was so true.

Sara Groves sings about how incredibly irritating (and nearly impossible) it is to try to get new toys out of their packaging. Honestly, every birthday, Christmas, and other random gifting times throughout the year I am mumbling under my breath as I wrestle the toy out of the tape, cardboard, twist-ties, and zip ties that are holding it still. (Seriously, I have broken at least two pairs of scissors trying to cut those stupid zip ties!) All of this is, of course, done while Abby is laying on the floor crying - it certainly makes for a festive celebration.

This year I've decided that the "toy packaging" will be dealt with pre-wrapping, when Abby isn't around to see the cutting, thereby making for a much more pleasant Christmas morning - with nary a pair of scissors in sight!

I found this cute video on YouTube that perfectly fits the song!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Exhibit

Abby has become quite the artist of late. She is focusing on portraiture, and so I thought I would offer you a sample of her work.


Title: "Mommy and Me"
Artist: Abby
Medium: Ink on Paper
Comments: "Mommy" would be the taller figure to the left, and "Me" would be the one in the middle (with the glasses).


Title: "Important People"
Artist: Abby
Medium: Ink on paper
Comments: Abby included some of the people she sees every day. From left to right: Abby, Mrs. Davis, Mommy, Mrs. Currie, & Dada


Title: "Self Portrait"
Artist: Abby
Medium: Graphite on Paper
Comments: Abby's view of Abby



Title: "Happy Abby"
Artist: Abby
Medium: Graphite and Marker on paper
Comment: Abby is happy - 'nuff said.


Ellie decided to help Mom out by packing Abby's lunch last night. Thanks Ellie.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Abby's 12 Days of Christmas

With Christmas less than 10 days away (Yikes!) I thought it would be fun to do the Twelve Days of Christmas - Abby style! Feel free to sing along - it will be more fun that way.

Abby's Twelve Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas Abby gave to me,
a big happy laugh filled with glee.

On the second day of Christmas Abby gave to me,
two booty shakes,
and a big happy laugh filled with glee.

On the third day of Christmas Abby gave to me,
three silly jokes,
two booty shakes,
and a big happy laugh filled with glee.

On the fourth day of Christmas Abby gave to me,
four smootchie-bugs,
three silly jokes,
two booty shakes,
and a big happy laugh filled with glee.

On the fifth day of Christmas Abby gave to me,
five yells for Help!
four smootchie-bugs,
three silly jokes,
two booty shakes,
and a big happy laugh filled with glee.

On the sixth day of Christmas Abby gave to me,
six books for reading,
five yells for Help!
four smootchie-bugs,
three silly jokes,
two booty shakes,
and a big happy laugh filled with glee.

On the seventh day of Christmas Abby gave to me,
seven crayons for coloring,
six books for reading,
five yells for Help!
four smootchie-bugs,
three silly jokes,
two booty shakes,
and a big happy laugh filled with glee.

On the eighth day of Christmas Abby gave to me,
eight pleas for pizza,
seven crayons for coloring,
six books for reading,
five yells for Help!
four smootchie-bugs,
three silly jokes,
two booty shakes,
and a big happy laugh filled with glee.

On the ninth day of Christmas Abby gave to me,
nine toys a dancing,
eight pleas for pizza,
seven crayons for coloring,
six books for reading,
five yells for Help!
four smootchie-bugs,
three silly jokes,
two booty shakes,
and a big happy laugh filled with glee.

On the tenth day of Christmas Abby gave to me,
ten outfit changes,
nine toys a dancing,
eight pleas for pizza,
seven crayons for coloring,
six books for reading,
five yells for Help!
four smootchie-bugs,
three silly jokes,
two booty shakes,
and a big happy laugh filled with glee.

On the eleventh day of Christmas Abby gave to me,
eleven "Please" and "Thank you"'s
ten outfit changes,
nine toys a dancing,
eight pleas for pizza,
seven crayons for coloring,
six books for reading,
five yells for Help!
four smootchie-bugs,
three silly jokes,
two booty shakes,
and a big happy laugh filled with glee.

On the twelfth day of Christmas Abby gave to me,
twelve "Love you, Mommy"'s
eleven "Please" and "Thank you"'s
ten outfit changes,
nine toys a dancing,
eight pleas for pizza,
seven crayons for coloring,
six books for reading,
five yells for Help!
four smootchie-bugs,
three silly jokes,
two booty shakes,
and a big happy laugh filled with glee.

Now wasn't that fun?


Abby leading the sining in Sunday School today - she's really
getting the hang of this!


Ellie has been a bit lazy of late, maybe that's why she decided
to help me out with my knitting.....if only!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

No News

Today we played....and we didn't watch any news.

I deliberately made the choice not to watch the constant stream of what happened in Connecticut today. There was no need. I heard what happened yesterday, and I know enough to understand that it is going to take time before the whole story comes out. It seems such an invasion of privacy to intrude on Newtown's grief.

It also would do me no good to hear of it over and over again. So, while I finished up a Christmas sewing project, Abby played - then we played together. It was just what I needed.

Today we kept the world at bay, and it was a good choice.

Nothing like a "queeze" from Abby!


Abby didn't like that I was laughing - so she took care of that.


Abby got the great idea to "make" a drum for Santa, but she
soon started to get upset when it didn't work out. She wanted
a really good drum, so Jason raided the Christmas "stash"
and Abby got her drum a bit early. It was well worth it!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sorrow

I cannot possibly write tonight without pouring out my sorrow about what happened this morning in Connecticut. I have to confess that this national tragedy has affected me more than any other in my lifetime.

I remember clearly that day in 2001 when terrorists attacked our country. I remember allying the fears of my students, and that as the day wore on fewer and fewer of them remained at school. It was one of those days when you wanted your children around you - when your security was shaken and you needed to know that they were alright. I understood what motivated those parents to come and gather their children, in a surface sense, but today I understood in a much more palpable way, because today I had Abby - in 2001 I didn't.

My first instinct, when I heard the news, was to run to Abby and take her home. Jason had the same reaction. The fact that the majority of the victims were Abby's age made it so very easy to envision myself in the place of those parents. I just wanted to see and touch my daughter, to assure myself that she was indeed safe. I know I was not the only one.

I also couldn't help but make the connection to my school. Questions like: What if something like that happened here? and How would I protect my students? started running through my head. We've had "lock-down" drills, and we've practiced what to do, but it has never seemed real. I never really thought that something like that could walk our halls - today that changed.

As soon as school was over I drove over to pick Abby up. She wouldn't be riding the bus today - I needed to see her as soon as I could. Although everyone greeted me with a smile, there was a somberness about them. When Abby's teacher walked her down the hall I could see my heartache reflected in her face. Abby was excited to see me and assumed that I would be taking her to my school, because I had a meeting, but I told her there was no meeting, that "Mommy just needed to see you." Abby's teacher continued my explanation by telling Abby, "It's a good day for everybody to see their kids." That's when the tears came. Abby's teacher gave me a quick hug of understanding as I tried to pull it together.

Abby asked for a pizza on our way out to the car and I didn't even hesitate before agreeing that a pizza would be a great idea. As we drove to get it I continued to try to reason this all out in my mind. I wanted to get home to read more about the shooter's motives. I wanted to find a picture of him, if only to prove to myself he looked as troubled on the outside, as he so obviously was on the inside. I finally had to come to the conclusion that there was no sense to this crime, and it was the senselessness that made it that much more horrifying. Evil has no reason, it just is.

Today I was shaken - I still am. The sense I had that my family is safe isn't quite so strong tonight. My heart bleeds for those parents who lost their children, and the children who lost their parents. I cannot imagine the depth of their grief and loss.

Tonight we did our bedtime routine as normal. We read stories, we listened to music, and Abby fell asleep in my arms. Usually after a few minutes of listening to her deep breathing I slowly disentangle myself and head off to my evening, but tonight I laid a bit longer with her head on my shoulder and prayed for all those moms whose arms are empty.

And so I hold onto this promise...

"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

as I continue to pray for those hurting families and a wounded nation.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Like Mama

Abby has always been an intriguing combination of girly-girl and tom-boy. She will run, jump, and play as hard as any boy, but she'll be doing it wearing a tutu and a princess crown. Some nights though, one wins over the other - tonight it was the girly-girl.

This evening was our Christmas music concert at school, and since I direct the choir, I needed to be there. As I got ready, Abby was there, hanging onto the back of my shirt and asking questions like, "Now what are you doing?" and demanding, "It's Abby's turn!" When I put powder on, Abby wanted powder. When I put my eyeliner on, Abby wanted eyeliner. When I put my lipstick on, Abby wanted some lipstick. She's done this before, and I have to say I'm not always very patient with her, especially when I'm in a hurry to get going, but tonight as she put on her "work clothes, like Mama," I realized that she was just wanting to be like me.

I was humbled.

And so I put those pretend earrings in her ears, and took the time to tint her lips with some red lipstick. She was terribly sweet when she then put her little hand in mine and told me she was ready to "go to work". What a sweetie.

Luckily, just as I was leaving Jason needed Abby's help with a project he was working on, so she didn't feel the need to come with me after all - and since she'd gotten her girly-girl fix, she could indulge her inner tom-boy and help Daddy with what he was building.

Pretty Girl!