Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Welcome to the world Gage!

This past weekend on Friday November 30th at 6:09 pm, my nephew Gage was born into this world weighing 7 lbs 10 oz and 21 inches long. The proud parents are my sister Jessica and her husband Shane. And with their permission, I get to post pictures!

Here I am! A proud aunt! :)

Now let me back up to when my sister announced that she was in labor, and back up further to say that she has cried wolf before. So...Thursday night she's texting me, updating me on her pregnancy. She's at the hospital because she has high blood pressure, but informs me that the doctor says that her and the baby are fine and that she is not in labor. 10 minutes later she sends me this text, and I don't believer her lol:

Ha! Mom had to call me to let me know that she was for real, lol. So I packed my bags, called grandma and we left together first thing in the morning (she lives 8 hours away, so we thought it would be best not to drive all night in the middle of the night). The turkey text was because before she went into labor she mentioned that she had a frozen turkey and that she wanted to have a turkey dinner "Thanksmas" for when everyone came into town to see the baby, well thanksmas never happened lol. By the morning, she still hadn't given birth, I was relieved, because I was afraid I was going to miss it. Here is another text from my sister:

Ha! She's just hanging out having contractions, and texting, lol :)

As we're driving down the road we're getting updates from my sister and my mom on how she's doing. The entire time I was surprised, yet thankful she hadn't given birth yet. But about 30 minutes before we arrived, I called to check in and found out that she was pushing! "Oh no!" I thought, I just knew that the baby would be here and crying by the time I got up to her room. But I was wrong! We made it! And I got to take some pictures:

(Don't worry, all pictures are rated G...maybe PG)

Who smiles during labor? ^^ this girl ^^

^^ Grandma peeking in because she didn't want to fully be in the room

^ and my kids are just behind the curtain waiting and playing :)

I love how she let the entire family into the room, mom, dad, me, grandma, Shane's mom and grandma. The baby was to be born, surrounded by his family and an endless amount of love...and he was loved!

The baby was "sunny side up", as the doctor put it, and the breech baby could not come out. Jessica was heart broken. She wanted so bad to push him out, and she pushed so well!
But a c-section was best

And baby Gage was born!

^ time to go home

They had a large entourage ;)

The family is happy and safe at home now, and we were all glad to finally meet and welcome baby Gage into the world.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Tooth Fairy's Last Tooth?

Probably not, but we're getting close. This past week Skylar lost what I think might be her 8th tooth. I've lost count and I didn't even take a picture...shameful! For this last tooth she left a note for the fairy, along with a bottle of fairy dust as a gift and asked the fairy to write her back. So not only did I have to retrieve a small tooth in the middle of the night from underneath her head, but a bottle and a note as well, and then I had to return the note back under her pillow...this tooth fairy job is getting complicated. I think she wanted the note to prove to her knowing friends that she does actually exist, and I'm feeding this fantasy even further while other parents are spilling the beans. I think I was her age when I found out, maybe younger, I'm pretty sure I was 7 when I decided to test the fairy by leaving my tooth under the pillow without telling my mom that I had even lost my tooth. It was the ultimate test, which the fairy failed. I remember feeling so grown up knowing the truth, knowing a secret that the little kids didn't know, not at all traumatized, and yet I'm worried about telling Skylar and at the same time I'm so ready for her to figure it out already lol.

I love her fantasy and imagination though. She has become such a good writer, she loves writing short stories. I'm so proud of her and I hope that her love of reading and writing stays with her.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Too cute not to share

At the end of Skylar's kindergarten year, graduation pictures were made. By the time Maddox entered kindergarten we were in a different school, and I didn't realize that this new school doesn't do graduation pictures until after the year was over. Through out the summer I searched for a photographer that had a mini cap and gown but with no luck. After a while I dropped the ball in my search, but by the time 1st grade started I finally found a photographer who rented a cap and gown just for us. I figured that 4 months late is better than never and his picture turned out just precious!

A few cute moments from Maddox in these past couple of weeks were just too cute not to share, besides if I don't write them down (like I wish I had in the past) I'll forget.

YesTerday after school Maddox was complaining about all his classmates being Carolina Gamecock fans and that he is the only Clemson fan. LOL, for my children to have parents who could care less about sports (including their father), my kids sure are some hard core Clemson fans. A few weeks back, or maybe a month or so ago, I don't know, my grandma asked Maddox, why are you a Clemson fan, to which he replied, "I don't know grandma, I was just born that way." haha silly boy. Skylar is just as big of a fan. It must be because of their aunt, Mitch's sister Brianna. She went to Clemson. We even took Skylar to the Clemson campus for a tour when she was 7 because she said that is where she wants to go to college.

Days back I was petting Maddox's hair and he asked me to stop, well I didn't so he bit me! And it left a mark...and yes I spanked him, it hurt! I had to spank him for him to let up off his bite, stinker.

About a week ago I asked him to sit in my lap for a snuggle, he refused, but a minute later he asked for a treat (a second snack before dinner). Well! Since I didn't get my snuggle, no second snack for him. He agreed to finally give me a snuggle but he tooted on me the entire time :/

A cute word Maddox has been using is "focus-straight" instead of concentrate lol.


Mitch had the day off today, so we got to enjoy a lunch date for the first time since school has started back. We went to Quaker for some wings :) then to the store to pick up some Draino, our kitchen sink is clogged. Anyways, while in the store I was joking with Mitch saying, you know fall is coming when everything comes out in pumpkin flavor. Just then I spotted pumpkin flavored Bluemoon beer, pumpkin harvest ale. I'm enjoying it now :)
After school, homework takes over most of my afternoon, not to mention we have 2 extras hanging out, Skylar and Maddox's friends Cadence and Gabe, but I love having them :)

Before dinner we worked out in the yard. Mitch mowed, I pulled weeds and the boys were getting fussed at for messing with a fire ant hill... boys (sigh). They finally moved on to finding large green, and brown fuzzy caterpillars. The girls stayed inside playing barbies. After the friends left Maddox read with daddy, his reading and spelling is so impressive! Especially since last year. Skylar is doing well reading chapter books on her own, I am so proud of her love for reading. For dinner we had tacos and it was a good day :)

Right now I am cuddling with this sweet stray kitten that has been coming around for the past 3 days. She's so skinny, but so sweet. I guess with me feeding her, we'll be seeing more of her. I'm thinking of naming her Pumkin :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Labor Day In VA Beach

Last weekend we took a trip up to Virginia to spend Labor day weekend with my sister and her husband. It was expected to rain that weekend, with hurricane Issac out there causing trouble, but it stayed sunny for us and we got to enjoy 2 full days at the beach and one full day at the pool. It was a great end of the summer vacation and we were grateful for my sister and her husband's hospitality and their free "beach home" for us ;)

Our highlights of the trip of course were the moments at the beach, but the kids also enjoyed playing with their dog Boozer (a dog or cat is a special treat for them), baking cookies, eating out at probably one of the best seafood restaurants out that way, Beach Pub, watching the kids feed the seagulls, and not to mention witnessing Shane (my brother in law) but his foot in his mouth when he called my pregnant sister a whale LOL. To his defense, he wasn't referring to her size. Jessica was swimming under water, thinking she was going to sneak up on her husband, she's all smiles under the clear water too. When she pops up Shane laughs saying, "Jessica, you can't sneak up on me, you're as obvious as a whale." LOL! He tried to recover but it was too late, even the lifeguard near by had a chuckle lol.

Our lowlight, so to speak, was the long drive (well worth it though), us forgetting the beach chairs, but a trip to store made that a quick fix, oh and Mitch getting his first speeding ticket in 10 years. Yuck! And on our first day to the beach too. Mitch was a good sport about it, but it still stinks.

Here are some photos of our trip:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Today's Accomplishments

*6:55 got kids ready, hair, breakfast, packed lunches and a bible story. Mitch had to leave for work early this morning for an early morning meeting, so he was leaving as we were rising. he went to kiss the kids good bye as they were sleeping, but the kids yelled at him for waking them up, yelling "get out!" Tsk Tsk Tsk, my children are so charming in the morning :(

*lit a candle, turned on music
*made beds
*dolled up
*wiped down bathroom counters. The bathroom still smells like bleach, ugh
*put away laundry
*planned dinner

*9 am Mitch is home from his meeting and we enjoy breakfast together, an egg and grilled cheese sandwich, blueberry oatmeal and coffee :). After some quiet time alone together it's time to send him off to work with a kiss and a packed lunch

*picked up in the kitchen and living room
*swept the down stairs floor
*took the garbage out to the road
*enjoyed my quiet time in A Purpose Driven Life before starting my chores

Wednesdays I work in the bedrooms, Tuesdays the bathroom, and Mondays the living room

*in our room I polished the furniture and mirrors
*scubbed the baseboards, light switch plates, and wiped any small finger prints off the walls
*tidied up the closets
*organized the kids' rooms. I usually have them pick up their own room and their own mess, but once a week I go in and make sure their closets and drawers are tidy, clean what they've missed, like under the bed and I organize the toys, this helps them keep it clean through out the week. When Maddox came home he asked, "hey mommy, did you clean my room"? - yes "I love you mommy." that right there makes it all worth it :)

*2:30 I picked up the kids and their friends. Waiting for them at home were 4 snack necklaces and juice boxes. The necklaces were a big hit :)

*after homework I had to sit in the middle of the hallway in between Skylar's room and Maddox's room to keep the boys from fighting with the girls. I felt this was as good of time as any to paint my nails :). Some get to have their nails done in a salon, me...I get to do it myself while playing referee :)

*Mitch had to close at work tonight, so we ate my homemade Chinese food of fried rice and egg rolls (recipe found on pinterest of course) just the 3 of us around the table while I tried to fish for details of their school day

*Before bed we finished the last 2 chapters of Wizard Of Oz and a page out of the children's bible devotional, then it's kisses and hugs and don't let the bed bugs bite. Mitch is home soon after :)

I read this verse today, and it just kind of stuck with me:

A pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life

~ Proverbs 13:7 (message)

Today's Accomplishments

I doubt I'll keep up with my daily accomplishments every night, but its fun for me to look back on my day and see how it was filled.

*7:00 am (I over slept) got the kids ready- hair, breakfast, packed lunches and a bible story before school
*kissed Mitch good bye for work
*lit a candle, turned on some music
*got all dolled up. I may not have coworkers to impress, but I want my children to think of me as a pretty mommy and my husband to think of me as a pretty wife. Not to say that I haven't taken advantage of hanging out in my pjs all day, because I have, but today (like I try to most days) I dolled up.
*made the beds
*wiped down the bathroom counters
*put away laundry and straightened up the bedroom
*washed dishes
*straightened up the living room and kitchen
*swept the down stairs floors
*planned dinner

*for lunch I enjoyed my husband's company, for he came home on his lunch hour and I fixed him a grilled cheese sandwich and a side of left over macaroni and cheese :) I love it when my hubby comes home for lunch :)

*after lunch I finished up my Proverbs 31 woman bible study that I have been working on for the past 14 weeks through a blog, Good Morning Girls. LOVE that study! And I was glad to finally have it complete. Also in my quiet time I read the second chapter of A Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren...I hope it's a good read. Through out the day I enjoyed texting my friends and sending messages back and forth via Facebook, and it's rare for a day to go by with out a phone call to or from my sister, mom, grandma, or friend (blessed!).

For my chores I:
*mopped the living room, dinning room, and kitchen floors
*scrubbed the toilets
*cleaned the baseboards in the main bathroom
* polished the bathroom mirrors
*scrubbed the grout in our master bathroom with bleach. It made a big difference, but I still have a Clorox headache
*mopped the bathroom floors

*2:30 I picked the kids up from school. I also got to bring home one of Skylar's friends! 3 days out of the week I watch a friend of mine's kids after school. It's a fun way for me to earn some extra money, and my kids have fun playing with some extra playmates. I usually watch 2, but today I only had one.
*after snacks it's time for homework. I helped the girls with their math, vocabulary and spelling. Later during reading time, Skylar read independently to herself while I read 2 more chapters to Maddox out of his library book, The Magic Treehouse
*with the house cleaned,and homework done I then got to watch the kids play and answer whatever random questions they had for me, and share yet another embarrassing childhood story of mine-the embarrassing stories are their favorites and then they like to tell their friends. I don't know why I keep feeding them theses stories, I guess I just like to hear them laugh :)

*for dinner I made crispy chicken over bowtie pasta with this cream sauce I found on pinterest, served with green beans and garlic bread. Mitch is home and we all enjoyed dinner together around the table. Skylar said the blessing tonight, and we all shared stories about our day.

*wipe down the kitchen and dinning room table

*8:00 it's time for baths, brushed teeth and hair and another chapter out of The Wizard Of Oz. kisses, hugs, and don't let the bed bugs bite.
*my day is complete and now I get to spend some alone time with Mitch and I'm starting a new crochet project, a green blanket.

Looking over my list of what I do all day may seem like I live day after day completing mundane tasks, but I truly enjoy making my house a home and spending quality time every day with myself in the morning, quality time with my children in the afternoon, and quality time with my husband in the evening. I thank God for these days and my life. Besides, not everyday is so "routine" ;)

Monday, August 27, 2012

My Accomplishments

This is something I use to do, record my accomplishments from the day, make a personal "ta-da" list. This is really something that I do just for myself, a little look back on my day and give myself a pat on the back for a job well done. It comes in handy when I'm feeling down and thoughts flood my mind of "what did I really do to contribute, and does anyone really notice what I do around here anyways?" Then there are those days where people ask me after finding out that I'm a housewife, "what do you do all day?" some are genuinely curious of how I fill my days, while others ask in a judging tone, assuming I'm a lazy bum who mooches off her husband. Even with critics out there, I really do enjoy what I do, being a housewife and stay at home mom. Of course I don't always receive criticism, there are many people out there who appreciate a stay at home mom and I welcome their encouragement, but still, the jabs hurt. I don't think I'm better than anyone by staying at home, though I do feel privileged and I certainly don't think less of any woman who works away from home. I know and understand that they have a lot on their plate, so many kudos to them! Growing up I never really considered being a stay at home mom, mostly because I didn't know any housewives and from the time you start kindergarten parents and teachers seem to urge you to pick a career for when you grow up and stay at home mom was never served as an option. I thought about becoming a teacher, veterinarian, zoo keeper, photographer or a nurse. Those all seemed like fun options, but my true dream was to become a wife and mother. As a child I would play house with my friends, or play mommy to my baby dolls at home. Growing older I thought more and more about who my prince charming/future husband would be and fantasize about what it would be like to have little me's. As a teen I LOVED babysitting, especially babies. And as I hoped it would happen I met Mr. Forever at a young age and though not planned we started our family very early. Right away Mitch asked me if I would like to stay at home? He was raised by a stay at home mom and several men that he looked up to had stay at home wives, so this was a natural option for him. Upon meeting our first child I couldn't bear the thought of being away from her and I knew we made the right choice with me staying at home. It just feels natural and this arranangement works best for us and our family. So what do I do all day? Each day is something new, mixed in with the same ole same ole, but this is what I did today:

*6:45 am got kids ready, straightened Skylar's hair finishing with a bow  and fohawked Maddox's hair.
*served breakfast, packed lunches and read a bible story before taking the kiddos to school
*packed Mitch's lunch and sent him off to work with a kiss
* started my daily routine of:
   *wiping down the bathroom counters
   *making up the beds
   *putting away laundry
   *light a candle, turn on music
   *washed dishes
   *planned dinner
   *picked up clutter out of the living room
(I usually have a quiet time or bible study time, but I didn't do that today)
*start on chores. (everyday is something different)
   *dusted, including the bedroom ceiling fan, it was getting quite dusty
   *wiped down the living room baseboards
   *cleaned finger prints off the living room wall and light switch plates
   *emptied all the trash
   *polished the windows in the kitchen, dinning room, and living room
   *swept off the stairs, cleaned the stair rails and spindles
   *watered the house plants
   *watered the vegetable garden

By 12 the house is usually clean, so I enjoy having the opportunity to relax and sip on some coffee, read a book, read a blog, check Facebook, "research" homemaking stuff on pinterest, work on a craft, and/or make a phone call or two to my sister, mom, or friend and on some days I am fortunate enough to meet up with a friend or my husband for lunch. And on week days that my husband is off work, we enjoy a full date day until its time to pick up the kids. I've also been known to volunteer at the kids' school from time to time. I didn't always have this "free time", this time only opened up to me once Maddox started kindergarten - K4, which was just 2 years ago. Today I spent my free time reading a couple of blogs, checking Facebook and pinterest and making a phone call to my younger sister who is also a housewife and a first time expectant mother.

*2:30 I picked up the kids from school, headed home for snacks and homework.
*read to Maddox his library books, The Cloud Spinner and The Magic Treehouse Sunset Sabortooth while Skylar read The Giving Tree to herself. Afterwards I checked Skylar's math and helped her study her vocabulary words and spelling. Homework is usually done by 4.
*tonight for dinner I made grilled BBQ chicken, mash potatoes with gravy, baked macaroni and cheese and garlic bread
*more dishes needed to be washed and the kitchen needed to be cleaned.
*got the babies bathed and had them brush their teeth and hair before reading to them 2 more chapters of The Wizard of Oz, and then it was off bed, kisses and hugs and "don't let the bed bugs bite".
*by 8:30 the kids are sleeping, the house is cleaned, my chores are done and I get to spend a relaxing evening like I do almost every single night snuggling with my husband, watching tv before bed. I wouldn't have it any other way.

My days are always busy and I am never bored, there is always something to do. I do however get to enjoy some "me time" in this stage of life while the kids are in school, and I am thankful for that time. I believe it keeps me sane and calm and having those 2 or 3 hours at night alone with my husband in a clean house while the kids sleep is super helpful to our marriage. God willing, I'll do this all over again tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Back To School

Wednesday was the first day back to school for Skylar and Maddox. They were both so excited to get back! I woke the kids up singing (to the tune of Rise and Shine) "Rise and shine and let's go to school today, rise and shine and let's go to school today, RISE AND SHINE AND LET'S GO TO SCHOOL TODAY! It's time to start 3rd's time to start 1st grade". Fortunately since they were excited about school, they were in the mood for my singing lol. Though Maddox Maddox woke up saying, "but mommy, it's still night time." LOL, poor thing, he had gotten use to sleeping in over the summer, and so had I. But with the excitement of a first day we all cheerfully got up and got ready with new school clothes, shoes, and bookbags :). We did so well getting up on time and getting ready that we actually end up with 15 minutes to spare before leaving for school (I'm sure this won't happen again this school year). So we read our morning bible story, took pictures, grab the lunch bags and were out the door. Mitch took the day off for this, so together we all walked into school for the first day. It turns out however, that with my babies growing up they didn't really need me to walk them all the way to class like I did the first week of kindergarten, but we did it anyways. Maddox refused to give us a kiss or hug goodbye in front of his new classmates, so Mitch and I had to settle for a highfive (sniffle), but Skylar didn't mind giving us goodbye sugars, the difference between boys and girls I guess.

That afternoon they reported that their first day was an enjoyable one and they both still seem to be excited about this year. I can't believe they are already in 3rd and 1st grade and on the second day there was no need to walk them in. I simply dropped them off and watched them walk in like the big kids that they are.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Waiting To Adopt

My to be adopted child(ren) are on my heart and mind. I feel like I have been praying and waiting for so long, but I trust that God not only has a plan for me, but for my (His) children as well.

About 3 years ago my husband and I seriously started to consider adoption. We prayed about it and felt that we recieved answers left and right from God saying, "Yes! Adopt!" Weekly, Mitch came home with story after story of one of his customers telling of their adoption stories, without Mitch even bringing it up! Every time we went out it seemed that we ran into a family with an adopted child, or we met people who were adopted. Suddenly we were surrounded by adoption stories. So with our yes on the table, our next step was to find an agency. I heard many great things about Bethany, but after talking with them for hours on the phone, they told me that since I seemed more interested in older children and sibbling groups that I should look into adopting children out of the foster care system. After some time in prayer I knew that this was right for our family. So I called DSS, the ladies were so sweet, helpful and full of information for me. I then signed up for the next available orientation class. That was in June of 2011, where we then submitted our application. We were told that in this process to adopt that we would need a lot of patience, and boy they weren't kidding! Our next class wouldn't be until October, 4 months away.

We were then required to take a 14 hour parenting class. We got to meet other waiting parents, that I wish now that I would have gotten their contact information. There they informed us how the adoption process worked, including how the children end up in foster care. Some of the information was quite hard and painful to hear. We filled out hundreds of paperwork and went over many parenting scenarios from infants to teens, from tantrums to runaways, to bullying to discipline options. We watched videos and heard stories from other adoptive parents and adoptees. We were told of the pain and trauma that a child goes through before coming into our home, I can only imagine the loss of your parents, home, friends, life, everything that you once knew, gone. We were trained on how to deal with this grief, but how can anyone truly be trained on such a thing? I can only love, how can I understand? Homecoming may be a happy day for me, but a confusing day for the child, of course, I can only imagine. How can a stranger be considered a mommy on day one? I'll have to earn their trust and love, but my love, they already have now. The classes were very informative and I'm glad we took them. I left the building on my last day hopeful and optimistic that we would be adopting soon, but there was still much to be done before we could even start our waiting period.

With our classes complete I now had a parenting certificate in one hand and a long to do list in the other of what I must do to complete our homestudy. We needed a copy of my, Mitch's and our 2 children's birth certificate and our marriage certificate to turn in. We needed our finger prints submitted along with a SLED background check. We had to fill out paperwork after paperwork giving detail descriptions of our family life, our marriage, our discipline style, what our family life was like growing up, and details on what our relationship to our parents and siblings are now. We had to turn in our family medical history, answer "what if" questions about our future child...the paperwork was endless! It took weeks to complete it all, and even then there was more. We had our home inspected by the fire department and then by the department of human health services. After all that was completed we were then able to meet with our private investigator who then interviewed my husband and I together, then separate, and then the children separate. This took a total of 2 days, weeks apart and hours at a time. By now I am drowning in paperwork, but we have now completed our homestudy and we are now approved to adopt!! Our entire homestudy took 6 months to complete. We turned in our application 14 months ago...and I'm waiting.

For some reason I thought it would happen right away. Our homestudy was completed in April and I was told to wait for a phone call, that phone call of course would be news that we have a waiting child, a waiting child for a waiting mother, a waiting father, and two waiting siblings!

Every time the phone rings my heart stops, leaping for the phone I think, this could be it! But that call hasn't rang yet. I was told to check out adoptuskids website. I have and I have inquired about several children. None of whom have been chosen for me ( but God has a plan). Each day my heart seems to break for the child I long for, and yet I am still optimistic that my awaited phone call will ring. It's hard to explain missing a child that I haven't even met yet, but I do! And I'm waiting and expecting, without a known due date. It's weird to think that we could be welcoming home our child next week, or it could be next year. It's the waiting and not knowing that is so hard, and I wonder, what is my child thinking and feeling now? They must be out there somewhere, how is my child doing? All I can do is pray and wait and trust that God is faithful, for He is, He is a God of goodness and of great love.

I think about my to be child(ren) everyday. And I am so grateful for the many blessing that God has given me, which makes me feel guilty for asking for patience :) but He is just so good and generous like that and I am just so ready for our welcoming home day. I trust that God has a plan for our family, and I know that once the phone rings everything will seem to happen so fast after that, but in this time of waiting I could sure use some encouragement.

(all photos above were found on pinterest)
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