Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm Thankful for...

a husband who is my best friend and loves me unconditionally
a beautiful, healthy son that makes every day an adventure
the ability to create and grow a new life
a beautiful home that is full of love and free of contention
the ability to learn and grow
sandy beaches, snow covered mountains, fall leaves, and cotton fields
friends and their secret acts of kindness
my faith in God and His love for me
the ability to work and provide
music, art, health, and love
knowing that I'm never alone
good books and hot bubble baths
free agency and forgiveness
smiles, laughter, kisses, and I love you's

Monday, November 24, 2008

just a few more...

Here are a few more pictures from the shower..much better than my pitiful, grainy cell phone pics! Thanks for the pics Sandy and another huge thank you to the hosts and all of the other friends and family who came to celebrate our little miracle :)

friends & showers

(sorry the pictures are kinda crummy. I keep forgetting to charge my camera & had to use my cell phone to take pictures.)

We have had such a fun week!
We had a baby shower for our sweet little Madison. I am so grateful for such wonderful friends who came to celebrate our new little miracle with us. Everything was so beautiful...the flowers, the food, the decorations, and all of the precious little pink clothes! I can't wait to see my little Madison dressed in those adorable, tiny little dresses and shoes. These last few weeks are going to be torture...staring at all of her little things and just waiting....

Earlier in the week, we were surprised by some amazing friends who came to visit. Before our schedules were so erratic, we fed the missionaries dinner every third Sunday. We made some really awesome friends during that time, and one of those missionaries came back to visit us, but to our surprise, he brought with him Elder Ben Caddy! Caddy taught Sean the gospel when we were in Byrd Springs ward where he was baptized, and then Caddy was transferred to Winchester ward a year later and was able to go to the temple with us when we were sealed... what are the odds of that? :) It was so awesome to see him after so long. The boys stayed up all night playing video games while I slept (I'm such a party pooper), but we did get to go out for a nice dinner and catch up on lost time. We are so grateful for Caddy; he was everything Sean needed..a friend, a teacher, and a humble example of God's unconditional love. He truly changed our lives. Because of the sacrifice he made in choosing to go on a mission, we were able to become an eternal family, we are able to raise our family united in belief and faith, and we have been comforted through the gift of the spirit and in knowing of the plan of salvation as we have faced the many challenges that life has thrown our way. I can't imagine what life would be like if this sweet elder hadn't come into our lives and shared his testimony with my sweet hubby.
My heart is so full of gratitude and love as I look back on the events of last week. I am so thankful for the amazing friends that God has placed in my life and for the opportunity that He has given me to celebrate with them.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Say What !?!

I had to let the pain wear off of this one before I blogged about it, so excuse my complaining if you've already heard my tragic story as well as the absence of a picture for obvious reasons...
So, I was casually walking into work the other morning when this random old lady stops me in the parking lot and says "Oh my, dear, you're only suppose to carry one baby at a time and look at you with two in your belly...bless your heart." (Just in case you were wondering..NO I'm not having twins. Apparently I'm just enormous!) Who says that to a complete stranger!?! People can be so rude! I didn't know what to say. I just stood there with my mouth gaping open and then slowly waddled away. Honestly it took everything I had not to whack that old lady with my purse and run away sobbing! A simple hi from her, or better yet, a mutual staring at the sidewalk and walking silently past each other would have been so much better than her ruining my day! Maybe I'm just sensitive, but this experience (along with several other random, hurtful comments people have blurted out) has caused me to wonder what impact I have on others. I know I am a completely introverted, social recluse, but I have decided to try and replace my social anxiety with words of kindness...people deserve to hear the incredible compliments I think in my head, right? :)
So after spending the majority of the week feeling like a beached whale, I was blessed with a cascade of miracles. I am SO grateful for the amazing people that God has placed in my life to strengthen me and comfort me and my family. I hope that when the time comes, I can find ways to repay the acts of kindness and compassion that so many people have given on my behalf, and that my mind will be constantly busy counting these blessings.

Veterans & Cheeseburgers

We went to the Veteran's Day parade on Tuesday. The parade was really nice this year. Drew loves all of the tanks and hummers and other huge army trucks. My heart was so full of appreciation for those who sacrifice their time and talents to provide me and my family with freedom and safety, and when I thought I couldn't be any more grateful for this beautiful country that we live in, I got a letter from my brother Michael. He is still serving in West Russia, and decided to share one of the many humbling experiences he's had. I tend to get caught up in the woes of politics and the frantics of the economy, but my sweet brother has reminded me of how truly privileged we are.
"As you might know, we have been trying to teach a family with five kids. It was such a strange sight to see a mother with five children on the street, I couldn´t help but talk to them. We also found out that we live in the same building, she knows a church member, and her son had already gone to our English club several times a couple of years ago. The mother´s name is Oksana, husband is Michael, and the children are Slava, jenya, katya, and I think the youngest two are Olga and Masha or something. But, I just recently found out all of these connections after meeting with them for a while. The story I´m going to tell is about the first time I went over to their house. Keep in mind that we had only talked to them on the street for about ten minutes, and we had only seen a glimpse or two of Michael. We had scheduled the meeting for Saturday evening at about sevenish. We had finished doing our contacting for the day, and we were already back in our apartment to go to theirs when we realized that we needed to run back to our branch building to grab some literature that we wanted to give them. When the elevator door opened, there was Michael, holding a double cheeseburger from McDonald´s. We didn´t really think anything of it, figuring that he just got back from worked, and had grabbed his dinner on the way. So, we said, ¨Hey, we´ll be there in ten!¨ and ran to the branch building to grab the pamphlets. We made it back and they politely invited us into their humble home. Their entire house is about the size of my normal sized bedroom at home, along with small bathroom. So, needless to say, each member of their family has quite the close relationship. After taking our shoes off and walking into their kitchen, I saw something that immediately touched my heart, basically to tears. There, on their tiny kitchen table, were two glasses of water; some bread and cheese; and two plates, each having a neatly cut half of a double-cheeseburger. Now, let me explain the circumstances a little more, as to why20this is so touching. Obviously, money is something they are always in need of. Eating at McDonald´s is probably something they consider a special occasion. This man, Michael, had never really even met us, but only knew what his wife had told him. Because of this, he decides to walk the forty minute walk to McDonald´s, stand the minimum thirty minute wait, order and pay for something that he knew he would not eat, and then carry this food all the way back with it´s temptuous smell another forty minutes back to his home.I had never had a harder time taking a bite of food in my entire life. Honestly, I wouldn´t have done it, if it where not for Oksana´s stern invitations to do so. Needless to say, I have quite the desire to bring this family into the gospel. This experience was quite the unique one, and was one I hardly felt I deserved. "

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Trick or Treat

Well...I'm a little late with my Halloween post, but I guess that's just the way it goes sometimes. We had a fun Halloween. We went to the trunk or treat at church. We decorated our trunk and even won a prize for it! Sean did an awesome job with the black lights & fog machines, & Drew helped pick the "scary things" to put in it. It was fun to watch the little kids come around and gather candy, and I enjoyed having a safe, friendly place to spend the holiday. Drew didn't want to dress up this year. He had a lot of fun playing carnival games with the kids in the gym and then walking around and seeing all of the decorated trunks, but he decided he didn't want to "dress up and ask for candy when he couldn't even eat it." My poor, deprived child :( At least he had fun anyway. Hopefully I can talk him into being a little more festive for Madison's first Halloween.

Drew lost his third tooth this week! This is the first one that I didn't pull out for him. He was messing around and kinda knocked it out accidentally, but took full credit for the brave act of "pulling out his own tooth." Crazy kid.

Other than the usual work, work, and more work, nothing much has happened. We did take a few minutes in between jobs to meet at the park one day this week. The weather was beautiful, the fall leaves were gorgeous, and it was nice to just spend a few moments relaxing with my boys. I love Autumn with all of its changes & brilliant colors, and I hope we can find more time this week to enjoy it together.