Monday, December 31, 2012

Curse #49 - It Could Be Worse

Christmas was rough.  When life gets rough, I always say the same phrase, "It could be worse!"

Monday (the week before Christmas) Shad found out some news at work about changes next year and end of the year bonuses that wasn't great news for us. When Shad told me, I said, "It could be worse!"

Tuesday my throat started hurting.  Wednesday I had a fever.  Thursday the doctor said, it's the flu.  Immediately, I thought, "It could be worse.  At least we caught it quick and it's not in my lungs."  

Friday, I woke up, and struggled to breath.  It had moved to my lungs.  Weakly, I though, "It could be worse (cough cough cough)." 

Saturday, Collin started with a fever, and we knew he had the flu.  I don't think I said, "It could be worse," at this point. 

Sunday, after three phone calls and some begging, I was so excited to get Collin some tamiflu, but my excitement was short lived when the pharmacist told me they were all out of tamiflu.  (Fortunately for me, this Rite Aid pharmacist called six other pharmacies until she found one that had tamiflu for me.)

Sunday night, I wanted to get out.  After dragging myself to the car, I was so excited to drive around and see some Christmas lights with Shad and the boys.  Then as we were in a drive thru, our car started smoking.  At this point, I couldn't be positive anymore. This was the last straw. Shad looked at me and said,  "I'm calling it," and we both said together, "Worst Christmas Ever!"
 I want to keep things in perspective, and I don't want to have a bad attitude. I realize having the flu on Christmas is not the end of the world.  I realize we are very blessed with food on the table,  presents under the tree, and boys beside me but why is it that when I say the phrase, "It could be worse," it actually gets worse!

A few years ago, I retired the phrase, "I will never," because I realized God has a sense of humor with me. Now, I will no longer be saying, "It could be worse," because it will always get worse.  

The week before Christmas was rough, but after Sunday though, we really had a sweet Christmas, a completely different Christmas, but a sweet Christmas. We were even able to get out on Christmas day for our Waffle House tradition.  Our Christmas changed when we all decided to make the best of what we had because we have a lot.  Now, instead of saying, "It could be worse," I think I'll just take Bing's advice and calculate my blessings.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

Blessing #166 - When Love Whispers

One night last week got a little chaotic.  Our schedules got flipped turned and mixed up, and we ended up late at night in the drive thru of a Taco Bell getting Shad some supper.  The boys and I had already eaten, but I asked Shad just to get me a drink.

A few minutes later, as we were going down the road.  I realized something.  I looked at Shad and said, "You gave me the large drink. That was really, ReAlLy sweet of you."

See, his meal came with a large drink.   He had given me the drink from his meal, and he ordered himself a medium drink.  This may seem small and insignificant, but it meant so much to me.  As he ate his burrito, Shad smiled, happy that I had noticed.

After almost ten years of marriage, I've learned that you have to listen for love.  When he displays his love with flowers, notes, and hot dates, that is when his love is loud. When love is loud it's easy to notice and plain to see. Most days though,  he whispers his love like a quiet little selfless act at the drive thru window.  It's hard to hear a whisper unless you are paying attention.

I'm so thankful to have his love whether it's loud or whispering. I love it when his love is loud, but I pray that my heart will always be tuned to hear and recognize his love whispers.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Blessing #165 - Christmas Fantle

I thought I was done with Christmas decorating, but I guess I had one little bit of Christmas left in me.

Yesterday, the fantle (fake mantle) in my dining room looked empty so I decided to work on the look. Most of the time, I work on a mantle for a few days tweaking and working on it as I walk by, but this fantle didn't take long at all.  I really like the way it looks.  

I like that it's not too Christmasey.  Christmas is just a week away, but I just have to change the chalkboard art to make this unChristmasey.

I layered a gold frame on top of a window and hung this greenery in the middle.  I just went outside and cut some greenery off some bushes we have.  Then I bunched the greenery together with a pony tail elastic and wrapped the ribbon around it.

I used to hate gold, but I'm really starting to warm up to it.  Now, I'm not pulling a Donald Trump and guilding everything, but I am starting to use it more.

Here's how it looks with the rest of the dining room.  I just snapped this picture this morning so yes, those are baby crocs in the floor and a Diet Dr. Pepper on the table.

My living room Christmas look is red and green, but the dining room has a blue vintage feel to it.  I really love it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Blessing #164 - A Mother's Love

A mother's love is a force of nature that you never really understand until you feel it's strength completely turn your heart upside down for someone that calls you, "Mom," (even if they use that name a hundred times a day).

A mother's love is not restricted by time.  It begins long before a mother holds her baby in her arms.  My best friend is having her son tomorrow, but she has felt a mother's love for over seven years.  Every time a doctor said they didn't know what was wrong, every time she kept searching and trying something new, every time she cried out to God for help, she had a mother's love.

A mother's love knows no bounds like geography, race,  or DNA as a mother can see a picture of a child a continent away and a mother's love whispers, "That is my child."

A mother's love is brave as she looks death in the eyes just to bring her child into the world, and only a mother's love could make her forget the pain and choose to do it again and again.

A mother's love can take a selfish, self centered woman (like me) and turn her into a self sacrificing mother who regularly puts her children's needs before her own.

A mother's love can make a dignified grown woman jump up and down and clap her hands when her child goes to the potty for the first time.

A mother's love keeps searching for answers when the doctors say her child is fine, but her instincts say something is wrong.

A mother's love makes her know the name of every train that lives on the Island of Sodor because that's the show that her son loves.

A mother's love makes her hold her breath and feel a lump in her throat with each step of independence her child takes as they grow their wings.

A mother's love can be fierce as a bear when she feels her children are threatened, but as tender as a soft kiss on a fevered fore head.

A mother's love is limited, and it breaks every mother's heart to know this truth.  As much as she tries and as hard as she loves, she can not fix every boo boo and protect her child from the world around them.

A mother's love drops her to her knees as she cries to the God whose love for her children exceeds her own, knowing that no height, no depth, and no creature can separate them from His limitless love.

A mother's love unites.  Even if two mother's have completely different parenting styles, they can agree on how much they love their children.  Knowing my love for my little six year old makes my heart absolutely break for the mothers of the six year olds killed in Connecticut.

Twenty mother's in Connecticut are facing the nightmare no mother wants to face because as fierce and strong as a mother's love is, a mother's sorrow has to be just as fierce and strong.

Friday morning, I snapped this picture of B as he walked into school.  I don't know if I will ever watch him walk in the door of the school again and not think of those mothers.  Lord, please be with them, and let them feel your love today and the days to come.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Blessing #163 - Christmas Tour 2012

Today, I wanted to bring a little Christmas cheer and show the little spots of Christmas in my house.

I've already blogged about the fireplace and mantel.

We have enjoyed this fireplace so much this year.  I've had so much fun shopping for our stockings! We have never done stockings before so I would love to hear anyone's stockings traditions.

Also in the living room is our tree which I have already blogged about.

But I have to be honest.  On Monday, I came home from cleaning to find that my boys had taken a little creative license with the tree. Shad was getting ready upstairs, and when I walked in the door, I found my boys squealing with delight, ripping up tissues, and throwing them on the tree.

"Look Mommy! It's snowing on the tree" I almost got upset, but they were so proud of their idea I just couldn't do it.  I did tell them to ask permission next time they have a great idea.

I told them we would enjoy it a few days and then we could clean it up.  They were happy with that answer and were so proud of their creativity.

In the dining room, my plate wall is a great backdrop for my nativity scene and blocks I got from Dayspring's black Friday sale last year.

Also in my dining room is my Christmas fantle.

One of the things I love most about my chalkboard dresser is that it can be seasoned up so easily.

This summer, someone gave Shad a Christmas tree at a yard sale.  As soon as he told me about it, I said, "Is it prelit?" He said yes, and then I was excited.

I didn't want to buy any new decorations for this tree so I decided to use what I had.  Because of winter, I had to bring the bottles on my bottle bush inside, but they look awesome on my tree.

I found another use for my brown paper flowers on this tree.  I think I will hit up some after Christmas sales to find the right supplies for this tree.  I definitely will be using my bottles again, and that's a great excuse to collect more!

Oh! Another reason I did not fuss at the boys for the tissues on the tree is this...

Yep! Those little bows are napkins from my favorite things party.  Right when I started to say, "What were you thinking?" to them, I thought of these. I guess they saw me do it, and wanted to try.

In my kitchen, I gave my dad a shout out with this quick arrangement. Christmas to my dad is oranges, peppermint sticks, nuts, and coconut bon bons.

Right now, my absolute favorite Christmas decoration is in my pantry. Tsh, who blogs at the Simple Mom, posted on her instagram a picture of some chalkboard art she did. Using that picture as inspiration, I started working on my pantry chalkboard.

After tweeking and retweeking as I would walk by, here is what I have.

It just makes my pantry look so cute! I think I'm going to have to do this every few months. Love it! Love it! Love it!

I hope you enjoyed this tour through my home, I will be sharing this post with The Nester, The Inspired Room, It's Just Laine, and Fingerprints on the Fridge. and Cottage Magpie.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Blessing #162 - Monograms

During 31 Days to Love your Home, I mentioned my gallery plate wall.  I started to put it up, and I realized I didn't like the way it looked.  

For a few months, the wall stayed this way while I decided what I wanted. As much as I thought about it, the answer to what the wall needed was simple.  I'm a southern woman, and for a southern woman there is always one answer to, "What does this need?"


Reese Witherspoon said it best when she said, "My rule is, if it's not moving, monogram it!" I really don't know what it is, but I just think they are beautiful.

Now, that wall looks like this.

It's perfect! I painted the sign using a stencil I made with my silhouette cutter. Now, I get a monogram and my lace edge plates all in one wall! I found all the plates at different yard sales and thrift stores.  The one up top came from a friend that saw that I collected lace edge plates.  I needed two more plates, and I found the top right and bottom left plates at an antique store in Georgia.

Here is how the wall looked during my favorite things party.

Eventually, I want a longer buffet to go where the dresser is, and I want lamps on either side of the gallery wall....eventually.

I love how very "southern" this wall looks to me with the dainty plates and monogram. It's nice to have a taste of the south up here in Maryland. I do believe Scarlet herself would be proud.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blessing #161 - The Color of the Year

Last week, Pantone announce the color of the year for 2013. Now, who or what is Pantone and what made them pickers of the color of the year? I don't know, but I do know I like their picks.

This year, the color of the year was tangerine tango, and the color for 2013 is emerald green.


Are you not as excited as I am?

In honor of the new color of the year, I decided to bring a little green into my outfit this week. Okay.....maybe a lot of green.

I found the sweater at a yard sale a while ago, and the jeans and shirt are from goodwill.  The scarf and ear rings were a gift.  (Accessories make great gifts!)

I really don't know how I feel about green.  I don't know if I like it or hate it.  Maybe green is an accent color for me and not a whole outfit color.  Maybe it's the plaid shirt that's throwing me off.  I'm not really a plaid person so I don't want to blame it all on green.

I love trying out a new color, but I am still undecided. Oh well! At least, I have a year to decide how I feel about green.

I'm sharing this post with Dear Abby Leigh and The Pleated Poppy. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Blessing #160 - Recognizing the Christmas Spirit

Last year, Shad scored major points by starting a new possible tradition, and he surprised me and did it again this year! It is a fantastic idea so I had to share it on the blog.

For two years, Shad has bought me a small gift at the start of the Christmas season.  Last year, he surprised me with these super cute measuring cups from anthropology.

I use these measuring cups almost everyday, and I can't help but think of Shad every time I use them.

This year, I came home from cleaning and there was a present under the tree just for me.  I opened it up to find two pieces of butterprint pyrex for my collection. (The two round casseroles on the right hand side.)

These gifts are so sweet, but the reason he gives them is even sweeter.  Shad told me that I am our family's Christmas Spirit, and so the Christmas Spirit needs a gift to start the season.  Every family has a Christmas nut, and I just happen to be ours. It was a small statement, but it's one of the sweetest things he's ever said or done for me.

Often, the Christmas Nut is the driving force for Christmas, making sure the tree gets up and memories are made.  The Christmas Nut tries their best to make Christmas fun and special for everyone. Shad found a way to make the Christmas Nut feel special and needed.

If you have a Christmas Nut (a.k.a Christmas spirit) in your family, take a little time to recognize them, you never know what it will mean to them.

Blessing #159 - The Grateful Wife Challenge

Remember at the start of November when I mentioned 30 Days of Thanks and how I was taking part in the Grateful Wife Challenge? If not you can read that post here.

For the entire month of November, I found one thing that I was grateful for Shad for every day.  Originally, I planned on giving him a quick note every day with something I was thankful for him. However, after day one I decided to make him a book from Paper Coterie and make a Christmas gift out of it.

I PLANNED on working on the book every day, and I PLANNED on giving him the book on Christmas, but I made a bad mistake.  I didn't write down the thing that I was grateful for every day on a piece of paper, and by the time I had time to sit down and work on the book, I had forgotten it.

If it ended there, I would say it was a failure.  I could beat myself up about it, but who needs more guilt.  Fortunately, the story does not end there, and the Grateful Wife Challenge was far from a failure for me.

This year on my 30 Days of Thanks on facebook and the Grateful Wife Challenge, I decided that I was going to stay current.  That just meant that I was going to try to be thankful for something that happened on that day.  Staying current really made me search for my grateful items, and forced me to really hunt for my grateful items of the day. I believe staying current is what made the challenge so powerful in my life.

All throughout the month, I noticed things that Shad did.

Day 3 - He never complained as we ran around on Collin's birthday adventure even though it was really cold.  He was up for the adventure. 

Day 3ish - He washed all the windows in our entire house

Day 5ish - He worked out an extra quick job so that he could have money for us to go to Georgia to visit my family.  

Day 10 - He woke up early on his day off and cleaned up our yard without me even asking him just because I was having a party that day.

Day 19ish - He sat back and let me enjoy being in Georgia.  I could tell several times he went out of his way to make sure I had a good time. 

Day 23 - He loved my Mamaw by speaking her love language, aggravating her. 

Day 29ish - He took time to give me my Christmas spirit present.   

As I went through the month, I was shocked to see just how much he did and how hard he worked.  Staying current and in the day really helped me to see just how much he does.  Surprisingly, once I started seeing how much he did, I tried to help him out more. I didn't even realize I was doing it until Shad stopped me the week before Thanksgiving, and said, "I can tell you've really been going out of your way to help me out."  I didn't tell him why then, but I knew why.

Seeing all these little things I was missing has also helped renew my spirit towards him. For weeks, when I think of him, I get the warm and fuzzies, and that's a big deal after ten years.

On Christmas morning, Shad won't be getting a book, but on Friday he told me, "My heart is really soft towards yours. We've really been doing good."  That's the moment I told him all about the Grateful Wife Challenge, what it did for me, and how grateful I am for what he does.

Gratitude always seems to work the same.  Gratitude does not change your situation, it changes your outlook.  During November, Shad did not suddenly become an amazing husband, I just saw what I had been overlooking before, and my attitude changed towards him.

The great thing about the Grateful Wife Challenge is that it can be done anytime.  You don't have to wait until November.  If your heart needs a little boost towards your husband, you should definitely try the grateful wife challenge. If you do try it, my advice would be to stay current and write it down on a piece of paper!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Blessing #158 - A Tree Full of I Love Yous

A couple of Christmases ago (Yes, I just had to google, "What is the plural form of Christmas?"),  I mentioned our ornaments tradition. Each year, we take a special night out where we hunt for our ornaments.  Each ornament is tied to a memory of a fun night together, but there is another reason that these ornaments are so special to me.

See these boots Brandon got last year.  B loves that we found a boots ornament, but what he hasn't noticed yet is what's underneath.

On every ornament, I write the year he got it, and I always write I <3 U! In case you haven't noticed, I am deeply sentimental, and everyone of their special ornaments has a note and and I <3 U somewhere on it from me.

To most people our tree just looks like a tree full of ornaments, but to me, I see a tree of I love yous.  Someday, my boys are going to leave me, and if all goes as planned they are taking their ornaments with them.  I'm glad they'll have the ornaments, but I'm even more glad they'll have a tree full of I love yous from me.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Blessing #157 - Decorating Christmas Trees

In case you haven't caught on, this week is all about Christmas!  Last year, I decorated my tree a little differently than before, and it really works for me. Here is my tree this year....

Before I tried this way, my tree never looked full enough to me, but now I love it.

Here are a few steps to how I got this look.

1. Start from the top and wrap some thick deco mesh or thick ribbon around the tree.  This needs to be thicker than you think to make an visual impact.  It makes the tree look filled up before you ever put on an ornament.

2. Once you have your thick mesh up start from the top and wrap a thin ribbon or garland in between the layers of mesh.

3.  Put on filler ornaments.  These are not the center of attraction ornaments, but they do complement nicely.

4. Stick something on the top of the tree a bow, an angel, a star, or sticky things like I have.

5. Place your main attraction ornaments.

You can see in the step by step pictures that I tie my ornaments on with thin ribbon.  I don't knot the ribbon, I just tie once.  This makes it a little bit harder for little hands to take the ornaments off the tree.

One thing I like about using the deco mesh is that it's forgiving.  When my boys bump into it and mess it up, you can't really tell.

I used that same method on a tree I help put up at the farm where Shad works.

The mesh around the tree is burlap, and the garland is pine coned and berries. Here you can see each step.

When we first had kids, Shad and I dreamed of putting up the tree all together.  I think we tried it one year, and it was not a happy memory at all.  I think we were all frustrated by the end of the ordeal.

For the past few years, I do steps 1 through 4 all by myself, and then we all participate in step 5.  Every year, we get special ornaments for the boys and us.  (You can read about that here.)  When the time is right, we get out the special ornaments and place them on the tree in order one by one. Even though I have worked hard on the tree, I have no say so on where the special ornaments go.  The boys place each ornament right where they want it.  That way they feel like it's their tree too.

The whole thing takes about thirty minutes which is perfect for my short attention span family. We get the feeling of decorating a Christmas tree together without the stress.

The other day, I heard James Dobson say on his radio show, "Traditions give meaning and identity to families. It is a way of saying, 'This is who we are.  This is what we do'." (Quote taken from this episode.)

When my boys look back at Christmas, I want them not to remember, "I got this and I got that."  I want them to remember, "We did this together, and we did that together."

Decorating the tree together is a great tradition. I'm glad we found a way to make it work for us.

Do you have any tips on how you do your tree, or how you decorate with kids.  I would love to hear them.