Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Top 10 Christmas Shopping Mistakes:

Dave says:
  1. Not prioritizing.
    Instead of getting stressed out with all the parties, baking and shopping, in addition to your normal daily life, set some priorities before you’re bombarded with a million requests. Think about which things are “must do” and which are “would be nice to do.” It’s all right to say no to keep yourself sane. Shopping for gifts is more fun when you’re not completely stressed out.

  2. Not using a budget.
    Before you make a gift list and head to the mall, set aside a reasonable amount of money for gifts. Make a commitment that you won’t add $20 to the fund every week just because you saw something cute that your niece would love. Get budgeting advice here.

  3. Using credit cards.
    Once you have your budget finalized, stay away from credit cards! You will still spend 12-18% more if you use plastic, and you’ll be paying it off come 2009! Doesn’t paying with cash sound more freeing than having a credit card balance looming over your head? You bet.

  4. Buying for everyone.
    Do you really need to buy gifts for every family member and friend you have? That can get overwhelming and expensive for everyone. Talk with them and work toward an agreement to draw names for gifts or donate money to a common cause.

  5. Not listening.
    Listen to the hints your loved ones drop about what they need or want this year. Maybe your Aunt Sally mentioned that she would love someone to help her in the garden, or Cousin Bob keeps losing guitar picks. A thoughtful gift like this will mean a lot.

  6. Not having a thought-out list on paper.
    If you think you can spend time in “Christmas retail world” without getting distracted by all the shiny toys, you’re in for a big surprise! You’ll be more likely to buy impulsively if you do it that way. Write down what each person you’re buying for would like and stick to the list. Stay focused!

  7. Not shopping around.
    “Shopping around” doesn’t mean you have to spend 24 extra hours running from store to store to save 10 cents. Take a look at your gift list and do some comparative price-checking online before you head out into the retail and traffic madness. This will save you money, time and stress!

  8. Waiting until the last minute.
    Procrastination is not the most appealing gift out there. Don’t find yourself stressed out on Christmas Eve just because you didn’t invest a little bit of time to plan.

  9. Forgetting to plan for next year.
    Throughout the next year, look for outrageous sales on things your loved ones will need. If you time the sales just right and clip some coupons, you could land a major discount on something you were going to buy in a few months for a birthday or wedding gift. Remember to have a list and budget for this, too.

  10. Forgetting why we celebrate.
    If this season becomes all about shopping and gifts, you’ve missed the whole point. People—not things—matter. The miraculous birth of a baby who changed the world is what matters.

Love Never Ends...

Mike is not a sentimental person. He is very straight-forward and practical. This is something I have always admired in him, b/c it has proved productive in most situations, and has been a good compliment to my own personality. With both of our miscarriages, I grieved for a much longer period than he did. I still cry about it...it makes me feel better to let it out. Mike dealt with it, and moved on much quicker than I did. For me, this felt very isolating. I felt alone in my grief. I don't understand why I can't seem to get past this...or why I still have anxiety some nights that keeps me awake.

So needless to say, we have had some major bumps in life's path this year. Mike has, time and time again, found a way to reach out to me and make me realize that I am not alone . If anything, these bumps have given us the opportunity to become even closer. I think we both do well at communicating and ironing out any issues that get between us.

Last Wednesday was our due date with the first baby we lost. This was a very hard day for me. March 1st will be another difficult day as well. In my head, these miscarriages would be easier to understand if I was pregnant again before the due date. (B/c it would not be possible to have both babies) But this isn't the case. I went to see a specialist a few months ago, and she recommended we wait before trying again, to let my body heal. She also said that although extremely rare, she thinks the back-to-back miscarriages are both flukes and are not likely to happen again. I also don't need any type of medical intervention or supplements with my next pregnancy. This is very wonderful news.

Monday morning, Mike came home from work and Natalie and I were still sleeping. He handed me a package and told me to open it. I had a heck of a time in my morning fog, and it was funny how long it took to actually open the box! Anyway, inside was a chain and pendant. It is a memorial for the babies we loved and lost.


I appreciate this loving gesture so much. Mike will find a way to connect with me, spoken or unspoken, even over our loss. He is one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me. Also, thank you to Dorie for helping him get this to me as a surprise.

I also wanted to share what my mom gave me after each loss:


This will be the last post about our losses. It has been a great thing for me to hijack my own family website and use it to express my emotions. Thank you for letting me share all of this with you. I have always debated about what to share, how much detail, etc. etc. Miscarriages are sad, and uncomfortable for many to talk about (I often do much better just writing about it) but I wanted to be clear that I am in no way ashamed of what has happened. These were my babies, and I love them. God gives and takes away. Whatever He does with our lives, we will praise Him. More than anything, Mike and I are so grateful for Natalie, and the delight she brings to our lives. We would love nothing more than a houseful of children!

Monday, November 24, 2008

2.5 years...

These are the pictures:








Wednesday, November 19, 2008

November 19, 2008

Today was our due date.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Potty Training

We are almost there! Natalie is completely day-trained (minus the random accident) but still needs a diaper during nap time and at night. I am so proud of her!! Not only has she mastered this quickly (she went on the potty for the first time in August) but she has had a few obstacles as well. Two weeks ago, she showed symptoms of a UTI. (pain, frequency, and urgency) It was heartbreaking to watch her go through this. I gave her all the home remedies I could think of, the symptoms went away, but then came back 2 days later. I took her to the doctor and they confirmed a UTI.

She started to feel much better once on the antibiotic, but still associated pain with going on the potty! She insisted on wearing a diaper and cried when I put her on the potty. I wanted to get her over this phobia as fast as possible. Long story short, I sat her on the potty and entertained her with puppets and bath toys (and made her laugh) until she went on the potty. Then she realized she was "all better!" Phobia gone. **whew**

This was also the first antibiotic Natalie has ever had to take. I have to agree with her, it tasted gross! (for those of you wondering why I was tasting her medicine, well, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about...) However, I didn't want a fight twice a day, for ten days. So I bought a pack of M&M's, and after she took her medicine, she got 2 M&M's. I usually don't reward her with food, but this was temporary. By the 4th day, she didn't even cringe with the bad taste, she just kept her eye on those M&M's waiting for her.

A few other tricks we use to get her interested in the potty (for those other mom's that asked for ideas):
-We used a cleaner tab in the tank of the toilet to turn the water blue (this was, apparently, a very cool thing to do)
-To begin, we took her every 30 minutes after she had a lot to drink, and would sit and play with bath toys, waiting for her to potty.
-So invest in a comfy toilet insert that won't hurt their bottom. We DON'T do potty chairs (that sit on the floor) Seriously. Who wants to clean poop out of that?? No thanks.
-We started a sticker chart, and every time she goes potty, she gets to pick which sticker goes on the chart.
-When it gets filled up, we go to the store and exchange the chart for an inexpensive toy.
-We praise her constantly, and now she praises herself (which is hilarious) if you are guest in our home, you will hear all about her potty experiences.
-As far as them telling you when they need to go, this will come with time. I was beginning to wonder if she'd EVER recognize when she needed to go. It happened all at once...but keep talking to them about it, and remind them to tell you when they need to go, and explain why. A lot more sinks in than you realize!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank you...



to our veterans. God bless you.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Autumn

Natalie and I went on a walk in our neighborhood yesterday and I couldn't help but take the camera along to capture some of the beautiful trees around us. I love how the city neighborhoods look in the fall. The streets are narrow so the trees touch overhead, and when the leaves fall they completely cover the streets. It really is pretty. These pictures were all taken on our block. Enjoy the colors:








On our porch with the "punkins"


Fake cheesy smile:


Miss blue eyes:

Sunday

Mike took these after church. It's nice to have pictures taken of Natalie and I every so often..I am usually the one behind the camera.





Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Did you vote??

We did. Natalie is proudly sporting my "I voted" sticker.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

October 31st

This year we took Natalie to the Harvest Festival at church. She had so much fun!

This is a picture of her looking at the card her great-grandparents sent her:


Elmo:


Elmo and Monnie:


Pop and Elmo:


Playing a game:


Skeeball took a lot of effort!


Leafing (fishing for leaves)


Pop and Natalie putt putting:


A hayride picture that my camera messed up:


Trying out the candy:


Pop, Natalie, and Nani:


October 31st is the day Mike and I started dating, 6 years ago. Although Mike doesn't acknowledge any anniversary other than our wedding anniversary. I, on the other hand, could tell you all the special dates throughout our relationship.

Cole also turned 4 years old on October 31st.

We hope you all had a great Halloween this year!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Newspaper

I found this in my hometown paper. I LOVE IT!!! You can't find any nicer people than Clay and Joanie! Happy birthday Clay...I hope you had a fantastic day!!!