Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The First Christmas Ever by Dennis Jones



When I was given the opportunity to review this book, I was excited to have a new Christmas book for the kids.  While we aren't of the mindset that Santa is wrong and we do "do" Santa, we naturally want to focus as much as possible on the true meaning of Christmas.  I love how Zonderkids kept this story so simple, but the message was very clear.  My husband also liked that the wise men came at the proper time in the story, because it irks him when people say the wise men were at the manger.

The kids enjoyed the illustrations, although I almost felt like it was a mockery of the story at times...almost like they were caricatures rather than illustrations.  It wasn't a deal breaker though, and the story made up for it.

Disclaimer:  I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

RMH Holiday Party

Last week, I took the kids to the RMH holiday party.  I started to question my sanity as I sat in crazy traffic on 97, but thankfully we made it! 

The kids had a great time at the Ronald show.  Caleb even got to be one of the volunteers!



They even got to visit with Santa!





I am so grateful for the friendships I have made at RMH.  It's so much more than a hotel...it's a family!

It was SO good to see several of my friends and catch up on our lives a bit.

 Our kids liked playing together too!  :)

Thank you Lord for the Ronald McDonald House!!


Monday, December 15, 2014

Quilted With Love

I have known Mrs. Livingston practically my entire life.  I grew up with her oldest son (who now works at our church!), and she was the youth choir director.  I went on countless trips, performed in countless plays, and sang countless songs under Mrs. L's direction.  She was a big influence in my life and I have lots of great memories with her!

Mrs. L moved to North Carolina a few years ago, but she was sweet enough to mail Abby a beautiful quilt that she made!  The quilt blocks are Fancy Nancy scenes--a little girl who loves tutus!  Embroidered in the middle is "Keep Calm and Wear a Tutu!" with Abby's full name and birth date at the bottom.



 Needless to say, Abby LOVES it!!




Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Sincere Thank You!

I cannot even begin to express our appreciation for all of the prayers, cards, gifts, and well-wishes for Abby during her hospital stay!!!  Everyone who walked in her room was amazed at the number of cards hung up on her wall.  It was pretty incredible to see the outpouring of love for our little girl!

All of the craft items, Frozen toys, dolls, blankets, and even a bean bag chair (which she LOVES!) made Abby smile so much!  I would pull out a new toy when she would start to get bored or done with the hospital, and it would most definitely brighten up her day.

THANK YOU for loving my girl.  Thank you for praying us through this time that ended up being a lot tougher than we thought.  Thank you for celebrating with us when we finally returned home. Thank you for being people we can count on.

We are blessed.  So very blessed.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Moments

Here are some glimpses into our last few days at the Mount.  

I did a little photo shoot by the tree!




Abby is cracking me up with her joyful shrieks of "Girl Time!" whenever we do something together.  Darlin', we have had a whole month of girl time!!


Abby's boundless energy earned her a pass to go outside and enjoy the unseasonably nice day.  We kicked a ball around, blew bubbles, and drew with chalk.

Abby spent time with both therapy dogs!!  This pretty much makes it the best day ever, in Abby's book.



Abby so enjoyed playing with Abdallah!  He is a 6 year old from Dubai who is awaiting a kidney transplant.  It was beautiful to watch these kids overcome ethnic, religious, and language barriers and just enjoy being kids!


When Abby heard that Abdallah had never seen Frozen, she was appalled and was determined to remedy that situation ASAP!  Although I'm not sure how much he understood, he seemed to enjoy it!


I was able to have great conversations with Abdullah's cousin, a 21 year old engineering major in Dubai.  It saddened me to hear her talk about the accusatory looks her family has gotten since they have been in the US.  Being Muslim makes them terrorists about as much as being a Christian makes me an abortion clinic bomber.  They are a family willing to do anything to save their son.  That is all. 

Choose joy, folks...but also choose love.  Open your mind and get to know others who may be different from you.  You can learn so much when you consider things from the perspective of another.






Whirlwind

I feel like we come home from a long hospitalization chomping at the bit to get back into normalcy...so much so, that I feel like I'm going crazy!  You have NO idea how much stuff accumulates after a month away.  It takes forever to put away!  We're still not really done, but at least we can move around the house again!

Here's a quick recap of the last few days since we have been home:

Wednesday:  We got home around 2:00, furiously unpacked as much as we could, and surprised Caleb at the bus stop at 4:00.  He had absolutely NO idea Abby was coming home (which is why we didn't post anything!), and it was so sweet to see him run to Abby and give her a huge, long hug!  Videos don't post well on here, but you definitely need to check it out on Facebook.  It's pretty sweet!

After our happy reunion, Matt headed to church for youth group and we went to a birthday dinner for my mom.  My dad came home from the hospital the same day, so it was a great birthday present for my momma!

Thursday:  We jumped in with both feet back into regular life.  Abby went to school (after I spoke with the teacher on the phone to make sure she was comfortable, of course!) and I went to work.  Abby enjoyed lots of kisses from Chloe!  It was pretty much business as usual, except for hooking up that darn tube at night!  We aren't getting quite as much sleep at night, that's for sure.



Friday:  After Abby went to school, she went to my mom and dad's for a little while so that I could come home from work and work on getting things put away.  Abby got very used to me being at her every beck and call while she was in the hospital, so I have to retrain her to entertain herself now and then!  :)

That evening, we went to a birthday party for a very special adult who has touched the lives of so many.  It was a beautiful celebration, and everybody enjoyed themselves!





Saturday:  The kids and I worked around the house while Matt was at a quiz rally.  Then, we took the kids to my parents' house for the evening and enjoyed a night out!  We went to see Newsies at the Hippodrome for my birthday, and it was awesome!  This was a favorite movie of both of us from our childhood, and we'd been looking forward to it since May.  I especially enjoyed the dancing.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to sing along nearly as much as I had hoped because they changed the words to every song!  (The people around me probably appreciated that though!)



Sunday:  After church, Matt and I had another date!  (Hey, we needed some make up dates after a month away from each other!)  Actually, the reason for this date was a Living Social deal for The Melting Pot that was about to run out.  Amy agreed to watch the kids, and we're watching hers on Friday so that they can use their deal before it runs out!  Lol!  We aren't the best at spreading our dates out, but we got a good dinner out of it!

Today:  Back to work for me!  Matt stayed with Abby on his day off and set up the Christmas tree, along with some other things on a honey-do list I left for him.  :)  Then tonight, we went to Owen's first band concert.  He did a great job and we were done in 1/2 an hour.  Woo hoo!

Like I said...crazy days!  Being that it is December, I don't think that things will be slowing down anytime soon.  But we're all together and HOME.  Abby is doing a great job of drinking all of her milk during the day and only needing a tube at night.  We're adjusting to our ever-changing new normal, and we're happy!