Wednesday, January 31

Thankful Thursday

Today is the first day of "Thankful Thursday," my new weekly topic that will give me a chance to thank God for the week's blessings. Nothing beats stress away like looking for the positive and finding gratitude there. So here goes:

  1. Cold weather -- even a *little* snow last night! -- the kind of frigid temps we rarely see here in TN, the kind of temps that beg for hot cocoa [or tea...see next item]! Now there's a celebration!

  2. Loose-leaf tea. If you haven't tried it, you are missing out on a tasty, calming winter treat!

  3. Playtime with Kaden. My new napping strategy for him includes purposely wearing him out in the morning. This is no easy task since he seems to have hidden reserves of energy, but I'm up for the task. We've been playing outside, going to the Y, walking in the woods, and having lots of fun while getting ready for a good, long nap. Bonus: exercise for me!

  4. Laney learning new things. She is in a constant state of motion and discovery, and it's fun to see her growing up into more of a toddler and less of a baby. She's getting steadier on her feet, and I think it'll only be a few months until she's walking! She pulls herself up on furniture like a champ!

  5. My uber-industrious hubby. I'm grateful for how hard Josh works to provide for our family and that he hasn't given up despite business start-up stress and working at a job that is not exactly where he pictured himself. I'm proud of you, baby!

  6. Weight loss! I lost 2.5 pounds in the last week, and that is something to be happy about! I think all that naptime exercise is paying off. :-)

Those are just a few of the many things I have to be grateful for, but it's a good place to start for today. If you want to join me in exercising my gratitude muscle, feel free to jump on the bandwagon!

Monday, January 29

Gluten-Free Chic

Anyone watch "The View" on TV? Well, last week on Friday, one of the hosts, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, announced that she has celiac disease, just like me!

Here's a link to another blog that talks about the segment: Gluten-Free NYC.

It's nice to hear of celebrities who have celiac -- people who can speak out and bring more attention to the disease. More attention, more research...maybe someday a cure?! I don't spend my days pining after bread, but every once in a while I wish I could just go back to being "normal." Anyway, just wondering if anyone saw the show and thought of me!

Now, if only that size 2 figure of Elizabeth's went along with the celiac package. :-)

Friday, January 26

Baby Meets Google

Older "boomer" types (and beyond) often comment to me that they can't believe all the baby gear that we have nowadays. Usually, they speak wistfully of these items, wishing they could have had some of our modern conveniences when their babies were young. I'm talking Bumbo chairs, pack-n-plays, removable infant car seats, Baby Bjorns, know, all the gadgets and whatchamacallits. So then I was thinking, What one parenting tool could I not live without?

In .02 seconds, my mind returned this result: the Internet!

It's true. Take my Snugli, take my Bumbo, take my light-up, sing-out toys (yes, please do take those!)...but please, please don't take the Internet away -- and especially Google! I love having so much information at my fingertips, and when you're constantly treading into new phases of toddlerdom and babyhood, it's nice to know that you can find out what's normal and even find support from other parents who have been there.

Now of course, I use the Internet for non-parenting stuff like email and such, but I honestly do use it a lot as a mom. Take for example some of my recent Google searches:

  • infant, fever

  • robeez crib shoes

  • 2-year-old, napping [This is a blog in itself, Dear Reader.]

  • average formula feeding, 9-month-old

  • Nuby sippy cup replacement spouts

  • digital scrapbooking [Laney is baby book-less...poor thing!]

  • family bowling, middle tennessee

So that made me wonder, if AOL can flub up and release personal search information, what might my Google searches say about me if they were ever to reach the light of day? I think I would be easy to track down based on my frequent use of Google. So what would your Google searches say about you?

P.S. As a side note, I worked for about a year with the author of this article. It was weird to see his name pop up guessed it, Google. :-)

Thursday, January 25

Happy Birthday, Ashley!

Another family birthday greeting goes out to my sister-in-law, Ashley. Happy Birthday, Rashy! :-)

I think my brother chose an amazing wife. She is a new mom, just like Jess, and she also is going to college part-time to finish up her degree to become a Physician's Assistant. Ashley has always been a hard worker, and she throws herself 100% into everything she does. She has a lot on her plate right now, but she is keeping her priorities straight (and trying to fit in a few hours of sleep around being a wife, mother, and college student). It makes me tired just thinking about it!

To my smart, giving, beautiful, fun-to-be-around SIL...I wish you a great year. I love you!

Tuesday, January 23

With a Little Help from My Friends

Thanks to those of you who commented, emailed, or called to see how you could help to encourage me in my new resolve (see my last post). I appreciate your prayers and support more than you know! God is good to provide the right people with the right words at the right time.

I love to "pay it forward" and lend a helping hand when I can -- and today I got an opportunity to do just that! My good friend, Laurie Roe, is opening her own clothing store here in Nashville that specializes in petite clothing for women. It's called Petite Boutique, and I finally got to lay eyes on her big project for the first time today. It was awesome to see all of the things I've been reading about on her blog in real life. It's wonderful to see a friend realizing a dream.

Plus, I got 5 hours of childfree bliss -- the first of its kind in quite a while. I mindlessly moved pants, skirts, blouses, and suits from plastic hangers to wooden hangers, and guess what?! All that mindless work was quite wonderful, actually. No one asked me for juice, needed a diaper change, or whined at me. I'm telling you, adults are a breath of fresh air. :-) Plus, I got a free lunch from Moe's out of the deal. What could be better?

It was WONDERFUL to see my family after our little hiatus. It's amazing how just a short time away rejuvenates me!

And by the way, if you're petite -- and even if you're not (Laurie's carrying some awesome accessories like handbags, jewelry, shoes, etc.) -- stop by or make a special trip to Petite Boutique! It's shaping up to be such a delightfully fun store. Best wishes to you, Laurie!

Monday, January 22

Happy Birthday, Jess!

I am officially two days late in writing this blog, but I'm cheating by post-dating it to show my sister's actual birthday: January 22nd. Sorry for the belated blog wishes!

My sister is such an amazing person, friend, wife, and new mom that I am honored to know and love her. So Happy Birthday, sis! You are one of my closest friends and most favorite-est people in the whole world! :-) I am very excited about 2007 because our two families are going to have a few years of togetherness to look forward to. (Stefan & Jess are moving to Nashville later this year so that Stefan can complete his doctorate in International Politics at Vanderbilt University. YA!)

Well, Jess, I know you had a great birthday, and I think 2007 is going to be a pretty awesome year for you, too. Love, hugs, and best wishes to you! XOXO Love, Jenn

Thursday, January 18

Climbing Outta the Funk

Ever feel like you're in a rut? Emotionally, spiritually, physically?

I do. I'm a little hesitant (and embarrassed) to bear my soul here, because I think people mostly want to hear updates on the family or tales of Kaden's antics, but I'll just say I've been losing the battle with that one sin that Satan always throws my way (not to say that I only mess up in one area!!). No matter what your weaknesses or what your past, I'm sure just about everyone can identify with a period of feeling too weak to overcome your weakness(es).

What really stinks is that the internal battles I've been fighting are apparently not as internal as I thought. Josh can tell when I'm indulging in "stinkin' thinkin'" (not sure where that phrase came from) or when I've thrown in the towel, giving up the hope that I'll ever have victory again in this area. It bothers him to see me in this defeated state, and I know that this distraction, this emotional drain, affects my effectiveness as a wife and a mom. And that bothers me, too!

So it's time for a new plan. I've been wallowing about in self-pity for long enough, and it's time for the next step! A big part of the plan is discipline, and another big part involves carving out time each week for me, which I have to say is hard. Being a busy mom of two is a rather convenient excuse to push away the stuff I "don't have time" to deal with. But as is always the case, carving out a bit of time for myself to do the things I need to do for my soul and my body always makes me more alive in every other moment of the day when I'm focused on Josh or the kids.

And when it comes down to it, that's what I want to be. Fully present, fully alive, fully on mission in every moment, not distracted and faltering under guilt and shame and self-pity. The best news, and I can't fail to mention it, is that I'm not in this alone. Not only do I have a supportive, loving husband, but I serve a God who is stronger than my weakness. My Father wants to see me succeed in overcoming the flesh and becoming more like his Son. Satan tells me I'm all alone, but it's not true -- God is with me each step! Victory today does not guarantee victory tomorrow, so I must continue being vigilant and making the best choices I can! So, that's me in this moment. Feeling defeated and rather sorrowful in my heart, but ready to try again.

If you want to share, how do you attack your area of weakness...or kick your butt into gear when you're in a rut?

Thanks for letting me vent. I'll try to think of something happy to post about next time. :-)

Friday, January 12

Getting Back to Normal

Wow. The past month has been B-U-S-Y. I'm sure you all can relate! I returned from PA with the kids on Wednesday, and we were greeted with one crazy mess of leftover renovation supplies, Christmas decorations, dirty laundry, and Christmas toys and presents that still need a home. Oh...and one happy husband and daddy to have his family back in Nashville. :-) Being back together was more important than all the disorganization, but I'm still chipping away at the projects so that our home can get back to normal.

Josh was busy while we were gone. He painted our bedroom to match our new bathroom that Dad Hesse completed over the vacation. We are the 2nd owners of our home, and the people who built it did not correct a big mistake the contractor made in our bathroom -- a stall shower AND a tub/shower combo. Who needs 2 showers?! So "Papa" cut out the stall shower, put up drywall and a door to create a linen closet, installed a ceramic tile floor, and painted the room. Phew! It was a busy 10 days for him. But it looks GREAT -- thanks, Dad! :-) What a great Christmas gift for Josh and me.

Well, I hope you are all adjusting to 2007. How are those resolutions coming? I'm doing great -- mostly because I didn't make any. :-)

I better get back to work. I have a short project for Thomas Nelson to finish in the next week, so there's no time to waste!

It's great to be back home!

Wednesday, January 3

10 Questions for the New Year

I recently read this on one of the blogs I frequent, and I wanted to pass it on: Ten Questions for the New Year.

I liked the way the questions help you zero in on specific things you'd like to accomplish in the coming year -- besides getting off those pesky 5-10 pounds. :-) I also really liked the other 21 questions he lists after the first 10. I plan to spend some time pondering these questions in the next few weeks, and I thought I'd pass on the list in case it might be of interest to anyone else.

There's a lot of talk about New Year's Resolutions this week, and I'm hoping these questions will help me to identify some meaningful and measurable goals to work toward throughout 2007.

Are you making resolutions this year? Tell me what your goals are if you want to share!

Still Alive!

Hey, everyone! I just wanted to let you know that I'm still here. Actually, I'm in Pennsylvania at the moment visiting my family. We have been so busy with Josh's family visiting, traveling to PA, and now visiting with my whole side of the family here in Duncansville that I haven't had time to think about blogging. It's been a flurry of grandbabies and grandparents, and it's been fun so far!

My sister arrived today from CA, so we had a little reunion tonight with all 3 siblings and all 4 grandkids. Unfortunately, Josh and Stefan had to stay behind in Nashville and San Diego to work, but we're lucky to have my SIL Ashley here since she and Jon only live about a mile away. Miss you, Josh and Stefan!

I don't really have anything exciting to post, but I just wanted to share the update. I'll be in PA with the kiddos until the 10th. Then the holidays will officially be over, and I can return to normal life. :-) Happy New Year to everyone, and I wish you all the best for 2007.