Monday, November 24, 2008

This Year Christmas is Going to be Different...

Trying to get it all done. That's the ever present syndrome that I face, as well as most women and moms I know. This Christmas, I am going to do it differently.

I have made a vow to myself, my sanity, and my bank account, that Christmas this year is going to be the best ever but it's not going to involve running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. I am cutting back BIG TIME and I'm pretty excited about it (I've even made an Excel spreadsheet with projected price per person/per gift and have set up formulas to help me see how much I'm spending so I can make good choices - don't laugh Jill).

It's not just the money, although we are all feeling that pinch I'm sure, but it's the REAL reason. I have felt for sometime that we have lost sight of Jesus and that retailers make it too easy to get caught up in the buying and spending and the I wants and the I gotta haves. After all, its Jesus' birth we are celebrating at Christmas.

This brings me to point #2. Tanner is only 1 so he doesn't have a concept of what Christmas really is or is about or how in the world Santa fits in but I have been thinking about this (and I would love any suggestions or feedback on the Santa part). How do I start planting the seed that we get presents at Christmas because we are celebrating Jesus' birth without dousing the traditional Santa Clause (Jesus' role at Christmas seems like a no brainer to me so I think we're good there)? I don't want my kid to ruin it for others that believe in Santa, etc. I want to raise him to know Jesus and to understand the real meaning for the holiday and still have that magic that I can remember from my childhood and still feel on occasion.

May your life be filled with magic this Thanksgiving and Christmas season!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Chin Up

Every Thursday I write a Thankful Thursday blog which for me is a week in review and a time when I stop, catch my breath, and claim all that I have been and currently still am thankful for. It's a really amazing time for me because it allows me to remember all the truly awesome things God is doing in my life.

I also am the editor for our church's newsletter called Clean Slate. This has been my job for 3 months now which means there have been 3 editions of the newsletter. I love this job but it is truly challenging. Well, I just finished December's edition and it was a labor of love to say the least.

I also write a section in Clean Slate called The Juggler. It's a section where I mostly talk about all the goings on in my life and how I can only do as much as I do with God's help. You Moms out there should know what I'm talking about. Well, this month's article was written for someone else, my brother, Jason who's recent plight weighed heavy on my heart.

Jason, like myself, has a strong work ethic and doesn't like when work becomes stagnant. We like to always be working towards something and sometimes struggle when things slow down or we become dismayed with the task at hand. With all that said, Jason was going through some very tough times at work and was not happy. God is so good that He has allowed for things to change at work and from what I understand, this experience has changed many involved. I personally saw what was going on from Jason's perspective, a Wooldridge perspective, and Larry's perspective since Jason and Larry work together. All I can say is GOD PREVAILS!!

If you are going through anything, keep your chin up. It will help you stay focused on The Son :o)

Uncah Jay and Tanner - this past summer at the beach, definitely one of the sweetest pictures I have of the two of them

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I am always thankful for my family, friends, life, health, love, happiness, Jesus, freedom, safety, laughter and so much more…

This past week I have been and am still particularly thankful for:

-the time spent with Larry’s family. Big Larry and Linda are great in-laws – the kind you hesitate to use “in-law” with because of the negative connotation that goes along with it
-Pop’s willingness, as always, to keep Tanner or help in ANY way – what a big ole Christian heart!
-Tanner’s 1st birthday and birthday party were awesome – we had tons of guests (32 at the party and 4 overnight) in our house and it worked out great (minus the burning myself part)
-leftover birthday party cupcakes – yummy, especially after a long day at work
-another week that I got to eat lunch with my Grandma (please keep her in your prayers, she’s not doing too well and is in a lot of pain pretty much all the time now)
-travel mercies while traveling to and from Greensboro for work
-the price of gas going down – a miracle indeed
-the holiday season – I am so THANKFUL for so many things

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tanner's 1st Birthday

Last Thursday my little man, my little miracle, turned 1. Can you believe it? Man, the time has really flown by. The party was nutso but great (I can't wait to get those pictures online). Thanks to all of you who came, called, sent cards, emails and texts, and kept us in your thoughts and prayers through the birthday celebrations. Below are several of his pictures we had made.

Just Getting Warmed Up!

His Kung Foo Pose :o)

Sweet But Mischievous.

Aren't we cute?! Especially That Little Man!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I am always thankful for my family, friends, life, health, love, happiness, Jesus, freedom, safety, laughter and so much more…

This past week I have been and am still particularly thankful for:

-Tanner's 1st Birthday - it's today and I am so thankful. God has blessed me with an amazing little family. After 7 years of trying and tons of tests and random poking and prodding, 1 year ago today I gave birth to a healthy 6 lb 12 oz baby boy. Tanner Cole, I love you!
-time to get my house in order for the California Gagnons stay with us (today through Sunday) and my amazing Mom's willingess to keep Tanner so I can get down to some serious cleaning
-my girlfriends who understand my heartfelt need to "be heard" regarding matters of the heart (much love Cathy-Jo and Jill)
-another week that I got to eat lunch with my Grandma
-Jesus money so I could finally open a savings account for Tanner rather than talking about it like I have for the past year
-Becky, a friend and co-worker, who also happens to be my mentor at work, and for the time we spent at Panera's discussing work issues and fixes - it's so good to have someone understand being challenged vs busy work

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

For My Girl, Cat...Double Tree Chocolate Chip Cookies

Just in case you feel the need to bake extra, I can send you my address. Just teasing, but seriously, I found this online some years ago and it does taste like the cookies from any Double Tree Hotel. Yum-o and enjoy!

Double Tree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup oats (uncooked)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup Dark Brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon juice
12 oz. chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets (I skip this step since I use a Pampered Chef stone). Place the butter in a large bowl and cream lightly with an electric mixer. Add the sugars and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and lemon juice and mix well. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, oatmeal, baking soda, and salt. Add to the creamed butter mixture and stir well to blend. Add chocolate chips and walnuts and stir to combine. Using a 1/4 cup measure or a 2−oz ice cream scoop, drop the batter on the cookie sheets, leaving 2−3 inches between each cookie. Bake for 13−15 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove from the cookie sheets and cool on wire racks. Eat. Smile. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Better Day

As I awoke this morning, I vowed out loud that it would be a better day. I "claimed it" as my preacher would say. And what do you know, my out look is brighter and so far my day is going great.

When I got to work, I had an email from one of my best friends who reads my blog, CathyJo. After reading my entry yesterday she emailed me. Her message was simple and so true. "Sounds like its time for a girls weekend." That's exactly what I need. I need a girls weekend - a time where we can be together, be silly, stay up later than usual, eat random stuff, shop, watch odd stuff on TV (we always seem to end up watching America's Next Top Model or something that we normally don't watch but there just happens to be a marathon on), etc. At this point, a girls weekend would be the break from the normal and mundane that I am currently struggling with.

So CathyJo, to you, one of my very best friends, and the one with the plan, let's have us a girls weekend!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Ever Funky Funk

I have to admit that I have felt gloomy lately and I hate that. I have so many things to be thankful for that the few things that make me unhappy have produced a guilt effect.

At first I wasn’t able to put my finger on what made me unhappy, but the more and more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was just unhappy in general. I think it goes back to the “more” I was talking about in a previous blog.

As I sat in the same room as Larry yesterday after church while Tanner was napping, I realized that we don’t talk anymore. It’s not that we don’t talk about the big stuff or the important stuff, we just don’t talk. He often does his own thing which forces me to do mine, which I don’t like. It’s not that I can’t entertain myself; it’s just that I want to be with him and have fun with him. For instance, I prayed for a long time for our laptop to break (it was dying anyway) so he would have one less distraction and this past weekend it broke. It completely died which should have been great but he has managed to fill it up with anything and everything in what seems like an effort to ignore me already. He has also not made time for any of the things that I love about fall – a drive along the parkway or a picnic, going to a pumpkin patch or apple orchard, anything outdoors, I’m seriously not picky but he knows these things mean a lot to me and I thought they would be especially fun to do with Tanner.

This is a whole other level of sadness and unhappiness. Sometimes I just look at him and wonder why it’s so hard to talk to me. Most people seem to find me easy to talk to and rather independent so I don’t put out that needy vibe (I don’t think). I just don’t know what’s going on. Our common ground seems to be Tanner and praise God that Larry is a great Dad. He loves Tanner, takes good care of him, and they have fun together. It’s obvious that Tanner adores his Dad too.

I am also unhappy at work, and not because it’s work, but because it’s not challenging. I often feel like I missed my calling because this work just makes me want to bang my head against my desk and I don’t ever feel like I really do anything important. I also find myself day dreaming or wishing I could be anywhere else. I feel like that genius child in the classroom that carries on because they aren’t being challenged and they keep getting more work, not harder work. I feel stifled here and I wish I could stay at home with Tanner. At least part time. I am missing so much and the few hours I get to spend with him in the morning before work and the night before bed is just not enough.

I pray that God will give me some healing and direction. I am listening, intently. I am waiting for some kind of sign. Until then, I will keep praying, watching, and waiting. Your prayers are welcomed.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I am always thankful for my family, friends, life, health, love, happiness, Jesus, freedom, safety, laughter and so much more…

This past week I have been and am still particularly thankful for:

-Tanner being fine, not having allergies to nuts, and the hives finally going away
-finding cute birthday party invitations for Tanner's 1st birthday next week - they even have monkeys on them!
-a fun time with friends at the UVa game, tailgating was the best part of that game since we lost in overtime
-another week that I got to eat lunch with my Grandma
-moments alone in the grocery store
-big projects that have been finished at work and getting my annual review behind me
-having the freedom to vote and knowing that God is in control, especially since my candidate didn't win (please continue to pray for our country and our president elect, God knows the master plan)
-a handy husband who can hang drywall, tape, and mud so the guest bedroom wall looks like it used to before termites - yikes!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Peanut Blessings

I just got a call from the doctor's office and Tanner is NOT allergic to peanuts or any of the nuts they tested him for (pine nuts, almonds, peanuts, coconuts, etc - I didn't even process that coconuts are considered nuts - missed that little tidbit of information in school). This is such a relief and an absolute blessing, you have no idea. God is good!

We are still working on narrowing down what Tanner could be allergic too but he's getting better every day and nothing slows that kid down. He's crazy!

Monday, November 3, 2008

So Much for Being an Elephant...

Tanner was supposed to be an elephant for Halloween. That plan did not work out too well.

I was getting ready to change him into his costume at Jill's house, at her Halloween party nonetheless, when we noticed that his legs were covered in hives. After further inspection, we noticed that he had them everywhere, from head to toe. He never indicated anything was wrong. No scratching, no pulling at clothes, no nothing. Sometimes I wonder if he feels these things.

Anyway, the doctor had us give him Benedryl and take him home and advised if the hives hadn't gone away in 48 hours to bring him in. So Sunday afternoon, I took him to see the doctor. They weren't bad but they were present. Within 10 minutes the hives were awful and the doctor prescribed a steroid. Poor little baby had to have blood work too.

They tested him for nut allergies and a few more things I'm not sure of. He was so calm when we laid him back and they put that green plastic band on his arm and tried to find a vein. The whole time the phlebotomist poked at him and took his blood, he just laid there. He was the calmest I have ever seen him. It was almost spooky.

Anyway, we find out maybe Wednesday if they found anything but the doctor didn't think they would. He said that sometimes kids just have these kinds of things. He would definitely be my son, random illnesses and reactions to say the least.