Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kids Say and Do the Darnedest Things


This is Rebekah. Rebekah has discovered her voice! She often imitates and repeats things that are adorable and of course, some things I wish she would repeat.
For example: Her new favorite phrase is either, "Mmm, that's good." Or, "Oh that's ewicious!" Of course, then there is the other day where while in the car she puts her hands on either side of her face as says, "oh Cwap!" I promise that phrase was not edited, it was not used as a replacement for another word that means poop, it was crap. Honest!
But I think my most favorite phrase of hers right now is, "I want to snuggle." First, because I love to snuggle with her. Second, because it's amusing to me that she uses this phrase most often when it is bed time and she is attempting to delay the inevitable downward slide into the Land of Nod.
This of course, got me thinking about all of my kids (and yes, this includes Sarah) favorite methods of procrastination when it comes to bedtime.
Beka always uses snuggling, drinks, a snack, and now although she isn't potty trained, has taken a page from her sister, Lizzie's book. "I have to go potty." The one I usually find the hardest is the one where she tells me she wants to snuggle. She's cute, little, and two yrs old. Tell me, how can I honestly decline snuggle time with this little cutie? The answer . . . I can't, so she gets snuggles and I get quiet. It's kind of a win, win for us both.
Lizzie, well Lizzie is getting rather creative these days. In the beginning it was the standard excuse. I need a night light, I need a drink, I need to go potty, etc . . . now though she's gotten rather good - she comes down and tells me that Beka is making her nuts! Now this might work if Beka were indeed upstairs with her, but to head this excuse off at the pass, I have started putting Beka to bed in the playpen in the living room. I think you can see how well that excuse works to help her - at the very least it amuses me.
Now Sarah - Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. Sarah's favorite way to put off bed is to come up with some insanely complex question about God, or life, or her own self esteem, etc . . . You get the picture. Don't get me wrong she uses the other old ones too sometimes, but mainly trying to wax philosophical was her favorite method of putting off going to bed. Now her way may have worked except there is one thing that was not in her favor. I am a morning person.
I don't mean I just prefer to wake up in the morning instead of half way through the day. I mean I wake up ready to go and often get out of bed and hit the ground running. So by the time bedtime rolls around for the girls, I am almost ready to go to sleep as well. Sadly, this means that her line of questioning only irks me instead of intriguing me. Then the next morning I have had time to sleep and I am ready to answer her questions, but she is a night owl and doesn't function well until after 10 a.m. so I think you can see our conundrum.
What are your kids favorite methods of putting of going to bed? I would love to hear them. So feel free to comment on Facebook or Twitter even and let me know.
Have a good week and a scary Halloween.
In Christ,
Maureen

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Answered Prayers


Chris has been facing some pretty nasty political things overseas lately. None of which he would like me to share, but like any job, politics are always involved.
The long and the short of it is this. Chris has been very stressed out and not sleeping well. Honestly, I might not have worried so much, except that if it was enough to make him worry, then it makes me worry.
The good news is that the situation at hand has been resolved. So for those of you who prayed for him, thank you.
This all got me thinking - especially since lately I've been in a funk - I get very introspective when these spells come on. How does stress affect us and how is it that afterwards we find ourselves fighting the duldrums? There is arguing, there is stress, there are moments of joy that go on for a long period of time and at the end we find ourselves in a valley. Why is that, do you think? I don't have any answers really, I am sure I could go research it and there is some medical reason. But this is more rhetorical. Okay maybe not - it's probably linked to parasympathetic overshoot. When a person suffers from prolonged periods of stress it triggers the sympathetic nervous system which controls our fight/flight responses. If the sympathetic is in overdrive it then causes our parasympathetic nervous system to also go into overdrive once the levels of stress have dissipated.
How do I know this? Well I was a psychology major. Now here is the question - if parasympathtic overshoot can cause us to become physically ill, then doesn't it also make sense that it can mean we fall into depression once the stressors have alleviated?
Okay I'll stop with the physiology lesson. Mainly I just needed to work this out so I could understand the cycles of being fine and then cycling into a few days where I'm not so fine. I'm not abusing the kids, I am just at a place where "I Vant to Be Alone" to coin a phrase. And no, that is not the best time for me to go to church. When people grieve or are depressed they say things they normally wouldn't say. I discovered the hard way during Chris' last deployment - a depressed Maureen is not a good social Maureen. For crying out loud, I told one of my friends that her daughter was homely! Of course, once she told me this I was mortified and apologized profusely, but once something comes out of your mouth, you can't take it back. Words that are written can be destroyed, burned, deleted even, but orally - well once you say it to someone you have pretty much sealed your fate.
There isn't a real point to this blog really. I think I am mainly processing everything and trying to puzzle it all out for my own needs. It is who I am, I need to understand things to put them to rights in my head and emotionally. Even if I don't get an apology, for me understand where a person was coming from when they do something stupid or said something hurtful, helps me let it go and move on.
I hope you all are having a good week.
In Christ,
Maureen

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

You gotta love irony!

Okay if you are new to reading this, I am the wife of an Army Reservist. Soon he will go full time Army, but for now we are reserves. Now I realize that things can be complicated, but your paystub shouldn't be one of them?!

I am laughing as I write this because I just took a peak out our next LES payment stub and the military is paying us the back money they owed us. This money is because when our men and women are putting their lives on the line in order to aid their families w/bills and silly annoying every day things like that, the U.S. government does not require them to pay taxes. They finally have paid us the taxes they should not have been taking out, and yet, we still paid taxes on even that?! Now let me ask you - is it me or is that just a whole new level of stupid right there? Who in their right minds came up with this system I don't know, but they should maybe find a different job or be handed their walking papers. The only excuse I can think of is this - a man must have come up with this idea. A man who doesn't pay the bills at home, because he does such a poor job that his wife has taken over bill paying.

Now I may be wrong, and if I am then shame on the woman who came up with this system. Because surely you are giving us all a very bad name.

Have a good week.
Maureen

Monday, October 19, 2009

Heading Home

We head out tomorrow. I think we are all ready to go and head out - okay everyone but Sarah I should say. Sarah loves Grandma Mary like a fish loves water. They have a very close relationship, which is good - it gives her some balance and a sympathetic ear.

Lizzie, Beka and Hayden have fought all day. I am ready to pack it up and head home. However, it should be noted that once I hit my saturation point, I am always ready to head out and get going. I'm one of those people who once I've made a decision, then I am ready to make it happen and tend to leap into action. Of course, I also analyze and probably over analyze the situation first so I can see all the possible scenario's and outcomes. So most of the time, the outcome is favorable.

This got me thinking though. In a world where we cannot control every aspect of our lives, why do we insist on trying so hard to do that very thing. How often have we each attempted to control our lives only to make a horrible debacle of the entire thing? How often do we hand the reigns over to Christ and let him turn what could potentially be a terrible situation into a beautiful and often amazing outcome? This is even when it takes us a while to see this for the amazing ending we hoped for. So often I am tempted to control the major things in life and I find continually that when I allow God to control it and be in charge that He makes it into something more beautiful than even I imagined.

I spent a lot of years wondering why life threw me lemons. Actually, it used to haunt me to a great extent and colored my life - why couldn't I be like those kids on SNU campus whose only worries were if they had a date for the weekend or if Daddy would buy them a new car. It wasn't that I wanted the new car or necessarily a date, because I knew what I was looking for in a man, but I wanted to have a life where I had trivial and mundane things. I didn't want to know so many of the things I knew about or understand as well as I did what it felt like to be another person's whipping post. In fact, it took going to another country to discover that I am who I am for reason's that only God could understand at the time.

I would often go to the rocky beach and walk down there and sit with my Bible and spend time with God. Sometimes I would talk, sometimes I would listen and in those times I began to let go of the pain, the hurts of the past and over that year I received healing. I am not saying I am perfectly whole - I'm still a work in progress (aren't we all). I am saying this - emotinoal healing is possible and I discovered a few years later exactly why I had the knowledge I have. God was preparing me to be Sarah's bonus mom. When she tells me about her hurts or her time w/her mom, I get it. I can understand how she feels - granted not in the exact same way, but I still understand her feelings.

So my thought for the day is this - let God have control. I know it sounds easy to say, but it isn't - trust me I too struggle with this -on a daily basis. However, I also know that when I relinquish control that God makes something beautiful - even in the middle of brokeness.

Have a good week.

In Christ,
Maureen

Friday, October 16, 2009

Worms

Okay I have to give a quick update on our vacation.

You know your Grandma loves you when she is willing to dig with you for worms! My mother-in-law, Mary and I were enjoying the evening before I started dinner. We watched Lizzie and Hayden go digging around and they found earthworms. Now I don't have anything against them personally, but I was getting ready to cook dinner so touching one of them, was not on the agenda. Mary just held out her hand and looked at it and they talked about it and then - she went and helped them dig around for more worms. That is love!

So we spent a quiet day today at Mary and Ted's house. We enjoyed just lounging and goofing off with them. Beka discovered the joys and wonders of lounging on Grandma's couch, snuggled up in a blanket, watching Direct TV! She had a blast and then of course, she returned to the backyard and proceeded to play herself into an state of exhaustion. Let's just say nap time came easily for her today.

I took Lizzie for a drive in the mountains so she could go out and see the sights. She had a good time listening to the Christmas musical cd (it's for the kid's Christmas musical this year) and driving up and down and all around with Mommy. I think she had a good time, then I needed to come home and take a nap. It's hard work being the Mom, Worm Supervisor, and Chauffer - and these are the only jobs I can think of right now, I'm sure I have more job descriptions besides that.

Well I need to get going. We are going to start a fire and cook S'Mores for the kids.

In Christ,
Maureen

Idaho!!!

I woke up on Monday and decided that we needed to just go for it and head to Nampa, Idaho. This isn't a decision I just came too suddenly, okay, at least not completely that way. I woke up at 4 a.m. and of course, my brain would not shut down. And as it was going a million miles a minute I began to realize that I would always find reason to not visit or to put it off and let my husband talk me into waiting for him to come home before we would go. So I decided we just needed to go. I called Lizzie into school for the week and some of the following week and started getting us ready to go.

Sarah pitched in and did the laundry while I took care of car maintainence and got snack food. The long and the short of it, by the time we finished getting ready and had everyone loaded up and heading out, Sarah became sick. Now Sarah dearly, dearly loves Grandma Mary and so the fact that she felt badly enough to ask if we could go home instead of heading out, speaks volumes. They are like peas and carrots and love each other very much. At one point it was to the point where Chris and I had to put some distance between them while Sarah adjusted to being a part of our family because it was like dealing with a junkie coming off a high when Sarah would come to us from Mary's. But the reason's behind this are another story for another blog entirely. So we went home and had pizza and watched movies and took baths and I took the two littlest girls with me to see Grandma Myers and Papa Bud and then to bed.

Tuesday morning we woke up fairly early and loaded up the car . . . again. We hit the road and made good time. I forgot to account for something though. Did you know that Wyoming is a very busy place on Monday-Wednesday and that finding a hotel is almost near impossible w/o a computer? Well neither did I. So after spending most of Tuesday in Nebraska and dealing with rain, stupid slow speed limits and road construction, I was ready to stop in Sydney, Wyoming. The only hotel room we had a hotel that had seen better days. So Mary got online and found us a very nice hotel just outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming instead. Let me tell you a hotel has never looked so good. Spending 13 hours on the road driving when you are the lone driver is taxing to say the least. I ordered pizza and we watched Disney and went to bed. Sarah got some school work done and we headed out the next day.

Now if you've never been to Wyoming, there are a few things you should know. First, do not, I repeat do not be the only driver. Second, take your time and enjoy the beauty and sights of it. It is amazing and the kids loved the scenery and we even stopped a few times to look at stuff. Finally, stick to I-80 if that's the route you are taking because the back roads are no place to go alone with 3 children. We made it through, but I think we'll follow the Magellan next time and go through Utah.

Oh yes, did you know that there are large communities of Muslims in Utah? Oh and apparently they don't believe in electricity? LOL, this is of course, according to Sarah. When she told me this, I had to laugh. I corrected her after I finished laughing. Now I might not have laughed so hard, except she told me that Muslims and Mormons were the same thing. Then she added they lived w/o electricity?! So I had to laugh, she still says so many cute and amusing things.

We made it into Nampa around 9 p.m. Wednesday night. Mary lead us in the whole way once we passed Mountain Home. So now we are here and enjoying some time to visit. I am in reality contemplating visiting for a few extra days and then we'll take 3 days to come home. I also plan to have the hotels planned out and reserved for us ahead of time.

I hope you all have a good week. And sadly, I forgot my camera, so there will be no photos to share. So sorry :(.

In Christ,
Maureen

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mid life crisis

So lately, I've been having a mini mid-life crisis. Sarah is approaching 15 years of age and constantly thinking about what she wants to become as an adult. This of course, got me thinking too about my dreams and my goals when I was 15 years old. As a result of this, I began to wonder what I have done with my life and had I squandered it. This doesn't mean I was unhappy being Chris' wife, or the girl's mother, but I was definitely thinking about life and my life and how it measured up. Then it happened, I had an epiphany.

Last weekend, as Lizzie, Sarah, and Beka and I were traveling to Oklahoma to meet Meg and Sandy so the older girls could have a weekend with them; Lizzie asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. This really made me think about what had I aspired to at 15 and why I wasn't following that dream.

At 15 years old I dreamed of being a Christian music singer or even just a singer, anything that meant I got to sing. I also realized that at the time it defined who I was as a person. Around my senior year of high school, I began to realize that I was more than a nice girl with a beautiful voice. This made me pause, I suddenly began remembering why I hadn't followed this dream. First, I wanted to be defined as more than just a voice. Second, I felt God calling me in a different direction - towards helping others and at the time I thought possibly social work. All of these choices led me down a completely different path than the one I had initially planned for myself. One that has been filled with joys and of course, sorrows, but one I liked nonetheless.

It's amazing how in that moment, I no longer felt as if I should have made a different choice or that I hadn't done much. By some people's definitions I may not do much, but I am a good wife and good mom to my kids. Okay, so my house isn't immaculate, but my children are healthy and happy and I think fairly well-rounded. This will of course, be left completely up in the air until they grow up and leave home, but for the most part, they are healthy. I also realized that I am on the path I am on, because I made this choice and it wasn't made for me.

In addition, I understand that I am a homebody. I would much rather stay home with my girls and watch a movie or read a book than to be constantly on the go. It's who I am, and that's a good thing to know. So no thank you, I would not wish I had been an early version of Miley Cyrus or Britney Spears. Their lives are chaotic and filled with fake people who use and abuse them constantly, that is something I will gladly live without. So while my life goals are not huge, they are mine. And if all I accomplish from life is that our girls grow up to be women of faith (okay, I'm still working on being a better example on that one, I admit it freely) and happy and self-aware, then I think I will have done my job well. If my husband grows old with me and we are happy together, then I will have done my job and hopefully, I'll have done it very well.

I hope you all are living your dreams and that you are happy with the lives you are living. Because if you can be happy with your life, it kind of all falls into place doesn't it. Especially, when it means we are living our lives for Christ.

Have a good day.
In Christ,
Maureen

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Children AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!


Today has been one of those days. You all know the days I'm talking about. The day that isn't great but isn't completely horrid either. These are the days though, where I think that children really should go home from the hospital with you with instruction manuals.
Come on, admit it, you've thought the same thing too. "Why didn't this doggoned kid come with a manual?" You know the manual I'm talking about. The one that says things, like "don't give your child a fork when away from the table because they will of course find the nearest outlet and stick said fork in it." Or "the day you want to sleep in is the same day that your two year old will decide that she knows better and you must wake up well before you wish to." Little gems of wisdom that we as parents really should share with new parents, or those we know who are contemplating having children, for the express purpose of either informing them what on earth they've gotten themselves into (Because hey it's already too late if they are already expecting, right?) or to frighten them away from the idea all together.
I love my children, I truly do, but there are days where I wonder how they are going to make it to graduating from high school because they kids do some asinine things. They do things like run behind your car when you are preparing to back up and scare you half to death. They talk to strangers, some of whom are very nice people, but others who are not so very nice. They play hide and seek in the mall and think it's funny to hear you going slowly insane because you can't find them and are worried that someone has taken them out of the mall and out of your life forever. They also do things like decide they need to try to shock you so that your already greying hair will go white that much faster. I am convinced that Mark Twain was a bright man with his idea about putting kids in a barrel at 12 yrs of age and giving them a hole for air and then plug it when they turn 18 yrs old. This was obviously spoken by a man who had raised teenagers.
So here is my list of why's for the day. Why is it that as soon as you leave the store or parking lot, your child announces they must use the bathroom? Why, once you've found the perfect shampoo that does great things for your hair and by the way costs way more than most shampoos, do your children decide to unscrew the cap and let it wash the bathroom floor or bathtub basin instead of your hair? Why is it that children always need a drink of water, a story, and have to go to the bathroom when they didn't need to do these things five minutes before bedtime? Or better still, why is it when you finally think your child has made progress, you find yet another hurdle to overcome?! And last but so not least, why is it when you think kids aren't listening they are, but when you want them to listen they don't? These are just a few questions that often cross my mind.
I know you all have your own list of why's and I hope you find the answers to yours, because I still haven't figured out the answers to mine. Good luck and God speed.
In Christ,
Maureen

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nicknames

Today I was walking through the store and I'm began thinking about nicknames. We all have nicknames. Some nicknames are nice. For example: We call our children, Beaner, Monkey, and Boo/Bekaboo as the mood fits. Often these days I affectionately call them Peanut. Some nicknames however, are less than nice. For example: when someone who is driving in a rather infuriating manner, we call them an assortment of names (moron, bozo, or genius) Genius I reserve for those who have especially irked me and it often is accompanied with dripping toxic sarcasm (I know, you are stunned aren't you. After all, I am never sarcastic).

As I thought about this, I wondered what damage we may or may not have done to others with our use of nicknames. You know the ones I'm talking about, the ones we whisper between friends about those who we think/hope cannot hear what we are saying. We are all guilty of it, at least we are if we are truly honest with ourselves. The nicknames we develop as private jokes about a person. Most often these are nicknames we choose because we hold malice towards this person.

So here is my question for the day: What are your nicknames? Would you share them with the person they are intended towards? If not, then should we really use them. After all, even those people who drive us nuts have feelings too and I think more often than we'd like to realize our nicknames inflict harm on others. Whether intentional or not.

The purpose of these questions is not to accuse, for I, myself am guilty of using nicknames in a derogatory manner. It is mearly meant to invoke thought and reflection. For as I said, I realize that I too have been guilty of using nicknames as a way to inflict harm emotionally on others.

I hope you have a good week.
In Christ,
Maureen

I Love You More

The I Love You More Game
This is Rebekah. Beka is two and quite a stinker. She is also as cute as can be and she knows it. She gets caught doing something, and that cheeky grin of hers comes out in full force and at times, it's all I can do to stop from laughing.
Beka has two older sisters who have taught her many great things, like put your shoes on when Mommy asks you, how to climb into her chair. That her butt does indeed bounce down the stairs if dropped. Although I don't think she appreciated the jolt it gave her or the chiropractic visits required to decompress her two yr old spine that accompanied it. They have taught her how to be cheeky and cute to get out of trouble. They've taught her that peas do not in fact belong in your nose, because it requires things that even mommies don't like to do to get it out.
But my favorite thing they have taught her hands down - and I say this with no sarcasm at all (honest) is the let me scream, "I LOVE YOU" at the top of my lungs to argue who loves who more. While you may think I am being caustic as I write this, I am in fact delighted with this game. The I Love You More game is a classic in our house.
Chris and I started the "I Love You More" game when we first got married and it's carried on to our children. Sarah always likes to think she has won, when if the truth be told, we just let her think she has won, to get her to stop talking. Lizzie doesn't quite get the full scope of the game yet, so her version consists of insisting over and over again that she loves us more. And she occassionally joins in with Beka at screaming "I LOVE YOU" as loud as she can. Sadly, this phenomenon always seems to happen when she is in the car and makes me almost deaf. I think she and Beka have a bet going to see which of them can make me lose my hearing first. Beka at this point would win hands down - the girl could break glass with her shrieks. I joke that she is practicing to be a first soprano for the NY Met someday. It amazes me how many people don't know what I'm talking about when I say that.
This game is possibly one of the things that has kept our marriage fresh. When we first got married I would tell Chris I loved him more because I was carrying his daughter. He finally retorted back that he loved me more because he danced a jig when I told him I was pregnant.
He won that round. There are other times he wins too, but that's the one that sticks with me the most. Do you have a game you play in your family? If not, find one or make one up and have fun with it. It will be a family joke or tradition and can often give you a lot of memories to enjoy and cherish - even when your kids or spouse are being stinkers.
In Christ,
Maureen

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Missing my grandma




Missing Grandma





For some odd reason I have been missing my Grandma Taylor a lot lately. I say odd because, she's been gone almost 14 yrs now and we weren't especially close.





I think her death was much harder on my cousins Evan and Laura than on the rest of us. They were much closer to her than we were, but they weren't Americanized either, they'd spent years in India at a British boarding school while their parents worked at missionaries. So when they returned to America for college, they both had a pretty good relationship with her.





This doesn't mean that my cousins, and brother and sister didn't love her, we did very much. I also know that in our own way we miss her. However, as we grew up we went through a typical adolescent phase where her telling us what to do often irritated us and caused us to butt heads with her. I think I butted heads with her more than anyone. I am the combination of a laid back person with an amazing stubborn streak and I'll stick to my guns when told what I should be doing. This is especially true when it feels like I am being bossed around. I am the oldest, but I also spent the majority of my life having grown ups discount me because I was a child and so it tends to raise my hackles up a bit when I get bossed around or people attempt to manipulate me. Grandma didn't manipulate, she just bossed and nagged.





I used to joke that Grandma Taylor nagged those she loved and I was "loved" a lot. I say it in a joking manner, but as I raise my girls I realize that while Grandma wasn't big on hugs and kisses, she told us how much she loved us with her shows of "concern". So while she meant well, it often meant that we fought because we were different generations. Each generation had a different point of view and we couldn't quite help each other see where the we were coming from. It made for some very heated arguments. Two women who were not exceptionally tall standing facing each other nose to nose and yelling as loudly as they could. Sadly, nothing was solved this way, except to make the chasm between us ever greater.

I think I miss Grandma Taylor the most when it turns cold because that is when I start drinking hot tea. When you spend a few years living with your Grandma, you kind of have things that remind you of her. Like hot tea, soft boiled eggs in egg cups and my one keepsake from her, my memory quilt. I could have asked for a lot more, but the quilt and her mother's ring are the things that meant the most to me. Unfortunately, I no longer have the ring, due to some poor choices from others, but I still have the quilt and when I look at it, it reminds me of all the sewing and things she did. These are the small things that let me know that we meant a lot to Grandma Taylor. There are swatches of material from the awful jams she made for Matthew, dresses she made Meg and I, and some from Mom's clothing too and her own few things. I look at this quilt and remember that while Grandma wasn't big on hugs, she showed us in little ways that meant a lot to her. And that makes me miss her all the more.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fall is here!!!!

FALL!

Fall is here and I love Kansas in the Fall. I love how the leaves on the trees change colors and the air cools down. I love how it smells even, the air crisp and cool and it's the perfect time of year for jackets and walks. I must confess that Fall is one of my favorite seasons. My all time favorite season though is Winter.

Now I know most of you will read this and think I have lost my marbles, but I haven't. I dearly love when the weather gets cold and you can justify making a nice pot of tea and sip on it throughout the day, thanks to the wonders of automatic coffee makers. I think the thing I like about tea the most is that it reminds me of my Grandma Taylor. We didn't always get along or agree on things but she loved a good cup of English tea, so I am sure she would love a cup of Twinings English Breakfast tea and we could talk about the great grand kids if she were here. She was a very amazing woman, she made me nuts, but that doesn't diminish that she was a great woman in the least, but I'll write more about her in later blogs.

I love Winter because it means I can stay in with the girls and bake. I love to bake, and I love to eat what I bake, but these days it's not a good idea. I prefer to not pass out and scare the girls to death in the process. I already did that once to Chris, but I am getting off track. I love the cold nights under warm blankets and nice think sweaters and sweatshirts . These are the things I love most about Winter, warm sweaters, knitting, baking, reading a good book with a great cup of tea, snuggling with the girls, making arts and crafts to decorate the house for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I dearly love Christmas. I love everything about it. I love Christmas caroling, that people tend to try to be more generous during the season of Christmas, Christmas cantatas, hot cocoa, hot cider, trees and decorating said trees (although we do artificial ones for allergy reasons), snow and snowmen, snowball fights and the looks on the girls faces when they get out of school for two weeks break. I really do love it, I love going out and finding the perfect gift and sitting with family together to laugh and enjoy each other's company, there are so many more reasons I love it, but I will spare you the rest of my diatribe.

So as we head into what promises to be a chilly Fall and possibly an even chillier Winter, I wish you all a Happy Fall. I hope you all have a good week.

Love in Christ,
Maureen