Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Legacy to Leave..

I have just returned from a very quick trip to Illinois. On Tuesday morning (Dec. 16th), as I was getting out of the shower, Adam, knocked on the bathroom door. I opened the door and he told me that my mother wanted me to call her. I knew in my heart what his next words would be.. My grandmother had died. I cried what were really tears of bittersweetness. Adam said, "honey, I'm sorry" and I said, "no, don't be, this is good".


I am nervous to approach what seems like such a sacred subject. For those of you that also find this sacred, I want to apologize to you for my inability to give our grandmother, mother, aunt, friend the justice that she deserves. For the sake of my children who will only know her when they meet her in heaven, I want to try to explain the greatness that was held inside the heart of this little housewife in southern Illinois.

There are so many memories so fresh in my mind. The smell of the cherry trees beside her house. The old fashion desks that sat on her front porch. The concrete horse that stood in her front yard that gave each and every grandchild a ride. Often all at the same time. The piano that I played underneath. The donut sticks and the RC colas. The Trix cereal that I ate out of the bowl that had the gold ring around the outside and the little pink flowers in the bottom that encouraged me to finish off that last sip of milk. The summer that she told me that I was old enough to play rummy even if the older cousins said I wasn't. And how she spent hours and hours playing with me until she had taught me well enough to beat them all. Her cute use of the word "fiddlesticks" when she was frustrated. How she would pull one of her purses out for me to pretend I was big and then search the house for items to fill the purse with. Always included was a small writing pad, a pen and a pack of Juicy Fruit gum. There are so many things that my heart holds dear when I think of the summers that I spent with my grandmother. And I'm sure that these little things left marks on my life that would have no doubt had much less flavor without them. But there are some things I learned from my grandmother that effect my actions each and every day and it is those things that I particularly want to tell you about.

There may not be any other event that has made me question God more than the last 12 years of my grandmother's life. I have not so much questioned His existence but if He did in fact, know what He was doing and if He did, if I actually wanted to be a part of that. There I said it, Dana Ellis, preacher's wife has questioned if she wanted to be a part of his "wonderful plan" that has often seemed not so wonderful to me. It's an ironic thing because in these moments of doubt, it has often been my grandmother's words that brought me back to my faith. "Dana, the Bible says that the road is long and narrow, but what awaits you at the end is both deep and wide".

It's funny the way that a persons mind works when someone they love is slowly slipping away. In 1999, I went to visit my grandmother very soon after Adam and I were married. She had been unable to travel to Alabama for the wedding because her health was beginning to deteriorate. As soon as I walked through her door, she handed me a card with twenty dollars inside. I knew that twenty dollars was a lot for her. I also learned during that trip that she handed me that card just as soon as I got there because she was learning that otherwise, she would forget. All through the house, I found evidence that she knew her mind was slipping away. On the calendar on September the 4th she had written, "that means it's the fourth day of September". In the kitchen, there was a note that she moved to let herself know that she had taken her medicine. There were lists where she had written the names of the grandchildren and great grandchildren, a few of the youngest, missing. I guess we all knew in our hearts what was beginning to happen but no one wanted to fully admit it. That particular trip, she talked a lot about my grand dad who had died 17 years earlier. I can remember her saying that 17 years was a long time to live without the love of your life. After that trip, I began to pray, "God please heal her"


A year later, my mom and I went to visit and during that visit, we repeatedly reminded her of who we were. There were several times that she thought I was my mother. My mother and I sat with photo album after photo album asking her questions trying to get any information that we could glean. We knew that our time was limited and with her mind would go some family history. That night, after the photo album incidence, I laid in bed in my mother's arms and sobbed. I was sad for myself but even more so at the thought of my mother losing her mother in that way. My mother had such a sweet relationship with her mother. I can never remember either one of them passing up the chance to do something for the other. They adored each other. I think it was natural, the feelings that they had for each other. It was nothing that was contrived. I don't think they knew it at the time, but as I watched them love each other, I was learning how to love my mother and my children. I often hear about curses that are passed down through generations. Well, I'm hear to say that blessings pass down too! I also adore my mother and upon talking to my mother about it, her mother did too. After that trip, I began to pray, "God please heal her by making her better here on Earth or by taking her to be with you".

There are stories that I've heard of things that she did as Alzheimers was taking it's grip on her that are sad but also show the sweetness that never left her. . My Uncle Ronnie had taken control of her checkbook and was distributing money as she needed it. He would give her money every week and the money kept disappearing. When he asked her where it was, she would say that she gave it to Jesus. When my mom and uncles cleaned out her house, they found a picture of Jesus. Guess what was taped to the back? Yep, the money. At one point, when she was living with my aunt and uncle, she mistook my Uncle Ronnie for my grandpa. As he was tucking her into bed, she asked him if he was coming to bed. He tried to explain to her who he was and that he had to sleep with "Carol". She fussed at him in her typical way saying things like, "All these years, I've been with you and you sleep with that woman down the hall". Then, my Aunt Carol went to tuck her in and she told her, "I don't know what I'm going to do with you". Here she is with the woman that she thinks is sleeping with her husband down the hall and she says, "I don't know what I'm going to do with you"? My grandmother didn't have the ability to be anything but love. My heart confuses me when I think of stories like these because I both love and hate them at the same time.


As time moved on, it became apparent that it was no longer safe for her to live by herself. She moved in with my mother's brother and his wife. My Aunt Carol took care of her as if she was her own mother. I truly believe that my grandmother loved her like she was. As her condition worsened and my grandmother escaped out of the house into the cold a few times and things of that sort happened, they began to realize that they just did not have the resources to give her the care that she needed. My aunt and uncle made the very painful decision to put her in a nursing home. It was never in any of our plans but even as her mind, was slipping away, God apparently had more plans for her life. It's unbelievable to me that a woman who didn't even know her own name could still touch so many lives but as I was listening to everyone's stories at her funeral. I heard of the nurses who were in the room when she passed, crying and saying things like, "I'm sorry, I just wasn't ready to let her go" and, "she was my sweetie". A couple of my cousins have been remarried in the last several years. Their ex spouses were there. I'm not sure exactly why, but that alone is profound to me. I truly believe that my grandmother embodied Jesus' love and that no one around her could help but feel it.

I visited my grandmother for the last time in 2004 when Emma was a year old. At that point, she didn't know who any of us were. I wasn't even sure she knew we were there until she sang along as my mother, my sister and I sang her favorite church song, "How Great Thou Art". After that, I got on my knees beside her holding Emma on one knee. I tried to explain to her who I was and that I was holding my child. Then I repeatedly told her that I loved her. Finally, I said, "Grandma, we love you. Do you know that"? And by some miracle she said, "Yes, yes I sure do". I can remember looking up at my mother and saying, "well, that's good enough for me". I was pretty sure that was the last time I was going to see her this side of heaven and hearing her say that she knew we loved her was the peace I needed to let her go. At that point I began to pray, "God please heal her and I understand what form that healing will take". So for several years, I held my breath every time I answered the phone. There were a couple of times when they called the children in. Even one time when they pronounced her dead and then she started breathing again. The whole time we lived in West Virginia, I feared that I wasn't going to be able to make that trip because it was so far. Just a week before she died, I told my mother that I thought I might need to take Chloe to see her if she made it until Spring. Really, I'm glad that Chloe will only know her whole but situations like this make you question the proper thing to do. I feel sure that one day, Emma and Chloe, you will sit down at a table in heaven to eat the huge breakfast that your great-grandmother has prepared for you. Complete with homemade biscuits and the best gravy you've ever tasted. And then, you'll know this sweet gentle woman that loved a few generations of people into being better than they would have been without her. Until then, I'll tell you stories of her and try to be the example that was set for me.

I don't understand the human mind and I still don't claim to understand God. I don't know exactly where my Grandmother was for the last years of her life. But I do know this, she walked with God when she was here. She is walking with God now. Nothing separates us from the love of God. So He was always there with her. And just maybe, somewhere in Galatia IL there is a little nurse that knows what the love of God looks like because even though my Grandmother was slowly slipping away, that love that we all knew her so well for, never did.

To live a life where not only is there no one that you know that doesn't like you, but where there is not one person who doesn't love you, can be done. I've seen it first hand.

And that, is a legacy worth living to leave.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Repeat

I posted this article this time last year. I was writing in the slot for my mom's club for a local parenting magazine in WV. Since we moved and have a whole different circle of friends and since no magazine is asking me to write an article this year, I doubt I write a new one. And even though some of the details have changed... Broken leg, move to another state, baby that started walking at eight and a half months, and the most recent: phone in the toilet (it does still work by the way), my wish list for Santa hasn't changed since he didn't come through for me last year. So once again, my letter to Santa..


Dear Santa,

I’m writing to let you know that I have been a very good mom this year. I have survived a pregnancy with no morning sickness (it was all day long sickness). I navigated two stomach viruses, many colds, and some kind of rash. I have become very skillful at detecting cups of milk left under my daughter’s bed, fishing keys out of the toilet, getting bubble gum out of hair, and hiding happy meal toys under the trash in the garbage can. I have learned how to put a band-aid on the boo-boo of my preschooler while I change my newborn’s diaper and how to make boats out of apples so that I can get my child to eat a nutritious snack. All of that...and today, I’ve even showered.

In return for my good mom behavior, I would like to order a self-cleaning bathroom. I could send you the design if it would help the elves. This bathroom would be completely covered in tile and would have a drain right in the middle. Instead of only the toilet flushing (which never happens at my house) the whole room would flush. It is imperative that the drain be made at very specific measurements of 4x6 inches. This would ensure easy disposal of the hundreds of tiny toys that have invaded my bathroom and the globs of toilet paper that has resulted from the developmental milestone I celebrated when my toddler learned how to unroll a brand new roll in one fluid motion. Also, these dimensions would guarantee that I won’t accidentally “throw the baby out with the bath water.”

I realize that even Santa has a budget and will have an even tighter one once you receive my kids’ Christmas wish list but...hey, a mom can dream right? If this is too large of an order, I would settle for good health and blessings to my fellow hardworking moms who have also merited a self-cleaning bathroom.

Blessings,
Dana Ellis

Thanks for indulging me. Especially those of you that just read that the second time. And HERE my friend is a link to several free samples that can be requested from Walmart.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Free Calculator

Click HERE and fill out the form.

Okay so is posting this free stuff making me friends or not? I check my stat counter and my hits have doubled since I started putting free stuff on here. But hardly no comments. Hmm, I know ya'll are missing my deep theology on the color of poop and stuff like that but come on FREE STUFF right?. Are ya'll just coming here and clicking on my link and moving on without leaving me a comment? I feel so used.. Ha Ha, just kidding. I never leave a comment for the person I steal them from. I guess what goes around comes around right? ;)

Blessings!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

One Year Subscription to Self Magazine Free

You're supposed to take a quiz but the quiz is done for you. Click Here

Blessings

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas..

This is the third house we've owned and the first that had a window in the front of the house that we could put a Christmas tree in front of. Granted, that's because it's in the dining room only because we don't have dining room furniture. Regardless, in front of the window is where a Christmas tree should be. But really, I just liked how this picture came out and wanted a reason to share it.

Blessings,
Dana




PS: If you came to see if I posted any freebies, I posted a new one last night that you can find below.

PPS: My heading picture is our Christmas card. It's in the mail. I was anxious to get my very summery looking picture replaced.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Free Lipstock chapstock

Click Here for Sample. There is a high demand so there is a one to three month wait. In a couple of months, our mailboxes should be filling up with stuff.

Blessings.

Free Mini Flashlight

Click HERE I'm not sure if this one work for us because it's something set up for Washington but I thought I'd give it a try.

Blessings

I find these on various coupon blogs. A good place to start is www.ccherrypicker.blogspot.com and then follow her links around.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Free Cookie Cutter

Click HERE for your choice of a snowman, gingerbread house, or bow cookie cutter!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Freebie

Click here to get a free sample of a Reach Access Flosser!

Blessings

Freebie of the Day!

I started writing about our trip to Gatlinburg last night but the post has been growing and growing. A new transmission and tire later, all the mishaps make me think that they wouldn't even write the things that happened into a sitcom because it would be too unbelievable. But, we all are safe and we are able to laugh about it. Maybe we're laughing to keep from crying but we're laughing.

Anyway, I'm still working on it so I thought until I figured out how to break it up into readable segments, I would try to keep my blog alive by offering you links to freebies that I have come across during my coupon quest. Which by the way, I'm going to have to get even better at to pay for the debt we've occurred in the last couple of days. So, today's freebie is for a Schick quatro razor. Just click on the link and fill in your info and the razor should be on it's way.

Blessings,
Dana

Monday, December 01, 2008

Today's Redbox Code

Every Monday, Redbox has a code for a free DVD. Today's code is SNSDVD6. I haven't tried it yet. Adam is about to go get a new tire for my van since the one on it is flat (that's only a small piece of our fun car adventure but I'll post about that later). Anyway, I'll get him to try out the code when he goes. Also, it is rumored that if you use the code Cows now through Dec. 31 you can get a free dvd rental with a one dollar rental.

Blessings,
Dana

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Christmas of Presence...

This is really really long. Some of you have asked me to elaborate on what I meant by doing Christmas differently. Well here you go. So come back and read it in shifts. My counter will go up and I will feel like I have lots of friends. If you haven't watched the video that I posted a couple of weeks ago, this will probably make no sense at all to you. So do that before you proceed further.

Okay, I admit the title of this post is cheesy but I just couldn't resist.  So here's the deal with Christmas... When we were making our move to wonderful South Carolina, I was overwhelmed by our collection of stuff.. I've never been much of a shopper and when I do buy something, I'm thrifty. It thrills some people to spend money. Well, let's just say that it thrills me to pinch a penny until it screams. It's something my mom instilled in me. I thought she was packing picnics and taking us to the park because she was better than all the other moms. Turns out, she was more broke than all the other moms. Regardless, she taught me a lot about being resourceful and somehow managed to make it seem fun to me. So, I was amazed at how much stuff we had accumulated. Around the time of our move, I read a book called, "Serve God Save the Planet" by Dr. J. Matthew Sleeth. This book was written by a a a very educated medical doctor, and though I didn't quite go to the lengths he went to, this book, along with our abundance of stuff made me very aware of how wasteful Americans have become and how my family had contributed to that problem. I haven't gotten to the point where I'm willing to give up my clothes dryer, dish washer, or stop cutting my grass (or letting Adam cut it that is) as Dr. Sleeth has but I did start to make a more cautious look at our decisions and how they effect our economy and our environment. Since that point about six months ago things have evolved in our economy and I've become even more convinced that the fear I was experiencing about our actions was a reality.

There are so many events that have led us to the decision that we have made about Christmas this year and I don't think that I can accurately convey them to you without boring you to death. But, Adam and I have always been torn about the Santa Claus thing. We weren't sure if entertaining this make believe would be seen as lying to our kids and we were a little concerned that they might later confuse this relationship with their relationship with God. IE: There's this guy, he knows if you've been bad or good. He can see you but you can't see him... You get the point. But on the other hand, we didn't want our kids to "those kids" that ruin it for everyone else.. And, we have fond memories our our experiences with Saint Nick. Our faith made the transition so could it be that we can instill a faith strong enough in our kids? Anyway, our decision on that pretty much came to us just sort of downplaying the Santa Claus thing and trying to make sure that Christmas didn't revolve around it. We had already had a discussion with Emma and told her that we were only going to ask Santa for one gift so that he could buy gifts for children who's parents couldn't afford gifts. We were pleasantly surprised at how agreeable she was to the idea. And were pretty comfortable with that plan.

Until... Adam convicted me of a few things in a few of his recent sermons, one ending in referenced video.. Stinking preachers.. Seriously, he has podcasts on his blog and you really should listen to them. I often question whether God made me to be a preacher's wife but I never question God's leading in Adam's life.. He's doing what he was born to do. Don't worry, you don't have to leave me a comment telling me that God made me Adam's wife and if God made him a preacher then he must have made me to be a preacher's wife. I know that... I just sometimes wonder if this world is ready for that mold to be broken because man am I breaking it.. (sorry tangent) So anyway, Adam preached some convicting lessons of things I've been trying to tell him for years of course :). And then one of our elders challenged the church to raise $8000 to send to a community that doesn't have clean water. With $8000 they can supply a community with clean water... FOREVER.

Before I sound more noble than I am, let me say that about three months ago, I booked us a trip to Disney World for New Years. I had originally thought that this would be the main thrust of our Christmas anyway. Since I'm pulling in a little bit of money through babysitting and all of our off time when we lived in WV was spent visiting family, I decided we needed a vacation. Btw, it's a surprise for our kids so if you talk to them please don't tell them. Emma is going to be so excited. However, since I've never been, I'm not sure she's going to be more excited than I. So, once again, we sat Emma down and showed her a video about what we wanted to do. We told her that we were going to do one really great family present but we didn't want to do any other presents so we could send some money to this country that didn't have clean water to drink.. I told her that instead we were going to make a plan where we would do lots of family things together, like baking cookies and making ornaments for our tree and playing games and that sort of thing.. One of my proudest parenting moments was when she responded with, "I think a family present sounds really good. I've got plenty of toys".

So here's the nitty gritty of it all. Since opening presents is such a fun part of Christmas morning, and well, A Christmas tree just looks sad without them, I don't want to leave that part out. So, my plan is to make them each packages that have things in them to do each event.. For example: We're going to make family tie dyed Christmas pajamas. Oh come on, you know your dying to have retro pajamas that match your whole family.. I handed over cool for a minivan a couple of years ago. Do you think I care if I'm a dork? So in those boxes, I'll put each persons pajamas and some dye. We'll open those gifts and do those activities. The next box will have something like cookie cutters to make cookies. Etc, Etc..

And then, I've picked up various disney character items at the dollar tree and Christmas morning we will have a scavenger hunt where each disney item will lead them to the next item until we end with the last items which will be these amazing plush Mickey and Minnies that I found looking brand new with the tags still on them at a yard sale for just 25 Cents a piece! And along with there Plush Disney Characters that their cheap yardsaling momma picked up will be there DISNEY WORLD TICKETS. I've dreamed it all up in my head like most little girls do their weddings. (I dreamed of using the money that I would spend on a wedding on an investment. The wedding was for Adam.) Doesn't it make getting no presents for Christmas sound like the coolest idea ever? Well we will see. One day, they will either think I'm awesome like I do my mom or they'll get a good laugh when they think of that year mom went crazy. Either way, I'll never be far from their thoughts :).

So there it is.. Be thinking of any ideas that you might have for our Christmas family times together. I know that there is a lot of creativity among you mommy bloggers and I'd be honored if you shared. And I ask for your prayers for our sweet little church. It's full of people with struggles of there own that are so full of love that they put those struggles aside to help those that are struggling more. What a beautiful place to be.

Blessings,
Dana

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Have You Fallen Off The Face of the Earth?

That's the question I've started getting. The answer... something like that.. at least it feels that way. Chloe has had a two month long ear infection. She has had three different antibiotics and a shot. We went to see an ENT the other day. The infection is gone but the fluid remains. Which apparently makes her very susceptible to another infection. The ENT wants to do tubes. Since that was the first ear infection that she had ever gotten and it co insides with when she started drinking cow's milk, the dr. thinks she may have a milk allergy. So, we're taking her off dairy. He also said that if we have any hope at all of clearing the fluid up without tubes, then I need to keep her away from all other small children for several weeks. So, I'm sleep deprived and I can't think straight and I have cabin fever ... Oh and did I mention that somewhere in the middle of this, Emma was throwing up for two days? So anyway, until I can get a little sleep, I'm afraid that all I have is one very long run on sentence and a plee for prayers.... I NEED THEM!

Oh, and a fun website for baby/toddlers. Fisher Price ABCs It goes through the ABCs and then sings the song at the end. Simple but effective. I found this when Emma was a baby. We did it all the time and she could identify all of her letters by the time she was two. Now, when Chloe sees me at the computer, she reaches her arms out for me and says, "AAAA" with the most delectable southern draw.

Blessings,
Dana

Monday, November 03, 2008

Christmas will be different this year...

The following subject has weighed heavy on my heart for quite a while. We're doing Christmas different this year. I have a plan that I hope I can unpack on this blog. My prayer is that this will be the Christmas that my girls look back on as there best Christmas ever even though we gave hardly any material gifts at all. Please join me in prayer that as parents, we all will teach our children the true joy of Christmas this year. Please watch the following clip and I'll be back soon with more details on the exciting adventure we'll take this year.



Blessings,
Dana

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Best Holiday of the Year!

No, not Halloween, not even Christmas... I'm referring to the extra hour of sleep we get tomorrow! Don't forget to set your clocks back!

Blessings,
Dana

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Am I loosing my MoJo?

Since it's been a while since I got pictures of the girls, I decided today was the day. I had thought we'd make a trip to the pumpkin patch but the temp is cool and with ear infections abounding, this didn't seem like the best plan. So I ran each girl outside for a few seconds and snapped just a few. None of them were big fans of the idea.. So here is what we got.

First up is Maggie. Okay now for any new person that I might have stumble across here, Often when I refer to "my girls" I am including Maggie. I babysit Maggie. She's a part time child.. She fits in just fine but we all know that I could never have a child as calm as Maggie. Usually, Maggie is all smiles for her pictures but today, she had more of a look that said she was thinking, "oh my goodness lady, have you lost your mind? Can't you tell it's cold out here"? I promise we were only out there a couple of minutes..




Though the temperature was cooler, the lighting was much better this time of the day. By the time I got to Chloe, the sun was too high over head which is why they are in black and white. I do like black and white photography but I do black and white a lot because I'm not happy with the color.




Chloe was actually more cooperative than normal which is weird considering she STILL has an ear infection. That's right we're on our third round of antibiotics for this one infection. But I'm not going to go into anymore about that or I'll start crying.. Seriously, I feel panic when I think about it... Anyway, she was compliant but it wasn't the best time of day..

And last but not least is Emma. She kept wanting to lay her head on her shoulder or put arms out or give me the Chandler smile. But, I did sneak one that I liked pretty well. Again, wasn't crazy about the color..



Hopefully, I will get a chance to get some better ones but if not, this moment in time is officially documented.

Blessings,
Dana

Monday, October 27, 2008

Here you go... Dana on Politics...

We've almost made it. Less than a week to go and I've really pretty much avoided political posts. And, though I've wanted to avoid opening that can of worms, I'm afraid I may be doing it now.. I'm not going to tell you who I'm voting for. That's what those little curtains around the voting booths are for. But, this is the first time that I have followed an election so closely. I have re read the constitution. I have looked at charts of parties in the senate and in congress under different presidents of the past. I've looked at tax levels under presidents of the past. I've looked at tax plans and health care plans of the candidates. I've looked at court cases involving abortion. I have looked at poverty, abortion, education, divorce, economy statistics and how they relate to certain laws, governing, taxes, and the economy. I investigated almost every e-mail forward that I received giving me information on why I should not vote for a candidate. Just for the record, I found a lot of that information to be false. I received these e-mails from people pulling for both candidates. If you sent me several e-mails and I discovered the first few to be false, I wrote you off as an in-credible source on this topic. I will try to be open minded towards you about other subjects in the future. But I will do so with caution. I believe that you should investigate and make sure that information is true before you pass it on. Especially when someone's character is at stake. In an effort to get unbiased information, most of my research has come from historical records. There will always be various opinions but there are some irrefutable facts. Though, this can never be done completely, I've tried to start from a blank slate, putting everything I've ever thought about politics back up on the table. I have the desire to find out who I am for myself. The conclusion? I still don't know... But these are the things that I have discovered. Some of these seem to fit directly into politics and some don't. But in my mind, they're all connected. I cannot separate my views from my faith. I make no apologies for that. However, I do realize that my faith is my own and not yours. I welcome you here regardless of whether you agree with me or not. The question is, will you still welcome me? If I'm being honest, I'm glad that I don't fit neatly into one category..

I believe that political parties by nature divide our nation.

I believe in feeding the poor, clothing the naked, taking in strangers, caring for the ill, and visiting those in prison. I believe that when we do those things, it as if we're doing them to Jesus. Matthew 25.

I Believe abortion is wrong. However, I believe that if we insist that these children are born, we have the responsibility of making sure they don't starve to death once they are.

I believe in an honest days work for an honest days pay. However, I believe that the world is a better place when those that have more share with those that have less.

I believe that there will always be those that take advantage of a heart willing to help. I don't believe that relieves us of our responsibility.

I don't believe that children should be held responsible for their parents choices.

I believe that the idea that everyone in America has an equal opportunity for education is uninformed.

I believe that our economy might benefit from privatized social security. However, I also wonder if that could be disastrous.

I believe that America is the land of opportunity and we should never forget why we are here to start with. However,I believe that immigrants should have to pay the same taxes as Americans and that English should be the official language of the U.S.

I believe that taxes are sometimes a necessary evil. Especially when America is borrowing money from other countries. I believe it is Biblical to repay debts.

I believe that war is also sometimes a necessary evil but that God hates it and that we should always be moving in a direction of peace.

I believe that there has to be a way in a country as rich as America that everyone can have affordable health care.

I fear that outlawing firearms completely would put guns in only criminals hands.

I believe that true friendships can endure a difference in opinion and come away respecting each other.

I believe that you can never achieve right by doing wrong.. I don't believe that political campaigning is an exception. A lie is a lie no matter your reason for telling it.

I don't think that fear is a good motivator.

I believe that my first allegiance is to my God, not my country.

I believe that Americans could solve world hunger if they would reduce their Christmas spending by 10 percent and place it in MUCH more needed places.

I believe that as in anywhere there are always people who do bad things but I believe that at the core, America is a great country that wants to do the right thing. I'm proud to be an American.

I believe in all things.. moderation. Except in love and of that, there is no limit to it's benefit.

Blessings,
Dana

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thank You David!

Thank you to David for rescuing me with your spare memory card!

You rock but not as much as your wife whom I'm sure led you to my post begging for pity about my loss..

I love you both!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Introducing....


September's Student of the month: Emma Ellis..

I have to tell you, she's a really bright kid but sometimes, she misses the obvious..

Her school has a character trait every month and then a child who exhibits that character trait is chosen from each class to be student of the month.. Well, Emma came home at the end of September and said, "I didn't get student of the month, Lauren did". I said, "okay, maybe next month". Well, Lauren must have done something she got recognized for but it wasn't Student of the Month.

Flash forward a week or so, I open the newsletter, it says, "Congratulations Students of the Month" and there is her name.. So this is how our conversation goes..

Me: Emma, you did get student of the month, your name is right here.
Emma: Really? Is Lauren's there too.
Me: No
Emma: Oh, hmm.
Me: Did anyone tell you?
Emma: Yeah, the principal told us over the speaker.
Me: Well did they do anything else?
Emma: Yeah, they took my picture
Me: Emma, I can't believe you didn't tell me this, this is a big deal.
Emma: I forgot
Me: You got student of the month and you forgot. Emma, this is a big deal.
Emma: Okay mom, I get it, it's a big deal. Can I have a snack now?

This is the kid that her teacher last year called, "The class cheerleader" She would say, today we're talking about circles and Emma would be like, "Circles! I love circles! Circles are the best! You are the best teacher ever for teaching us about circles". And she gets student of the month and is like, "where's the potato chips"..

Well okay then...
So anyway, even though she acted like we were totally uncool parents for getting so excited, she decided it was a big deal when we told her we were going to Chuck E Cheeses to celebrate her achievement. Can you imagine how the teenage years are going to be?

September's trait was truthfulness and I will say, truthful she is, even when it hurts. But yesterday, she did break a shelf in the playroom and she came directly to tell me. I was proud of her for that.. Even though she was climbing on the shelf when she shouldn't have been.

Monday, October 06, 2008

All About Chloe

WARNING: This is long because I have a lot of catching up to do. Feel free to retreat at any point that this becomes too lengthy.. But, some have been on me for my lack of up to date information so for those OCD people in my life, here you go...

I have some sad, sad news. My 2 GB memory card is damaged and I can't retrieve the pictures from it. This is sad for a couple of reasons. First, it's my largest form of memory. The next largest that I have is 256 MB which only holds a few pictures so I will have to break down and buy a new one. And even more devastating, is that among others that I'm not even sure about, Chloe's birthday pictures were on there. I do have video that we can capture stills so I guess all is not lost but, depressing regardless.

Anyway, I have been following her around trying to get a portrait since her birthday when I got some that I wasn't really happy with. The following is the only one I even remotely cared for.





So, after many attempts to try to get the girl to sit still, I resisted my need to try to make all photos look professional and switched to a wider lens and used a flash (I hate using a flash). I followed her around for about 15 minutes (maybe even less) so when she gets older and wonders why there aren't many pictures of her at this age, I can prove to her that 1. She wouldn't cooperate and 2. I was so exhausted from chasing her that I didn't try as hard as I might otherwise have.

So here we go... 15 minutes in the life of Chloe

I had been cleaning out all of the clothes that were too little for her. I got up to do something for Maggie and forgot to close the drawers.. whoops!



Since Maggie and I were in my bedroom, she joined us there. Here, she stops to play with Maggie..
Ooh, is that the bumbo seat I see in mom's closet?



and this must be where my head goes..

I wonder if mom has anything fun in the bathroom...

and off to the livingroom, I'll help her with her coupons..

Oh no, she caught me..
I guess I probably wouldn't have used that coupon that she has wadded up in her hand anyway..


And this is how our days go.. As busy as a bee. Her because she's on a learning adventure and me well, I guess I'm on a learning adventure too!

And for my thoughts about her turning one that I haven't gotten around to yet:
I've said it all before, she's growing up before my eyes.. I love this age, but sometimes my arms ache for that baby that was gone too quickly. On occasion, I go back through this blog to remind myself that I was actually there her first year. I hate to admit it but there was so much going on.. job interviews, very little sleep, broken legs, moving, preschool graduation and so on that a lot of it is a blur to me now. So much has happened since then that it seems like ages ago. So many people have told me to soak it up... That is my plan for this next year but I'm afraid that no mother ever gets to the next age thinking that the one before took too long..

As far as her development goes... She's doing great... Running around like crazy and she has about 25 words. She loves to dance. She's pretty sneaky so I'm sure she's going to keep me on my toes.. We're still working on the weaning. It's hard when you wait until they can talk. She walks around behind me doing the sign language for more and saying "peas" (That is baby talk for please, not a reference to the taste of my milk)... It's sometimes more than I can take so, I'm just trying to remind myself that a year from now, I'll be longing for these days..

And now I leave you with some footage that I've gotten lately that I think depicts the sweet mess that she really is. It's kind of long too. I guess that's the theme for the day.. There was just too much that Adam couldn't cut when he was making the clip for me.

I have to say a huge thank you to my friend Julie for sending her the personalized CD for her birthday. She loves it! Listen closely and the first time they say, "Hey Chloe" you can hear Chloe say "hey" back :).






Blessings,
Dana

PS: Update coming on Emma soon!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

If it sounds to good to be true....

I knew I should have gotten my calculator out.

85 billion divided by 200 million is $425 not $425,000. And that is before taxes with the 30% tax. That would make it $297.50. That would do about as much good as Bush's stimulus plan.. I bet that guy is wishing he hadn't put his name on that but hey, I put it on my blog so what can I say.

I still like the sentiment. It does seem like there has to be a better plan but the question is, do we have the time? The 7 hundred and something points that the stock market dropped yesterday probably cost more in the long run than the bail out would have.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Send it on to Washington!

Could this work? I received this forward from my friend Lorry today and I'm just wondering if this approach could actually work...

I want to preface it by saying this is in no way me endorsing any presidential candidate. I have no idea which candidate that he's referring to that is wanting to use a $1000 credit to "buy a vote". Which probably means it's inaccurate information. Still, this is interesting...






THE BIRK PLAN.... A WILD IDEA THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN/.....

The Birk Plan (The dream of a Private Citizen)


I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.

Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a "We Deserve
It Dividend".

To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide U.S.
Citizens 18+.

Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child.
So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adu lts 18 and up.

So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that equals $425,000.00.

My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a "We Deserve It
Dividend".

Of course, it would NOT be tax free. So let's assume a tax rate of 30%.

Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes. That sends
$25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam.

But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket. A husband
and wife has $595,000.00.

What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?

Pay off your mortgage, housing crisis solved.
Repay college loans, what a great boost to new grads
Put away money for college, it'll be there
Save in a bank, create money to loan to entrepreneurs.
Buy a new car, create jobs
Invest in the market , capital drives growth
Pay for your parent's medical insurance, health care improves
Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean, or else

Re member this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who
lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting
back.
And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.

If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it...instead of
trickling out a puny $1000.00 (vote buy) economic incentive that is being
proposed
by one of our candidates for President.

If we're going to do an $85 bi llion bailout, let's bail out every adult U S
Citizen 18+!

As for AIG liquidate it. Sell off its parts. Let American General go back to
being American General. Sell off the real estate. Let the private sector
bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.

Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't.

Sure it's a crazy idea that can never work. Maybe???

But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!

How do you spell Economic Boom?

I trust my fellow adult A mericans to know how to use the $85 Billion "We
Deserve It Dividend" more than I do the geniuses at AIG or in Washington DC.

And remember, The Birk plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5
Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I'm Hidden Under a Pile of Laundry...

Have you ever let things pile up to the point that you ignored their existence? Adam was a youth minister for 10 years and during that ten years, we went to many weeks of camp. I would get home, throw everything in the laundry room, and go to bed and pretend that the heaps of soured towels, grainy sheets (you know what I mean by this if you've ever been to camp) and the mud covered clothes didn't exist. Well, my laundry is actually done right now. But my blog posts are piling up... So much I've had on my mind to cover.. Chloe turning one, Kindergarten updates, pictures, coupon information etc. I had a friend call today asking if I was ever going to post more pictures.. Maybe in a day or two or three or four but tonight, I've got a couple of announcements to make and the checkbook needs to be balanced. But, Adam keeps telling me that I have to make regular posts or I will lose my audience (if you follow Adam's blog, you'll know that this is the pot calling the kettle black. I update more often than he). But anyway, since I need to be doing other things, I'm going to throw this filler in tonight. A friend of mine is writing a devotional book for mothers. She asked me to co-write it with her but I just didn't feel like I could give her that kind of commitment. So, we pretty much decided that if I wrote something that I thought might work in her book, I would send it to her and if she could use it, then she would. Well, here is the latest insert. Hopefully, my posting this will help and not hinder her book when she gets it out there to sell.
So anyway, here it goes:


Isaiah 55:8 and 9
8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. 9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.


A few nights ago, I was cooking dinner and just as I was pulling a dish out of the oven, I caught a peripheral of Chloe rounding the corner and heading straight for the oven. With hands full of a steaming hot chicken casserole and oven door unlatched, I realized that she was only seconds away from said inferno. So, as any good mother would do, I kicked her… right in the stomach. It was actually just a quick, soft nudge of protection landing her right on her posterior but none the less, it broke her heart.

I left her there on the floor, with a downward lip and crocodile tears as I sat the dish on the stovetop and closed the oven door. I then scooped her up and covered her in kisses trying to explain to her that the blow she received was actually a result of my unending love for her and my maternal instincts…. Knowing that even though she understood very little of my explanation, I comforted her guilt free knowing, that as a parent, I made the best decision and chose the better course of action given the situation.

Thankfully, children recover quickly and have forgiving hearts because it wasn’t long before the tears were gone and she was returning my kisses. But as I held her, I began to wonder how many times I have perceived something from God as a blow to the gut when He was in reality, protecting me from a far worse fate. And I can only pray that I can put as much trust in my God that a one year old does in her mother, knowing that what He does sometimes doesn’t make sense to me but, He has fed me when I am hungry and comforted me when I am hurting, and is far wiser than I.


Lord, thank you for the blessing that you’ve given me in my children. They help me to see such a wonderful picture of you. Help me to have the trust in you that they have in me. Please help me to see that your love for me outreaches even the love that I have for them.

In Jesus name, Amen.

Blessings,
Dana

Friday, September 12, 2008

God'll Pack You Up

I do have pictures to post but my memory card reader is malfunctioning and so I'm going to have to dig my camera box out of the closet and find the cord to attach the camera to my computer and upload them that way and I don't seem to be able to muster up the energy Kindergarten has aged me 10 years. They have to be in there seats ready to go at 7:30 which means I have to get up by 5:30 to be able to get myself ready before Chloe wakes to eat and then Emma to get ready.. It is seriously kicking my tail.. But if you're just dying to see some pics, visit Sara-Beth's blog and you can see some that I've recently taken of Maggie. Those are better anyway since she's the one that will sit still for me. Sara-Beth just started a blog and she needs a nice warm welcome into blogger world anyway ;).

But I do have a funny story to tell... And I'm loving it because Emma has gotten to the age where she's not messing up a whole lot and Chloe isn't quite to the age to be breaking out the funnies quite yet.. But this one cracked me up...

Tonight, the four of us were sitting at the kitchen table having a tea and scones party (complete with British accents). By tea, I mean water and by scones I mean apple newtons but it was called a tea party by the hostess (Emma). So she was sitting there passing out the napkins and pretending to put "sweetener" in our "tea". As she did her hostess duties, she joyfully sang a Veggietales song. Some of you other moms might be familiar with it. It's the song from "Rack Shack and Benny". The words go like this..

Stand For What you Believe In
Believe In, Believe In
God, he's the one to back you up....

Except Emma was singing, "God, He's the one to pack you up"

I of course started laughing with no regards to her ego or self-esteem. But Adam, being the gentle daddy that he is decided to investigate the meaning of her lyrics..

Being the great theologian that she is she explained that when you die, God comes and packs up your soul and takes it to heaven... :).

So stand for what you believe in, you might die doing it but then, God will be there to pack you up!

How boring life would be if there were no children!

Blessings,
Dana

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Judgement Strikes Again

Every now and then, this subject rears it's ugly little head. Here lately, I've spoken to a few different friends that are feeling judged about there mothering.. There are many different subjects that get mother's going whether it be working/staying at home, breast feeding/bottle feeding, spanking/not spanking..... the list goes on.

So, I thought it was time that I resurrect this little post I made a couple of years ago. The last time I posted it, I received quite a few e-mails asking me who ticked me off so bad. And a few from friends wanting to know if they had offended me personally. So before you ask those questions... It happens to me regularly that someone comments on my parenting..... I can make you a list if you really want to know. I've been corrected for everything from painting Emma's toe nails when she was a baby to carrying her when she was too old (and I would say that almost 5 years old is probably a little old to be carrying a child around unless THEY HAVE A BROKEN LEG) and though I haven't gotten any comments yet, I see them coming so I'm going to go ahead and get it out there. Chloe just turned one and she's still breast feeding. With Emma, I was so disciplined and I slowly tapered off feedings and gave her her very last one right before she turned one. Well, Chloe has been sick and is cutting a tooth and in an effort to comfort her, instead of tapering it off, we seem to be increasing feedings. I have always said that if they started to pull on my clothes that was it, I was going to cut them off cold turkey. Well, Chloe's pulling and you know what I do? I CAVE... Lesson one in motherhood.. Never say what you are not going to do... That's the surest way to insure that you do it! But honestly, this post isn't about someone offending me. If you don't think I'm doing something right, you're entitled to your opinion... Even if it is wrong :). I figure if I want to personally take Chloe a fresh, warm, snack to her classroom when she's in Kindergarten, then it's my prerogative.

This is just so those of you that are feeling the pressure know that I've got your back. Remember that this post pre-dates Chloe...

Ok, I just need to vent a little here. I love my daughter. She means everything to me. I feel confident in my parenting. I know that I will make mistakes but I also know that I have her best interest at heart and I want nothing more than for her to one day be the woman that God wants her to be. I pray daily for God to give me the wisdom to make the right choices in raising her. I also know that every child is different and that it is usually the mother that spends the most time with their child and therefore knows what is best for her child (at least children Emma's age). I believe that there are no pat answers and that every child is different. Like I said, I feel like I do a good job. However, I am not arrogant enough to think that I am qualified to raise someone elses child or tell them how to do so and frankly, that drives me nuts. From day one, moms (especially new moms) have people critizing if they let their babies cry or if they pick them up too often and not let them cry, whether they have a pacifier or not, how long they take the pacifier. Then their is how often you change your kids diaper. People critize if you take your child out of the house too early or accuse you of being an over protective parent if you keep them home too long. Then when the child gets older, it's what food you let them eat, how much TV you let them watch, or my favorite, how you discipline. The list goes on and on. Don't get me wrong, I'm very cautious about all of these things but I just don't think I have the right to judge a mom who is say overworked and needs a break and let's her child watch three hours of TV a day as opposed to the two recommended by the american pediatric association. Seriously, can people actually be taking care of their own children if they are so worried about how someone else takes care of theirs. If someone is truly concerned about the well being of the child involved, the best thing you can do is encourage the mom. Since day one, my family has made it a point to tell me what a great job I'm doing. I'm so thankful for that. A lot of my friends don't have that. It makes me confident in my approach and helps me to be consistant. The worst thing you can do to a mom is make her second guess herself. There is one reason that people criticize others, insecurity. Most mom's love their children more than they love themselves and that alone is to be commended. When you've gotten up several times a night to take care of a newborn, then you've earned the right to make choices for that child, THAT CHILD not any other. Come on people, mom's need support!

And back to the current... I don't think my feelings on this have changed.

Blessings,
Dana

Friday, September 05, 2008

FREE FLAVORICE AT CVS

For you coupon shoppers, I just got home from CVS and along with the deodorant and the loreal cleanser, I got for free, I also got a huge 48 count box of flavorice for free.

This is how that worked. They are on clearance for 75% off and then you get 5 extra bucks back with your extra care card. Some have even reported making a couple of bucks off of this one but if I'm reading my receipt right, I just got them free. I'll take free though. BTW, they weren't marked 75% off so check at the counter to make sure.

Also, Walgreens has a ton of free stuff this month with rebates.

Blessings,

Dana

Thursday, September 04, 2008

It's my party...

Some of you have asked me about the rest of the birthday pictures... Well, they're coming. But, I have to complete the package. It is not unusual for someone to say that Chloe is the most expressive baby they've ever seen. She has some of the funniest expressions that I've ever seen. She just hears music, any kind of music, and grins from ear to ear and starts dancing. It's not your normal, spin in circle dancing that you get from a child. It's a foot stomping, "oh my gosh, I think she's actually got the beat" kind of bring the house down, squeal with delight kind of dance. Adam comes in the door from work and she runs and throws her arms around his neck (I'm not exaggerating here, she RUNS). She often leans in for a full smack on the lips and pulls back with a sigh of satisfaction. You know the kind you have when your throat feels like a dusty dirt road and you finally treat yourself to the Pepsi you've been longing for but have denying yourself because you're fully invested in your plan to drink eight glasses of water a day? (Everyone has these cruel plans don't they?) So I just knew that the fully indulgent tradition of letting your child totally tear up a birthday cake on their first birthday was going to be right up her ally.

I'm sure she's going to kill me for this picture one day but just so we can get your full sympathies. Here's my girl on her birthday.



With the cold and waiting for all the family to get here, making it bedtime before we got around to the festivities (not a great plan on my part), it seems the situation got the best of her. Poor thing.

So I was a little depressed about the situation. I kept thinking that her first birthday only came around once and that this was not the way I pictured it. And then I thought to myself. We can have her first birthday twice if we want... So, this weekend, barring an ear infection from the cold, will be a re-do weekend. I will indulge her a second time and see if I can capture that life inside that is more true to our Chloe.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The hardest thing in the world




Is taking a picture of a one year old!

That's right, she's one year old today. And for her birthday, she got a nice cold. Complete with puffy eyes. As if it's not hard enough simply with the way she moves, trying to get a picture between nose wipes adds to the difficulty of the task. But none the less, these pictures were taken on the day! I'll probably try to get some official one year old picture later. This time last year, I was working hard and praying for the epidural to come soon!

My mom and dad are here and Adam's parents and my sister will arrive a little later. We're just having a little family party but I will post pictures of the cake eating and the rest of the emotional roller coaster I'm on me because so many milestones are flying at me!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rock On!



Woo Hoo. I feel so loved. Mandy at Life's About a Dream bestowed the Rock On Sistah Friend award upon me the other day. She is one of my new friends that I met via the internet before moving to SC. She's gotten me all the hookups including our little Maggie.



The Rules:


# If you receive the “Rock on Sistah Friend” award, you must post the button on your blog (in sidebar or in a post), and link back to Color Me Untypical.
# Let Jia know if you receive the award from someone, so she can add you to our Sistah’s Who Rock Blogroll, and give them my personal “Rock On Sistah Friend!”

In the post on your blog, you must give the award away to 3 other Sistah’s who you think rock. Post links to their blogs, why they rock, and post the rules to the award. Also, let them know you’ve given them the award so they too can celebrate themselves and pass on the love.



Julie at The Best Times of Our Lives
is a treasured friend that lived in WV when I did and she's an awesome photographer. We send e-mails back and forth all day long and we spend lots of time on the phone philosophizing over the worlds injustices, parenting and well just everything imaginable. We are faithful AT&T customers because if we didn't have free mobile to mobile we both have to stop being SAHMs because we'd have to get a job to pay our phone bills. Why our babies are napping of course ;)

Susan at Griffies Growth
is a much missed friend from college and fellow minister's wife. She has two adorable twin babies which my family has an invested interest in because we prayed for those two little blessings for a couple of years. She's a great mom and has the kind of self-discipline that most mom's envy and I just love peaking in on her to see what she's doing with those little ones. Plus, watching two babies with such different personalities raised by the same parents is an interesting study on the nature/nurture subject.

Jay at Janie and Me, Happily is a former student we worked with in youth ministry but now, friend and fellow mommy. She is such a passionate person. She works hard, plays hard, loves hard, and falls hard. But she never stops pressing on. She is totally in love with her little girl and embarking on a new and exciting part of her life and I just love looking in on her to watch her embrace life even when it's coming at her at a rapid pace.

All three of these ladies are ladies that I love having in my life because my relationship with helps me to be a better person.
And I think I might just make up my own award because there are so many others here that I love in so many ways! But these three girls I know have had circumstances lately that they need to be honored for the classy way they handled them. Love you girls. Thanks for being my inspiration!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Meet Maggie



Here's another sweet little girl that's filling my days with smiles while Emma's at school. I have been babysitting Maggie for a couple of weeks now but I haven't posted anything about her because I kept forgetting to ask her mother if it was okay. I try to be careful not to post something about someones elses child without their permission. Anyway, my friend Mandy hooked me up with one of the teachers at Emma's school and I am watching her baby. It works out really nicely because it makes me only have school teacher hours. We won't have to worry about planning vacations around my job because we'd be planning them around Emma's school anyway.

Maggie is a sweet sweet baby and Chloe will have a nice little playmate in just a few months. Even though she's trying hard to get her up and moving now! And we're well on our way because she just started rolling over. Right now, I spend a lot of the days making sure Chloe doesn't kill her. But really she's doing well with her and they both seem to light up when they see each other. I have there naps staggered so they are only awake together about three hours a day and I still have two hours with both of them sleeping so that I can get some house work done. Maggie also indulges me and hams it up for the camera as you can see so I'm snapping away because I know that those days of her sitting still are limited!




Monday, August 18, 2008

To Emma, Love Mom- First Day of Kindergarten







Last night, I was preparing Emma's lunch for our big milestone today and as I was attempting to cut the most perfect heart out of a sandwich with a cookie cutter, I began to think about my friend Julie….

A little over two years ago, Julie had a baby prematurely. Jaden was born 8 weeks early. Julie just happened to be visiting her mother near Pittsburgh when she started having complications. She called and said that they were moving her from the small town hospital in her hometown to a larger one with a NICU in Pittsburgh and that there was a possibility that a cesarean would have to be performed. I called the next morning and she seemed quite dazed and she reported that a c-section had been done and she had become a mother of two, significantly earlier than they had anticipated.

I am so happy to tell you that Jaden is now a very active, thriving two year old. But during the first days and then weeks after he was born, as a friend, I felt helpless as I listened to Julie’s feelings of helplessness. First, I will say that I marveled at how well she held it together so that she could do all that she could to help Jaden. She was strong but there was stress, and tears… lots of tears. She couldn’t hold him, she couldn’t feed him, but she could pump milk to be fed to him through an IV. So she clung to the one thing that she could do. She pumped and she took milk to the hospital for many, many days.

Later, she told me that she wrote on the milk bags, "To Jaden, Love Mom". She explained to me that all though nurses were taking care of him and she couldn’t, she needed them to know that she was his mother…. 

Now I am not trying to equate something that most mothers do (taking their children to Kindergarten) with something as traumatic as having a baby prematurely. But, last night, as I was preparing to send Emma off to Kindergarten, I found myself desperately trying to find a way to let these people know that I was not only leaving a student with them, but that they were also going to be taking care of someone’s heart; my heart. At that moment, I became all too aware that this is the beginning of letting her go. I feel like in many ways, this is the day I have been preparing for since the day she was born. I have always known that the day was going to come where she would spend more of her waking hours with someone else than she does with me. I pray that we’ve packed enough love and guidance in.. I pray that somehow in the best understanding that a five year old can have, she understands how proud I am to be her mother, that God trusted me with her. And, as she goes out into the world, that she remembers that even more importantly than belonging to her daddy and me, she belongs to God.

So, I fashioned a heart out of sandwich, and stuck in our family picture with a note that said, “We love you” in her lunch box. I questioned if I was giving her enough to eat and listened to Adam laugh as he told me she had never eaten that much food in one day much less one meal. I ironed her dress and fixed her hair. I took the pictures and walked her to her class. I made sure she looked me in the eyes as I told her she was not to leave that afternoon with anyone but me. She quickly got busy with a project that the teacher had given her. And after one last picture, I gave her a kiss and turned and walked out the door into the next chapter of our life. Adam and I said all the things that parents say… That time has gone so quickly. That we will blink and be sending her off to college and then with her husband. And, I know that the only thing I can do is ask God to help us guide her and try desperately to cherish each moment along the way.

Please excuse the drama. This is a very traumatic time for me. I’m not even going to go into how frightening it is to me to think of when Chloe goes off to school (I know it sounds like I’m talking about sending my kids off to college, I’m still talking about Kindergarten here) and I don’t have a child at all during the day but I guess there’s no sense in agonizing over that until we get to that point. Post on that coming sooner than I want to believe….

So now that you’ve patiently indulged me and read about my near emotional breakdown, I’ll tell you how it went.

Emma did great. Last night, I was teasing her and pretend crying and told her that I couldn’t do it and I thought we should keep her home for another year. She reassured me by telling me that she was excited but would miss me and that it wasn’t like she would never have a day off. There was a brief moment in the car where she told me that she was excited but a little scared. But we got to the school and she sported the confidence that she has become quite famous for and barely even noticed when I left. When I picked her up, she informed me that her card was on white all day and explained that that was where it was good to be. She exclaimed that she loved Kindergarten and that she thought it was going to be a wonderful year..

And I thanked God that this is only traumatic because I’m by nature a basket case and not because any actual trauma occurred.

Blessings,
Dana

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I've Been Tagged

It's a couple of weeks late but I finally got around to doing the Tag that my friend Lu challenged me with. Though random should be easy, these things are always difficult to me because I want to make sure I use this opportunity wisely. I know, so much thought makes things un-random... So here we go...

Six random things you may not know about me

1. I am a sheet snob. If you know me at all you know that I hardly buy anything new. I'm thrifty, frugal, cheap, however you define it. If you want to be friends with me, I'll be friends with you. I don't care how much money you have or what you look like. I'm more interested in loyalty, compassion, encouragement.. that sort of thing when it comes to friendship. I think it would be very difficult to call me a snob. Except when it comes to sheets. Over 400 thread count 100% Egyptian cotton. The only way to go...

2. I have the same birthday as my husband

3. I was the Alabama state champion in high jump my senior year in high school.

4. I usually have anxiety when I go into a crowd.

5. I used to have this thing for Kenny Rogers. But now he's tried to reinvent himself which I'm pretty sure involved some plastic surgery and I know involved a leather jacket. An old man trying to act like a young one... Totally unappealing. Dennis Quaid.. He's my new old hot guy. If you're the same age as Dennis Quaid, focus more on the hot part and less on the old part.

6. I always choose an older celebrity that I think is attractive. It's always one that is either graying or is gray. Adam is undoubtedly heading there but that way instead of feeling like he's geting old, he can feel like he's grown into my idea of hot. And it's true. I find gray haired men dignified and attractive. Maybe it's because my dad is gray. I mean I wouldn't call my dad hot but he's most definitely a handsome man.

Okay, there you have it. I would have to say that those were pretty random.

Now, the six people I tag..

1. Julie

2. Ashley

3. Stephanie

4. Becky

5. Sandi

6. Anna

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Welcome Lainey Wynn Lowery



Lainey Wynn was born at around 12:30 a.m. on July 30. Since no one would send us a picture, we decided to go get some ourselves. If you were there visiting the Lowery family and didn't take the time to send all of us that live a little further away a picture, no worries, if my children look a little malnourished the next time you see them, it's because I spent our grocery budget making a trip over there. For those Ellis family friends that have been waiting on pictures, just remember who came through for you.

And without further delay, what you all have been waiting for... Our latest little beauty, weighing in at a whopping 8 lbs. 10 ounces and 21 inches






She became jaundiced and had to be under the bili lights. The last I heard they were going home this evening but that hasn't been confirmed. But us trying to see her while she was under the lights and our crazy trip that should have taken 4 and a half hours but instead took 8 to get home will make an interesting post once I get an internet connection but for now, my internet is down and I'm sitting front of the neighborhood park (which aparently has the internet) so I have to make this quick.

If you are trying to get up with me, try more conventional methods for the next day or so.

Blessings,
Dana

Friday, August 01, 2008

Vote For Chloe!

I entered a picture of Chloe in a photo contest. Click here to vote for her. They will send you a confirmation e-mail that you have to click on link to confirm. You DO NOT have to sign up for the adds. Just click the link and then wait for it to confirm your vote. You can vote once a day for the month of August.

Blessings

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Walgreens Coupon

I have a coupon for $5 a $20 or more purchase at Walgreens for tomorrow (31st) only.

There might be a way to post it on here but I don't know how. But, if you want it, send me your e-mail address and I can forward it to you.

Blessings

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sugar and Spice....Eleven Months

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Trying again... I liked these a lot better. I thought these captured her personality really well. She is so much fun. Sorry there are so many, I had a hard time choosing.

I'm sure that someone is about to get on my case about there being more pictures of Chloe than Emma... I was going to do pictures of Emma today but she wanted to wear the same outfit Chloe did... Not so cute on a five year old. But really, Chloe is showcased on here because Emma is showcased in life. The kid definitely loves the spotlight. So, this is a case of the second child seeking justice for the second child. Making sure Chloe doesn't fade into the wallpaper.

Wonder what Aunt Denise will say about this one :).

Blessings,

Dana










Wynn is coming soon!





Just got off the phone with Jan (Adam's sister for those of you that don't know her) and they are inducing her in the morning. They are thinking she might be having a 9lb. baby! We made a trip to Alabama last week and we were hoping to get to meet our first niece then. But, our little Wynn has taken her time. Don't worry Wynn I was a little nervous about joining this family too! We did enjoy spending a few minutes with her and her husband Clint and hope we get to do more of that in the future!

Anyway, as you can tell in the pictures, her belly is as big as a pregnant belly gets. She was just a couple days shy of 40 weeks. It's a beautiful belly and she's being a trooper and letting me post these pictures. Don't worry, I got permission. I wish we had had more time and had found a more creative spot but the moment is at least documented. And we'll have more time next time because we won't be living so far away. So anyway, Emma and Chloe should have a new baby cousin by this time tomorrow. \

Please keep them in your prayers! I'll update soon.

Blessings,
Dana