Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day 698: Party Like It's 2011!

Today was pretty chill, for the most part.  We attended a little birthday party for the daughter of some friends.  That had some Joyful Moments, but then Baby B just started screaming and throwing fits--making the birthday girl cry--so, we left.

HH did some much needed cleaning out in the shed and garage, which I SUPER appreciate.  And I did a lot of cooking and baking.

We had a fun dinner of shrimp and cheese fondue.  Not together.  The shrimp went in the cocktail sauce and lovely French bread chunks went into the fondue.  This was my first time making cheese fondue all by myself.

Note:  Even though it may have amazing reviews online and you think your kids will like it better, a Cheddar/Swiss combination is nowhere near the deliciousness of different varieties of just Swiss cheeses. Not even close.  And when only 33% of your children like the cheddar/Swiss combo, then really becomes not worth it.

Still, it was a fun dinner and yummy.  Even if it wasn't as yummy as it could have been.

Then we put the kids to bed and picked up the baby sitter and headed out for a little get together with friends.

I might have mentioned before that we have really fun friends.  So, the night was full of Joyful Moments. They even made me feel good about my stuffed mushrooms, which I felt were a bit heavy on the sausage side.  I blame HH for that.  But they gobbled them all up, anyway.

Part of the fun was a White Elephant/Yankee Swap (depending on where you're from).  Good times were had here.

We scored a Scooby Doo popcorn popper.  Totally random, but we're excited to give it to Sweet P for her birthday on Monday.  The kid is obsessed with Scooby and The Gang.  I might have had to lay on some serious guilt to hold onto that popper.  It's a winning technique I learned from grandma.

Technically, the popper was HH's and I wound up with this freakish bunny.  You'll have to click on the picture to get it big enough to really be able to see it's scary scary face.  I had HH photograph me with it because I  was positive no one would steal it.  Shockingly, my friend who is so sweet she never steal a gift from anyone took it right at the end!  And I wound up with this bizarre book cover made from flame-patterned neoprene.

I am not kidding.

Anyway, it was a super fun night, chock full of Joyful Moments.  HH and I left a little early, so we wouldn't have our babysitter out on the Sabbath.  And then we rung in the New Year with just the two of us.  And being with my very favorite person in the whole world, beginning a new year together was the best Joyful Moment I could imagine for that moment.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments with your favorite persons!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Day 697: Cake

I didn't wake up to a sick boy at all last night!

And this morning was still a messy one, but the least messy we've had in nearly two weeks.  I didn't have to wash sheets.  That was cause for celebration.

But even greater cause was the huge breakfast Baby B had.  It was just dry cereal and a few crackers, but he kept asking for "mo" and that was probably my best Joyful Moment of the day.  I think eliminating soy and dairy for the next little while is the answer and that he is finally finally on the road to recovery.  For real.

He seemed more like his normal self today as well.  Less lethargic and more prone to tantrums.  Which are no fun, but at the same time, it's a relief to see him have the energy to throw a tantrum again.  Still, I can't claim they were any sort of a Joyful Moment for me.

But tonight, after dinner, we headed over to a friend's house to celebrate the birthdays of two friends from this past week with cake and snacks.  It was fun to be out among people again.  Especially, good fun friends.  Definitely a Joyful Moment.  We are so blessed to be surrounded by fabulous people out here.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments with fabulous people!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day 696: Midnight Tears

Actually, I don't remember what time it was.  But, sometime during the night, Baby B began throwing up again.  And HH announced that he felt ready to join in the fun at any moment.

I got the baby cleaned up and dressed in clean jammies and then I cried as I filled the washing machine with hot water and smelly clothes and bedding.  In the middle of the night.  As is becoming routine around here.

I'll be honest, a lot of it was self-pity.  I was finally getting excited about everyone and everything getting better, so I took this pretty hard.  But also, I was really worried.  Baby B has been sick since Tuesday of last week.  That's a long time for a little guy to be losing what little he takes in out both ends.  His skin was beginning to be dry and flaky and he only peed about once yesterday.

So, in between his bouts of sickness, I sat in the rocking chair and held him most of the night.  I was too worried to put him back to bed until he finally started squirming quite a bit and I could tell it was disrupting his sleep.

Which meant that today didn't start off nearly as well as yesterday ended.  I took him to the doctor and discovered that he's lost more than a pound during this whole ordeal (we don't really know how much since we're going off of his last check up).  And then I voiced my suspicions that perhaps this had brought back his food sensitivities that he had as a baby and the doctor confirmed that this was very possible.  So, he's back off of soy and dairy.  Which is a lot harder now that he's older and aware of what everyone else is eating (and is a HUGE fan of cheese).  But he's taking coconut milk without any complaints and inhaled a whole bunch of the mini saltines I bought for him.  Which makes me very happy.  In fact, seeing him eat was probably my Joyful Moment for the day.

Sorry for the medical update excuse of a post, but this is pretty much what consumed my day.  I'm anxious to see how tonight goes.  But my gut feeling for the past few days has been that the soy and/or dairy is what is keeping him sick.  So, I'm very very very cautiously optimistic.

Here's hoping for better days and fewer posts involving bodily fluids.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments on laundry-free nights!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day 695: Unseasonably Warm

I LOVE when that phrase makes it into the weather forecast.  And it's been doing it a lot lately.  It's still quite chilly, but way better than 14 below.

Today was positively gorgeous in the mid 50's.  The kids and I spent the morning with some friends at the Children's Museum.  It was nice and getting to know a new friend better was definitely a Joyful Moment. And I know it was a hugely needed Joyful Moment for the kids, so I'm glad we did it.

That meant that we went to the gym in the afternoon, after naps.  This really threw the kids off for some reason, but I'm so glad we went.  Z and I went for a beautiful run outside.  I felt a little sick throughout because I'm still recovering (and last night had several interruptions from a severely dehydrated Baby B crying out for his "mink" sippy cup), but it still really revived my spirits.  Staying in a sickly house for over a week doing nothing but cleaning and comforting sad little bodies has a tendency to wear a person down.

Today was marvelous.

Wishing you all marvelous Joyful Moments!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 694: Back In The Saddle

Well, Baby B still wakes up every morning with diarrhea.  And sometimes during the night.  Waaaay too much information, I know.  But it is the reality I'm living and I'm nothing, if not honest, on this blog.  However, today we (sort of) got back into our routine.

Besides me sleeping in two hours, HH spending the morning at home preparing to speak at a funeral, and being a couple hours off on everything the whole day.

It was nice.  The kids were relieved to finally get out of the house.  We only went to the gym, but still... change is good.  I was too tired and worn out to get much of a workout, but I was able to catch up with a friend I haven't seen in a while.  And I got a much needed break from my cooped up kiddos.

So, the whole gym experience was probably today's Joyful Moment.

Wishing you all routine Joyful Moments!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Day 693: 2012 Theme, Family Style

No, we will not be working on our family fashion in 2012.  I just convinced the whole family to join with me for my theme for 2012.

And if you don't know what I'm talking about with my "theme", see this post.

So, I've known for at least a month now that my theme for 2012 will be improving my study of/increasing my love for The Book of Mormon.  I already read this book daily, but I've felt strongly that I need to step up my game and raise the bar for myself.

I kind of wanted to get my family involved, so tonight I taught the Family Home Evening lesson and we talked about the Book of Mormon.  First I shared this story, then a couple quotes.  One of my favorites is this:

"I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein.  The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow.  The spirit of contention will depart.  Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom.  Children will be more responsive and submissive tot he counsel of their parents.  Righteousness will increase.  Faith, hope, and charity--the pure love of Christ--will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness."
--President Marion G. Romney

Of course, that's a lot of big words and concepts for my young children, so we broke it down and discussed each part.  Everyone agreed that all of those promises would be nice to have, so we committed to each other to re-dedicate ourselves to our scripture study.  We read it together every night as a family, but it's not always in the best circumstances.  So, we're going to do better.

And lastly, Sweet P turns 7 next week.  Which means that she is just over a year away from being baptized.  I would like her to have a testimony of her own of Jesus Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  But I believe Joseph Smith when he said, "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” 

So, I challenged her to read the whole book between now and then.  She took up the challenge (good thing she loves to read!) and agreed.

Walking past her room and seeing this was definitely today's Joyful Moment.  It even topped a lovely run outside in almost 50-degree weather.  I'm so proud of my little girl.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments in setting excellent goals for yourselves!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Day 692: Merry Christmas!!!

In case you were wondering:

This is the pretty sight we were relaxing over just before The Flu:  Round II struck.

Baby B had us up a couple times in the night and around 4 A.M., Sweet P joined in the fun.  We were kind of hoping the kids would sleep in a bit, given that they were all awake for a while in the night.

No dice.

But, on Christmas, what do you expect?

In spite of the sickness, these smiles were plentiful all day.  And that was my Joyful Moment.  Baby B did sleep in a bit, and took a while to decide Christmas was fun with how rotten he felt, but eventually warmed up to it.  Sweet P magically seemed to feel fine, even though she had several bouts of sickness all day long.

This will definitely be a Christmas we will always remember.

We had to alter and cancel many of our plans for the day including most of the family staying home from church, cancelling plans to have another friend without family having over, allowing the missionaries to come call their families in our home, and carolling with several friends at a retirement home.  I was sad about all of this, but didn't want to spread the plague with anyone else.

More Joyful Moments were had in reflecting on Jesus Christ and the reason for Christmas.  I echo my comments from last Sunday in expressing my gratitude for Jesus Christ, His life, His atonement, His death, and His resurrection.  I know He lives and that we can live with Him forever.

Wishing you all a beautiful Christmas with Joyful Moments to remember!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day 691: Almost Christmas!

SO many Joyful Moments today!

We had a wonderful, relaxing morning.  In the afternoon, we delivered some cinnamon rolls to a few friends and neighbors.  On a sudden spiritual prompting, we took our last pan to a family different than the one we planned.  It ended up being really good.  The family we took them to are new in our neighborhood/church congregation and seem to be a bit homesick for their friends in their old state.  So, they were quite happy to have us come in and visit for a while.  That was a Joyful Moment for me because I'm always excited for new friends.

This evening we invited a friend over for dinner.  She's doesn't have any family here locally, so we didn't want her to be alone.  Dinner was very yummy and after we finally convinced Baby B to stop screaming in fit, it was very pleasant.

Then we finished up all of the advents, re-enacted the Nativity with the kids, and opened the Christmas jammies.

Here's HH reading a bedtime story to the kids in their cute new pj's.  They all settled down really quickly. They must be excited for Santa and don't want to delay his visit by being awake!  That was another Joyful Moment for me.

Then we got the tree set up with all the gifts, complete with three new bikes.  The kids are going to be so excited.  Sitting back and looking at that and anticipating their joy was a Joyful Moment for both HH and I.

And then a few minutes later, Baby B threw up.  Not a Joyful Moment.

We'll see what tomorrow brings!

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that aren't ruined by vomit!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Day 689: Stand in Holy Places

Tonight one of HH's good friends went to the temple for the first time.  If you are unfamiliar with the temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please see here.

We were so pleased when so many of our friends (not all pictured) were able to join us!  The whole evening was full of Joyful Moments.  Excellent conversation in the car ride up, the wonderful peace and spiritual strengthening that being inside the temple brings, and a fun-filled dinner afterward.  It was just a wonderful wonderful wonderful evening!

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that bring peace!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 688: What Inspires A Good Dryer Hose Cleaning

Well, I was up again in the night with a sick Baby B.  I've been desperate to keep HH healthy for this busy weekend, so I insisted he go back to bed.

Thus, this morning dawned WAY too early for me.

And then I remembered that Sweet P was supposed to dress 50's for the school Sock Hop today.


We don't own any poodle skirts.  So, after some frantic googling, I improvised based on the advice found in this article.

It looked more authentic in person.  But, I knew a poodle skirt would have been better.

Still she was excited and her day went well.

Baby B slept in until nearly 10 AM.  This should have been a Joyful Moment, but when checking on him earlier, I was accosted by horrific smells emanating from his bed.  I decided that sleep was best, however, and that I would face whatever it was when he awoke.

Well, let's just say, worst scenario imaginable and leave it at that.

So, I waited until the current load of soiled bedding and clothing finished, and began a new one with his freshly soiled stuff.  Yay.

As you can see, the day was off to a great start for Joyful Moments.

The good news is, I was somehow finally energized and cleaned my entire house from top to bottom.  I even cleaned out the dryer hose.  What?!  Yeah.

And I definitely found some Joyful Moments in finally having a really clean house again.

That, and after his apparent early morning purging, Baby B finally seems to be on the mend and was almost back to his old self again.  He even played for a bit with Little M without demanding to be held by me.

Seeing my baby finally begin to recover (and feeling quite a bit better myself) was probably the best Joyful Moment of the day.

Sorry for all the graphic details.  It was just kind of one of those days I really had to get off my chest, I guess.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments and excellent health this Christmas weekend!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 687: You Can Never Have Too Many Sprinkles

Today was the Christmas preschool program.  It was fantastic.

And I'm so glad it was today and not yesterday.  Baby B and I are still recovering, but at least we could be get out of bed.

The program was really sweet.  They sung a bunch of songs.  It was really adorable.

And then they got to decorate (and eat) a cookie.  This is Little M putting the 100th spoonful of sprinkles on his cookie.  He literally could not fit a single extra sprinkle on by the end of that spoonful.  But he made sure to eat up all the excess that fell off.  He's a firm believer in "waste not, want not".

The whole thing was just the Joyful Moment I needed today.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that are not at all wasteful!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 686: Day Off

Last night I might have gotten a little upset with my family because I felt that they weren't being very grateful for all I do.  So, I threatened to take the day off, so they could more fully appreciate all that I do.

Our day today began at 12:30 AM when Baby B began to scream and Little M ran into to frantically proclaim that Baby B was throwing up.  In my tired daze, I remember hoping that he was mistaken.

He was not.

So, HH and spent the next part of the night alternating care of a very sick, very sad Baby B.  But I was feeling increasingly unwell myself, so HH took over full time care of the baby.  Early this morning I succumbed as well.

And to spare you further details, it eventually hit everyone, but HH.  Sweet P and Little M were perfectly fine before and after, thankfully.  But Baby B and I have been struck down pretty low.  Poor HH took the day off and spent it cleaning up and tending to all of us invalids.

So, today was not a day overflowing with Joyful Moments.  There were a few, however.  The most exciting one, for me, was when HH's dad called and offered him a free night's stay at any Marriott.  My father-in-law travels quite a bit for work and thus, accrues hotel points.  I'm not sure what made him offer them to us all of the sudden, but HH readily accepted.

See, we're planning a little romantic getaway next month and were already discussing where to stay.  So, this was a pleasant surprise that we are very grateful for.  I always love saving money, and especially when I still get to have something nice.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments and stomach flu-free days!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 685: Reading on the Run

I don't know if I've mentioned to you that I really love to read.  But I do.  The only problem is that I don't have much time for reading any more.  So now, I have my books read to me by my cute little ipod.

This morning I listened to the first part of Unbroken.  It's about a guy in WWII who survives some really bad stuff.  I don't really know because I just started it.  But at the beginning it tells about his rise to Olympic glory.  And I listened to it while I was running on the treadmill.

I hate running on the treadmill.  So boring.

But running while listening to some amazing feats of running wizardry makes running on the treadmill so much more bearable.  In fact, it was so fun, it was today's Joyful Moment.

But now he's lost at sea in enemy territory, so I'm not sure there will be any more Joyful Moments coming from it.  Still really enjoying it, though.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that turn out to be a lot more fun than expected!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 684: The Life of Jesus Christ

For those not familiar with my faith, we do Sunday sermons a little differently.  About a week in advance, 2-4 members of the congregation are asked to prepare a talk on a given topic for the following Sunday.  Due to some unusual circumstances, I was actually asked to speak last Sunday, but my talk was postponed until today.

And "The Life of Jesus Christ" was my assigned topic.  I found this a little overwhelming because how do you sum up the life of the Savior in 10-15 minutes?  Fortunately, I had some help in the form of spiritual promptings from the Holy Ghost.  And I felt that I should just share three of my favorite parts of His life.

I'm not going to give you the whole talk.  Just the outline.

First, I share the account found in St. John Chapter 13, of the Savior washing his disciples feet.  And I talked about how the Savior's entire life exemplified for us the necessity of serving our fellowman.

Second, was the passage in Mark 9, where the father brings his son to be healed of an evil spirit.  Jesus Christ asks if he believes and he replies, "Lord, I believe.  Help Thou mine unbelief."  And then I talked about faith and doubt and how it is Jesus Christ who helps our faith to grow and become perfect.

And lastly, I talked about the Atonement.  I know that Jesus Christ suffered for not only our sins, but for our sorrows and trials as well.  So many people I know and love are going through very difficult heartbreak right now.  I know that Jesus Christ is the only One who can offer them the solace and comfort they need at this time.  I am grateful that though I can do little more than pray for each of them, they have Jesus Christ to love and bolster them up right now.  As Isaiah teaches in chapter 53, "With his stripes we are healed".  Words cannot express how grateful I am for this truth.  I know that there is no hurt He cannot heal.

So, while my heart is filled with sorrow at the different losses some of the people I love are currently experiencing, it is also filled with gratitude and love for the life of Jesus Christ.  For the sacrifice He made so that he can heal each of their hearts.

And in that knowledge lies tonight's Joyful Moment.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments and a happy heart!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 683: Show Off-ing

It's recital time again!  Get excited.

My pretty princess did a lovely rendition of "Andantino", complete with the necessary cues to "help" her accompanying instructor.

Little M got the only laughs of the evening.  Mostly because he's just so dang cute.  And he might have turned around backwards to play for his teacher instead of the audience.  But she helped him out and we got to watch those chubby little cheeks in focused concentration for "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".

It was a good evening.  Baby B almost survived the whole thing.  He did have a few loud outbursts and once threw his (very hard plastic) sippy cup into the row in front of us.  Fortunately, the gentleman who had been sitting right where it hit had momentarily stepped out.  When his wife handed the offending sippy back to us it was not at all awkward, or embarrassing.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that are not at all awkward, or embarrassing!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 682: Must Be Santa

Quick post tonight before my date with HH.  So, the photos are rough and unedited, but cute nonetheless.

Tonight was the church Christmas party.  This one loudly proclaimed during the dinner portion, "I'm not going to tell him what I want because I know he's not the real Santa."  Awesome.

He was pretty heartbroken to learn this wasn't the real Santa.

And look how happy Santa is to have this screaming child in his lap.

And she looks like she's thinking really hard, deciding if she should tell him what she wants anyway.

It was a good time.  Good food and fun to visit and chat with so many friends.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments and a cozy lap to sit on!

Day 681: Yesterday's Today

So, sometimes I post things a little late and just put the date it should have gone up.  But, if you read this blog even somewhat regularly, you already know that.

This time I'll put the date it should have, but I'm not going to pretend I posted on time.

That's because my Joyful Moment for today (yesterday) was being in bed at 8:30.  It's been a rough week.  Yesterday really took the cake.  And being in bed, relaxed and ready to sleep was seriously the best Joyful Moment today (yesterday) could give me.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments and the occasional much needed early night--even if it means a confusing post the next day!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 680: Luh Yu

Tonight I joined a few girls for a night out with pie and a little gift exchange.  It was a lot of fun.  And I got to sit between the two friends I haven't seen for the longest, so I got a chance to catch up with both for a bit.  Which was a really fun Joyful Moment for me.

But before going out, HH decided it was a good time to scrape some of the ice forming on the walls of our deep freezer.  He scraped it into this big bowl and then Baby B caught sight of it.  So, I took him and the bowl and stuck them both in the bathtub.

I haven't let him out to play in the snow yet because I feel that I should go out with him and I just have no tolerance for the cold.

I'm a good mama.  I know.

So, this was his first experience with snow.  Well, close enough, anyway.  He thought it was great fun and it was a Joyful Moment for both of us.

Then, after he was all warmed up in his snuggly pajamas, it came time for me to go.  As I was about to head out the door he called out, "Luh yuuuuu."

Which melted my heart and made me rush back in to scoop him up in a giant bear hug.  That's the first time he's said, "Love you" unsolicited.

No offense to my girlfriends, but that Joyful Moment just can't be beat.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that can't be beat!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 679: Rockin' Around

Today Baby B really struggled with the sleeping.  Which meant that he had to take a late nap and I had to wake him up for dinner.  Which meant that he cried and threw tantrums.  Which meant that I ended up snuggling and holding him through most of dinner.

Until he decided he'd had enough and got down.

Then he grabbed the singing, dancing penguins and snowmen and got joyful.

This pictures shows just how delighted he was with himself and his entertainment.

These guys sing their own version of "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" and he circled around it, dancing his little heart out.  Over and over and over.

And that was today's Joyful Moment for me.  It was hilariously entertaining and fun.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that rock!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 678: Happy Morning

That was my first Joyful Moment today.  Everyone woke up happy.  It was amazing.  And I found myself thinking, "It's going to be a good Monday."  That never happens!  Needless to say, it was a Joyful Moment.

When I arrived at the gym, I glanced at the temperature reading on the van and it said it was 38 degrees outside.  And I found myself thinking, "That's down right pleasant!"

I've been brain washed by the North Pole folk.

But I decided to go for an outdoor run, instead of the planned indoor run on a dreadmill.  I didn't have my special outdoor running gear, so it was quite as comfy, but the warm clothes I had on over my indoor running clothes worked out okay.  They got the job done.  And I enjoyed my run immensely more so than I would have had it been inside on a conveyor belt.  Joyful Moment enhancement, for sure!

And lastly, HH came home with an awesome, well-prepared lesson for our Family Home Evening.  It was all about Love at Home and the kids got pretty involved and I looked over at him with all of his preparation and sincerity and I fell in love with him a little bit more.  Which is always a Joyful Moment, no matter how much more I fall in love with him.

And then he told me that he'd taken care of something that's been on my to-do list for sometime now.  Joyful Moments continuing!

Wishing you all good Joyful Moment-full Mondays!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 677: Shorter

Today's post won't be a novel.  I promise.

In fact, it's even missing its photo.  Because the camera battery died.

But, picture with me, if you will, an adorable little Baby B face all lit up with the excitement of holding his very own waffle cone with a little scoop of ice cream all for him inside.

It was adorable.

He was thrilled.

The End.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that are simple to tell!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 676: Zoobilee

You wouldn't expect another zoo post when I live in the North Pole and we had a bunch of snow this week, but you're getting one anyway.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Today was intense.

I started things off with an early morning shopping trip with a friend of mine.  Our two families are helping provide Christmas gifts for a family we know in need.  While it is sobering to see what some people are requesting for Christmas, it was still a Joyful Moment to serve and to know that we'll be making a happy difference for them.

Shortly after arriving home, I sent HH out the door for a fun-filled day of pheasant shooting.  At least, he was excited.

And that's when the rest of us took off for the zoo.  Very few of the animals were still outside, given the freezing temperatures, but they had some cute displays, music, hot cocoa, Santa, and free train rides.  The kids actually opted out of seeing Santa after waiting in line for over 10 minutes and barely moving a few feet closer to the big man.  Little M didn't even want to sit in his lap, or talk to him, and I was pretty sure Baby B would feel the same way, if he knew what was going to happen.  I told them he will probably make an appearance at our church Christmas party next weekend, and the truth is, I don't make a big deal about Santa, so I don't think they get caught up in all the hype.  I kind of have mixed feelings about the fun and magic in believing in Santa verses my guilt about basically lying to my children.

My personal solution is just to never really bring him up on my own, and when confronted with a question about him, I just turn it back around and ask the asker what he or she thinks the answer is.  And then I leave it at that.

But I digress.  I did consent to wait in the crazy long line for the train ride.  I knew they would really enjoy that, so it was worth our while.

It was a long, cold wait and you can kind of see the stress on my face here (we were getting waaaaay past Baby B's nap time and I still had a million things to do that day).  But, all in all, we really enjoyed ourselves.  The kids always get a kick out of the train.  It was a great way to end our fun little zoo outing.  And definitely a Joyful Moment shared by us all.

Then I took the kids out to a restaurant.  My Joyful Moment was that Baby B fell asleep on the way and also that we had coupons, so their food was practically free.

After a couple busy hours at home (and a nice, long nap for Baby B), we picked up a baby sitter and I headed out for a monstrous errand trip.

I hate how busy everything gets the last couple weeks leading up to Christmas, so I compiled a list of every errand I needed to do between now and the end of the year (besides grocery shopping), made lists of every thing I needed to buy, gathered coupons, and mapped it all out.  And then I set off.

I picked up a couple things I needed, money from some items sold at a consignment shop, gifts for the kids' teachers, a couple stocking stuffers for the kids, a little something for HH, did a return, and stocked up on some household items, bought all of Sweet P's birthday presents (did I mention that I had a special all-day 5% savings pass at Target--in addition to the 5% I save on every purchase with my Target card?!  That was a Joyful Moment for me because I started and finished my day at Target.)

The amazing thing was, all along the way, both while getting ready, and then while I was out, I kept being reminded of other things I needed to do, or add to my list, or of an applicable coupon I'd forgotten about, or a dozen other little things.  And then, I kept lucking out and finding the last available parking spot just as I pulled up.  And other things like that.  And I knew that, for whatever reason, today I was being blessed and seriously helped from on high.  And there is deep gratitude in that and a Joyful Moment, to boot.

And in the middle of all that, I dropped off dinner at a friend's home.  I don't know that I can call this part of the day a Joyful Moment because her husband was given two weeks to live nearly two weeks ago.  I haven't seen her since before Thanksgiving, so it was a Joyful Moment to give her a hug, but mostly, it was just painful because I want so much to be able to do more than just give her and her family some food.  I bawled all the way from her home to my next stop.  There is so much I could share about her and recent experiences, but they are lengthy and kind of personal, so I'll just leave it at that.

After concluding this long, eventful trip, I made a brief stop at the house to say hi to HH and the kids (HH had returned home from his hunting trip with I think 20 pheasants and just one of the happiest days ever, from what I can tell.  He had an absolute blast and so, I am happy for him.  But I had to let him down gently when he excitedly proclaimed that he couldn't wait to take me along next time.  No thanks, my love).  I ate a quick bite of dinner and then headed off to an Ethanol party with some girlfriends.

Yeah, you read that right.  One of my friends has recently become an avid supporter of ethanol.  I like it.  I use it.  But I kind of leave it at that.  There's a documentary about it, though.  She got a copy of it and shared it with us all.  It was interesting.  Made more so by the fact that I have funny friends and we had some good commentary all along the way.  And a night with my girlfriends is always a Joyful Moment.

And then I came home and played Skip-Bo with HH while we each told each other all about our long day apart.

And it was another Joyful Moment.

But mostly, as I reflect back and think about the fact that I only have to brave the grocery store between now and Sweet P's birthday, I.  Am.  Ecstatic.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments with a really long story to go with!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 675: Pizza Party

Well, I can't believe I totally forgot to break out my camera, but I did.

Tonight I hosted a pizza party for the kids in my Primary class.  That's the Sunday School class I teach at church for 9 and 10-year olds.  We had a lot of fun, stuffed ourselves with pizza, and played a couple fun rounds of Whoonu, in an effort to get to know a boy who just moved to our area a week ago.  There were plenty of Joyful Moments to be had with these energetic kiddos.

I also had some Joyful Moments just chatting with my team teacher.  We don't usually get to talk to each other much because we have to teach the class.  I really like her quite a bit though, so it was fun to catch up.

Wishing you all energetic Joyful Moments!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 674: Head Gear

It's turned significantly colder here over the past couple weeks.  So, I've been trying to force Baby B to wear a hat.  Unfortunately, like most toddlers I know, he's been pulling his hat off the moment after I put it on his head.

Then we decorated for Christmas.  And broke out this old green elf hat that I wore for my Second Grade Christmas Program.  He loves it.  And he looks like the most darling little elf in it.  So, today I decided to let him wear it when we go out.  It's not the warmest, but it's better than nothing.  And it's a Joyful Moment for me to see him in it because he looks so cute.

Of course, both times I've tried to take a picture of him wearing it, he rips it off his head and throws a tantrum.

Which is why I had to quickly snap this one when he decided it would be cool to wear HH's ear warmers.  They're kind of ear/cheek warmers in his case, but still pretty funny looking.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that don't throw a fit when you try to take a picture!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 673: A Day of Finally's

This morning I finally bathed my dog.  She normally gets this weekly.  Her previous bath this time, however, was the Monday before Thanksgiving.  Yuck.  Having a clean (and brushed!) dog in the house is definitely a Joyful Moment.

Every Wednesday I watch my friend's little boy while she volunteers at the school.  Every other Wednesday, it's in the morning during my usual workout time.  I've tried various ways to work around this, but hadn't found anything that really worked.

This morning I finally remembered that I actually own a treadmill.  A pretty nice treadmill.  Collecting dust in the corner.  So, I broke it out and the boys played while I ran.  It was a little challenging at the beginning, with me having to get off every 30 seconds, or so to solve a crisis.  But, eventually, they were okay and I put in a good run.  A fantastic and satisfying Joyful Moment.

Every year I like to get the kids cute new Sunday clothes to wear the Sunday before (or on) Christmas.  They typically are in need of new Sunday clothes by this time anyway, so it's a win-win.  But this year, I've been struggling to find what I wanted.  I finally found it today.  And it was online so I didn't have to go out into the cold for it.  Plus, I had a coupon for 20% off and free shipping!  Yeah, I'm pretty sure you can read between the lines here and just know that was a Joyful Moment for me on so many levels.

And I finally started editing my photos and catching up on my blog.  Technically, this started last night.  But it continued today and was still a Joyful Moment, so I'm counting it in my day of finally's.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that finally happen!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 672: Mama Flies

Yes, she flew home today.  Leaving us all a little sad.  Sweet P even told me that she started to cry a little at school just thinking about it.

Those two have always had a special bond.

Still, we had Joyful Moments this morning with her as the kids got to play their violins for her one last time, she and I did yoga together, and then just visiting more all the way to the airport.

Thanks for coming, Mama!  You will be missed.  And HH and I will have to re-learn how to wash the dishes and put the kids to bed. (c:  Thanks for all you did.

And in the middle of the drive up to the airport, I had another Joyful Moment when my sweet sister-in-law called to tell me she was sending some of her amazing and beautiful homemade cards to donate the auction for my friend's son.  It made me cry a little bit.  Thank you for your generosity!

Wishing you all generous Joyful Moments!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 671: Mama Skates

I hope you'll all read the previous post and help, if you are able.  Prayers are most welcome, too.


Tonight was the annual school skating party at the local roller rink.  I really wanted to stay home because it was well below freezing outside.  But, I didn't even start that argument--because I knew I'd lose.  The kids have been so excited about this for weeks!

It was extra fun having my mama there.

Not because she's a natural on skates.  But it just made it a lot more fun for the kids, especially Sweet P.  And it also meant that I could go skate with HH for a bit while she watched Baby B.  That was a fun Joyful Moment for me.  Thanks for being brave and coming, Mama!

We got a lot of fun photos, but this was one of my favorites.  This is one of Little M's best friends.  He is constantly making up stories about the adventures they have.  They are pretty crazy stories, but you can tell how much fun they have together in real life.  He hadn't seen him since before our Thanksgiving trip, so they were especially excited to be reunited tonight.  More Joyful Moments.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments without any major falls!

A Time To Help

A friend of mine recently found out that her darling little boy has a nasty cancer.  Another friend of mine already posted about it on her blog, so I just kind of cut and pasted it here (I hope you don't mind, Aubrey!)

They discovered that the cancer is all over his body, including his bone marrow...and he also has a tumor in his head that is causing him to lose his hearing in his right ear.

We couldn't just stand by and do nothing, so there is going to be an online auction December 7th and every cent is going to go to this sweet family to help them on this long road ahead.

I'm asking that if you have anything you would like to donate to the auction, or know anyone that would like to donate something, please email Team Matthew so we can make this endeavor as helpful as possible.  We will pay any shipping costs for items donated as well.

Or if you want to participate in the auction, please also feel free! It will have some great stuff (c: 

Or if you would like to help spread the word of the auction and Matthew's story, that would be awesome as well (c:

I know this is a lot to ask...especially at this time of year...but I couldn't imagine if this was my son and I want to do everything in my power to help.

I couldn't agree more with my friend Aubrey.  It breaks my heart every time I think about their cute little family and those darling dimpled smiles.  So, if you can help, please do.  Thank you.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day 670: Flirty Skirty

Yesterday's project was making a tree skirt for our new tree.  It was really simple, but I love it.

The best part is that every year the kids get to put their grubby little handprints on it, so we can document those chubby little fingers as they grow.  Ignore my lovely morning hair, and look at the cute smiles on all of my babies.

Here they are before I touched them up with a bit more paint to make them show up better and then each of the kids wrote their name in gold glitter glue.  I love this!

Putting it under my tree tonight was a super fun Joyful Moment for me!

Wishing you all glittery gold Joyful Moments!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 669: Hello, Christmas!

I have an embarrassing Joyful Moment to share--I slept in until 9:45 this morning.  I don't remember the last time that happened.  In fact, I don't know that it's ever happened without me waking up a bunch of times in between because my body really is ready to be awake by 7 or 7:30 every morning.  So, I still feel a little guilty about this.  But I'd say, I must have really needed it.

And I woke up to snow.  That's sort of a mixed Joyful/Not-So-Joyful Moment for me.  It's so pretty and super fun for the kids.  But it's cold and makes the roads a mess.

Even so, I had a Joyful Moment going out with HH in it.  Not really Joyful because of the snow, but Joyful because we got to go run some errands together while my mama stayed home with the kids.  Thanks, Mama!  The best part was that we picked up supplies for a little project that mama and I worked on later, but I'll have to show you the final product tomorrow when it's finished.

This was the best Joyful Moment of the day.  I finally put away the Thanksgiving decorations and we pulled out all of the Christmas decorations.  And the kids went to town!  It was super fun.  I'm not sure we have enough ornaments for the tree though...  I think there might be a couple empty branches still.

So, it looks like Christmas inside and out.  Super fun!  I LOVE this time of year!

Wishing you all Joyful Moments and safe drives in the snow!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Day 668: Mama Goes Green

We visited HH today, so we could join him for lunch and then Mama could tour his ethanol plant.  Lots of Joyful Moments and good times.

Except that I don't really like the tour because the plant is quite odoriferous and always leaves me wanting to vomit.

TMI?  Sorry.

Then Sweet P had her second round of testing tonight.  HH was in charge of the camera and only took videos, so no pictures of that.  She did great and passed, though!

And then tonight the kids got to open a few early Christmas presents from their grandparents.  This is them opening the ornaments they get every year.  Baby B was ecstatic because he was convinced there was a cookie inside his.  They also got a cute nativity they can play with.  Lots of Joyful Moments watching their joy in getting these sweet gifts and then watching Baby B dance to the music played by the new nativity.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that are only pleasant smelling and have a cookie inside!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 667: Mama Eats

Today was the day I volunteer in Sweet P's class.  Her fabulous teacher told me I could bring my mama with me.

So I did.

Sweet P has been beside herself with the anticipation of showing her grandma off to her whole class.  It's a big deal in first grade.  So, just walking into the classroom and seeing her happy face was a Joyful Moment.

I don't know if it was my mama's presence, or if it was because they got to read giant-sized books, but the kids in my group were super well-behaved.  This is not normal.  So, that was a personal Joyful Moment and relief for me.

And then we got to stay after and eat lunch with Sweet P.  Again, she was so cute in her happiness it couldn't help but be a Joyful Moment.  Plus, we had excellent sandwiches from Jimmy John's.  Double the Joyful Moment.  (Sweet P told me it would be better if we didn't eat the school lunch because she didn't want the lunch ladies to have to go to the trouble of making extra food.  I told her I was pretty sure they made extra, but we just plain didn't want to eat the school lunch.)

All in all, a good day.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments with the added joy of a Jimmy John's sandwich!