Monday, December 17, 2012

My only thought

I am stunned and still pretty speechless in light of the most horrific school shooting at Sandy Hook ES. I cannot believe this happened. I have cried a lot thinking about those children and their families. Don't know anyone personally. But like everyone else, I sure do know a lot of children their ages. I'm having a hard time posting happy, light-hearted pictures on instagram or posting in general on Facebook or even here because I feel as if we are in this reverent grieving period. Unfortunately, I have experienced (to nowhere even near the same capacity as others) going through grieving and standing by my closest friends as they travel through the grief process. I learned am still learning a lot from it.

I'm finding it hard to see people discuss the shooting in the media and on social networks. I don't think it's time yet to start talking about issues of the shooter, or his family, or gun control, or picking up the pieces. For goodness sake, just be still and let the families (and country) grieve. Just wait. Just pray for them. Knowing and watching my Ashie deal with the loss of her sister has taught me that when someone is ripped away from you there is nothing you can do or say to help them. Just be there. Just hug them, say nothing, and pray. Don't tell them it will be alright, Don't say things will get better, Don't talk focus attention onto the killer. Grieve the loss of the sweet lives and sit and pray. I do understand that for some folks this is somehow still far removed from their every day lives and I don't want it to seem like I'm angry at anyone. But I do wish that people would not try to be solvers, thought provokers, or menders. If we want to truly stand beside these families effected, then we will just be sad with them for the time.

It will be a lot easier for us to heal, move on, and live life normally. I'm sure I'll be back to posting about the joy in my life very soon. I'm thankful for that. But I am also ever so aware that for the CT families it will not be easy and they may not ever understand joy again. But in the meantime, I will pray for them and focus my thoughts on those sweet babies and teachers and their community. It's so, so very sad. "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted" Psalms 34:18

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Picture Post

A picture recap:

Here's Carmen and Daddy reading together on one of his off days.  
Carmen loves looking at books. She leafs through pages with her chubby little fingers and flips books right side up if they're upside down. She talks to them and sometimes laughs at the pictures. Her current favorite is still the Toy R Us Christmas sale catalog....Lord, have mercy if I have to "read" that magazine one more time...
Carmen loves her rocking chair from Great Aunt Cynthia and Uncle Herb. This chair was given to my aunt when she turned one and then all her younger siblings (including my dad) got to use it too. Such a special keepsake!

More play time with Daddy. We cherish all the time he has at home with us. He's working so hard and often long hours. Even on his off day he does work on the computer and we have to patiently wait to go out for our family breakfast dates. Carmen weighs 25lbs. Mommy doing airplane is not as fun as Daddy.

She loves to climb on everything. Daredevil if I ever saw one.

A favorite move: climb on top of this car and jump, stomp feet, shake, anything that will scare Mommy.

Oh here's a nice glimpse into out daily routine: "Mommy I want rrrraaaaiiiissssins! I'm starving!!!"

"I know they're in here. You keep all our food in here!"

"Ah much better. A box of raisins."

 "Now if I can just figure out how to get them out..."

"Yum. This raisin is exactly what I thought I wanted."

 And as Carmen develops and socializes we have moved into this phase of squeezing/scratching other people's faces. She does it usually because she is so happy to see them or excited. When I haven't cut her nails in a while, she can draw blood. This is a terrible thing and we are trying our hardest to teach her not to do this. I was behind the camera and caught her in mid attempt at squeezing poor, precious Katya's face... (she was quick, I wasn't trying to photograph her sin.)

We watch her closely at home, at the mall play area, in chick-fil-a, at play dates, we warn her Sunday school teachers to be on the look out. Hopefully it will pass quickly and she'll be just as sweet as she always is! Did anyone else go through this phase and find anything helpful?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Rich Legacy

Many of you have spoken this into my life already, but this morning it really hit me: Carmen was born into an incredible legacy of women. We have been richly blessed with some of the most amazing people in our lives. From her blood aunties, grandmothers and great grandmothers, great aunts and second cousins, to her sisterhood aunties to the mothers of her little "friends" to some of my closest girl friends to the women in Charlottesville who will forever be in our lives - each and every one of them is a beautiful, God-glorifying woman who I would be proud to have Carmen model herself after. I seriously am in awe at how many of you there are and how special you are to us. I will try my hardest, under the guidance of our heavenly Father, to be someone that Carmen wants to be like. But if that's not enough, I rest assured knowing that the women already in her life are perfect pictures of godly grace and beauty. What a gift it is! What a blessing to have these women praying for Carmen and loving on her and teaching her the ways of life. I pray that she grows to be just like each of these women in some way. I pray for her to find her closest friends (ideally, other daughters of the above mentioned women;)  and that they will be sisters for life. There is something incredible and unspoken in real, best friendships between women and I so deeply want Carmen to experience that as she grows older. I pray that she carries on the legacy she was born into. I'm so thankful for you all and how you already love on Carmen in so many ways!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Grocery Shopping

Man oh man, can grocery shopping be stressful. I think it's the budget looming over my head that makes me cringe every time I have to buy something expensive or I decide to get something not on my list. I'm not a great sale hunter and I've learned that I can't buy ahead or stock up on items because I will waste them. We try it all. I jump around from Wegmans to Trader Joes to BJs to Harris Teeter to Giant to online ordering and back to Wegmans. I mix it up nearly every week. 

BJs surprises me and has a big selection of the organic foods we buy. It's absolutely the best/cheapest way to buy organic. As a family, Michael and I have committed to using organic dairy products, meat and poultry, and certain produce (I usually follow the dirty dozen rule). It definitely limits my choices for shopping and also costs a bit more, but I feel it's worth it. My dad laughs at me and my organic preference, but he grew up on a cattle farm and had all the quality red meat, chicken, fresh milk and veggies you could want. No need for the "organic" label there. I have it in my mind that wherever I'm purchasing from did not raise their food that way so give me "antibiotic free" please. I'm the first to admit, I'm not that educated on the subject but I'm friends with folks who are and I've been listening to them. Michael and I both agree that you can taste a major difference in organic meat and dairy. Especially ground beef. 

On a side note, this only pertains to the food we cook in our home. We eat whatever is served us in other's homes and it doesn't stop us from eating out. I have Chick-fil-A usually twice a week, Carmen too. We get our fill of regular chicken there. But Carmen gets organic raisins and Annie's Cheddar Bunnies and organic hot dogs so I feel like it evens out. :) 

I tried out Walmart today. I felt like a huge snob because I had a bad attitude about it. But I think I did save some money AND they actually had the Horizon's brand there. I did however put back the stew meat that I had originally thrown in the cart. It made me sick just looking at it.

And wow, this is the most boring post ever. I'm sorry. It's late (OK only 8:45pm) and I'm alone and have been alone most of the day so I kind of feel like I'm talking/blogging to my Community Group ladies. But I'm not.... so  we're done here. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Parties

I love parties. I love to attend them and I love to throw them. Christmas is deliciously filled with parties! We are going to one on Friday night and then having one ourselves on Saturday. Normally I would be oh so beyond thrilled excited and would have already set up a mock display of how things will look. But I have been battling a nasty sinus infection for the past week and a half. I have head aches all day that drain the energy out of me. Poor Caribelle, she's such a good sport to put up with my lack of energy. Antibiotics are helping out now.

I was hoping the weather would be somewhat cold and Christmasy this weekend but it seems like we'll be in the 60's again. Normally I'd love this freakshow warmth, but I'm serving a soup bar. Who wants to eat soups in warm weather? Oh and a hot chocolate bar....who wants hot chocolate in warm weather?? We're all going to be sweating and taking turns standing outside just to cool off. But it's too late to change the plans now. Soup, hot cocoa and Christmas are coming.

I'm also going to attempt this cute little brownie tree.
Should be easy, except the cutting out of circles...I may be serving brownie crumbs stuffed in a cup if this doesn't go as planned.

But even if the soup, hot chocolate, and dessert fail, we're doing a dirty santa ornament exchange and those are always funny. Should be a sweet time together!