Friday, January 27, 2012

Sick Baby, Flooded Basement, and--oh yeah--Phriday Phone Photos

Our week started off well
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Annie made faces in mirrors
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Played with baby dolls
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Pulled all the books off the shelves (and on the other side of the room, all the toys out of the baskets)
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"Read" books and enjoyed being destructo-girl
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Got sick for the first time ever. Sigh. We almost made it to her first birthday with no sickness so I am not complaining. Lots of snuggling and lots of snot. Yes, that is snot on my sleeve. Hers, not mine. Hubs was sick last week, Annie sick this week, hoping not mama next week!
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Oh, then yesterday our basement flooded. We know what to do about it now, though. The Gent came home from work, ran by tool rental store to pick up extra pump, and set it up. Two feet of water in basement now gone. Just mud left. But since baby is sick and trip to visit Bebe and Papa Rick is off, we'll have plenty of time to clean it up.
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Maybe someday when we have an extra 10-15 grand lying around we will install the waterproofing system we need in the basement. Until then--maybe forever?--we'll just live with it. Renting a pump for $35 a day two or three times a year definitely works out to be a cheaper solution. :) In the meantime we'll do our best to keep the street clean.
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And oh, yeah, I'm still practicing thankfulness over here. Know what I'm thankful for?
- husband who left work early to come deal with flood so I could focus on sick baby
- husband who entertained baby after dinner so I actually had 45 minutes with no snot
- husband who went to grocery store while I put baby to bed and returned with sunflowers, the best ice cream in the world (for me), and beer (for him)

Do we sense a theme here? He's my hero. :D

Happy weekend, y'all!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Planting Trees

Judging by the comments and emails I received, my last post struck a chord. I'm glad my ramblings made some sense. :)

Anyone else an Andrew Peterson fan? I've been singing "Planting Trees" a lot lately. It goes along with the mood I was in when I wrote that last post.

We chose the spot, we dug the hole
We laid the maples in the ground to have and hold
As autumn falls to winter's sleep
We pray that somehow in the spring
The roots grow deep

And many years from now
Long after we are gone
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless the dawn

He took a plane to Africa
He gathered up into his arms
An orphan son

So many years from now
Long after we are gone
This tree will spread its branches out
And bless the dawn

So sit down and write that letter
Stand up and join the fight
Sink in to all that matters
Step out into the light
Let go of all that's passing
Lift up the least of these
Lean into something lasting
Planting trees

She rises up as morning breaks
She moves among these rooms alone
Before we wake
And her heart is so full; it overflows
She waters us with love and the children grow

So many years from now
Long after we are gone
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless the dawn
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless someone

Monday, January 23, 2012

Some Thoughts on Vocation. And Cultivating a Heart of Thankfulness.

I've had some random thoughts on callings and gratitude lately and thought it might help me sort it out if I tried writing.

Vocation. A Google search tells me vocation is "a term for an occupation to which a person is specially drawn or for which they are suited, trained or qualified." Looking at vocation as a Christian, I ask myself, "what is it that God has uniquely designed me to do/be?" 1 Corinthians 10:31 says "whatever you do, do to the glory of God." I know my primary purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. But what does that look like in the day to day earthly life?

Big picture: I am happy where I am. Really, really happy. Content. Joyful. I love being a wife and mama and caring for my home. I love the life I share with my husband, I love soaking up all those firsts with my little girl, I love keeping my household running smoothly. I love having clean sheets and a homecooked dinner and pansies blooming on the front porch.

Little picture: Sometimes I am sick of laundry. Some days grocery shopping feels like a huge chore. Sometimes I just want Annie to nap so I can sit and do nothing. Some days it is noon before I get out of my yoga pants and into real clothes. Sometimes it feels like each day is a repeat of the one before and does anyone really notice what I do?!

So I'm trying to reconcile the big picture and the little picture. I want to cultivate a heart of thankfulness. I want to intentionally slow down and cherish the joys God brings in the everyday. I want to be one with Him, I want to commune with my Lord throughout the day, to have that continual conversation. What better way to do that than to express my gratitude to the One who gave it all?

I'm starting now. This morning I am thankful for . . .

the weather radio that warned us of dangerous storms last night
a sweet, sleepy baby to cuddle and nurse first thing in the morning
warmth and sunshine on our morning walk
a loyal Sheltie sleeping at my feet as I type

We'll see what happens as God teaches me to go through my day like this. Little snippets of thanks, short prayers, daily communion with the One who made me.

I'm counting joys.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Beautiful Things: A Heavenly Anniversary

Two years ago today our first baby went to heaven. I spent a good portion of this week in quiet reflection as I anticipated the anniversary of this day. Beautiful Things, by Gungor, and the words of Psalm 62 have been playing over and over in my head.

All this pain
I wonder if I'll ever find my way?
I wonder if my life could really change at all?

All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found?
Could a garden come out from this ground at all?

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

Indeed, God makes beautiful things out of our brokenness. He alone can turn our pain into hope, hope springing up all around us. Isn't that an amazing thing about the Lord? He refuses to leave us where we are. Instead, He is always prodding us to grow, to move forward, to transform the ugly into the beautiful.

Now, did that first pregnancy turn out the way I planned, the way I wanted it to? I think the answer to that is pretty obvious. I was devastated by Noel's loss. I grieved. Hard. There's still a lot of sadness. I don't want to re-live those days.

But the Lord calls us to give thanks in all circumstances. And maybe I couldn't do that two years ago, but I can today. I am thankful for Noel's life. I am thankful that I carried that little one inside my body. I am thankful for my baby blessing.

I am thankful for the lessons I learned through that journey. I know now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, beyond emanations from penumbras, beyond anything--that God is love and that God is faithful.

Psalm 62:5-8
5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from Him.
6 Truly He is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
He is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in Him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to Him,
for God is our refuge.

Amen, Lord Jesus. Come quickly.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Memory Keeping

How do you keep up with the memories you collect, thousands of digital photos, stories you want to remember, keepsakes you think you want to hold on to?

I'm a memory keeper but I despise clutter. I don't keep everything. But I do want to document our family's story. Hey, my memory is already going and when Annie asks "how old was I when I got my first tooth?" (answer to that still to be determined) I want to be able to tell her.

So I record our memories in lots of ways and have lots of fun doing it.

For photos, I upload the pics from my camera card to my computer and to Shutterfly each month. Selected relatives have access to my Shutterfly account so if they want a certain picture of Annie they can download it and I don't have to email huge photo files.

For actually viewing photos, I pick out my favorites and keep a family scrapbook (old-school Creative Memories style). I also plan to create a digital book on Shutterfly for Annie (and future children) each year. I add photos to it each month and by the time her birthday rolls around it will be finished. Digital scrapbooking is much less time intensive so I think I'll be able to keep that up pretty easily.

To document the blur that has been Annie's first year, I have kept a traditional baby book (Honey got it for her at Hallmark) and it gives me a great place to keep track of her growth and new developments. I also keep a journal and I write a few sentences in it every day or two, about what we've been doing and what she is learning and my reflections on being her Mama.

For everyday updates, this blog is perfect!

And for all the little keepsakes, we each have a box (the Gent, me, and Annie). We just throw stuff in there for a year or so. When it starts getting full we go through our boxes and decide what we still want to keep. Keepers go in a bigger box in the basement, the rest goes in the trash.

Told you I despise clutter. :)

Any other suggestions for keeping up with memories in a meaningful way?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Crawling

She's been crawling for real for oh . . . a couple of months now. Finally got some video for you! Enjoy 45 seconds of adorableness. She threw in some clapping and waving for you, too.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Annie's New Skills

Picture post for the grandmas and such :)

Playing ball with Mama Rita and Papa Gene
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Annie loves to clap
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And she loves books
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She crawls. Fast.
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And pulls up. On everything.
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She thinks it is so much fun!
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And she likes to practice walking
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This is what I find when I go to get her out of bed
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Friday, January 13, 2012

Just Numbers? And Twitter.

So the Gent and I had orientation for our foster parent training last night. Classes start the end of the month and we will probably be licensed in about six months.

I'm sure lots of people think we are crazy for wanting to do this. No need to go into all that now, except to say that He who calls us is faithful.

1200+ kids in our county in foster care right now.

152 foster homes.

Did you get that?!

1200+ children needing a safe place, a family, a place to call home for a while.

152 homes available. Numbers aren't my strong point, but I can clearly see the need.

The Lord calls us to be His hands and feet, to look after widows and orphans in their distress, to care for the needy, to reflect His love.

And that's where we're going on this journey--we're doing what He tells us to do.

I know we're going to learn more about trusting God through this than we could possibly imagine.

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And in other news, I finally joined Twitter. Mostly so I can keep up with late breaking college football news. :D I don't know how much I'll be tweeting, but I'm AbbasGirlFamily if you want to follow along!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mama Rita's 80th Birthday Celebration

Papa Gene, Honey, and Aunt Linda planned a fabulous party for our Mama Rita
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Quite a crowd was gathered to celebrate
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Lots of friends
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Lots of hugs
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Annie and Poppa
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This girl loves her Daddy. You should see her take off crawling for the door when he gets home!
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One happy family
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Happy birthday, Mama Rita!

And Hannah, thanks so much for the pictures!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Phriday Phone Photos #3

Annie had so much fun playing with the presents under the tree
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Love those blue eyes!
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The door stop is one of her favorite "toys"
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Baby on the move
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Nalgene bottle, another favorite "toy"
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Playing with real toys
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New Year's Day good luck meal: corn bread and black eye peas simmered with a ham hock. Annie loved them, too.
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The latest in footwear. Hey, be glad I didn't post a picture of what my toe looked like under all that. Way back in June I stubbed my toe. It kept bothering me and bothering me (I haven't been able to wear cute shoes since JUNE!) so I finally went to the doctor the end of August. Since then I've had seven doctor appointments and am currently on my sixth round of antibiotics trying to clear up a staph infection. This week the doctor pulled my nail off. It is supposed to take six months for a new nail to grow in, if it does grow back. Argh. How was it I made it through 19 years of dancing without ever seriously injuring my feet and now one stubbed toe has me wearing flip-flops in January?! 'k, through venting now.
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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Keeping Gifts Under Control

It would have been really easy for us to go overboard with Christmas. Some of you probably think we did. :) Gift-giving at Christmas is a big deal to both sides of our families, and while we wanted to keep that tradition up with Annie, we also wanted to keep it under control (to some extent, anyway). Especially since we plan on having a larger than average family. Wise friends of ours with four kids told us their kids get four gifts: a want, a need, something for spiritual growth, and something educational. We took their idea and ran with it. A gift for each part of the person: physical (want), emotional (need), spiritual, and mental (educational). Of course, at ten months old, what could Annie really want or need? Mama and Daddy chose for her.

Want: Activity Cube
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Need: Nightlight
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Spiritual: Books
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Educational: Alphabet blocks
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And Santa Claus filled her stocking with a doll, apple puffs, books, a play phone, and a sock monkey.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas

Christmas morning began with the Gent reading the Christmas Story. The dogs helped.
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Santa Claus came. Twice! Here is Santa Papaw.
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And Santa Rick!
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Nana and Papaw
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Sparkly gift bags!!!
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Learning how to open presents
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Poppa
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Helping Daddy
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Bebe
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Tyler
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Annie with her new raincoat and boots, so cute!
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Papa Rick helping Annie figure out her new toys
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More family arrived in time for brunch. The men all congregated in the family room. I think they were watching basketball.
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Poppa cooked the bacon, his specialty. Honey supervised.
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Happy Christmas treats to the doggies, too!
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Annie, Daddy, and Tripp
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Hannah and Will
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Mama Rita and Papa Gene
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Christmas dinner
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When all our company left Christmas evening, the Gent dove into his new books.
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Our family
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