Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I Did It!

Today is the last day of 2013. And today, I finished something I started on January 1st. I actually finished it. I finished something I started.

I started this on January 1 and I didn't really tell anyone about it, because, let's be honest, I rarely complete a task of this nature. I didn't want to tell people and then somewhere mid-April start to slack off and then have the embarrassing moment of admitting that, once again, you failed.

So, today, December 31 is the day that I'm finally able to tell you what I've been doing all year!

In the year 2013, I can now honestly say for the first time in my life that I have read the Holy Bible in its entirety.

I've never done that. I've gone to church my whole life and owned a Bible my whole life. I've read all of the New Testament and I've read probably 60% of the Old Testament. But only in bits and pieces here and there. And I always skipped the boring parts. And I've never read Habakkuk and Haggai and Amos and all those Minor Prophets.

Here's how it came about: My church provides a yearly devotional each year. In 2013, we did the "Read for Today" plan. Each day is assigned a chapter of Psalms, a chapter of Proverbs, a reading of the Old Testament and a reading of the New Testament. You actually end up reading the New Testament twice over the course of the year, and the Old Testament only once. Today, I completed the book of Malachi which was the last part of my year-long reading plan.

Here's how I broke it down:

I downloaded the PDF from the church website and printed it out. I also downloaded a diary app onto my laptop. Every day I would open a new diary entry and type out what I would be reading that day. After I read the daily reading, I would type out my daily prayers. This has been incredibly beneficial for me because a) I get distracted when praying so typing them out helped me to focus more and b) I can go back and read and see how I've grown this year and how God has answered SO MANY of my prayers. It's really quite remarkable.

I need to come clean about a few things.

1. I missed a lot of days. We would be out of town or busy or it might be a holiday or whatever so if I failed to read on Tuesday, I would just read the Tuesday AND Wednesday readings the next day. It kept me on top of it though because there was a time in July where I missed 5 or 6 days and I ended up reading for a loooong time to make up for the days I missed.

2. It wasn't always fun. There were days that it was definitely a chore.

3. I did this during Ellie's nap time everyday. If she didn't nap, I don't know that this would've happened. Honestly, the fact that I was disciplined enough to do this for an entire year is an act of God. Seriously. I am SUCH an undisciplined person so this is pretty crazy for me.

4. It got really hard towards the end. The end of a calendar year brings about so many stressors and calendar events and travel plans and it was really hard to finish strong.

5. (This is one point I want to be super clear about) I still don't understand everything. There was stuff that I read that was just in one ear and out the other, so to speak. I am not a Biblical scholar or a theologian and a lot of this is just a foreign language to me. I looked up a lot of things online and some stuff was just way over my head. However, I can say that after reading the entire thing... so much of the content makes more sense to me now. Reading the Old Testament made certain things in the New Testament more understandable. Also, one thing is for sure, God knows what He is doing. He has a plan and He sticks to it. He's always right. And we make a lot of stupid, dumb mistakes because we think He is wrong. He proves Himself time and time again. If only I would trust Him....

I'm so glad I did it. I learned a lot. I have been a Christian since childhood and there are still new things that I am learning to this very day.There is more I want to learn. I am in awe of how the prophecies in the Old Testament came true in the New Testament. I feel like this journey, both the reading of the Bible as well as my daily prayer time, made me more aware of the majesty and power of God. And the timelessness of Him. The God of Adam, the God of Abraham, the God of Esther, the God of David, the God of Isaiah, the God of Daniel, the God of Mary, the God of Jesus, the God of Peter, the God of Paul, the God of John... IT WAS ALL THE SAME GOD. And the God that I pray to? The God that I praise? The God that I ask for help and mercy and forgiveness and blessings? It's the same God. He was the same then as He is now. Powerful. Merciful. Loving. True.

Monday, December 30, 2013

7 Years

We have been married 2,555 days. 
We've lived in 2 apartments.
1 house.
We've had 4 different cars.
We've had one baby.
One dog.
We've been to Disney World.
We've been to New York City.
We've been to San Diego.
We've been to marriage counseling.
We've had job changes.
Career changes.
Deaths in the family.
Drama in the family.
Healing in the family.
We've had fights.
We've made up.
We've laughed, HARD.
We've had many, many road trips.
We've had a couple hundred Sunday mornings seated next to each other at church.
Fun date nights.
Spontaneous lunch dates.
We've had a wonderful, full 7 years.
And I can't wait to see what God has in store for all the years to come.
I love this man of mine. He makes everything better.
Happy Anniversary, Grantley.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Merry Christmas, 1 Day Late

We had a wonderful Christmas.

We woke up and celebrated in our little living room with our little girl.

She got a red wagon. And some books. And some blocks. She did a lot of smiling and clapping. My sweet husband blessed me with jewelry and some new cowgirl boots. Then we drove over and spent the day at my parents' house. We ate mashed potatoes and Ellie got a stroller with a baby and some Bubble Guppies toys. You know how she loves the Bubble Guppies. 

Grant spent the day in the driveway playing Ladder Ball with my brother-in-law. I got some super cute tops and jewelry and my family is awesome. 

The best part of all of it? The reason for Christmas. Because God gave us the perfect gift - Emmanuel, God with Us. He is Wonderful, Counselor, the Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Merry Christmas from us.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Eve Eve

It's December 23rd.

I still have three presents to buy. Three. Thankfully, I THINK I can find them all in one store, (praying) so I won't have to stay out too long in this Christmas madness. Three gifts, and then I'm done. 

I'm about 40% done with wrapping so I've got to get on top of that too. We were supposed to go to New Orleans on Friday and then get back in town Sunday night. However, Thursday night I had a 101 degree fever  (I KNOW. I DON'T KNOW WHY THIS KEEPS HAPPENING) so we had to cancel the whole gosh darn thing. We'll go spend Christmas in New Orleans in January. I think we all need a little more time for us to put all this sickness to rest and not be spreadin' our sicky germs all over God's green Earth! 

(Side note: yesterday, three little red bumps popped up on Ellie's neck and shoulder. I about lost my mind. I was like "IF THIS IS THE CHICKEN POX SO HELP ME LORD" but thankfully it was just bug bites. I can't handle another illness. Can. Not.)

I'm so excited about this week and about all the family that we will see.  So many grandparents, cousins, nieces, nephews... it's going to be a blast. 

Saturday night Lindsee came over and we all hopped in the car and drove around River Oaks looking at Christmas lights. River Oaks is a fancy neighborhood in the Houston area filled with multi-million dollar homes and some of them put on quite a Christmas display. We had way too much fun. I might have hopped out of the car at one point to claim one of the houses as my own. Plus, they had chairs in their yard so it was as if they were inviting me to sit down.

I'm so thankful no one had me arrested.

Then we saw this beautiful home. I jokingly put it on Facebook and Instagram and captioned it "Merry Christmas from our home to yours!"

A few people didn't know I was joking. Um, no. I do not live there. Can you imagine?! 

Grant was our in-car DJ and Lindsee made requests throughout the drive. We somehow ended up on a Katy Perry marathon where it was established that she is Ellie's favorite singer. "Roar" is totally her jam and she sings along with the chorus. She also throws in some pretty awesome arm movements. 

Then Lindsee spent the night with us and that always makes my heart very, very happy. 

This week we are laying low and trying not to get sick before our family time which starts TOMORROW! It's Christmas Eve Eve, y'all. Get out your maternity pants.... the EATING IS ABOUT TO BEGIN.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Celebration Hangover

"You've got to get yourself together, Jenny."

I am saying this to myself several times a day.

I was honored to be a part of Celebration at our church - the big Christmas show. We had 7 performances and I am exhausted. I wore (mandatory) bright red lipstick every night and the green glitter from my top will be with me for decades to come. It's everywhere. But I had a blast. It was a blessing to be a part of but I am just not functioning now that it's over.

Exhibit A: Yesterday morning, our whole family slept till 9am. Even Ellie, bless her darlin' heart.

Exhibit B: This morning I went to the grocery store and I purchased a Diet Coke in the check-out lane. I left it there on the counter. Just drove off without it... I was halfway home and realized I still needed that Diet Coke.

Exhibit C: This evening, Grant and I were leaving the house to bring a meal to some friends that recently had a baby. I could. not. find. my. keys. anywhere. Tore the house upside down. Grant found them in the trunk of my car. And the car was unlocked.

(Keep in mind that it wasn't even 2 weeks ago that I got a knock on the front door from a very kind police officer who was asking if everything was okay. Apparently I had unloaded the groceries from my car and taken them inside and failed to close any of my car doors. Hi, robbers, please come take whatever you would like from this vehicle.)

Exhibit D: While cleaning the kitchen tonight, Grant pulled a fully toasted waffle out of the toaster. I put that in there around 8:15am this morning. Never got it out.

So, yeah, I'm a hot mess.

This week is dedicated to finishing the Christmas shopping and getting started on all the wrapping. Hoping I don't forget to label the gifts or anything like that, but at this point I don't trust myself to do anything correctly.

Monday, December 9, 2013

That Time I Put on MakeUp and Did My Hair

It's been over a week. Over a week of a sick child. And during that week, we've mainly stayed home. We've gone to a doctor appointment twice, to my parent's house once, and to Texas Children's once for a chest x-ray. Otherwise, we've been here. We've essentially been in our pajamas for a week.

I've not been getting ready each morning. My "Mommy of a Sick Kid" uniform seems to be no make-up, hair in a pony tail, long sleeved shirt, sweatshirt, jeans, and moccasins. I'm the picture of beauty and having it all together.

This morning, Ellie woke up at 8am. She had been sleeping since 7:15pm the night before. She never woke up once and didn't have one single coughing fit the whole night. Then, after she woke up, she ate a decent amount of her breakfast. Not all of it, but more than the 3 bites she's been having for all of her other meals this week. Between the good night's sleep and the fact that she ate half of a waffle and a handful of blueberries, this made me feel like I could climb every mountain.

I practically twirled into my bathroom where I showered, blow-dried my hair, put on makeup, put on nice clothes.... I even took Ellie out of her pajamas. I just couldn't take it anymore. We had to pick up and move on with our lives.

Today went well. She is still congested and has a bad cough. However, she ate about half of each of her meals and she had tons of personality and spunk today - more than I've seen her have in a whole week. Hoping she's closer to 100% tomorrow!

The maid came today so my house is clean, I made dinner and now I'm blogging while getting ready to watch The Sing-Off while my husband sleeps next to me on the couch. I am declaring with full confidence that this week will be... it HAS TO BE better than last week. 


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Princess Sicky Pants

People. My baby is sick.

It's just a bad cold... I took her to the pediatrician yesterday. She said there is no infection, "but she does feel very, very badly."

She has been running a fever for 2 days and coughing more than I can handle. The congestion is awful and she can hardly sleep. She doesn't nap, doesn't want to eat much, and Grant and I take turns throughout the night letting her sleep on our chest since she sleeps best when she is upright.

We've been using Motrin for the fevers, Vicks for the cough, elevating her mattress, the humidifier is going all night long... it's been an all-day song and dance. I'm praying she wakes up tomorrow back to her old self.

Cause this pitiful face is almost more than I can bear.

It's been a long few days. And Houston is about to get ridiculously cold (at least for us Houstonians who rarely see temps over 85 degrees) so we are going to be cooped up for awhile. All I want for Christmas is for all of us to be healthy.

The hard thing is.. this has been quite the season of sickness in this family. Grant and I have both been on antibiotics in the last month. Ellie and I have both had some bad stomach issues. We've been cooped up in the house a lot. I've had to cancel on many of my commitments and we haven't been around people very much. We don't want to get our friends and family sick. Plus, no one wants to hang out with the sick people! Unfortunately, the illness and staying at home has made me a little down in the dumps.

I know we are doing exactly what needs to be done. I am staying at home with my girl, helping her to get well. I need to cancel on some things because I need to be here with my daughter and do all I can to help her get well. At the same time, I have felt isolated and like the walls are closing in on me. On top of that, Ellie has been super clingy in her sickness and it's made it very hard for me to be productive and get anything done. I feel like I am lagging in all of my responsibilities and I am not on top of everything. I add things to my to-do list rather than scratch things off. It's just been a hard season.

All this to say, I am very glad the Christmas season is upon us and I am praying that I can "fill my cup" with all the family time and fun parties. I need to see my people!

Hoping tomorrow we start to see some improvement!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving in New Orleans 2013

We really had such a great weekend in New Orleans for Thanksgiving. We had 14 people under one roof, 7 of those people being children. But it was so much fun and there was just a lot of togetherness and a lot of food and that's pretty much all I need in life.

We have a very long drive to and from New Orleans. Ellie is getting older and getting more and more bored with this drive. We finally purchased a DVD player for her in the car and a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVD. She didn't notice the screen there for most of the drive, so when we were at the Texas/Louisiana border and I reached back and turned the screen on, she lost her mind. She was squealing, flapping her arms, waving to Mickey and saying "HI!" I think it's pretty safe to say we won't be traveling without this anymore. Especially for these long, long car rides.

On the way, we stopped at Cracker Barrel where Ellie once again made it clear to us that she wants nothing to do with any kind of vegetable. But doesn't she look so cute in her turkey shirt?!


We got there pretty late, but she was a happy girl that next morning when her Baba made her some french toast. Happy Thanksgiving indeed!

Here we all are as a family for Thanksgiving meal. Unfortunately, Grant has a blue heron attacking his head.

This Matilda Jane outfit was killing me. I mean, really. Just the cutest.

 And this is what Grant chose to do with his day-after-Thanksgiving. 

 I stayed inside, where it was warm. And there was television. And I didn't have to touch gross monster fish.

So we drove to New Orleans in a turkey shirt. And we drove home in a Christmas tree shirt. Because it was December 1. Time to kick off the season!

Here we are at a Dairy Queen.

 I feel like it is kind of a requirement that I mention that while we were at this Dairy Queen, we saw a man feeding a chocolate ice cream cone to a ferret. You just can't make this stuff up, y'all.

In summary, we had a great Thanksgiving. We are thankful for family, all the kiddos, mashed potatoes, the Lord's faithful provision, chocolate cream pie, our precious daughter, safe travels, the DVD player, Grant's job, and getting home. 

Let the Christmas decorating begin!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Remember Remember the 1st of December

December 1, y'all.

How are we already here?

I don't know. But I'm just glad because I sure do love the month of December. It's crazy and busy and out of control but I love it and I can't wait for it to commence.

We just got home from New Orleans where we were visiting family for Thanksgiving. The drive home was a bit brutal but I am thankful that we all got home safely. And Grant cooked dinner when we got home and Ellie went straight to sleep and it was just a lovely lovely evening.

I will do a full Thanksgiving post when I have some ounce of energy to upload pictures and come up with a blog post that has some semblance of coherent thought.

In the meantime, I will have you know that this household has no paper towels. No, not one. I'm not quite sure how that happened. And our dog has no remaining dog food. We fed him table food for dinner. So tomorrow's to do list includes a trip to the grocery store. And way too many loads of laundry. Which I will probably leave sitting in the dryer for the foreseeable future.