Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Traditions # 4

#4 Advent

The word Advent means "coming" or "arrival." The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. 

In our home, the Advent wreath was placed on the dining table and the candles lighted at meals, with Scripture readings preceding the lighting of the candles, especially on Sunday. A new candle is lighted each Sunday during the four weeks, and then the same candles are lighted each meal during the week. It provided the opportunity for family devotion and prayer together, and helped to teach the kids about the "reason for the season".  The kids where involved by lighting the candles, reading scriptures and saying prayers.

This is by far my favorite "tradition".  It really helps me to focus on the true meaning of Christmas and helps our family to focus on the reality of Jesus' birth and second coming.  

"For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas, my friends!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Traditions #3

# 3  Baking With Momma

My kids LOVE to cook.  Especially my boys!  Every year, I make these AMAZING peanut butter cookies, with Hersey's kisses in the middle.  You've had them....they are little pieces of heaven.
ANYWAY.....it is the boys job to unwrap the little kisses.

When I was young, it was always my job to do that.  I remember being at my Grandma Mae's house and she would always let me have that important job. She'd always say, "Now, Julie, make sure that you don't eat TOO many.  We need them for the cookies!!"  I wonder how many actually got used on the cookies!

Then, after they where done, we'd eat one, with a cold glass of milk.

It's only fitting that I pass on the tradition to my boys!  

It's moments like these that I treasure.


Friday, December 21, 2012

We Are All Connected

A kind word.  A simple gesture.  We are all connected.
Take a moment to look around you.  
Whose life will you touch today?


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Traditions #2

# 2  Summer Sausage!!!!!

Every year, we make the short trek up north to Wisconsin to pick up summer sausage.  We LOVE eating this YUMMY sausage over the holiday.  Served with homemade cheeseball, is the PERFECT treat while playing games, watching Christmas shows or midnight snack. 

The sausage comes MITT or MITTOUT, which means with garlic or without garlic.
We get both.  My favorite is without garlic.  

I love the charming, unique character of this little family business.

What do you like to eat during the holidays?


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Traditions #1

In preparation and celebration of the Christmas season,
our family has some really cool family traditions.
So, for the next several posts, I will be sharing these with you.

#1  Christmas Ornaments

Every year, we buy the kids each a new Christmas ornament.  This was a fun tradition with John's family and when we had kids, we decided that we would continue it with our kiddos.  That way, when the kids get older and move out, they have Christmas ornaments for their own tree.

This is Lil' John's snowman.  The smile on this
little guy reminded us of Lil' John's smile!!  

This is Grace's sock monkey.  You see, Grace is crazy about sock monkeys.
 She loves them.  If it's a sock monkey, that girl wants it! :-)

This is Jeff's star.  He is a bright, shining star  in our family.  His energy and
 love makes this Momma's heart shine.

What are some of your family traditions around the holidays?


Thursday, November 29, 2012

#29 Big

When did they get so BIG?!

This song says it all.

I am going to make the most of the time I have with my precious kids!


#28 Vehicle

My van hit 100,000.
I celebrated the occasion by taking a picture 
and putting gas in her.
Wow!  Yep, I am that nerdy. :-)


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

#27 Tree

This ornament hangs on our Christmas tree every year!

It was given to us by one of my best friends.
She and her family are so important to us.
I love this adorable ornament.

But, more than that, I love you, Cindy! 


#26 In My Cupboard

Just thought you'd want to see what's in my cupboard.


I love Nutella.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

#25 The Sky

One Stormy Day at Starbucks

Storms come into our lives.  We can't always control them.  But how we handle the storms matter.  Remember, there can't be a rainbow without a little rain.

I am thankful for the storms.


#24 Something I Listened To

Today, I listened to my Lil' John tell me about a BIG risk that he took in church.  
Here's how the story went:

"Hey, Mom.  Guess what I did today in church.  I told my friends in my class that I have Autism.  I told them my life story. About how you and Dad knew that something was "different" about me....about how I wasn't talking or walking.  I told them about how you had to go to a lot of doctors and how I had a lot of tests.  I also told them about how I get lots of therapy, to help me to be able to handle situations.  And that I sometimes act weird but that I do the best I can.  I was scared to share my story at first but I just decided that I should share.  And do you know what the best part is?  My story was relevant to the story that we were talking about in church.  Do you know what the story was about, Mom?  It was about how we were all made special and different.  That God created me exactly how he wanted me.  And that's ok."

Wow.  I am inspired by my son's bravery.  He teaches me something every day.


Friday, November 23, 2012

#23 Black

I went shopping with my hubby on Black Friday.
Yep, we were lined up at Old Navy at 10 pm
on Thanksgiving night.

John and I had a great time and we got some great deals!

Like this BLACK top for $3!  :-)

Best part of BLACK FRIDAY?

Spending time with my hubby!

I love you, John!


# 22 Thankful

This year, I am thankful for SO much.

We made a Thankful Wall in the dining room.  The kids each created drawings 
of what they where thankful for.  This was mine.

I am thankful for family.
I am thankful that I got to have some "face to face" time with
my parents, my brothers, and my sisters.

I am thankful for my chosen family.
Each person on this sign has touched my life profoundly this year.

I am thankful.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

#21 Something I Wear

I wear this bracelet, every day, in honor of my dear friend, Jamie, 
who lost her battle to cancer in April of this year.  
She was an amazing wife, mother, friend and warrior. 
She touched so many lives and her legacy lives on in her children.

I miss her terribly but I take comfort in knowing I will see her again one day!


#20 Work!

Spreading a little love at work!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

#19 Something AWESOME!

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:
"What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” 
― C.S. Lewis

"The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend.” 
― Henry David Thoreau

"Friends are family we choose for ourselves."
-Edna Buchanan

My friends. I am blessed to walk this journey with these beautiful ladies.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

#18 This Weekend

This weekend, John winterized the bike and put it away for the season.
It is always disappointing when the bike has to be put away.
That means that cold weather is here.
That means snow is coming.
And, it reminds me that there are seasons in life.
No season lasts forever.
And where we are now, is only for a season.

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven."


Saturday, November 17, 2012

#17 Something I Bought

After I took Grace to her dance yesterday,
I took the boys to McDonald's for ice cream cones.
They LOVED them.

I am extremely thankful to be able to have my family and
to be able to take them for simple treats....
like ice cream cones.


Friday, November 16, 2012

#16 The View From My Window

This was the view from my van window tonight.
Carl Sandburg Middle School.
Where I dropped off my 6th grade daughter, Grace,
for a dance.
And a "date". Wow.

See, Grace has liked this boy since they were in Kindergarten.
She has been wanting to ask him to a dance.
So, today, she did it. 
She said she was scared but then she just got BRAVE and did it.
And, guess what?  He said YES!

And, they had a great time.

WOW!  I am so proud of my girl for speaking up and using her voice!

Now, I am still not sure about this whole growing up thing....


Thursday, November 15, 2012

#15 In My Bag

So, I was SUPPOSED to show you INSIDE my bag.  

Ya, right.  :-)  But I will show you my bag!  I love this bag!  

I love the pins on my bag. 

Every girl needs an awesome bag! 


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

#14 Man Made

These clouds are man made! :-)  
My friend, Nicole & I, were on a road trip to see Mumford & Sons
on the Gentleman of the Road Tour in Dixon, IL.
Yes, we pulled off the side of the road to take this picture.
Yep.  That's how we roll.

And, yes.  I love Mumford & Sons.  Now you know. :-)


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

#13 Where I Sleep

This is my pillow.
I love it.
I love to sleep.

Gotta get up WAY TOO early tomorrow.
Now, I'm off to bed.


Monday, November 12, 2012

#12 Drink!

I love Coca Cola.
Always have.
Always will.

Coke is a "sometimes" drink for me.
Today was a Coke kind of day.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

#11 Night

This was the view from my door, sometime very early this morning.
Don't even ask why I was up this early.
But, the sun came up and it was a beautiful day.

It's good to know that everyday is a brand new start.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

#10 Something I Can't Live Without

These people are my life.
I am so thankful that I am able to watch them grow.
I don't know where I would be without them.

I love you, John.
I love you, Grace, John & Jeff.
Treasure the ones you love.


Friday, November 9, 2012

#9 Small...

His hands are small,
but they won't always be that way.
So, I will treasure the time I have,
while his hands are still small.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

# 8 Something I Do Every Day

It's not glamorous,

but I do laundry.....

Every day.

How often do you do laundry?


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

# 7 Reflection


Reflecting on a tough day.

Reflecting on my relationships.

Reflecting on forgiveness.

Reflecting on CELEBRATING!!!!

Reflecting on getting all dressed up and getting to spend
 the evening with great friends,
celebrating a wonderful organization,
Autism Speaks, Chicago.

Reflections can tell you a lot, if you are willing to listen and learn.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

# 6 Two of My Favorite Things

I have lots of things that are my favorite things.
Today, I chose...

Flowers.  I love flowers.  

Oh, and this is one of my all time favorite songs, written by my good friend, David Paige.  Check him out on Facebook at David Paige and the Skyline.

What is one of YOUR favorite things?


Monday, November 5, 2012

# 5 5:00 AM!!!!!!

Look who was up at 5:00 am today.  

My precious little boy.
Who is incredibly cute.
Who is incredibly loving.
Even at 5:00 am.  

I love this kid!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

# 4 TV

Jimmy Neutron?!

Watching early, early (did I say EARLY....like 4:50 am) TV with the boys.
Curse daylight savings time!
Well, at least I got some cuddle time with my favorite boys! :-)

Happy Sunday!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

# 3: Breakfast!!!


Today, I had to be at work at 5 am to open SBux,
 so I got my breakfast on my first break.  
A cup of coffee and perfect oatmeal...very delicious!  

What did YOU have for breakfast?

Have a lovely evening!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Day # 2: Color!

I love color!  Lots of color!  Especially teal! 
 I was totally surprised when a sweet friend brought me
this beautiful, teal scarf today!
 I love it!  It totally made my day!

I love you, sweet friend!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

November: A Picture A Day

Hello, friends!  For the month of November, I will be posting one picture per day!  
I hope that you'll check back often.  I have LOTS to share with you!!!

Day 1:  Something beginning with the letter C

Starbucks Holiday CUP!  :-)

My favorite holiday drink is the Pumpkin Spice Latte! Yum!  What's yours?

Happy November, my friends!  Make today great!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Does It Matter?

I got this little picture from a friend today and I just had to share it with you.

This was the PERFECT reminder for me today, that every single thing I do matters.  No matter how small.  No matter how mundane.  No matter how unimportant the tasks seem.  Do you ever feel that way?  I know I do.

For me, it's realizing that every single little thing I do has an impact on the lives of my children and my family. If I'm grumpy, my family is.  If I'm sad, my family is.  If I'm pissed because I have to pick up dirty underwear....again...., my family sees that attitude.  They are watching.  They see my attitude and how I chose to handle the "every day, mundane" tasks.  They are learning.  So, I need to be the best example I can be.

NOPE....I'm not always going to do it well.  I am not perfect and I will NEVER be.  But, I am not called to be perfect.  I am called to love these precious gifts that have been entrusted to me, with all of my heart. 

Mothering is an important job.  And it matters. 


Monday, October 15, 2012

I'm Gonna Miss This

On Saturday, I took my kids to the pumpkin farm.  It was cold and rainy but we decided to go anyway!  Who knows....maybe the weather would improve.  I packed the kids up and we headed to McHenry to the farm.  After a detour (or two), we arrived at the pumpkin farm.  At this point, it wasn't raining so I had hope that the weather would improve.

Before leaving the van, we went over the standard rules....don't run away.  Be a good listener.  Stay together.  And above all....have fun!

After that, we were off to explore!  We did SO much!  Take a peek!

Lil' John loved the slide, even though his butt got wet! :-)
So did Jeff!


You can get them, Grace!

Feeding the goats!

Mom, can we get a goat?

Jeff was talking to the turkeys!  They talked back to him! 

Lil' John was trying to get them to fly!

Then, we decided to hit the corn maze.  Lil' John said, "Mom, do you have your cellphone, just in case we get lost?" :)  I assured him we did and we headed out, with our list of questions that we needed to find answers to, so that we could get a free pumpkin. (There were 16.)

We were doing great!  Finding answers and having fun...then it started to rain.  It started as a light drizzle, then it just downpoured.  At this point, I was ready to stop.  I said, "Kids, I will buy you each a pumpkin.  Let's just go get dry."  But Jeff said, "Mom, we haven't finished the adventure, yet.  We can't give up now!"  How could I argue with that?!  So, we kept going.  It kept raining....harder.  Finally, we found the exit but we only had 14 out of 16 answers.  Jeff was SURE that we should keep looking.  The kind people running the maze took pity on us and gave us each a pumpkin, for enduring the rain!  :-)

We warmed up with some hot cocoa and apple cider and then we set out to shoot some corn out of guns!  Super fun!!

Mom, I want one of these! :-)

The rain never really stopped and after another hour and a half, we headed for home.

As I was driving home, I was thinking about how wonderful the day was and how much I enjoyed being with my kids.  Then it hit me.  I am gonna miss this.  

There will come a point where my kids won't want to go to the pumpkin farm with me. They won't let me take their picture. They won't want to eat McDonald's and play board games with me.  They will be off to dances and games and "hanging out with friends" and "hanging out with Mom won't be fun!" And, I realized, I'm going to miss this.

Yes, my kids drive me CRAZY sometimes.  The boys behavior pushes me close to the edge. And, I could do without all the tween drama.  But it's in those moments, where I step back, look in, and remind myself that I'm gonna miss this.
My three beautiful pumpkins!