Dear Tooth Fairy...

Caitlyn lost her seventh tooth the other night.  This is what she left under her pillow, along with some gifts...

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She's not the best at spelling, but we don't care.  Man, I love this girl. 

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Monday, Monday

I have recently changed my feelings on Mondays.  I love Mondays.  It is my favorite day of the school week.  The only thing that would make it better would be if Kevin were home with us, too.  On Mondays we wake up, take our time having breakfast, have our devotion and start schoolwork.  We have lunch around 12:30 and usually take a break watching some kind of fun educational video (today was Disney Imagineering on Energy) or play music or an audiobook.  Then we start back up again and finish whenever we get through everything, mixing our chores in all the while. We don't have to be anywhere at any particular time.  We don't rush around the house.

Today was one of the best Mondays I can remember.  We got all of our work done, all of our chores done, the house isn't a wreck, we had some good conversations, we spent hours just reading together, the kids even got to play some video games and I got some down time in the mix.  I got to snuggle in bed with each of the kids and even get to play tooth fairy tonight.

Kevin's even out of town and Caleb helped out a ton.  He put away the dishes and re-loaded it for me, took out all of the trash - even to the curb, and took time to do something nice for both of his siblings.  This evening he said he's not feeling great, so we're praying he's not got some kind of bug.

Not perfect, but really good.  Really, really good.  I am blessed and I am thankful.  I love my children so very much.  They are so precious.  We miss their daddy today but, all in all, a wonderful day.

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Most certainly flattered

Encouragement sometimes comes from the most unexpected places. What seems to me as completely out of the blue, I received an email from my previous boss. (I would say old boss, but I don't want to imply that he's old!) I really enjoyed my job. I was partly in my comfort zone, partly challenged. I loved meeting with students to help them work through schedules, career choices and courses of study. I think maybe I really helped some of them use critical thinking to work through some things. I was, and still am, very fond of my boss who treated me with respect and kindness. I wouldn't have been "qualified" for the job in other colleges or schools within the university, but they weren't looking for typical qualifications.

When I got pregnant, I strode into my boss' office to let him know that I'd be leaving once the baby came. He said ok at first and then, as we talked more and more over the following weeks, he asked me to stay part time after the baby came and I agreed. I loved my work but couldn't do things both at home and work to the best of my abilities while juggling them both. I know some women can, but I couldn't give my all to both. So I stayed on and agreed to leave once someone was hired and trained. This was 9 years ago.

Anyway, back to the email. It was simple and sweet. He asked me to call "so that you can say no. But I'd like to make it very hard to say no." We spoke the next day and basically would like me to consider coming back. We talked through some options and he knew the whole while what my answer would be. He even said that it was okay to say no because I couldn't break his heart any more than I did nine years ago when I left. How sweet and flattering is that.

I think he knew my answer before I did. For a short time, I honestly was thinking it over and imagining myself back at work. I could almost feel the sense of accomplishment that I've missed for so long. And I'd love to do it, I really would. But I want to be available for my children all the time. I don't ever want to have to put their needs aside because of a job. And while I know this would be flexible and we'd make it work, I'd rather be as available as possible for field trips, meetings, substitute teaching, not to mention taking care of all of my responsibilities keeping our home and family running well. And then I realized how grateful I need to be in the fact that I don't have to take a job, even when it is presented to me when I am not pursuing it. How blessed am I to be able to stay home without it being a huge sacrifice. To be able to be really involved in my children's education, in their school and to be available for church, volunteering and to travel with my husband whenever possible. I am blessed beyond measure.

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Date with my baby

On Monday, Cameron had a pretty good stuffy nose with some yellow gunk.  Yes, tasty, I know.  I was talking to him about the possibility that we would keep him home on Tuesday and he smiled.  On Tuesday morning, however, he seemed ok and I was ready to send him to school when he quickly climbed into bed with me and snuggled up under my arm, telling me that he wanted to stay home with me.  Uh, how do you argue with that?

So we snuggled in bed for most of the morning and then I took him to lunch.  It was sweet - he says, "Mommy, I told you what I wanted for breakfast, so you can pick lunch.  Ah!  I love him.

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Sigh of relief

I often joke that "the talk" is so far off for Caleb (even though I know it's really not) and that it's Caitlyn that we have to worry about. Here's just a case in point. On Sunday, our pastor was talking about God's will in our lives and made a statement to the effect that, in all likelihood the path that we're pursuing is in God's will - unless it's working in the pornography industry or recruiting for Ole Miss football. Caleb looked at me with a very puzzled expression and began to ask a question. I simply told him, "We'll talk about it later." Once we got outside Caleb, who was noshing pretty good on his post-church muffin, said, "Mom, there was something I wasn't sure about in the service." I braced myself for the possibility of having to explain what pornography was when he asked, "Mom, why was he talking about Ole Miss football?" Sigh of relief. "Well, Pastor Rob is from Mississippi State and feels toward Ole Miss what we feel toward Florida State. We'd probably joke that people promoting Florida State aren't working for God's glory either."

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Happy Anniversary to us!

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It's official!  We have a teenager.  A teenage marriage, that is.  Thirteen years.  How does time manage to be so strange - seems like just yesterday, but I can't seem to really remember a time when we weren't married. 

Kevin and I had a wonderful anniversary getaway.  It was honestly the best anniversary I can remember us celebrating in a number of years.  Mom and Dad graciously took the kids from Fri-Sun.  We drove down to Orlando to help my mom with some things at the house and to check on her.  Once we finished, we changed at Mom's house and headed out to dinner at Chatham's Place.  Kevin said he had cross-referenced a number of lists - best steaks, most romantic restaurants, Zagat ratings, Yelp, etc. and he eventually settled on this place.  It reminded me of an older styled Italian restaurant.  Dark wood, burgundy and deep green, lots of wine bottles everywhere, men who have worked at the restaurant for 10-20 years.  The food was delicious!

We went from dinner to our hotel.  Kevin had used some points to get us a room at the Waldorf in Orlando and because of our (Kevin's) status, we got an unsolicited upgrade to a Disney facing room- and we actually saw fireworks from our window.  Later we went to the bar/lounge to have drinks and just relax. 

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We slept in the next day and then went to Disney.  We managed to hit three parks without feeling rushed or anything.  Strangely enough, we realized that it was our first time going with just the two of us.  We went to EPCOT to eat our way around the World Showcase.  After a quick stop at Test Track (I never get to go because I'm typically staying behind with Cameron), we started at Mexico and made our way to Canada within about two hours.  I have to admit, I wasn't as impressed as I thought I'd be but I think that's because the last time we at at EPCOT was during the Food and Wine Festival.  Our favorite of the day was the fish and chips, which might have been the best ones we've had since we were in London.

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A fun surprise came at the United States pavilion where an older gentleman wished us a Happy Anniversary (we were wearing our buttons) and told us to go over to a box in the corner of the room and dial a particular number.  On the line we heard Mickey wish us a Happy Anniversary.  Seriously, we love Disney's little touches.  Then he gave us a certificate to commemorate the day.

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We left EPCOT to head over to Hollywood Studios for a quick ride on Toy Story! Mania.  Alas, the wait was 3 hours (which meant more like 90 or so) and having offered to ride one roller coaster that weekend, I was actually a little disappointed to find out that the wait for the Aerosmith roller coaster was about the same.  We ended up in the animation studio area for the class on how to draw a character.  It was nice because we had never done it before and it was something we wanted to check out before taking the kids in.

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We left the park and headed back to the hotel while trying to find out where we'd like to go to dinner.  We didn't have any luck at the park restaurants so we thought we'd check Celebration when we realized that there was a Columbia Restaurant there and we decided that was really the only option for us!  We love it.  We ate at the one in St. Augustine while searching for a bed & breakfast to stay at for our honeymoon, again on our honeymoon and subsequent anniversary trips.  We tried things from the menu that we hadn't had before and supplemented it with the famous 1905 salad.  Our waiter, who had really been terrible, redeemed himself by bringing us complementary flan and a musician to serenade us.

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After dinner, we went to Magic Kingdom to catch the fireworks, projection show, a couple of rides and to see the man who works with glass.  We watched him work on a castle and a glass slipper for about 45 minutes.  I've always loved watching people work with glass.  I miss when they used to have a glass-blower at the Italy pavilion in Epcot.

Sunday was sleeping in, breakfast buffet (complete with honey dripping from a honeycomb, prosciutto, omelet bar and the works), walking around the resort, a corn hole match, and then a trip to IKEA.  Because what trip to Orlando is complete without a trip to IKEA?

Thankful for my husband.  Beyond thankful.  And I'm thankful for 48 hours of blissful time celebrating with him.  There are times you need a getaway and this was one of those times for us.  I'm so thankful!

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New year, new beginnings

We had a fun evening last night with friends - pizza party, silly string fight, fire, s'mores, fireworks, dance party, flashlight tag, sparkling cider and bellinis, more fireworks, Face Time with family and celebrating the dawn of a new year.  No pictures for now, but I'm not going to let that stop me from reflecting on it. 

As my eyes opened this morning, the rain tried to lure me back to bed, but I got up anyway.  At 9:45!  Okay, so that's not shocking, but what was shocking is that my hubs was also still in bed.  I blame last night's bellinis.

We, like most families, have set resolutions for the year.  We woke up with a renewed fervor for pursuing the Lord, organizing our lives, loving each other and relying on the Holy Spirit to be more like Jesus. 

It was a nice first day of the year.  Lots of family time, as the rain wouldn't let us out.  Mochi soup, Rose Parade, family game time, reorganizing part of the house, cleaning some excess out, some video game time, family reading time, Star Wars Episode V, homemade ice cream sandwiches...does the day need to end?

2014...here's to a new year.

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Big girl

That's it.  I'm picking this blogging thing back up again and I'm not going to try and catch up - I'm just diving in.

My daughter today says to me:

"Mommy, girls have it tougher than boys."

I ask her why, with a smile, of course. 

"Mommy, girls have it tougher than boys because they have to have babies and it hurts when babies come out."

Still smiling, I say, "Yes, sweetheart it does.  But it's so terribly worth it."

She continues...."Darn that Eve for sinning.  That's why it hurts.  The Bible says because of her sin there would be much pain in childbirth."

Ok.  Yes, you're absolutely right.

Not half and hour later in the car she says, "Mommy, true or false?  Can a lady have a baby and not be married?"

Dear, God.  Help me.  Seriously?  Isn't she still 7?

"Baby, it's is God's plan that ladies fall in love, get married and then have babies." 

Change subject.

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Contented

Sometimes you sit in church and the pastor's sermon drives home a lesson that the Lord has been working in your heart for a while.  Sometimes the sermon plants a seed of a lesson that the Lord is planning on working in your heart soon, but you just don't know it yet.  The latter is what happened to me this past Sunday.  I didn't know it until Tuesday or Wednesday.  And it's Friday now - well, technically it's Saturday- and I feel like I've learned it more but I'm sure I'll need to learn it again. 

On Sunday our pastor finished his series on Philippians (which I love) and he quoted Sinclair Ferguson.  He said, "'Christian contentment' is the direct fruit of having no higher ambition than to belong to the Lord and to be totally at his disposal in the place He appoints, at the time He chooses, with the provision He is pleased to make."

Can I get an amen?

I CAN do all things (with contentment) through Christ who strengthens me.  And I was feeling contented, for the most part, until a string of events this week which left me feeling very discontented.  Not with anything material. Nothing I could buy, wear, live in, show off.  Something very intangible.  But very near to my heart.  And as things felt as though they might unravel, I could fall back on the sermon, the quote...the Scripture.

God is good.

Oh, and yes, it's been a long time.  And every time I say that, I say I'll also be better about blogging again.  It's kind of my version of being still.  Okay, more like journaling, I guess - I'm not so good at stillness.  Life gets busy.  I need to un-busy it!

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Thankful

I got to spend 20 hours alone with just my husband this weekend.  I'm so thankful that the more time I spend with him, the more time I want to spend with him.  :)

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