Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011!

Coincidentally, exactly a year ago today I was in a hotel room in Columbia, MO typing out a blog post while Addie napped. Here I am, once again doing the same thing in the same place.

What happened to December? I posted on December first with the full intention of chronicling our month and preparations for Christmas. I discovered long ago that even our best laid plans can be thrown for a loop, which is okay, just not quite what I'd anticipated. 

Saying Addie loved her advent calendar and 25 days of crafts for Christmas would be an understatement. She asked for both every day, multiple times a day. Just one of the many crafts we've put together (and pulled apart, and put back together, and pulled apart and put back together...):

It's been fun seeing Addie's interpretation of where some of the figures are placed on each of the crafts.

She's also spent plenty of time redecorating the tree.

I haven't been too picky about the decorations this year, as long as she is playing with Addie-safe ornaments. This usually consists of the ones she's made, anyway, and she really enjoys taking the ones she's made on and off the tree.

A week ago the three of us celebrated our little Chaney Christmas. As part of our celebration, Addie opened a gift from my mom (Mimi). Mimi was giving her a dollhouse, which is too cumbersome to tote back to Florida from Illinois.

I think our opening presents photos are on our other camera, but just know that Addie was a pro and was a present opening champ. She's going to have a lot of fun these next couple of days!

You may notice that Sabian got a hair cut. 

Last year it was No Shave November for Speed the Light. You might remember the results of Sabian's challenge to raise $75 to meet our fundraising goal. This year he proposed a similar challenge, although the stakes were higher - $500 and he'd shave his head. They raised half. As I was counting the money, I won't lie, I breathed a slight sigh of relief, thinking my husband was going to keep his head of hair. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about supporting our missionaries, but was okay with $250 and all of his hair. Then he announces he'll shave some of to me. He let as many kids as wanted to chop a lock of hair with scissors before the clippers came out. Brave? More like questionable sanity. The clippers came out and, unbeknownst to Sabe, our "friend" who was supposed to do a "good" job on his hair was convinced to shave the shape of a cross on his head, which, because he is the guy he is, he kept for two days so he could visit the kids at school and they'd be able to see it. Later, our "friend's" wife came to our house and fixed the cross.

I don't mind the cut, but let's just say Addie has been less than thrilled with her new Daddy. If I had the video handy, I'd post it, but she wouldn't have anything to do with him until later after we got home. In fact, she still tells him often, "Daddy, I don't like your hair cut," and the other day when I told her I was going for a hair cut she was more than a little concerned.

The day we had our Chaney Christmas was also the same day as Wewa's Christmas parade, where Addie acquired Halloween proportions of candy.

Addie was not impressed by the clowns but was all about candy and beads.

While December didn't yield quite all of the activities I'd planned, it's been a fun month and we're having fun with family and looking forward to more festivities with more family and friends.

Speaking of, Addie is up and Sabian and his mom are on their way.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2012! I am thankful for our year, for our family and friends, for the things God has taught us and blessed us with and for the things God has in store for us.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The 25 Days of Christmas

Aaaand, we're off! Launching into December, that is. December. Crazy.

I was reading over my last few posts last night and it seems we've made quite a few visits to the beach over the past few weeks. I didn't realize we'd been hitting it up as much as we were. Maybe, unaware, we were preparing for the cooler weather we're having by stocking up on beach time. Surely it will warm up again soon and we can visit the beach again without freezing. I know, I know, many of you are lamenting my sorrows. Boo hoo us for living so close to the white sands and blue waves.

I suspect these next three weeks will speed by and then we'll be off to the Midwest to celebrate Christmas with our families. I'm looking forward to our trip but also anticipating the fun we'll have here before we make that 12 hour drive.

Our countdown to Christmas actually started yesterday when my friend Lee Ann dropped off an incredibly sweet, thoughtful package, one that Addie could not wait to get her hands in once it was in her possession.

A bag full of Christmas crafts, one for each of the 25 days of Christmas. We started yesterday, since the goal is to complete the last one on Christmas Eve. Addie was so excited to get into it.

She was ready to move right on to the next project when I explained to her we'd do another the next day. We have yet to get to it today and she's already asked multiple times. I love that she is so excited about it and am thankful for friends like Lee Ann (and her mother-in-law!) who are thoughtful about sharing their creativity with us.

We're also starting our advent calendar today. For the last couple of years I've searched for advent calendars and found many I liked, but wasn't willing to shell out the $$$ for them. I made our own last year, but was a little (a lot) late in having it ready for December 1st. This year I modified it and sprayed the background of our board with chalkboard paint so I could write the numbers on the board. I never found any numbers that I liked to actually stick on the board. The paint has worked out fine.

Lo and behold, in my indecisive mind, I found another calendar this year that would be really easy to make and would be cute (and not a lot of money), but I'm sticking with this one for now. Maybe in a couple of years I'll try the other one. I think Addie will be excited to start this tradition.

We are even ahead on Christmas gifts and I have only to buy stocking stuffers for Sabian and he for me. The last two years we've exchanged personalized coupon books. This year we're exchanging stocking stuffers and then some time after Christmas we're planning days to take one another out as a delayed Christmas present.

I'm even about to start working on getting our Christmas cards out, but I'll post separately about those. I really enjoy sending out cards to our friends and family but sometimes it is hard to work them into the budget. This is due in part to my pickiness  - I like awesome Christmas cards. This year the way our cards worked out is something I am really thankful for, and I will share soon about it.

I guess knowing we are leaving for Christmas spurs on my organization when it comes to Christmas. I know if I leave everything to the last minute things may not get done before we leave, so I try to stay on top of it. I'm not always so successful but so far, so good! Here's to counting down the days 'til Christmas...

I am thankful for a little alone time this afternoon!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black & White Friday

I'm not against Black Friday shopping. While I am pro-giving each holiday it's due time (although I'm known to break my self-imposed rules), I'm not going to say I'll never venture out the day after Thanksgiving. At one time I may have not-so-silently lamented Black Friday and its seemingly unending crowds, but that would have been during my seven year stint at Gap and before that, a few years working at St. Louis Bread Co. (Panera for my Florida friends) in the mall.

Since there's no item on my list that warranted a midnight trip to Target or Wal-mart or anywhere else, we instead spent our Black Friday here:

We also did this:

Let the Christmas music begin! This is the first year we're using our "new" tree. Since we've been married I've wanted to get a grown up tree - we've always used the smaller tree I bought when I had my apartment but when it came to buying a new one I was being cheap. I didn't want to spend a lot of money. I'd forget to shop after Christmas and now many stores put theirs on sale before Christmas, but that timing never worked for me, either. Finally, last year my waiting was rewarded.

I found out that Cracker Barrel sells their display trees after Christmas, but even at 50% off I was still holding out for a better deal. Their trees are 7.5 ft, pre-lit and slim. I was not looking for a pre-lit tree, but figured I could take the lights off...but I was still waiting for a better deal. I caught the deal at 75% off and spent less than $40 for a $150 tree. 

Did I mention I had a brilliant idea to pull the lights off of the tree? Well, we did, but not without some effort. Whoever is paid to wrap the lights around these pre-lit trees is likely not making enough money. Armed with scissors, Sabian and I poked and snipped and hacked our way through the lights until every last one was gone. We now bear the scratches on our forearms from a tedious hour or so, but it was a job well done. I'm really happy with our grown up tree and Addie had fun decorating it, all ornaments landing in one spot, of course.

This post wouldn't be complete without a quick Thanksgiving wrap up. Food, food and more food, naps and a visit with our pastor and his family and extended family made up our day.

Addie, a bit under the weather but excited about her turkey!

It was a good day.

I am thankful for this laid back weekend!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

'Twas the night before Thanksgiving

All day yesterday I kept thinking that today was Thanksgiving. I'm so glad my internal calendar was wrong. 

Right now the house smells of pumpkin pie, Addie is snoozing and I've weeded through her toys, piles for giving away and storage. I also smell of smoke thanks to a bonfire we stopped by with some of our kids from church. Thankfully, it was "too late" when we left to come home and cook dinner so we went out for pizza before heading back home for bath/bed time and more baking.

Thanksgiving will be pretty laid back for us, much like our first Thanksgiving here. We're cooking for ourselves and will hopefully spend the day just enjoying the day. I'm looking forward to it. I've already been through my customary sad-we're-not-with-family blues, but it didn't last too long. It does get easier every year, but every year there's still a pang of missing them, quickly followed by the anticipation of seeing everyone in a few short weeks for Christmas.

Having Addie helps with these pangs, and as she gets older it is fun to explain to her what we're doing and why we're doing it, to see her excitement and to hear her say, "That's exciting!"

Every November I think about our first Thanksgiving on our own and am reminded of the beginnings of this blog - now four years ago. When I started this blog, because it was November, I tried to make an effort to point out something I was thankful for each day, and it stuck. Some days it is easy to come up with something to be thankful for and others I have to think about it. On those days that I have to take some time to think, it reminds me even more of what I have to be thankful for each day.

So now, as my eyes are tired (but will stay open long enough to watch a recorded Survivor!), as my two pies are cooled and the cookie dough is ready to morph into cookies tomorrow, as the turkey is waiting to find its way into the oven and the fixin's will materialize some time tomorrow before noon, I am simply thankful. Thankful for provision in so many ways, thankful for where we are, because it is a reflection of God's timing and thankful He is the one orchestrating our steps.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011


I have this journal that I sometimes (rarely) write in - I have good intentions, I think about it, but then I don't do it. I even made it simpler on myself. Instead of keeping a separate prayer/devotion journal, or a journal for other topics, long ago I told myself I'd just keep one and record it all in there.

Well, I've been pretty bad about it. The last time I checked, if I remember correctly without having to get up and actually go look, my last entry was in February. I do remember it was about Addie and what she was up to those many months ago.

I often remember the journal when I see or hear her do something that I want to remember. And while I have reminded myself that this blog serves a good purpose in recording much of what is going on in our lives, I do miss the actual writing on paper. Especially when I think about being able to hand it over to our kids one day. 

In thinking about all of this, and of the things Addie is doing lately that I want to burn into my brain, I also realized it's been a while since I've blogged about her antics and her goings on.

I hear this question about a million times a day - and it's been going on for a while. When she first started asking I was really surprised it was coming so early. I try to count it a blessing that she is so inquisitive, but there are times that, even at two, I can tell she's asking just to be asking. That's when I start asking, "Why?" back. ;)

Whether she's announcing her arrival, dressing herself, or drawing something important, "Ta-da!" is also a staple of Addie's vocabulary these days. I find it pretty hilarious, especially when she's pulled on a pair of pants or put her shoes on by herself and she exclaims, "Ta-da!"

"That's exciting!"
This is another favorite phrase these days. "Hey Addie, we have to get ready to go to church." Her response: "That's exciting!" There are many things that we as adults would find unimportant and mundane, but to Addie, "That's exciting!"

"Pirates say 'Arrrr.'" At first, this one was tough for me to decipher, but as soon as I figured out what she was saying, I was completely humored and perplexed. I mean seriously, where does she come up with this stuff?

Boo hoo
Addie has, since she was really little, had a habit of crying when people leave our house. You'd think we never let her out, or she was never around other people. She's always so sad when, adult or child, has to end their visit. Count it a compliment for the visitors, I'm not sure what for mom and dad!

Dear Jesus

Addie is quick on the draw when it comes to praying for boo boos. If you have one, she wants to pray for it, maybe not right then, but she'll remember it at bedtime. Last week she fell while playing outside and scraped her knee, arm and hand. I knew she was hurting, but through her tears she immediately asked if I would pray for her boo boos.

She love's 'em. Can't get enough of them.

Addie has developed a habit of sighing deeply (and hilariously) in various situations. The other day, after already kissing and saying her goodbyes to Sabian as he was headed to church, we did our customary walk outside to stand on the porch and wave. As he drove off, her shoulders hanging as low as they might go, she sighed as deep as a two year old can sigh and hung her head. She'll do this if I tell her she can't have something, if we're not going somewhere, or sometimes just because. I wish I could capture it on video because it is pitiful and funny at the same time.

I'm sorry
Addie is learning to apologize when she's done something wrong, but there are time when she mis-uses her apology. For instance, if she asks for candy and I say no, she'll say "I'm sorry." It's as though she really is sorry she can't have candy. But trust me, she gets plenty.

So, that's my girl these days. There's so much more but that's what comes to mind right now.

As we anticipate Thanksgiving this week, here are a few photos from another quick afternoon visit to the beach last week.

A dose of beach is sometimes just what we need. I am thankful for Thanksgiving this week. I think it will be a  good time.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The rundown

The weekend, oh the weekend. They come, they go, fun is had, toes get smashed and then Monday rolls around again.

Friday: Spent the morning doing some work, caught up with my sister (my brother-in-law is home and recovering nicely), spent a fairly relaxing afternoon around the house and then off to the beach to enjoy a chilly sunset.

Smiles, courtesy of Addie.

Saturday: Straightening iron died, church yard sale, Sabian's big toe is run over by the cart carrying all of the tables for the yard sale. Plans to head out that night are squashed (no pun intended), off to a friend's (who is a nurse) to check out his injury, home for lunch and naps for Addie and Sabian while I run off for a new straightener and some sanity (i.e., free Starbucks drink).

Sunday: New Sunday School class (taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University) and realizing (like I didn't already know) we need to win the lottery, Addie does great in Sunday morning service, Sabian hobbles around and tries to avoid being stepped on all day.

And here we are at the end of Monday, which brings us to the big news in our household: potty training. Or, as I like to call it, Potty Patrol. I'll spare the details, but Addie did pretty well today. I was expecting a struggle of a day but I am really proud of her and her progress. By no means do I think we're in the clear after only day #1. I think we'll have some issues in the #2 category (oops, there I go, details), but I'm praying about that. Addie and I have been praying together for the last two weeks for her potty training and I honestly think that has helped prepare her. That, and the promise of treats for her efforts, of course. I find myself wondering when I think we'll ever leave the house again, but Wednesday night will be the test, as we'll have to venture out to church. Thankfully, we have some understanding and experienced nursery workers armed with a pint-sized bathroom nearby.

I'll also try to spare you the details, and any photos - because we do have them - of Sabian's toe, but I will say that it's not pretty. Unless you consider shades of black and blue and red pretty. Toes, you just don't think about how important they are until you can't use one.

Today I am thankful for a better than expected first potty training day. Here's to praying and hoping tomorrow is a good one, too.

My big girl!
P.S. Yes, that is pee pee in the potty. Rather than taking a full on photo of her first success, I figured this would be acceptable. What can I say? Proud Mommy. I'm sure you understand :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

House cleaning & breaking the rules

First, house cleaning. 

Not actually cleaning the floors and scrubbing toilets, rather, updating you on a couple of things from past posts.

The Cardinals won the World Series. Old news, I guess, in the sense that it happened almost two weeks ago, but not old in the sense that it is great to be on the winning side. Congratulations, Cardinals!

Second item of business, my brother-in-law. His surgery went as planned and he is doing well. In fact, he is now at home recovering. Surgery on Tuesday, home today. It will be two to three months before he knows anything about the person who received his kidney, although he knows their surgery went well and I believe they, too, are on their way home. His roommate for his hospital stay was also a kidney donor - he donated to his one year old nephew. I haven't yet talked to my sister so I don't know the whole story, but how cool is that? 

Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers for Dan.

Now, breaking the rules.

I've written before about my self-imposed, wait-until-the-day-after-Christmas-to-listen-to-Christmas-music rule. Apparently, according to that post, I was a bit of a rule breaker then, too. Well, I've done it again this year, and even earlier. I couldn't resist listening to She & Him's Christmas tunes. What can I say? I'm excited about Christmas.

So, that's about it. Well, except for this sweet photo of my little bag lady, off to church last night.

 Look closely at her shirt. It's titled, "Fail." I love Threadless.

I am thankful for the amazing weather we have today and date night tonight!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It is Well

I've almost forgotten to write this post. Mulling over what I was going to post about today, it popped into my head.

There were five Sundays in October. Whenever we have a fifth Sunday, that evening's service is dubbed a "Fifth Sunday Sing." Instead of normal Sunday evening service, various people share through singing. It might be considered a traditional, maybe even old fashioned practice - I remember having these in church growing up - but you always know when it's the fifth Sunday, there's going to be singing.

When Addie and I arrived at church and she sought out Sabian as she always does when we get to church, he said to me, "I think I'm going to sing tonight." I thought he was kidding.

Sabian plays the guitar and while he can sing, he doesn't. At least, not usually. He wouldn't consider himself a singer, leaving that to our worship leaders, happy to accompany them with his guitar. He would even say he isn't a good guitar player, although he is better than he thinks he is. Really, he is.

The thing is, he says all of this out of humility. As a fellow "not singer," I can say that while I say he can sing well enough, he'd probably agree when I say it's best that neither one of us volunteer for a solo in the Christmas play. You get my drift?

Rewind to several weeks ago - in youth service our worship leader was unable to make it to service at the last minute. Sabian decided to go on with worship service, him leading. I was a little wary and while he warned the kids before we started and told them he'd be counting on them to belt it out to help him out, I was anticipating a bumpy few songs. Now don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't have faith in him, but remember what I just wrote about no solos in the Christmas play? There's a reason we're not up there singing.

Sabian's sacrifice did not escape me as he stood up there, strumming his guitar and trying his best to lead us through three songs. It might have been a, but I little rough, but I was pretty proud of our kids, as there was a segment of them that really supported him, singing out the songs as loudly as they could and shouting encouraging words to him.

Back to this past Sunday night. I really thought Sabian was joking when he said he was going to sing, but realized he was 100% serious when a little while later Pastor Joey asked him if he was ready. Sabian climbed the stairs, picked up his guitar and announced he'd be singing his favorite hymn, which he then proceeded to tell the story behind the song. I knew immediately what he was going to sing and thought, "Wow. He's going to tackle that?" 

Obedience. That's why he did it. Not because he is a born singer, not because it was requested by anyone, but because he felt God was prompting him to do so and he followed through.

He was great. He won't win a Grammy, won't cut any record deals, but I was so proud, not for the recognition of what he did, but just so thankful for his example. His humility humbles me.

This part has nothing to do with Sabian, but it does make me think, "What am I not listening to that God is trying to tell me? Show me? Teach me?" Is my pride in check, where it needs to be, so that I can be where God wants me to be - even if that means taking me out of my comfort zone?

The song? It is Well With My Soul.

Right on.

I am thankful for my husband.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Spun sugar, horses & candy, candy, candy

'Tis Halloween and we've done our fair share of waltzing around Wewa in search of sugary goodies. Our plan was to just hit up the trunk or treat at the elementary school, but when we ran into some friends from church and their daughters, our one stop turned into an all out trick-or-treating adventure.

Initially, Addie, or "Adelaid-y bug" as she was tonight, was pretty shy. Despite our explanations throughout the day and her excitement about dressing up as a "wadybug" and getting candy, I think she was a bit overwhelmed at first. However, by the time we left the trunk or treat and started hitting up houses, she was breaking into a run and holding out her Elmo treat catcher with the best of them. At some point during our candy quest we lost an antenna out of her hair (which we found, but she refused to let me put it back in), some of her dots made their way onto daddy and she never ended up wearing her wings. She really had a lot of fun.

The ladybug herself.

The anticipation!
Missing pom pom.

The wings that weren't.
Before tonight's candy haul we'd already taken in our fill (and then some!) at our church's Fall Festival last Saturday night. Games, bounce houses, s'mores, hot dogs, cotton candy (my favorite!), face painting and more ruled the evening. 

Addie's favorite part? The horses. I was surprised and proud of my girl when she rode with our friend, Hayley. Just this summer when Hayley stopped by our house with one of her horses, Addie would not have anything to do with riding it. Saturday night was a different story. She first rode with Hayley and later she rode all by herself. Sigh, such a big girl.

We have waaay too much candy in our house and a little girl who has waaay too good of a memory to forget about it all by morning. I'm chalking it up as free potty training treats while Sabian, as I type this, is already raiding the stash.

I am thankful for a fun weekend and night with our sweet ladybug.