Thursday, December 31, 2009

My wish for you…

Since I can’t say it better myself…

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas Eve

The girls are tucked into bed after opening one present each. (From Miss Linda…more on that later. They were awesome!!!)

They read a Max and Ruby Christmas book and then we read the Christmas story out of Luke 2, as they were cozy in their Christmas pajamas.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas Day tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Sisters

If you’re a TRUE follower of our family blogs—and hey, who isn’t, right?—then you’ve already seen the posts on KiKi’s and Braska’s blogs showing off their cute Christmas wear pics.  If you’ve not seen them, go ahead.  I’ll wait.  Yeah, now, go ahead!

Ok, now that you’ve seen the good ones, I’ll share some of the sisterly interaction that generally gets left in my pictures folder without making the cut for the blog.  Some are cute, some are silly, but they’re all real. And you’ll see that one sister is definitely the instigator of mayhem in picture settings.  Usually by lunging for her sis and saying “Ticky ticky ticky!” while wiggling her fingers.

Here’s the best one of that session…

These are from a little photo shoot brought to you by Julie’s purchase of three coordinating sleepers for Braska, KiKi, and Jack
sisters2 sisters1 sisters3

And these are from Sunday morning, dressed for church in their beautiful fancy dresses.

Finally, my favorite of all, so far.  

Can you see my favorite little part of this one, besides that it’s just adorable?  It will be treated to some fun photo editing and layout work as soon as I get time.  I’ll share the end result when it’s done.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bedtime beauties

They can look so sweet and innocent, right after making Mommy pull her hair out for the 10th time in the day. How is that possible?

These are especially for Miss Karol. It just so happens that KiKi has a coordinating sleeper. So pictures just HAD to be taken...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Showers, falling again!

Today was a good day, though it started very hectic and stressful, it ended pretty darn well.  Time is short right now, so I’ll summarize and let M elaborate for you one part of it.

First, this morning, my friend Julie went above and beyond.  Not in grand measures, but in helping me with errands and surviving another one of my very frustrated times of hurried and over-busy stress.  She has a great way of making things work out, and the stress was calmed  in short order.  Oh, and Kinlee got fed en route to other errands…also a very key element to the story.

Then the girls napped at the same time.  Nuff said!

The big news today is that M’s group at work surprised him at the Christmas lunch with an overwhelming gift extravaganza.  When he showed up at home with it at 5pm, needing wonderful little elves to help him bring it in the house, I was caught off-guard and very moved.  After a moment or two looking at everything, I just sat speechless.  It is truly beyond anything I could have imagined.  M gives a wonderful recount here, so hop over there and take a look and read. 

IS dept, if you’re reading….  you have blown me away with your thoughtfulness.  Thank you so very much!

And then to top it off, we received our Christmas gifts from one very special relative, two new cell phones and a MUCH cheaper plan, all part of the Gazelle progress (yep, Dave Ramsey all the way, for those of you who wondered).  Very cool!!!  (If you didn’t get an email with new phone numbers but you want them, drop me a note.  braskasmom at gmail . com)

M and I sat in the middle of the floor last night with all this food around us, the gifts for the girls, and all the rest and we talked of how strange it is to be on the receiving end of this.  We were both teary, talking of our journey, where we’ve been and where we will be soon. We will not forget these gestures and very generous outpourings! We are SO grateful!  There are many even more in need, far more, and we hope they are having showers of blessing too.  We’re doing what we can to be part of that rain, also, every chance we get.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bye Bye Li’l Mazda 3


One-car-family, schedule juggling, pick up-drop off, pick up-drop off, here we come.  But no more car payments—here we are!

More soon on the down and dirty (sometimes painful) of our new financial planning philosophy, for those of you who have asked.  If you have particular questions, feel free to leave them here and I’ll address them each one.

And once again, thanks to my parents for the Christmas in July gift of the minivan.  206,300 miles down, many more to go.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas backgrounds

There are festive (to varying degrees) background blog layouts on the girls’ blogs and this one… if you like that kind of stuff, take a peek.

I’ve got alot of things (elements, cute art) that haven’t been used yet, in this department, so if you want a quick one-of-a-kind background, let me know.

Merry CHRISTmas!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Showers of blessing

If you grew up in church, especially protestant and midwestern, you probably know the song “There Shall Be Showers of Blessing.”  It was an upbeat, happy song, one I sang for all my years growing up, and I probably knew all 5 verses at one point in my life. 

There shall be showers of blessing,

Oh, that today they might fall…

This was a favorite phrase of mine, in verse 4, I think.  I look at it now and I like that the whole song was asking, and even believing that showers of blessing would fall, but it wasn’t assuming that it would be today.  Yet in this section, we would all sing in agreement that it sure would be nice if it were today.

Well, today we received showers of blessing.  I can’t come up with a better way to say it.  Though, the truth is that we’ve been receiving some good sprinkles the last couple weeks. 

One day it was a card with some cash from a “Secret Santa” at M’s work.  Humbling.

One day it was a couple of gift cards from the Secret Sisters at my MOPS chapter.  Encouraging.

One day it was a gift card from a very thoughtful relative who picked up on a way to sweeten my days.  Amazing.

One day it was another relative sharing a gift card they received and didn’t need. Exactly what we needed that day for necessities. Perfect timing.

And on and on.  

People have been so very generous these past few weeks, and we’re blown away.  We have honestly been speechless as we open cards and see these gifts.  I’m so very touched by the thoughtfulness of people.

In the midst of all this, this week has been discouraging in many ways.  I’m having a hard time with things in my head and keeping a proper attitude of holiday spirit and thankfulness for all that we have.

But today….today I almost collapsed.  I got the mail, began to open it as M was home for lunch. And I stood silent and stared. I turned around and looked at him. No words.  In my hands were 8 gift cards. EIGHT. From 3 different places that can provide us daily-use items.  It came from our church, simply with a card that said Merry Christmas.  The cards total enough to buy our groceries for 2 whole months. 

Totally overwhelming.

Our church has over 3000 people attending regularly.  I don’t know how they were given our names, and honestly, it is still a little hard for me to believe we’d ever be on one of “those” kinds of lists.  And yet, I don’t want to take away from the generosity of those who have given by being embarrassed. 

We are where we are.  Simple as this is, it’s been so very tough for me to accept and acknowledge without disclaimer.  We are doing everything in our power to live within our means, no matter what that looks like each day or how “against the flow” it may be.  We do have many people in our lives who are so generous, and we do not take one bit of that for granted. 

I look at these gifts as God’s way of saying, “Keep it up, you WILL get there.   You’re on the right path.”  I’m appreciative of those in our life who continue to encourage us, who can see how our lifestyle has changed and know that it’s a difficult adjustment, yet they acknowledge the tough choices we’re making to do what we know is the right thing for our family in the long run.

I praise God for how he’s provided.  In a million different ways, from gifted minivans to gifts of time and free babysitting to gift cards to QT.  They are all SO very valuable, and we receive them knowing that no matter who signed the card or purchased the gift, they come from our Lord through the hands of those who have made themselves available to be used by Him. 

There shall be showers of blessing

This is the promise of love

There shall be seasons refreshing

Sent from the Savior above.

So if you’ve had a part, whether we know your name or not… Thank you.  Thank you. Thank you!  Our deepest appreciation goes out to you.  And we intend to keep giving to those we are brought in contact with as well… for this is the way God intended us to live:  Giving sacrificially and receiving gratefully, always looking to give again.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lily’s Auction

Michelle and Brian at The Zoromski Chronicles are in the process of adopting Lily, from Eastern Europe, who they found via Reece’s Rainbow.  Their little Ruby is one of my favorite little blog princesses, along with brother Braden and sister Karly, and I was so excited to see that the were taking this big step to bring another princess home to add to their family.

They are hosting a blog auction at Lily’s blog, and there’s some good stuff there!  They’re going to even get the things to the winners by Christmas.  So go take a peek and see if there’s not something you could bid on and get a great deal and help a very cool family bring a precious girl home quickly!

Grab This Button

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wanna grant a wish?

I saw Bethany refer to a website called Wish Upon a Hero, so I thought I’d check it out.  In about 10 minutes I’ve already come across a couple wishes that I can “grant” with things I’ve been needing to get rid of anyway!  How perfect is that!

Since we’re not giving gifts this year due to our budget limitations, this is a nice little substitute for me.  I love giving, and it’s especially nice to give to people I don’t know and won’t be gushing over how nice it was that I shared with them every time I see them….because I probably won’t see them.  That is NOT to say that it’s not nice to be thanked and such, but sometimes it’s easy for me to get a little high from getting that pat on the back.  And I don’t want giving to be about me, it’s about the gift, unconditional and given without strings.  And this site seems to be exactly all about that.

It’s still weird to see the Christmas tree up with nothing under it (again, not that we miss receiving, but I miss wrapping the gifts to give) but I’m enjoying the idea that things I’m not even using anymore can be exactly what someone else is wishing for this season. 

So if you’re feeling like giving but you’re low on funds, check this site out.  You’ll be surprised what others wish for. You have the power to grant wishes, you just didn’t know it!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Snot: Parenthood vs. pre-parenthood

Ooey, gooey, globby, and nonstop. That's the snot that's been present at our house for over a week now, first coming from Braska, then KiKi. I do not like snot. But I surprised myself the other day with how nonchalant I can be when handling the ickiness nowadays.

Before becoming a parent, had I been put in this position, with two little girls leaving remnants of their goo on furniture and clothes and each other--well, I'd have politely, but quickly, abandoned ship.

--News flash!!! It's snowing outside!!! I just glanced at the window!! (Well just a few flurries, but still!) Woo Hoo!!!--

Ahem, anyway, it's funny now how I can catch it, wipe it, clean it, and repeat about 300 times a day. And when leaving the house, it's not so much, "Darn! I have snot on my shirt!" as it is "Gosh, is that too much snot on my shirt to be acceptable for this outing?"

Can anyone relate?

And it's like a celebration when a big sneeze produces alot of stuff, because that means we're getting it out of there. And when doing the saline drops 'n suction routine that happens a few times a day, well, it's like I'm on a mission and success is non-negotiable. I can tell from the sound the bulb is making if it's extracting copious amounts. And it makes me glad.

Ah, how far I've come.