Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's almost Christmas!

I have to say I feel almost as excited as my favorite boys from the '90's look. Isn't Joey so cute? Anyways, the shopping is DONE! The presents are wrapped. The Christmas cards were mailed out with plenty of time to spare. Our house and tree were decorated by the 1st of December. The all day baking marathon is finished and my kitchen is clean again. And I am spending the day singing along to my favorite Christmas music while preparing a big Christmas Eve dinner for my side of the family's celebration tonight.

It has been a wonderful, stress-free and enjoyable month of December.

I think this is the first time in my life I've actually kept a New Year's Resolution. Last January, in a
blog post, I made this promise:

"So I've been thinking, I hereby make a promise, a New Year's Resolution if you will, to enjoy Christmas more next year. To be better prepared. To get the decorations down from the attic, shopping completed, and Christmas cards written by November. Christmas only comes once a year, and for such a short time. Yet it comes with so many opportunities to make memories and to bless others. You just need one thing: TIME. Next year I want to do whatever it takes, so that come December, I have nothing but time. Time to relax and enjoy my family and friends."

Merry Christmas!
I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas. May your homes be filled with peace and joy, and your hearts overflow with gratitude for the gift God gave us on the very first Christmas: His one and only Son, who did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.
(Matthew 20:28)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

10 Years of Faithful Service

It was early December of 1998 and my little 19 month old boy and I walked into Joanne's Fabric Store. I was 9 months pregnant with a little girl due to arrive any day. I saw these adorable snowmen stockings, two big ones and two little ones, and just had to buy them. I took these little snowmen home to our tiny duplex and hung them on the 1970's rock wall in our living room.As the years went by, I discovered a little thing called the Pottery Barn. :) Oh, how I would flip through the pages of those catalogs longing for such nice things to decorate my home with. Every Christmas season, I would admire the beautifully personalized velvet stockings, and try to figure out a way to fit them into our already strained December budget. But, no such luck, and I would hang those snowmen year after year. Well, this year, I got a big surprise, a wonderful thing called Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving). And guess what? On that one day only, these stockings which would normally have cost $142 ($25 each plus $17 shipping) only cost $50 total!!! That's right, $10 each plus free personalization and free shipping!!! I was ecstatic!However, when the kids and I were unpacking the Christmas boxes, they couldn't believe we weren't going to hang the snowmen stockings.

"But mom, we love the snowmen stockings. We ALWAYS put those up every year."

They weren't too excited about my new, "nicer" stockings. I too felt a twinge of sadness at the thought of not hanging the snowmen up.

After all, they've been apart of our lives for 10 years now. Oh, the memories they've shared with us over the years. They hung on the mantel when a little two year old Daniel opened his first Thomas the Tank engine set, when Sarah shrieked with excitement at the sight of her new Princess scooter, when we celebrated Christmas with loved ones who are no longer with us. They were still hung on the mantel as we walked in the door on December 29th, 2004 with a new little baby girl in our arms. Yes, I miss the snowmen stockings too. Sometimes "nicer" isn't always better.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

As I type this, the snow continues to fall!

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

I John 4:9-11

Friday, December 19, 2008

Her Special Day

Our sweet Sarah turned 10 years old today and she got a present she's been wanting for a very long time: Her very own digital camera. Do you think she's excited?Sarah Grace came into this world ten years ago today, blessing Jon and I more than we could ever have imagined. She is our precious little girl who greets us with a smile and a hug each morning. She always has a song in her heart and a kind word to share. As she enters into her "tween" years, I pray she continues to grow into a young woman of noble character, just as her name means.
Happy 10th Birthday Sarah,
we love you!!!

"She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."
Proverbs 31

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What a Wonderful, Wintry Day!

Today was our third consecutive day with snow! I thoroughly enjoyed a "work-from-home" day. Daniel and Sarah were able to have their good friends William & Mikayla over and spent the whole day outside sledding!Lucky for me, Olivia only likes to be out in the snow for about 10 minutes and then she's ready to come inside. She's been content looking at the snow from inside while playing with her toys. I loved spending the day with my kids today. This snow has been quite the unexpected blessing!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Confession

Today our kids each received an individually wrapped Christmas present from my wonderful grandparents in Colorado. Now, at our house, we don't put any presents under the tree until the kids are fast asleep on Christmas Eve. There's a reason for this.

Anyways, I watched Daniel study this present from his great-grandparents. He shook it, smelled it and held it up to the light to try and see through the wrapping paper. That's when I so intuitively said, "If I so much as see a scratch on that wrapping paper, the present belongs to me. No accidental rips or tears, no peeling of the tape. Any tampering whatsoever, and it's gone. You understand? Good."

Why would I assume my son would try to peek at his present before Christmas? Simple, he's MY son! As I said those words to him, I was grinning on the inside, thinking, "if he only knew!"

This reminded me of something I haven't thought about in a long, long time. So in the spirit of the season, I will share with you:

When I was a teenager (I remember I started in the 7th grade), I opened every single one of my presents before Christmas. Yup, that's right. I would wait for a night when everyone was gone and I would slit the tape ever so carefully. I'd gently unwrap each and every present, look at it, and then wrap it back up exactly the way it was before. Then on Christmas morning I would open all of my presents in front of my parents and act so surprised and excited. I did this every year and they never knew. Horrible, I know!

I think I already regret revealing this little dark secret of my past. Ah well, you can't change the past, but you can learn from it...Learn to make sure your kids don't pull the wool over your eyes like you did to your parents. :-)

Sorry Mom & Dad if you're reading this. I really did appreciate all the wonderful gifts you bought for me growing up - from my yellow Coca-Cola sweatshirt to my Casio double casette player. You always made each Christmas special.

There, I've come clean.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Move over Hugh Jackman!

People Magazine got it wrong! My man puts this guy to shame!!! Let me explain:

Wednesday morning I woke up not feeling so well. My throat was sore, I felt achy and weak all over. I shrugged it off and went to work anyway. Well, about halfway through my day, I felt horrible! In fact by the time 5:00 rolled around I was praying, "Lord, just take me now." I was miserable. Shaking with chills, burning up with a fever, horrible body aches, etc. And two things came to my mind:
1. After going down three flights of stairs, it is a 10 minute walk from my office to my car and the thought of getting up from my desk and just walking down the hall seemed unbearable.

2. I was a complete idiot, and wore these shoes to work:(I took this picture while I was in Texas to show you how crazy I was for wearing these heels for 12 hours. And yes, I'm able to access some of my old pictures now! Oh, and I checked out a loaner laptop from the University...Hooray!)

Now let me pause for a moment and explain to you I am by no means a wimpy person. I've given birth 3 times...naturally, no drugs. I've been skydiving, I've ran 2 half marathons while not being in very good shape. I rarely complain when I'm sick. But this time was different. I wimped out. I called my dear sweet husband, who was right in the middle of making dinner for us, and asked, "can you please come pick me up and drive me to my car?" He hesitated for a moment and said, "you want me to drive all the way to your work, so you don't have to walk to your car?" I explained to him how sick I was and I really needed him to do this for me...and he did it, without another hesitation. Now, that is a SEXY man! (In case you're still thinking, "I can't believe how demanding she is to ask her husband to do that", I did have 103 degree fever when I got home. So, I felt somewhat justified.)
Right now it's a little past 1:00 am. As I type this, I'm listening to the police scanner and can hear my husband's voice. (He's on a traffic stop on the corner of Commercial & Chemeketa). So far tonight he's made two arrests, responded to a domestic disturbance, and a bar fight involving 8 males. I love falling asleep to the sound of the scanner. Sometimes I'll wake up in the middle of the night right when I hear, "Sierra 549" (that's Jon). I'll smile, listen to what's going on, and go back to sleep. Anyways, I type all this to say, if People Magazine were to take my vote for "The Sexiest Man Alive", I would give them a much better candidate. My guy does laundry, washes dishes, cooks dinner, picks up kids from school, reads Princess stories AND breaks up bar fights.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008 November 13th

It's November 13th, 9:00 pm and my first night in Houston. I've been awake for 40 joke! Despite my exhaustion, I'm determined to stick with my promise of blogging every day in the month of November, and post something, anything, for all of you. So, I do. I post my Psalm and Proverb for the day and literally fall asleep with the laptop next to me in bed.

I wake up the next morning and turn my laptop on to listen to music while I get myself ready for another long day in Texas. (Everything's bigger in Texas, remember?) It stays on for about two minutes and then crashes. I try again, same thing. From that point forward I was without a computer while I was in Texas. I can't tell you how disappointed I was! Every day I took great pictures. I was even able to drive to Austin and visit my friend Janell, and yes I took pictures. I then drove to Waco and visited my wonderful brother, his wife and my sweet adorable niece, Emma. Yes, I took LOTS of pictures....great pictures that sadly, I can't share with you.

The tech office at Willamette University was able to recover all of my files, but the computer is dead. This was a laptop that my work issued me to use, and I'm still waiting to hear if my boss is going to purchase a new one for me. I'm crossing my fingers for a MacBook Air. :)

Our home laptop also kicked the bucket about two months ago, so the Garland family is officially without a computer, and is in the process of shopping for a new one.

I'm sorry I didn't get on here sooner and let you know what was going on. The only computer access I have is at work, and there really is no time in my work day to post a blog. Plus, what good is a blog post without pictures?!!!

I hope to be back in the game soon!