Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gifts of Three for Christmas

Amy Wagner

The year I found a garbage bag full of wrapped presents hidden under a blanket on the washing machine four days after Christmas, I knew. I knew we were going overboard with the gift giving, because the girls hadn't even missed those lost presents. As I looked back on pictures of Christmases past, I realized that the girls were dazed by present-overload, not knowing what to play with first and just sitting there in the midst of the jumble of gifts and wrapping. This was not good.

The next year we were expecting child number three, and I knew if we kept up with each year's status quo of presents we wouldn't be able to sit in the same room with the tree. That is when I hit on the idea of giving three gifts to each child in honor of the three gifts the Wise Men gave Jesus that first Christmas. When I shared my epiphany with my husband, he decided that he and I would also give three gifts to each other. We then sat our children down and explained the new way we wanted to do Christmas, as well as the reasons why we wanted to go this different direction. Thankfully, they were totally on board. Thus, a new family tradition was born.

Each family member receives a Gold Gift. Gold is precious and expensive, and so is this gift. The Gold Gift is something that child really truly wants and/or is the most expensive gift on her list.

Next is the Frankincense Gift. Frankincense is a spice that was burned as incense in the Temple during Jesus' time. For our family, the Frankincense Gift is a gift that will draw the recipient closer to God, such as a Bible study book, devotional, worship music CD, Christian fiction, or great audio CDs like Adventures in Odyssey orJonathan Park.

The last gift is the Myrrh Gift. In Biblical times, myrrh was one of the ointments used to embalm the dead and was said to have been one of the spices carried by Mary to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body. For our family, the Myrrh Gift is a gift that covers the body, such as clothing and bath products (special soaps, lotions and/or shampoo).

To deepen this tradition, a friend who decided to adopt the gifts of three also gave me packages of hardenedfrankincense and myrrh. I separated the hardened, sweet-smelling resins into gauzy pouches cinched with ribbon, to which I added a tag describing the significance of the gift, and each year these special tags adorn each person's gift. For our Gold Gifts we wrap the present in gold paper and tie it with a big gold ribbon (which is actually gold binding tape I found at the fabric store).

Our children love this tradition and share with others the special way we do Christmas. Never once have they felt neglected or that it was unfair that they each receive only three gifts. They have become great at tweaking their own lists for Christmas under the "three gifts" guidelines and have made my Christmas shopping much easier and less stressful. Both of my girls have stated this is a tradition they will pass down to their own families some day.

This article is excerpted from the 2010 Digital Holiday Supplement from The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. You can enjoy the full supplement by clicking here.


Amy loves her chaotic, blessed life working alongside her husband Brad, homeschooling and raising their three children, aged 6, 10 and 13. When she gets a bit of free time, she can be found writing about finding contentment in the common, ordinary everydayness of her life at

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I'm Getting Married!!!

Okay, so I know everyone thinks this is fast. And it is. We'll be married two months after we became a couple. We were going to wait a little longer, but you take what you can get...more on that in a moment. We don't have everything figured out. Yes, we realize this. Please don't think we haven't noticed. But we want to be a family. We don't want to live together before we get married. We want to serve GOD as husband and wife. And there's nothing that can't be figured out with HIS help, which sometimes means HE lets us fall, picks us up by the back of the suspenders, beats the dust off and sets us back on our feet and other times means HE knocks our socks off with wonderful surprises.

"How did this come about?" you may ask. One of my almost sister friends is flying out in a few weeks. Like less than two, actually. Most of my friends moved away last year. Yesterday I was thinking it might be nice to have her here for the wedding. Except my Pops is doing three weeks of job training and we didn't think he'd make it back before she left. At which point we realized that after he came back at the end of this training he was leaving again for six months. Now most people would tell (and have told) us to wait until then. But since when have Justin or I ever done anything the easy way? Now add us together! So we decided on September 3rd this morning. Which is less than four weeks away. Yea!!!

Actually so far we have it coming along. We have my and the girlies' dresses. Mine is way more cupcakey than I ever would have thought. It's not the one I wanted but apparently David's Bridal sucks. Yes, I did just say that. I was looking at a very simple white bridesmaid's dress. Which won't be in until the end of October. It might come in earlier, but no guarantees...As I think about the dress I bought I start to worry. Hmm, I might have to have someone see me in it and tell me whether it's okay or not. I can be a major worrier sometimes. The problem is that if a dress isn't in stock a lot of places take a while to get the it ordered, time I don't have. And since I'm not a size 2, 4, 18 or 22 they don't usually have my size. Anyone want to help me with my dress??? We just need to get Justin clothed and all of us shod.

We have a location, date and time and sent out save the date evites. It didn't work out quite as I had hoped/planned, but I can deal. Or we'll see if there are any appointments for ceremonies when we go to get our marriage license. Whatever. Justin's dear brother is letting us get married at their place; they actually got married there last September. Hmm, I wonder what next September will bring for Justin's younger brother? I have most of the guests figured out and will hopefully print the invitations in the next day or so. Then I just have to actually get them mailed! The photographer's set, as is the music. At this point they're with Justin's people so I'm hoping I can not have to do anything about either. My fantastic cousin has offered to help with the reception and I think I've decided what to do for dessert-I'm not big on cake. Except I'll probably have to ask Justin. He's currently out cold and I'm wide awake-total role reversal.

Well, no matter my excitement the dishes still need to be washed and laundry folded. So I guess I'll sign off and talk to you soon!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Godsmack Part II

The here!

So we left off with me going to Repo and Justin completely shooting me down for spending time together afterwards. I'd asked him what he was doing afterwards and he said he had to clean up. Seriously. He acted like he didn't want to be around me. So I got in the van and drove back to my parents' house.

The next night I'm at home and he just happens to be on facebook. So I pop him to see how his brother was doing after the excitement the night before and we start chatting. After a minute or two he says he wants to ask me something. So I get all excited. And he asks me what I thought of Repo. yea. I did try to provide constructive criticism and praise for the parts I liked, the whole time
thinking "Are you freaking kidding me? Seriously?" (Sorry, I don't usually cuss but I was just slightly irritated that night.) The conversation does keep going though and he asked me about the rest of my weekend, since it had been a whole 20 hours since we've seen each other. I told him I learned how to change the oil in my car. For some reason he liked that. Boys apparently think girls that work on cars are, to use Justin's word, "hot". So I told him to stop making fun of me. When he said , "No, that's really hot" I told him I'd also helped grout the pavers around my dad's pool. At which he asked me to marry him. Hmm, I wonder what I could have held out for if I told him I don't mind shingling roofs? My response was that we'd kill each other, and he came back and said he didn't think we would. I started wondering if he remembered who he was talking to or our decade and a half together at church... I then pointed out that he probably wouldn't last a month in a house with five girls; six if you count the cat. He sat there and told me we can make it work. Somehow the topic changes and we continued on talking about nothing for a while-we do a lot of that. Except the devil's advocate (and the mean, manipulative) part of me goes back and asked Justin what he would have done if I'd said yes. "First I'd have to regain consciousness, pick my jaw up off the floor and regain the ability to speak (like that's ever been a hard one for him!). Oh and I'd also tell you to not joke about that." Me, being blonde (and as I type that Justin asks if it's blondeness or manipulativeness-duh, like we don't all know the answer) asked if he means the saying yes or marriage in general. He said he was talking about the saying yes part, though if I was a guy I think I'd be more concerned about the marriage part-especially with all of us girls! We also discussed how dating would be moot for us, seeing as how we've been best friends for 15 years and therefore could skip the whole interview process and, really, who has time to date with fours girlies? So he asked if he should just propose instead of asking me out. I told him he didn't know what type of ring or the right size. I'll admit I laughed out loud when he told he'd find out using much subterfuge. I politely let him know that subtle he was not. I think that's when he started to realize that I knew that he liked me. And we proceeded to spend five hours chatting on facebook...

The next night we actually talked on the phone. Us talking on the phone doesn't happen often, though that's definitely not the case now! We talked about what we would like from relationships in general, how a relationship for either of us would ultimately be in preparation for marriage, seeing as how we were both getting older and had girlies, And somewhere in there we started planning our wedding. I'm not quite sure how that part of the conversation started, but needless to say we ended up picking colors, discussing our vows and even considered dates. All without him having told me he liked/loved me or officially proposing. After three hours on the phone around 2300 (I'm usually in bed by 2100) Justin told me he's back to contemplating. He's been contemplating for years!!! So being utterly sick of his contemplation I told him I was going to go to bed unless he wanted to tell me what he was pondering. Which is when he totally did the high school thing where he said he would tell me but not right then. He managed to keep me on the phone for another half hour where I slowly dragged out the fact that he liked me, had for a while and wanted us to be a couple, complete with all the things we had talked about over the last few days. And horrible me told him pretty much "That's nice, but I don't know..." followed by a lot of awkward silences, me blathering on about a bunch of stuff (basically slitting my own throat like how I didn't like him talking to the other girl but not sure I wanted this), eventually me telling him I liked talking to him and could we please keep it like this with the thought of it possibly becoming more. I seriously never thought he would tell me, especially with that little effort. I was totally unprepared for when he actually did.

The next few nights we discussed getting together that weekend and made more plans for our wedding (again-don't ask, it was just where the conversation went) and a kazillion other things. For being so vague and half-formed I think we spent at least 4 hours a night on the phone and facebook each night.

So our plans for Friday were for Justin to come up to my place after work, hoping for him to get a half day. At like 0815 Justin texted me to say he was off for the day and would be up in a little bit. So I was expecting an hour. I was still in cleaning clothes and was scrubbing the kitchen when he texted me at 0837 with "Knock knock". Really? We were planning to run errands in the afternoon after Justin got off work so we moved our day forward. I even let Justin drive, which I never had before, even though I can't stand the girl driving and I let pretty much every other important guy in my life drive. In our travels we hit Marshall's because I was looking for something specific that they'd had previously. While perusing the aisles we ran into some napkins in the colors we'd decided on for the wedding monogrammed with an S (his last name starts with one). I joked with him that we should pick them up for the wedding. He stopped to take a look at them and on the next shelf there were photo albums. Lo and behold one of them was in our wedding colors and had an S on it. So I picked it up, looked at it, showed it to Justin and decided to get it, since one never knows. I told him that if we got married then it would be perfect. And if we didn't I'd just give it to him for a wedding present when he got married next time. To which he responded if we didn't get married he'd never marry again. All this apparently had him freaked out; he was texting people and calling people. Most of them being male they weren't much help. He should have called a girl...
Which I did...Jess just doesn't believe me. They were just as confused as my guy friends were. (For future reference, Justin corrections will be in red.) So we finished our errands and came home, where we watched a ton of movies and I made dinner (homemade chicken pot pie and creamed spinach). I will admit that I completely vetoed Titus after about five minutes, though. That and not knowing what a narwhal was totally made me lose points in one of our friend's eyes, but I hope that he'll one day come to forgive me. Well, about 2030 or so Justin started not feeling well; headache, watery eyes, sniffing, itchy face. Yep, you guessed it. He's allergic to cats and didn't tell me!!! I dragged him to Wal-Mart to get some allergy medicine. Except on the way while I was driving-that's how bad his allergies had progressed!- I shot him in the eye with a hair tie. I couldn't have made that shot if I were trying and my daughters' lives depended on it! Poor man. At the store I actually opened the medicine in the middle of the store, got him a drink out of the cooler and made him take it standing in the middle of the aisle. We made it back home and resumed our ridiculous movie marathon. He very jokingly started pouting about me having hit him in the eye. So I apologized (for the fifteenth billion time) and kissed him on the cheek and went about life. Which totally put my mind into over drive thinking about why she kissed me on the cheek. Was it a sincere sorry kiss, was it a spur of the moment kiss, or was it a more planned out kiss? And apparently Jess add-ins will be in purple. I'd wanted to kiss him on the cheek at Repo but he gave me the bum's rush and I chickened out. And a lot of what I wanted to see before I told him yes or no was how we got along physically, which meant I knew we'd probably kiss that weekend. But this was more apologetic, spur of the moment with a little bit of trying to stir up trouble thrown in. Later we were watching yet another movie and I leaned against him and fell asleep (a girl can only watch so many movies before she crashes). I woke up to him just barely brushing his lips across mine. I decided I liked it and he decided he liked it and right about then we knew we were a couple, in a relationship and wanted to serve GOD together for the rest of our lives while raising four godly daughters. Except something still didn't feel right...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Talk about a Godsmack

So I have NO clue where to even begin this post!!! Well, let's start with basics. Hmm, even that's hard to do. I guess first and foremost is that I am one of the happiest, most loved women on earth. Okay, now I'm still not sure where to go.

Okay, so we'll start with the truth. I've been fighting GOD for a while. Not really wanting to but not giving it all to HIM either. I've been holding on to stuff that HE's forgiven but I haven't. I haven't wanted to let go of the reigns (since I've been doing such GREAT job with everything :P). I've wanted a closer relationship with HIM but have always felt that the door keeps moving away from me. I don't doubt HIS love or sacrifice or patience or forgiveness, I've just always felt too unworthy for HIM to bother with. It's been scaring me and making me really wonder about things. It seems rather random but this does play into the story.

So to get to the point of this post: Justin. So I still don't know which direction to go in...We've been best friends for about 15 years. We grew up in the same church, went to middle school and high school together and even when we weren't that close we knew the other was always there. We'd usually get together a couple of times a year and facebook really helped strengthen our friendship. We went to his prom together, on youth group trips together, he helped me pack up the house and move when Eric left us and he has always been one of the best guy friends a girl can have.

So here comes the part where I'm totally mean and should be beat. If I cussed there is a word that rhymes with ditch and looks rather similar. Justin asked me out in high school. He graduated two years ahead of me so he was a senior when I was a sophomore. I told him that I thought of him as a really good friend and brother. I know, I'm horrible. And he still asked me to prom and I still said yes. I wish someone would have smacked me and told me to grow up back then.

We went about our separate lives, seeing each other here and there; church, parties of mutual friends, whatever. I went through a few boyfriends and met Eric. We got married, had beautiful children and then he left. We were together for eight years and married for six and a half. Justin had girlfriends, got married, had a wonderful daughter and then his wife left him. Actually about six months before Eric left. *sigh* This is what happens when we don't give control of our lives to GOD. HE always knows better, no matter what we think at the time.

~Total break in the story-I'm actually talking to him on speaker phone while I type this. Justin helped me a lot through the divorce, especially the early stages where I was lost and hurt and confused. He helped me through finding out Eric had moved in with his girlfriend four months after leaving our home. He helped me pack all night-even when I HAD to lay down and get some rest he kept packing. So I'm sitting here apologizing to Justin that he had to go through the divorce with me and it must have been hard for him to do that. He sweetly and patiently and lovingly tells me that he had to go through his divorce first so that he could help me through mine. Now back to the story!~

Except now I'm stuck again...If we're being honest I would tell you that Justin's been in love with me for years. No matter how annoying, how immature, how much of a pain in the butt he's been I think I've always known. Like we're talking at least 12 or 13 years. We grew up in the same church but didn't really spend a lot of time together until 1995 when we were in band in middle school together and I moved up to the youth group at church. He can't actually pinpoint when he started liking me. But I'd better move the story along.

So more recently...Last year I had an awesome 25th birthday party with Justin, Charlie and Mia; after which Justin banished himself. Without explanation. He eventually emerged from his cave and we started talking again, though there was much "contemplation", which he'd already been doing for a while. Truth be told I was talking to someone and Justin had just about given up on me-and on what GOD was telling him. It wasn't a great relationship We've seen each other a few times, either by our design or meeting up in a group of friends. Facebook, facebook, facebook. Fast forward through a not so great relationship for me after Eric (yes, I know we've only been divorced since October-it was very short and not very healthy). We hung out in May when Mia came to town (I'm never going to a bar again! Ever!) and we got together for lunch the next day. Somewhere while we were there he was given the advice that there are other fish in the sea, that there are better women out the than me. Both of which are true, though he promptly told the person that there isn't. So he started talking to someone in cast (he's in a shadow cast for Repo: The Genetic Opera) and I found out. At which point I immediately called him up and started bugging him as to what he'd been contemplating for the last few years. Eventually he admitted he was talking to someone (after I told him I knew) but never told me that he liked me. And since I really don't believe in breaking up relationships I backed off. But I was really surprised by how much I did NOT like him talking to someone.

Which brings us to Repo. So to break out of my box and experience something new, and since the girlies were in Ohio, I went. I stood outside the Ken for an hour all by myself. I was reminded of how wonderful it is to live a life for GOD as opposed to one trying to please only myself. I sat by myself crowded by people I'll never see again. And I actually enjoyed myself. It was funny. I loved seeing the regulars throwing out all the callbacks. I loved watching Justin have fun on stage. And yet I knew Justin was talking to one of the girls up there. I have no clue why I cared so suddenly or so strongly. Going to Repo was just a ploy to get him to notice me. There, I admitted it. Afterward I asked him to walk me to the car, since I'm just a girl (in the world-as long as you let me be!), I'd parked a few blocks down and it was like 0230. It actually ended up being a good thing since his brother was robbed at gunpoint, but eh, whatever. On the way back to the car I asked which girl he was talking to. Which is when he told me she was no longer in the picture. Really? You couldn't have told me this 4 hours ago before I stood/sat all by myself all night, had only had four hours of sleep the night before, had wasted my Saturday at class to get my RDA (which I still haven't done anything else for yet) and you still have to go in and clean up so we couldn't hang out. REALLY?!?!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Where to start? Well, let's start with the phone call that began it all. ~My mother-in-law (ex, really, but still; we'll just call her Andrea)~ Andrea calls me up and says that my step-sister-in-law can't bring the girls out and how would I like to take a vacation. Really, how can you turn down being a taxi/chaperon for your own kids? Mainly Eric wasn't answering his phone and Andrea wanted to buy the tickets. Since Dr. had decided to take a few days off (and wasn't going to offer vacation pay or anything) I figured why not. So after a FULL day of work and ClaireBeth's last day of 2nd grade (she's gettin' so BIG!) we drove down to San Diego for a 2300 flight. Thankfully nonstop. After almost getting a ticket (stupid 18 inch rule) and ridiculous lines (it was 2300 on a Wednesday-seriously!!!) and the computer not showing that I'd paid $23(!!!) for the girls' suitcase we boarded. The flight wasn't bad and we only had two meltdowns (which was way less than COULD have happened (and I'm using a lot of parenthesis :))). After exploring the moving walkways at the Cincinnati airport we found Gee (Andrea) and Auntie Yelle. Or Auntie Daniel. Take your pick.

So now we're up to about 0630/0700 on Thursday. We go home and veg for a bit. Gotta love Nick Jr and Playhouse Disney. Gee fell asleep and somehow Auntie Yelle and I end up in the pool with the girls. So some background: ClaireBeth's been a fish since she went out to Gee's on her third birthday and they pretty much threw her in and said "Don't drown". All good. ZoeBel will sit on the steps. And VeeZee won't get anywhere near the pool; loves baths and showers but no pool. So they're each doing their thing, VeeZee's in because one of us (usually Yelle) is carrying her. Then ZoeBel leaves the steps. YEA!!! We eventually get out and go shopping, do chores around the house. Whatever. Except I get to ride the riding lawnmower!!! Oh my ponies, it was SO FUN!!! Of course Andrea had me start with the super hilly, tree infested front yard, but it was still AWESOME! Yes, I know I'm weird. It's okay. "God made me special and He loves me very much."-the Bob. During the course of the work Andrea is cleaning out the garage where the dogs stay. Polly, a gorgeous German Sheppard that's been in the family since 1989 has been declining lately. While brushing her Andrea notices how thin she's gotten. So Andrea calls the vet and took Polly in to be euthanized. I offered to since she was going to wait for her husband (who's working in Louisiana) but she wanted to do it. After she returns we get back in the pool where ZoeBel puts on muscles. She's avoided these like the plague for as long as I can remember. Next thing I know she wants to jump off the diving board! She gets up there and decides she's not ready. It's okay. Then she runs and jumps off! I've been so afraid this girl was NEVER going to swim!!! I'll gladly pay for muscles (at least this summer; 6-years-old is a little old for those).

Friday Andrea has to go to work so Yelle, the girls and I go to visit Grandma Peach and Grandpa Kenny. I had two conditions when I agreed to go. I wanted to see Grandma and Grandpa and Unkie John and Auntie Julie if they wanted to see me. I talked to them first and told them they didn't have to see me if they didn't want to and the girls would always be available for them. So off to Ludlow Falls we go. We were only a little late (the sun sets SUPER late there-like 2130-so you don't go to bed until like 2230 and I overslept for like the first time EVER). Lots of talking, laughing and eating later we head home so Yelle can go to work.The girls and I clean the house and when Gee gets home we head to Auntie Yelle's ice cream stand. Very Yum. That night one of Andrea's sisters (there are 3 guys and 5 girls) and her daughter and HER daughter come spend the night. And we have pizza! And of course there's swimming in there somewhere, too.

Saturday 2 more sisters and a brother and his awesome wife (the aforementioned Unkie John and Auntie Julie) come over for a barbeque and swimming. I totally fry! It's still itching. Then movie night-The ToothFairy. Actually pretty cute :) We were going to go see Toy Story 3 at the drive in but it was super late. It started at like 2115, though the second feature was Prince of Persia. *sigh*

Sunday comes and Yelle and I take the girls to the sprayground, where I discover that I don't have my driver's license. I'd recently lost my military ID (which is irreplaceable since I'm no longer a dependent but I'd been using it since the girls don't have theirs yet) and had stolen a card carrier from ClaireBeth who stole it from her 6-year-old auntie Alex. Nonetheless somewhere between checking in Wednesday at the airport and Sunday morning I'd lost my license. I had everything else except that. I give up. So we leave the sprayground earlier than we expected so I could look for it at home. The worst part is I'm supposed to leave on like three hours! I already don't want to come home. And of course it's no where. I call the airline who says I'd need to get there even earlier than usual. I throw everything (ALMOST everything-I still can't find my bathing suit bottoms. Or my driver's license) into my bag, leave the house a HUGE mess and run to the airport. Where they let me through with my Sam's club card, which I was only carrying because it had been with my driver's license when I put everything in my wallet and I decided not to bother taking it out. So it doesn't take any extra time at all. The only downside is Yelle is waiting for me to let her know I got through (in case I didn't) and I hadn't been smart enough to put her number in my phone. We actually call Andrea at work at the same time to get each other's numbers. After landing and spending a kazillion dollars in Salt Lake I make it back to San Diego-where we sit for 15 minutes before we get to a gate. Mama and Pops pick me up (his first time on airport duty-haha!) and we gp to their house. And Bed! Then off the next morning to get my new driver's license. The adventure never ends.

Monday, June 21, 2010

ZoeBel's 5!!!!!

Hmm, I should have written this last week. I'm hard pressed to remember everything we did for her birthday.

I can't remember if we started on Wednesday. I feel like we did something, just can't recall. Aren't I a wonderful mama?

Thursday (her actual birthday) she choose yogurt for breakfast. So we had yogurt and candles. Except I couldn't find a lighter so she pretended to blow out the candles :P. After ClaireBeth was done with school Eric picked all of the girls up and took them to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate with Bree's family. They had a great time and I didn't have to suffer the horrors of Chuck E. Cheese. Definitely win/win!

Friday we got her pictures taken. Just don't comment on her dress! We generally pick out something that morning but we'd helped with ClaireBeth's field day at school so we were running late. We had time to go to one store. Since I knew-and wasn't impressed with-what they had at WalMart and Target and the mall didn't open until the same time our appointment was we ended up at Ross. Which can be hit or miss. It was a miss. But we got a good one. We did a few other things; again I can't quite remember. I know I'm horrible. Then came the big festivities. ZoeBel also graduated from preschool on the 11th. We invited my parents and grandmother and planned to have ZoeBel's favorite dinner (pizza pockets) and strawberry cake afterwards. Except with all the running around we ran behind. When we left to take her to school for the ceremony I hadn't even made her cake yet, let alone started dinner. We ended up with Little Ceaser's (thanks to Mama and Pops). While I was making the cake after the ceremony the other big people took ZoeBel to shop for her birthday presents. After dinner we, including the delightful Miss Francesca from upstairs, sang Happy Birthday and dug in, at which point ZoeBel tells me she doesn't like strawberry cake. Nice. My friends came over a little later to celebrate with us and we ended up talking until like 2 am.

And last but not least we went to see Shrek Ever After in 3-D. I honestly couldn't tell you if it was Saturday or Sunday though. And of course the next week we were off to Ohio. More to follow...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Adventures In Mia-Land...

is here!

So my best girlfriend got to come to town. I got to steal her since her dad was out of town for the first few days. As much as I knew I loved her I now have an even deeper love and appreciation for her. Plus her fiance and my other best friend said I couldn't stand on his side at their wedding so he's no longer my favorite. :)

So I picked Mia up at the airport and we went straight to Mexican food and Mission Beach. The hole-in-the-wall on the corner has awesome carne asada! I think we were there for like two hours. Splashed in the waves, dug big holes (eventually helped by a boy named Colby-what's up with naming kids after cheese?), played with sand toys, white girl got the snot burned out of her. You know, normal stuff. But later that night Mia looked like I'd dyed her red and THEN boiled her her like a lobster. Poor thing. So after Mia's broiling we dropped the girls off at my parents' and headed to Kristy's MVP in Pt. Loma. I'd lived by this place for years and managed to never go in. I should have kept it that way. Our really good friend Justin and his and Mia's friend Steven go karaoke-ing on Thursdays. So Mia said she wanted to go. Except she didn't know it was on Thursdays when she decided. And I was her ride for the day. So guess who ends up going. When you haven't even made it into the bar yet and you've got guys saying hi to you that are standing outside the side entrance like they live there it's probably a good idea to go home. But still. Justin sang Hungry Like The Wolf and the fun just went from there. I don't drink much, especially when I'm out and I was driving since it was Mia's vacation so that didn't hold much appeal. And it was kind of sad seeing people that looked like they visited the place a lot. But I loved seeing Justin, seeing Mia having fun and there were a lot of laughs. Unfortunately there was also some bleeding from the ears as the night wore on, the glasses piled up on the tables and the songs were more morose. Oh well.

Friday was just as fantastic. Justin was working in Vista so he came over for lunch-pizza pockets!!!, which are mostly homemade calzones. Mia, the girls and I went to the commissary (after the dreaded menu planning) and then hit the mall. I got hair dye for the girls which I thankfully didn't do that weekend because I don't think Eric and Bree would have appreciated the girls having purple hair for their wedding. Then the awesome Mia watched the girlies while I went out to dinner with my small group. When I came home she'd given the girls a bath, made them dinner and they had made me hamburger cookies. She was reading them a story and they hadn't watched any TV. I'd been gone for at least two hours, maybe three. She did an fabulous job with them and they love her to death.

Saturday was a sad day. I had to take her back to her dad's. He'd brought her out here so it was only fair he actually got to see her. I suppose. But first was a trip to the salon. The Haircut Store in Clairemont is fantastic. Mia has curly hair and had Brittany who did a great job. The girls go to Abby (I'm taking two of them tomorrow) and I see Maggie and Marcella. So after that and McDonald's it was time to part ways. *sigh* Charlie and Mia (especially Mia) would love us to move with them and share a house. I'd love to, too. Which is why our adventures in Mia-Land were so hard, 'cause we're separated by a whole country. But, thank goodness for Skype and Facebook. They (Mia and Charlie-not FaceBook and Skype) are a source of support and love and acceptance. Not that we don't have it from our families, but it's even more special when it's freely given by someone who's not stuck with you genetically. So I'll post photos soon so you can enjoy the day with us.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

So It's My Birthday

I turned 26 today. I don't like it. I'm officially no longer in my early 20s, no matter how I twist the numbers. I am actually frighteningly close to my late 20s which is just a hop away from 30, which is a skip away from my early thirties and is barely a jump to my mid 30s and then on to 40. 25 didn't bother me. 24 did a little bit just because it is two dozen (what can I say, I bake a lot, or at least I used to).

So I'm not going to go over the last year. Unfortunately this blog is somewhat censored. I don't write about everything that comes up or how I feel because a lot of it still has to do with Eric. Some of it is not for me to tell people about. Part of it is me still trying to protect him and not talk about him in a way that would be disrespectful or would effect other peoples' feelings about him, though I know a lot of people that read this don't actually know him (as if anyone really reads this-ha!). I hate the fact that I hurt him so much and really regret that I probably pushed him farther from GOD. I would give anything to undo what I've done.

So this year...I have no clue what's going to come.

Philip and I decided together that parting ways wasn't a bad idea. We'd talked about this for a few weeks and I wanted to start the year anew. I have some regrets, though nothing that Philip caused. All were decisions I made. The best I can do after making those choices is to learn from them and go forward. I do regret introducing him to the girls. Not that he wasn't wonderful with them, but they don't need people coming in and out of their lives, especially because of me. We had talked for several months before we introduced him to them. Living so far apart made it difficult to see each other without them around, and that's a long time to be away from the girls. All in all it was a learning experience and hopefully we'll stay friends. I don't know, it doesn't really happen but we can see.

What birthday is complete without a party? The girls and I started celebrating last night with schnitzel and cinnamon rolls. They did my hair (I'm hoping there was no film in their camera) and we played games followed by a round of DuckTales. This morning we went to Denny's and I got a free grand slam. How cool was that? We went to Wal-Mart to pick up ZoeBel's birthday present-don't ask, her birthday is in June but I got it and I hate waiting-then we went to David's Bridal to try to pick up a dress for my two best friends' wedding. Yup, they're marrying each other. So I could either wear a dress or a tux! I ended up standing on the bride's side so I get the dress. Which David's Bridal apparently does not carry in my size. Next was a party with my parents and aunt and uncle. Ham and blondies with a side of york peppermint patties. Yum! It's kind of hard because a lot of my best friends moved away this last year. Doesn't mean I'm less loved, just means I didn't get to party as much this year.

So I'd better get my old self to bed. I ended up taking last week off because the girls were sick. I loved being home with them again but the weekly routine starts back up in 10 or 11 hours. So to all a good night. Wait...that's Christmas. Oh well.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Where Have I Been?

Honestly, I have no clue. I love blogging. I miss blogging. I love reading all of my friends' blogs, even though I don't do it all that often. Every other week or so I'll sit down and go through my dashboard and favorites. But I digress. . . I guess part of it is that there's not a lot going on. No big activities. No major revelations. Nothing worthy of bothering anyone about. Work days we get up, go to school and work, come home, eat, shower and go to bed. Weekends we are either catching up or running around or avoiding everything. So let's see if we can find anything newsworthy.

Well, VeeZee turned three yesterday! It doesn't feel like it's that big of a deal though. I never see them anymore! She and ZoeBel spent the day with Eric. They went to SeaWorld and had fun. I picked them up around 1930 and we came home and went to bed.

ZoeBel is starting to read and has the kookiest fashion sense. Skirts and leggings all the way. Except she'll wear regular pants if leggings aren't available. And you can guarantee nothing will actually match. I try to offer some guidance, but sometimes it's better to let her be her own little person.

ClaireBeth is doing well at school. She's starting to adopt a more mature attitude, which can be difficult. And she's having to be reminded that she's one of the girlies, not a big person like Mama.

All of them are sweet and loving and darling. But they're real people, not robots, so some days I want to shut myself in my room and go to bed. Doesn't happen often but a girl can dream.

The older two start going to talk to someone in a few weeks. A therapist. ZoeBel is the one I'm most concerned about, but ClaireBeth probably needs help, too. I'm not sure what I expect from this or if I'll be told that they're normal and they don't need it or even what can be done with children this age but we'll see what happens. I've had to put aside my feelings of failure and some other feelings brought about by things I can't change no matter how hard I try. What's important is helping the girls.

I'm still working at the same place. I'll be there a year in about two weeks. I went to a small group last week. It was nice, though not like my last one. I'm worried I'll keep holding everything up to that standard and be disappointed every time. It's hard to just give in and be where I'm put, even if God does know better than I do. Doesn't mean I wanna.

So like I said. Nothing major. Nothing exciting. I do need to start planning a birthday party that's on Saturday. Go Jess, way to procrastinate. And tomorrow's packed. Lovely. And it's time to go pick up ClaireBeth from school. Have a great day!