Monday, November 19, 2012

November the Nineteenth

 November 19th. A day that will live infamy. Some pretty awesome things happened on this date in history. Let's take a stroll down memory lane.

1493 - Christopher Columbus discovers Puerto Rico, on his 2nd voyage (AKA The first cruise to Puerto Rico, a tradition that stood the test of time)
1620 - Mayflower reaches Cape Cod & explores the coast (The first Thanksgiving was a year later)
1863 - Lincoln delivers his address in Gettysburg; "4 score & 7 years..." (This is the only one that I knew before googling this date.)
1895 - Frederick E Blaisdell patents the pencil. (Thank you, Mr. Blaisdell. I apologize for the way that the widespread use of computers is causing a decrease in pencil sales these days.)
1953 - US Supreme Court rules (7-2) baseball is a sport not a business. (Would my husband agree? He takes this business sport pretty seriously).
1965 - Kellogg's Pop Tarts pastries created. (Yum. I hope the first one ever made was cherry with frosting and sprinkles on top).
1969 - Apollo 12's Conrad & Bean become 3rd & 4th humans on Moon. (Can you hear me now? Good.)

Flash forward a few years....
1983 - I was born. Enough said.

That's right. Today is my 29th birthday. Let the celebration begin.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thankful for....

As we get closer to Thanksgiving many people are creating lists of everything they are thankful for. I personally love this idea because I believe that God is glorified when we give Him thanksgiving for all the blessings that He has poured out on us. Today I am most thankful for KINDNESS, LOVE, & MERCY.

Philemon 3:3-5
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived, and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.

I read this during my quiet time this morning and was filled with a thankful heart. As a believer and follower of Christ, I fully admit that before my heart was changed (and even now sometimes) my life was marked by sin. It is only the kindness, love, and mercy of Christ that has changed me. I feel like this is the message that Christians need to boldly share...that we aren't saved because we "became good enough" but we are redeemed because God loved us so much that He send Jesus to take on our sins. Especially in our country right now with all of the emotions involved in the political climate, I think it's really important to embrace these verses. Speak out against sin, but do so in a way that shows a love for all people and a humility in regards to our own sin. I hope that my thankfulness in what God has done for my life changes the way that I love others.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Twas the week before Thanksgiving

Who's in the mood for some Thanksgiving? I know I am. Eva has been sick with roseola all week long so most of our week was spent indoors cuddling. I'm glad that the weather was cooler this week because it made it easier to want to snuggle up with the cute little kitty you see above (of course I always want to cuddle with her!).  What else made it fun to be inside? Thanksgiving decoration and crafts!
Craft 1: Wall of Thankfulness. My mother in-law was getting rid of these three 8X10 frames so I snatched them up. I printed off the background pages on cream colored card stock and we write on the with dry erase markers. I like having these up because it reminds me to be intentional about writing down what I'm thankful for.

Craft 2: Super Turkey Finger Puppet. I picked up the kit for this at Michael's and assembled it for Eva. You could probably make this on your own without a kit if you have the supplies at home already. She thinks its quite hilarious when I make him dance and talk. 

Craft 3: Sticker Cornucopia. This is also from Michael's. I did the good mom thing and let Eva completely decide where each sticker went. I did not try to tell her what would look the cutest. I encouraged her to be creative and let it look how she wanted it to look. Then I used a ziplock bag and some classy packing tape to stick it up on the fireplace wall next to her toys. 

It's time for s'more Thanksgiving! I did not make these bu they sure are cute. We have s'more people decked out for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. It's fun to change them out with each holiday.

Thanksgiving read alongs! We've been reading up on some silly turkeys to get ready for the big day.

And tonight I found this awesome Turkey Time song/video. Thanksgiving week dance party? Sounds fun to me.

Thankfully my girl is finally better and looking forward to delicious food and time with family this week. Gobble gobble!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Guest Post: Why Is Making Adult Friends so hard? {Thankful for Community}

Thank you to Angela from Living Pretty for this guest post. Angela teaches 4th grade at the same elementary school that I used to work at. I follow her blog and when I read this post I knew that it was something that so many women can identify with. Most women want friends. Real friends that they can laugh with and cry with. Friends that you can call to chat about real stuff, or sometimes to chat about nothing at all. We have this innate desire because God created us for authentic relationships. Not relationships based on pride or vanity. Relationships based on love and true acceptance. Know this about me, that if I take an interest in you and act like I want to be your friend, it is because I actually want to be your friend.

Today I am thankful that we were created for community...for the friends I have and love...for the opportunity to reach out and connect with other women.

Why is making adult friends so hard?  

Friends.  That's what we are going to talk about today.  I feel like I have been searching for friends for forever.

Little background:
I went to a small private school my entire life.  I was friends with who I was friends with because they were in my class for years on end.  Thankfully, those friendships have developed into much more than "I am your friend because I have known you for 12 years."

I also went to the same church for a really long time.  My other group of friends are from church.  and I love them dearly.  However, not a single one of them lives nearby.

Speed up to present time:
I have lots of good friends at work.  They are funny, and sometimes we hang out outside of work.  It is always a blast.

I have several friends at church.  Those are in different stages of relationships.

Those friendships I developed when I was younger are pretty strong because most of them I talk to on a regular basis or if we don't don't talk on a regular basis, we are able to pick up right where we left off.

Here's the problem I am struggling with:  I want refrigerator friends.  (Meaning-I am comfortable to come over to your house and eat whatever from your fridge without asking and you are able to do likewise.)  ***Let me state, that I do have one of these nearby, and I don't want that person to think I don't consider them in this category, I do!

I want to be vulnerable with this person. I want to talk about all those things that I call my faraway friends and talk about. I want to come over when my husband is monopolizing the tv.  I want you to stop by whenever. I want you to invite yourself over for dinner.  I want you to sit on my couch and eat junk food and watch Real Housewives.

I have been looking for friends like this for years, since college.  Why is it so hard?  I feel like I put forth effort.  I am always looking for people to invite over for dinner.  Maybe they will be my fridge friend.  But then I find out that they already have enough fridge friends or they are in a different stage of life than me and that doesn't work for them.  (Regarding the stage of life thing, I think it is a load of crap.  My best friend lives hundreds of miles away and has a baby, and we make it work.  I think if we live in the same town, we would be able to make it work.)

I don't understand what else I have to do.  Do these friends exist?  Am I wishing for something that is intangible?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thankful for the way she lights up my life

I mentioned it in my post yesterday, but Eva has been sick lately. She's had a high fever since Saturday and been so sad most of the time. We went to the doctor Monday afternoon only to be told the obvious, "She's sick." Yep. I knew that. He said it's probably some virus but she doesn't have any other symptoms to point towards anything else (I guess that's good and annoying at the same time).

Anyway, tonight while she was taking a short nap before dinner I secretly put up our little Christmas tree. I wanted to surprise her when she woke up. I carried  her downstairs and set her down where she could see it. She stood there in wonder and made sweet sounds of joy.

It took her a few minutes to actually walk up to the tree. She was just in awe. I turned on Christmas music and showed her that she could sit  and rock in front of the tree to look at it all.  Regardless of whether you think Christmas trees should go up before or after Thanksgiving, you can't argue against something that makes a sick little girl feel happy.

I had to take the special settings off for this photo, but I wanted to show how wonderful her smile was after 3 days of fever and tears. Thankful for my baby and the memories we make together? You bet.

Guest Post: Mesothelioma from Secondary Exposure {Thankful for Health}

James 1:17
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

One thing I am truly thankful for is the health of my family. This past weekend my baby was sick and we were stuck at home while she rested out her fever, but thankfully it was nothing serious. My parents are healthy, my husband is healthy, and our beautiful girl is healthy. How often though do I thank God for my own personal health? Honestly not much. It's more usual that I wait until I am sick to ask for healing. Below is a guest post from Heather Von St. James, a mother, wife, and cancer survivor. 

Mesothelioma from Secondary Exposure

“You have cancer.” I have never been as scared as I was the day I was told those awful three words.  About 3 1/2 months before I was diagnosed with cancer, I had been in an emotional bliss because I had celebrated the birth of my daughter.  Then I was being informed that I had cancer, specifically, pleural mesothelioma cancer.  This type of cancer was usually a result of being near asbestos.

Like most people who I talked to after my diagnosis, I thought asbestos was banned, and I wondered where I could have come into contact with it.  I quickly learned that asbestos was not banned, and I learned where asbestos could be found.  Sadly, I quickly knew that it came from my father.  My father was never aware of the danger he was putting his family in when he came home from his construction job each night with white dust covering his clothes.  He never knew that those tiny white particles contained millions of microscopic asbestos fibers.
Unlike the typical mesothelioma patient, I was only 36 when I was diagnosed.  Most patients are older and work in different trade jobs.  Some of these jobs may include plumbing jobs, heating jobs, electrical jobs, mechanical jobs, and military jobs on ships.  Other patients were women who handled the asbestos filled laundry and the secretaries who worked in schools that had been built with asbestos filled materials.
Today’s generation of mesothelioma sufferers look similar to me.  They are young men and women in their late 20’s and early 30’s. These are the children who were around their fathers who had asbestos on their clothes after work.  Like me, these are the children who ran into their father’s arms when they came home from work with asbestos filled clothes.  These are young men and women are just getting married and starting families of their own.  Like me, the mesothelioma brings their lives to an unforeseen halt.  However, these patients are able to celebrate the fact that more medical advances have allowed people of all ages to have better odds of surviving this disease.

The word cancer is a devastating word.  It is more devastating when you learn that you have cancer.  Many mesothelioma patients, including me, have hope in surviving this fight.  The mesothelioma sufferers are a community.  As a community, we are able to talk together, share our experiences together, support each other, and cry with one another, but most of all, we can celebrate our victories together.
I continue to share my mesothelioma survivor story with others to bring awareness to mesothelioma.  I truly believe that if there is more awareness to this disease, then fewer people will have to suffer from it.  I tell my story to give new patients hope; I tell my story to help sufferers to stop living in fear.  If one person benefits from my story, then I know I am doing the right thing.
To find out more please visit The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Don't Box Her In

Before I write the rest of this post I wanted to share a fun story from our normal, everyday life. When we purchased Eva's big girl car seat back in September we took it out of the box in our room. Ever since that day, the box has remained in our room because Eva loves that box. It's just a plain cardboard box that is big enough and deep enough for her to crawl in. You would think we had given her a secret tree house for the amount of joy this simple box has brought her. The other day Ryan asked, "When we got married, would you have ever thought that we'd keep a huge box in our room just because our child liked it?" No, I absolutely would never have thought this. I'm not a huge fan of kid hullabaloo taking over a home. But she likes the box so much! It also keeps her very entertained while we are getting ready in the mornings.  So for now, the box stays. I'm honestly even thinking about decorating it. On to the rest of the post.... Eva Kate turned 14 months today! What has our munchkin been up to this month?

Doing a bit of birthday/Christmas/winter browsing. We didn't buy her this hat, but isn't it cute on her?

Pumpkin loving. I know I've posted too many photos of her with pumpkins, but we're still in Thanksgiving season so here is one more. This girl loves her pumpkin on the front porch. Every single day we talk about it when we play outside.

Laughing! I'm not sure what is so funny but at least she's happy!

Hanging out with her Daddy. Literally.

Dressing in layers. The fall weather around here has meant dressing for cooler temperatures in the morning. When the warmer weather hits in the afternoon sometimes those pants end up on her head.

Throwing acorns! Who knew that this could be so cool? Eva loves to pick up an acorn, I help her throw it, and it rolls down the driveway. Big fun.

 Being silly! She loves it when Ryan chases her around the house. I love her giggles.

Happy 14 Months to my silly girl! Love you lots.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

You Better Sit Down For This

My college roommate once told me that she wanted to write a novel about a chair. The opening line? You better sit down for this.

I feel like I could write a novel about our hunt for new dining room chairs but instead I'll keep it at a short narrative. The bottom line: we've been needing 2 new dining room chairs. We have 6 chairs that we purchased when we got married. Out of the 6, most of them have only slight signs of wear and tear, but 2 of them are in rough condition. Once upon a time when we were newlyweds, we used our dining room chairs at step stools. We were young and thought that it would be fine, although every time we did it we'd remark under our breath, "Yeah, we probably need to buy a step stool soon." Oh, we were so naive. The seats of the 2 bad chairs now have faux leather finishing that has peeled off the seat part. It's always embarrassing when your dinner guests stand up and you have to say, "I'm so sorry but you have a piece of chair stuck to your pants."

{Photo Credit: Pier One}
I went chair browsing with my mom this week and we stumbled across this super cute slip cover from Pier One Imports. I loved this! I loved the color. I loved the pattern. I loved the style. My mom generously bought me a few of these as an early birthday present. Too bad they didn't fit the frame of our chairs. Bummer. I had to take them back. 

{Photo Credit: Kirklands}
Next I found this parsons chair at Kirklands. The color was similar to the slip cover I liked but this was an actual upholstered chair. In natural Kate fashion, I began to weigh all of the pros and cons for purchasing this chair. Pros - fun color, modern look, upholstered wouldn't "shed" like faux leather. Cons- would show food stains more, not a classic piece, Eva could accidentally destroy it by somehow getting hold of a sharpie, and I'd probably want 4 of these instead of just 2 like I had planned so that I could just use my other brown chairs as end chairs (this is a con because it would be more expensive). I literally sat at Kirklands with Ryan and Eva and my mom on the phone and discussed and contemplated every possible outcome. No one should care this much about a silly chair. I just wanted to make the right choice! There was also another chair at Kirklands that I liked, and I knew that chair would be more classic and not show stains as much, but I didn't like the pattern as much either. Ahhh. In the end I bought a couple of these chairs to take home and look at in our dining room. I assembled 2 of them. I didn't like how it looked in our space. Time to make another return.

As Ryan and I were looking at the patterned chairs in our dining room we decided that we really do like the brown leather look most of all. We contemplated saving up to spend more to get real leather parsons chairs but decided that it was more than we had or wanted to spend on chairs right now. I totally agree that sometimes it's worth it to spend more on some investment pieces. I'm also very aware that we're not necessarily in the season of life where it makes sense to have nicer, fancier furniture. With a toddler and tons of youth and friends and families in and out of our house all the time, it makes more sense to keep things simple.

With all that in mind we decided to get 2 more faux leather chairs that matched the old ones we had (the new chair is on the left). The design of the new chairs is slightly updated with stiching on the back of the chair seat. Other than that they are basically the same. We went back to Kirklands on Saturday, returned the patterns ones, bought these which were less expensive, and used a coupon! Can't beat saving money on an item that you'll be more happy with than the one you are returning! I really do like this style and am happy with the decision I made. Plus I now have extensive knowledge of how to assemble a parsons chair. Happy early birthday to me!

Eva really doesn't care which cares we have. She's just happy crawling on top of the box!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's the great pumpkin, Eva Kate!

Only 13 months old and Eva is already a Halloween party hopper! Our spooooky evening started off at a Fall Festival being hosted by another church in Trophy Club. Nothing more frightening than lots of kids running around looking for candy, right? Just kidding. It was a good time for everybody.

One reason why I really wanted to take her here was so she could play some fun games. Gotta love the one where you pick a rubber duckie out and win a prize! The duck and the bucket of water were prize enough but who wants to turn down candy? She really wanted to keep playing in the water.

Our friends met us at the festival and played games with us. Eva's buddy Natalia was a beautiful pirate! 

Choo-choo! All aboard the Pumpkin Express!!!! All 2 of us. That's right. We rode the train by ourselves. 

This was how much of the festival was spent - chasing our sweet pumpkin around!

Then it was on to a friend's Halloween party in their front yard. We dropped by to say hi and took this silly family photo. Ryan and I are supposed to be the two farmers that grew this cute pumpkin.

Last we went.... TRICK OR TREATING!!!! Okay, so I really wasn't going to take her trick or treating. I even told our friends at the festival that I thought it would be too much for Eva. But then....we stopped by to see a family from church. And since the light across the street from them was on, we decided to go to that house also. And a few more...and a few more...trick or treating is contagious! I'll admit that I had totally forgotten how much fun it is. Eva was so excited to walk to each door and wait for somebody to give her a "prize" for her bucket. She smiled and waved at everybody and thankfully nobody was scary to her (even the zombie featured in the pic above).

Yeah, you could make the case that it's silly to take a toddler trick or treating because most people realize that the candy is for the parents...but I don't care. It was so much fun. Plus I think it's a bit more legitimate since we dressed her up and she enjoyed walking up to each house. Eva would have kept going but it was getting late so we headed home.

We gave our munchkin a bath, put her to bed, and then did what every good parent should do. We seperated her candy into neat organized piles, set aside the goldfish and teddy grahams for her, and then split the rest up between us. I'm the kind of person that wants one piece a day for the next few weeks. Ryan would prefer to eat it all in 2 or 3 sittings. I can respect that.

Being a parent on Halloween is totally awesome.