Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fears Realized

On Friday I wrote about my fears and lo and behold, one of them came to fruition on Friday night. One of the greatest men I have ever known, Jim Miller, died on Friday evening while enjoying a wonderful dinner with his beautiful wife. Jim & Libby were the Senior Directors of Camp Greystone where I attended every summer for many years. Jim was the most positive person I have ever met. He knew how to make you feel like the most special person in the room. He was not above any task be it sweeping the floor or clearing tables. He was a true gentleman.
His untimely passing is a reminder that life is short. Sit down today and tell those you love why you love them. Don't let a moment go by without telling your husband and children and parents and friends and siblings how dear they are to you. Write that letter "you've been meaning to write". Do it today! Call that friend with whom you have lost touch. Reach out; you'll be so glad you did!!!

Friday, January 29, 2010


What are you fears? I fear losing my sweet husband or one of our precious children. I know the Lord would grant me the ability to get through it, but I never want to go there. I fear choking and drowning and cancer. I fear accidents and diseases that attack our little ones. I know that the Bible tells me to "trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding." I try. I know worry is not from God. I pray everyday for our family's protection... from accidents, disease, sickness, bad people, etc. Yet, children do get sick and they do leave us. One of my high school friend's was killed in a car accident on his way to meet his wife for lunch. Bad things do happen. We live in a fallen world. I need to pray more that the Lord would take away my worry as I trust Him and His plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11) and the lives of our children. He knows the number of all of our days. I just need to trust Him that He knows best and enjoy each and every day I am given with the family with whom He has blessed me. I am so grateful for each of them!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Me: "Hurricane, why are you so cute?"

Hurricane: " 'Cos I have to."

Me: "Why do you have to?"

Hurricane: " 'Cos I wanna watch a movie."

Girl's got game, doesn't she?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Doorbell at 8am

I walked to the door assuming one of the children had forgotten something and my sweet friend had come back to get it for them. It was a TruGreen Lawn guy. What is most unnerving is that he had driven up at 7:40am while I loaded children into my friend's car and told my husband goodbye. It was at least 15 minutes later when he rang my doorbell. It made me so uneasy. Did he sit and wait for everyone to drive away or did it just happen to take 15 minutes? Why would anyone solicit business at 8am? I HATE door-to-door solicitors. It is an invasion of my privacy. It is an invasion of our private property. I'm sorry times are tough, but I cannot rescue you. My safety, and the safety of my children, is more important than the measly $5 you might make off of me. I have had it. I put a "No Solicitors" sign at the door. I was so fired up that I wanted to go buy a gun so that I can come to the front door window and say, "May I help you?" with a gun sticking through the window!!! There are too many break-ins, rapes, and awful crimes that happen because we all feel like we are hurting someone's feelings by not opening the door. Protect yourself. Don't open the door!

Fired UP!

I am fired up. It is 8am. I just told my oldest children and husband goodbye. The doorbell rang. It is EIGHT O'CLOCK in the morning! I am home with only a small child to protect me. Door to door salesmen make me so angry! I hate being approached when I am not expecting someone. Early in the morning or when it's dark are completely inappropriate. What do think?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday's Tip

Are you a germaphobe? I know I am!! When H1N1 became a scare this fall, I had the children take their shoes off at the door and I sprayed them with Lysol. I am known to use my Lysol and Clorox disinfectant sprays and wipes quite literally. Our children are terribly allergic to dust mites. One of the recommendations is to wash their linens and stuffed animals in hot water once a week to kill the dust mites and any germs, so I do this. However, if your stuffed animal has a music box or a voice box, the water will ruin it. For those items, simply stick them in the freezer for 8 or more hours to kill the germs!!! I love it. You can do this with any toy that you cannot wash in another manner. Kill those germs! I'm tempted to freeze our money before touching it after learning that the flu germs live for SEVENTEEN DAYS on a dollar bill!!! Can it be true? THat is just disgusting!


Monday, January 25, 2010


Some of us enjoyed frozen treats in their entirety!

The children enjoyed being with their friends and catching beads.

These poor pumpkins were WIPED OUT!

Gasparilla was TONs of fun!! We caught lots of beads and enjoyed time with our friends "with whom we ALWAYS watch the parade. I mean, next year I can say "always" with authority!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tuesday's Tip on Sunday

The Gasparilla Children's Parade was so much fun!! Gasparilla is a weekend festival and parade where the Jose' Gasparilla pirate ship invades the city of Tampa. The pirates come into town with a HUGE parade. There are at least 100 floats filled with Krewes. Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla created this parade, but now there are all kinds of Krewes. The real Gasparilla, which is next weekend, is much like Mardi Gras. The Children's Parade is the same parade but without the raucous behavior. Children and adults collect strings of beads and enjoy the music and sounds of a fabulous parade while the pirate ship shoots Tampa from out in the water. The day ends with a fabulous fireworks display.
We had a great time watching the parade "with the people with whom we ALWAYS watch the parade" (ha). However, while watching the parade, we all realized one of the 4 year old little girls was missing. We couldn't find her anywhere. No one had seen her or knew where she had gone. Her older sister didn't know and neither did the other children who had been standing near her. We began to frantically search for her and still couldn't find her. Finally, the police were contacted. This story has a happy ending, as the police had the little girl several blocks away. She had not been taken and mankind had done the right thing.
While searching for her, one mother asked if her Daddy had a picture of her on his cell phone. I thought her idea was brilliant and I wanted to pass it on to all parents. She said if he had a picture of her, he could send it to her phone, and then she could walk around and show people her picture, asking if anyone has seen her. It was interesting because there were at least 4 girls in our proximity who matched her description: "White four year old girl, pink shirt, hot pink skirt. Short light brown hair". We did need her picture. So, for your Sunday Tuesday's Tip, take pictures of each of your children and save them to your cell phone. Take new photos regularly so that you have an up=to-date photo of your child. Had this story not ended as quickly as it did, it would have been nice to circulate this picture by cell phone to the thousands of parade goers who lined Tampa's streets. Take those pictures today! :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010


This weekend is the fun Gasparilla Children's Parade! Our town is very excited about this event. The Children's Parade is like the real Gasparilla, but it is served family-style, which Mama Henley prefers! There will be less hoochie mamas and more baby mamas seen on Bayshore on Saturday. Last year we moved to town less than 2 weeks before the festivities began. This year I can say things like, "We always go to so-and-so's house to watch the parade. She invites our whole church." Yeah, I'm all "we always" now and no one has to know that always means once, right?

To get into the fun, I made a treasure chest cake. I can't take the credit; I found the idea on the internet, but isn't it cute?! I love it and the children had fun decorating it.

My cute new friend, Kim, is an artist, as in a real-my-paintings-hang-in-really-nice-galleries-kind-of-artist. She helped me paint this cute pirate shirt for our son! She drew on a whiteboard and I painted on the t-shirt. She painted darling ones for our girls in the time it took me to paint one. Happy Gasparilla!! Surrender the booty!

Get ready for FABULOUS!

I am so excited!!! I WON the blog makeover from Design Girl!!! I have admired her work on many of your blogs for quite some time. With 5 little children to feed and school to pay for, Mama Henley's desires sometimes have to wait. I have clicked and visited her site a million times wanting to sign up for a blog makeover!! Now I am going to receive one!!! THANK YOU, Design Girl!
You all will want to check out her amazing work. I won in a raffle that is raising money for Haiti. I am dancing this morning!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Betsy-Tacy Books

Do you have little girls who love to read? Maud Hart Lovelace wrote the Fabulous Betsy-Tacy series beginning in 1938. These books tell the precious story of the friendship between two little girls. They are back in print and you can buy them at if you click here.

Our girls are reading these books as quickly as possible after they were recommended by my dear friend, J. She even has the first book on CD for her girls to listen to in the car. If you like Classic literature and books about kind little girls, then you will LOVE this series! Order more than one for your little girl will want to read all of them!

I can't wait to tell our school about these books, if they don't know about them already. They would be a great addition to our school library or the curriculum for second or third grade girls. There is even a Betsy-Tacy Society that has restored the author's house and the two beside it that were inspiration for her books.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday's Tip

When having guests for dinner, it is wonderful to use place cards. One of our Tampa friends turns his place card so that his name faces the other guests at the table once he has been seated. This is a wonderful idea in a situation where you do not know the names of all of the other guests and they may not know yours. Another delightful idea is to write Mrs. Robertson on one side of the place card and Elizabeth on the other side of the card. The "Mrs. Robertson" side should face your guest and the "Elizabeth" side should face others so that they may call Mrs. Robertson by her first name. I just love this divine idea!

Monday, January 18, 2010

English Sandals

In the South, many children wear English sandals. I puffy lace heart English sandals. Our youngest needed some white English sandals to wear to church and when she wears her sweet smocked dresses. Our whole family went to MOBLEY'S Shoes in Raleigh, NC to buy that sweet punkin her new shoes. She was so proud of them. Wouldn't you know hubby is a total pushover? He thought she needed the white AND the pink. He is good at spoiling all of us.

Aren't they so darling? You can buy them online by searching for Willits English sandals or Footmates English sandals. The great thing is that little boys can wear the white, navy, and brown ones. Save the pink for your girls:)! Do you like English sandals?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Picture of a good friend

Our youngest had a friend over for a playdate the other day while her friend's mama enjoyed time with her new baby. Isn't my H just the best little friend on a playdate? Don't you love how she is spending time playing with and encouraging her friend?! Poor thing. She had a hard time sharing.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

One Year Flowers!

DH's sweet Mama sent us flowers for our one year anniversary here in Florida! Is that not the sweetest thing ever?! You may be wondering why they are in a truck... it is our moving truck! I just love it. She is so thoughtful to remember us as this was a special week. One year ago we were sending the children to a new school, buying uniforms, and unpacking boxes. A year later, we are washing those uniforms daily and still unpacking boxes. We're thankful for a GREAT first year, many new memories, and DH's sweet Mama!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Do you ever feel like a failure?

I visited a new friend's house today. It was perfect. She is perfect. Her children are perfect and I imagine her husband is parfait as well. I'm not. I'm so imperfect. My imperfect 3 year old had so much syrup on her shirt that we had to drive home to change her bEFORE said playdate. When we ran in the house, I was reminded of the dishwasher that needed to be emptied so that I could start re-loading it again. The newly-folded basket of clothes greeted me vivaciously, but I quickly closed the door and went on our morning playdate. We had a great time. However, everywhere I turned was perfection. There was not a speck of dust on any floor and dinner was already cooking in the oven in the MORNING! I've done that like ONCE in my whole life! I think of myself as organized, or at least on top of things, but I saw those flashing words from the Wii in my mind: "FAILED FAILED FAILED". And the Wii is a whole another story! Anyway, I started beating myself up because I need to vacuum so badly that the dust bunnies are procreating. Now we vacuumed less than 3 days ago, but the floors are screaming for more. I have 2 baskets of clean clothes to put away and bills and receipts on my dining room table. Our bedroom is a mess on my side with paperwork. I need a home office and haven't figured out how to file away things/put them in a better place than a pile on the floor without one.

But you know what? I spent an hour in one of the children's classrooms this morning. I read to them and helped them with calendar time. I took our youngest on her very own playdate. I fed her lunch and we bought groceries for the whole family. I went to Bible Study last night instead of putting away the laundry or organizing one of my piles. God doesn't care if my house is perfect. He doesn't grade me on my ability to make our home look like something out of a magazine. I don't think I'll ever be that girl. And that's okay. I am perfect... PERFECTLY ME. I am who He created me to be. Some days I'll have it all together and some days I'll barely keep from drowning. And that's okay. He didn't create us to be perfect beings. He knows our imperfections. He sent His very own Son to die for our sins. So after beating myself up about my inability to keep up with my friends who have perfect homes and bodies, I reflected and realized that I am made in HIS image, and that's all that matters:). Pat yourself on the back today and show yourself some love! We are to love the Lord and be who He created us to be, not the girl next door. Isn't that great?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wednesday Words from the backseat....on Thursdays

Driving home from preschool I was playing a CD my friend, HappyMommy, made me. Hurricane said, "That's MY Jesus" when she heard the woman singing something about "my Jesus".

I smiled, thinking she really gets it. "That's right, sweetie".

"It's not HER Jesus!!" she said with great conviction. Turns out I still have a lot of work to do!

Please help the Haitians

Haiti is in complete devastation. Bodies are hurt, bones are broken and exposed, and buildings have collapsed. The people of Haiti were already some of the poorest in the whole world. How will they recover from this earthquake? Please find some way to help. If you give just $5, your $5 can be coupled with $5 from 10 other people and that becomes $50 and so on. The Design Girl is sponsoring a raffle. Please consider visiting her raffle or the Red Cross or Compassion International to give. If your church is raising support for Haiti, dig deep in your pockets and give! We're not talking about a little earthquake. It was HUGE. Yes, there are survivors but so much was destroyed. They do not have the technology and means that we do. Please help! :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

One year ago...

Just one year ago we watched movers disassemble our entire house where all 5 of our babies came home from the hospital, where 4 out of the 5 were potty trained, where walls were colored on, floors were run on, and games were played. Babies had eaten, crawled, laughed, been sick, cried, and enjoyed in that house. DH and I had saved our pennies until we could knock down a wall and create our dream kitchen. We had painted every room in the house, added hardwoods in our Master bedroom, fixed whatever needed to be fixed, added new light fixtures, added a basement bathroom and tile floor, and made countless memories. We loved our neighbors and our neighborhood. I can't tell you how many hours we spent playing in that yard. It was home. But DH received a promotion and we were to move to Florida.

We left behind our sweet neighbors, friends we had known for a lifetime or for the children's lifetime, schools we loved, and our precious family. As the movers came in our house and started packing our things, tears flowed over the memories and the familiarity. I knew everyone in my little world from the preschool director to the young daughter of missionaries who printed my cookbooks at Staples to Darlene at the post office. We had relationships. Long standing relationships. The last box was packed and the boxes filled our driveway. The idea of unpacking all of that in a new home was overwhelming.

We spent one night at my parents' house and then we loaded up our car with all of our most precious possessions, and started our adventure to Florida. There were tears, laughs, screams, and even excitement. We had our first glass of Florida orange juice at the Florida welcome center. We picked up all those messy little flyers about places we'd like to visit. We couldn't move in the car because it was filled with 2 adults, 5 children, a dog, sterling silver, a computer, a laptop, our most important documents, and snacks for the ride. I hid the journals I write to the children under the seats. I had files and more files with us. It was dark when we finally pulled into Tampa. We were exhausted, but we so wanted to see our new home!

DH drove us to our new home. I had no idea what neighborhood we were in or even how to get there. We pulled up and ran inside to see our house. The painters had worked tirelessly and we were greeted by familiar pinks, greens, and blues. The children were so excited and ran upstairs only to have wet socks from the carpet cleaner. Exhausted, we went to our hotel and checked into the condo we would live in for one week. More excitement followed as we discovered the great rooms and the elevator!! We fell into bed with dreams of our new life. We were pioneers.

Now it has been over 365 days. This is home. New memories have been made in our new home. It, too, has been filled with laughter, the pad of children's feet on the floor, potty training, screams, prayers, tears, sickness, health, and happiness. We have grown. We have grown in our ability to be brave in a place where we know no one. We have grown exponentially in our faith. The children have grown. They have learned to adapt to an unfamiliar place. They have learned to make new friends. They have learned Singapore math and more Bible verses than many preachers know!

We miss our old home. We will always treasure our friends and family and we will never forget them. But now this is home. We have built relationships here. We have found a church that truly teaches us the gospel and ministers to us. We have been able to love on others here. I never dreamed I'd live in Florida. I'm missing the blonde hair, big kahunas, and the tan. But Florida is now home and I am thankful. The truth is that home is where our precious family is and where God is. And this is home.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Please pray for those in Haiti

Haiti just experienced its largest earthquake of all times. A hospital collapsed and there is no power on the island. I imagine many lives have been claimed. Just 2 short nights ago we sat in our church to hear from some of our missionaries. For the first time ever, we were able to skype with the Hopps, who live in Haiti as missionaries. We rejoiced with them over the news of baby #4 being on his or her way. We heard about their daily life in Haiti. We now have a face to go with their names when we hear about the family our church supports in Haiti. I can only imagine what the people are going through right now. I imagine crying, utter chaos, and confusion. Please pray for the people of Haiti.

Tuesday's Tip

Twelve years ago I taught at a very special Classical Christian School in Dallas, Texas. After teaching there, I am convinced that a Classical education teaches children so well because they teach according to how each age learns. While teaching at Covenant, I paid close attention to the children's lunches. I was so impressed with the girls who brought kiwi and hard-boiled eggs to school. Their mother was so creative and healthy! I have tried to emulate them when packing lunches for our brood of five.
Another mother, Rhoda, who also happened to be our Art Teacher, sent her daughter to school with a cloth napkin every single day. What a brilliant idea! Not only do you usually need more than one paper napkin because they crumble easily, but they add to loads of trash we create every day. Granted, you must wash a cloth napkin, but I see it as a greener alternative. Since the world now encourages being "green", sending a cloth napkin in a lunch fits the bill! I try to send a cloth napkin in our children's lunches and I wash them whenever I can tell they need it. Sometimes they must be washed after just one lunch as they mop big spills but sometimes they are used for just a dab and the child uses it again the next day. Happy Tuesday's Tip!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mama Henley's sweeties

We had a great time at Christmas seeing so many friends and our sweet family. I realized I had not posted a picture of all of us from Christmas. Happy 2010 from Mama Henley's family!


I am the oldest child in my family and have 2 younger brothers. I adore them. Thankfully we are close even in adulthood. In fact, I remarked to hubby the other day that I love that we are FRIENDS. DH & I love nothing more than to spend time with my brothers and our fabulous sisters in law. We all share a lot of common interests and even more laughs. I wouldn't trade my brothers for the world and feel like I finally have two sisters.

I've never experienced what it's like to have a sister. I imagine it is a very close bond that is enjoyed over shared interests, shared clothes, and even shared rooms. Now that I am a mama, I am able to enjoy watching 4 sisters interact. They are so close to one another and adore their big brother too. Our two oldest girls love one another. Now sometimes they do fight, and that's to be expected when you share a birthday, a room, and a teacher! However, it is so much fun when they laugh and giggle and play together like they did yesterday. I guess this is what you do when it is TOO COLD IN FLORIDA to play outside! Aren't they hilarious?!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Tiffany Holiday

When DH and I married almost 15 years ago, a friend of my mother encouraged us to register for Tiffany's Holiday china. She said that it had such pretty colors that and since it had bows and not Christmas trees, it could be used from Thanksgiving until Valentine's Day. It is so festive with the red bows and so we do just that! It is the china we use from November until February when we are enjoying a special meal.

Isn't it lovely?

This was our table at Christmas. I need to plan a special dinner so we can use it again!

Cast Off!

Our sweet D broke her arm just before performing at her school's Christmas Program. A little boy's foot was extended and he tripped her by accident. She then landed just perfectly to fracture her wrist! I thought there was no way she had a break, and insisted she try to sing during the program. Sweet baby. I felt like a terrible mama.

She chose a purple cast because lavender is the color we assigned her as a baby. D wore the cast for 4 weeks and it was finally time for it to come off yesterday! Little Sis accompanied us the doctor's office.

D was so excited to have the cast OFF!

She was very brave as the loud machine cut her cast.

Finally, no more cast!!! We celebrated with a sprite and a bottle cap for her bottle cap necklace. It was special to spend a few hours with just D & the Hurricane before we took D back to school. She is such a sweet girl! CAST OFF!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tomato Pie

Here in sunny and cold Florida, it is tomato season. This July I was none too pleased that I could not buy a Florida summer tomato. I asked our friend who is a tomato breeder why I couldn't find a summer tomato. He explained that it is so hot and humid here that tomatoes rot in the field when grown in the summer. The crops are diseased and you just can't grow a tomato like those we have in good ole NC. I was mad then, but now we are relishing our "summer tomatoes" that are delicious, juicy, and perfect. Our sweet friend let us have a whole bag full of tomatoes, so I have been cooking up a storm and enjoying delicious blts and tomato sandwiches. One of the dishes I made was Tomato Pie. It is fantastic! It actually was the perfect dinner for a cold night. I paired it with a salad.

I always chop my tomatoes first, put them in a bowl, and then sprinkle basil, lemon pepper, and chives on the tomatoes. I added chopped fresh green onions this time which gave it a nice kick. You will use about 4 regular tomatoes or 6-8 small tomatoes.

Then mix 1 cup Bisquick with 1/3 cup milk until smooth and sticky. Spread in a greased pie plate and try to spread it to the edges. Bake t 450*F for 10 minutes. It should have a biscuit-like touch with sides like a mound when it is ready. Let it cool.

Place the tomatoes on top of the cooked and cooled crust. Mix 1 cup mayonnaise with 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Spread the mixture on top of the tomatoes. Bake at 375* for 30 minutes. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Out with the old, in with the new....

I have been hurriedly taking down Christmas decorations as I usually have them down by New Year's Day. We are behind this year, but I have learned that it really does not matter. No one is going to award points for first decorated, first un-decorated. I wrestled our tree this afternoon and finished removing all ornaments and the ***lights and then I hauled that baby to the street. Whew.

While driving home earlier today, I noticed that neighbors had started putting up their Gasparilla wreaths. We moved here just 2 weeks before Gasparilla last year and I was determined to have a fun wreath this year. In fact, I was so determined that I decided to make my own in November. I've had them waiting in my garage ever since, so after removing the Christmas wreaths, I put up our Gasparilla wreaths.

Gasparilla is a festive time in our town. It is reminiscent of Mardi Gras. Pirates will invade our fair city and a parade ensues. In fact, Gasparilla now has a separate weekend for the Children's Parade and then the real Gasparilla follows. We enjoyed the parade last year and are excited to be in the spirit this winter!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Our Baby

Our baby is now 3. That sweet angel was due on Christmas Day, so my c-section was scheduled 6 days earlier. She is a joy, a hoot, a mess, a sweetheart, a fireball, and a talker all rolled into one. She will pinch you and then hug and kiss you within minutes. We all delight in her and she knows it.

Tonight I tried to put her to bed a little bit earlier than her siblings. We read a book, I took the time to learn that she does have good reading comprehension skills, and then we said prayers together. She prayed, "And thank you for a big girl bed. A pink one. And thank you for my crib....." And I cried. I cried because we have not moved her to a big girl bed yet. I cried because I have always had a little one in a crib and there is not someone to follow in her footsteps. I cried because I am thankful for who she is and who she will be, and yet sad to see her become "big". And now I have to go find the prettiest pink big girl bed you've ever seen! :)


So yesterday I buzzed around town to fill our abode with food and detergent. I mean, this gal goes through a lot of Tide! Our washer/dryer has been running non-stop and I hope to have all bags unpacked, clothes cleaned, and all sheets cleaned by the weekend. We'll see. After running errands I spent some time straightening our home and unpacking a few things at a time. I am finally down to three bags!!

Last night I spent 2 hours back at the After Hour Peds b/c girl #2 also had an ear infection. Talk about a place you do not want to spend 2 hours. We had to strip at the door when we arrived home to get rid of all of the cooties:).

Hurricane and I picked up girl #2's meds this morning and have been home trying to be more organized. The translation is that I am putting away laundry, deciding to re-organize the drawers, dumping everything on the floor, re-folding each item, creating a giveaway pile, and putting the drawers back in the chest while Hurricane changes from her ballet outfit to her princess outfit and dumps toys on the floor in every room. Progress, y'all. Progress. Little by little, right:).


I've been searching for Landlocked Mermaid and Gwennie from Northern Girl, Southern Soul. I'd also love to know if Cancer Sucks has a new blog. If you have any 411, will you share it? Thanks!
Mama Henley

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I'm here to make YOU feel better!

Don't you just love those friends who make you feel like you have it more together than you really do? Well, today I am the woman to boost you up & inflate your ego!!! The last several days have gone like this:

Saturday- Wake up early, scramble to stuff bags to their fullest potential, empty trash, straighten bedrooms, pack car, eat breakfast and head to airport with plenty of time to spare so we can return rental car, check our full free baggage potential on Southwest (2 free checked bags per person x 7 people = 14 checked bags allowed!), and get through security. My sweet brother and his wife followed us in a second car so that all bags and people could make it! We checked our bags, gave the man a fat tip, and DH headed through security with 3 of our 5 children while I returned the rental car with the other 2. Frantic phone call from husband reveals that our beloved Raleigh snow globe is a terror threat and cannot go on the plane in our carry-on luggage. Who knew? Thankfully brother & his bride were still with me, so brother rescued our snow globe to bring to us at a later time. We jostled through security with coats, shoes, laptops, and 3 Coconuts who kept hopping out of the bag. Finally, we all made it through security.

We checked the time and had time for a bite to eat before boarding our flight. Our newly-turned 3 year old practiced our patience while we all shared 3 appetizers. After more trips to the bathroom than should be allowed, we rushed to our gate for takeoff, only to learn that our plane was now delayed. In all honesty, it was no big deal but since we had left home 3 hours prior to our flight time, we had already killed some time. Finally, we boarded the plane and headed home. The children were much more cantankerous on our return flight than they were on our outbound flight. Perhaps they felt like seasoned travelers. I felt like I did a lot of shushing and "keep it downs" while DH quietly read his magazine in the aisle next to me. Our girls are precious, but they can be little complainers. I have NO Idea where they learned that art! So, it's not unusual to hear that a tummy or ears hurt from more than one child. This did ensue, and I tried to be patient and listen like I cared. I did try.

During our descent, one of the girls complained about our ears. "Swallow. Yawn. I said, 'Swallow'! Okay, chew this gum", I directed with little compassion. DH pleaded with me to help her. We are not supposed to be out of our seats at this point, but I stood anyway only to find our sweetie dissolved in tears. She said her ears felt like were about to POP. Great. I felt terrible for my lack of compassion and scared to death her ear drum was about to burst. I finally acted compassionately as I should have all along, and we landed while she continued to cry.

We were gleefully met by our sweet friends and their two Suburbans, which we filled to their fullest capacity. It was such a treat to see good friends and then our house. We unloaded the car until you couldn't close the front door and began unpacking a little at a time. Our mail was not one but three piles high. We had to read a little. Since it was dinner time, I ordered pizza and started bath time. Meanwhile our daughter says her ear really, really hurts. I sighed and took her to the after hours pediatrician. She did have quite an ear infection and so we went in search of antibiotics and had to wait so long that I took her home and went back out for the meds.

The next 2 days were good ones filled with children fighting over toys and arguing and playing. I was trying to unpack yesterday when I discovered 2 of the 3 children's rooms were COMPLETE WRECKS as in EVERY-TOY-I'VE-EVER-OWNED is on the floor and in the way. I just about fainted. We have luggage strewn about our house, laundry being folded in between interruptions, and meals to make and dishes to clean. It's still Christmas at our house and I made the mistake of removing some of the ornaments only to realize it was a really bad idea until I could bring the ornament boxes in the house and put the ornaments away carefully.

So now we still have at least 3 bags that are only partially unpacked, lots of laundry to do, a newly piled high ironing pile, mail to sort, bills to pay, toys to find a new home for, and ornaments on all of the chairs and sofas in our living room. If you're feeling down or like you're not organized just because you have a few Christmas bows to stuff, take heed. It's NUTS around here! The worst part of all is that once I finish unpacking and putting away Christmas, it'll be time to tackle our garage and move everything in boxes into the new Rubbermaid containers I bought during my hour at Target today. One day I'll have it all perfect. One day. Maybe in 2060!

Tuesday's Tip

As you are putting away ornaments, take time to really organize them. I have a large plastic box for each child's ornaments. It is labeled with their name and birth year. As they make new ornaments or are given new ornaments as gifts, I add them to their box. I have the memory of an elephant. I remember things that aren't even important. Until the year my father-in-law died, I could tell you the story behind every ornament all SEVEN of us own. I remembered that my friend, Margaret, gave each triplet a precious VW Bug ornament in their favorite color when they were babies. I remembered the crosses ML gave each child. We decorated with Christmas cards on our tree last year, so we didn't visit with our ornaments. I was shocked to see so many ornaments that I could not remember the giver or the story. Imagine my relief when I saw ornament boxes with "To Hurricane on her 2nd birthday from her godparents" and other sentiments such as that. Some of the ornaments had the to and from and the year on them. All of this explaining is to encourage you to buy a new Sharpie marker and label away. Label the individual ornaments or their boxes so that you and your family will remember their origin for years to come. Happy 2010!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

My Mama Always Said

"At every party, there's a pooper, and that's why we invited you... Party Pooper.... Party Pooper...," my mama used to sing when one of us was not being very fun. I still sing it to this day. Do you know this song? Don't spend your life being a party pooper when you can be the life of the party instead! The greatest thing of all is being the life of the party without any help from alcohol. Those are the true fun people! Be the life of the party this holiday season... Mama Henley is going to try!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

We're HOME!!!!

Happy New Year, Y'all!!! I have to tell you, there is no place like home. We had the best time visiting friends and family for two glorious weeks in NC. In some ways, it was not enough time. We left longing for more time with those we love so dearly. However, I can't tell you how good it feels to be home!!! DH & I have slept in twin beds for 2 weeks! It'll feel good for all 7 of us to sleep in our own beds. We miss everyone, but Dorothy was right when she said, "There is no place like home!"

My sweet brother & sis in law helped us get to the airport, and dear friends here picked us up in not one, but TWO Suburbans, this afternoon!! We'll be unpacking for the next week along with removing Christmas decorations and enjoying all of our new gifts. Happy New Year!! I can't wait to see what 2010 will bring!!!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010!

Dear Readers,

I am so excited about 2010 and I know you are too! I'd like to encourage you to become a follower if you haven't done so already. It allows me to know who reads my blog. If you are a blog reader who doesn't comment, I also encourage you to join in the conversation and comment away. Did you see the movie Julie & Julia? Do you remember how excited Julie was when she had a comment on her blog? I can relate!! Bloggers LOVE to hear from their readers. It's fine if you disagree, as long as you are nice about it. Please share your thoughts as it DOES make a difference! Happy 2010! May we all have the BEST year yet!!

Happy New Year!!!!

Happy New Year!!!

May 2010 be a year of great blessings for you and those you love!!!

Happy Happy!!!